The Validation of a Screening Instrument for Preschool-Aged Children in El Paso

Cassandra N Curtis, University of Texas at El Paso


Background: Culturally and linguistically diverse children often produce linguistic features that may mask or mimic characteristics of language impairment (LI) (Gutierrez-Clellen & Simon-Cereijido, 2009). Language screening instruments are time efficient tools used by Speech Language Pathologists (SLPs) to distinguish children who may need additional language assessment (Guiberson & Rodriguez, 2010). A previous survey conducted in the El Paso, TX region determined that only 30% of SLPs felt that screenings instruments, for English-Spanish bilingual children, produced accurate results (Cutis, Summers, Smith, & Stubbemann, 2016). Additionally, the study found that SLPs often used non standardized screening tools due to the lack of valid screening instruments for bilingual children. Purpose: This study investigated the diagnostic accuracy (specificity and sensitivity) of a bilingual language screening instrument, the Bilingual English Spanish Oral Screener (BESOS), in accurately identifying preschool-aged children at risk of LI. Methods: Forty-two children, aged 3–6 years, participated in this study. Participants were grouped by age: 3–4 year olds and 5–6 year olds. Participants were administered the BESOS and an in-depth language assessment using gold standard measures: The Preschool Language Scales- Fifth Edition (PLS–5), Language Sample Analysis (LSA) and ITALK. Sensitivity and specificity of the BESOS were determined. Results: The BESOS demonstrated overall good sensitivity (85.7%) and specificity (80%). The BESOS demonstrated sensitivity of 85.71% and specificity of 71.43% within 3–4 year old group and specificity of 92.86% within the 5–6 year old group. Conclusion: This study has expanded research in the area of linguistically and culturally appropriate screening instruments. Specifically, our research determined that the BESOS holds promise in identifying risk of LI within preschool-aged children from the El Paso, TX region. Further considerations for the BESOS will be discussed.

Subject Area

Bilingual education|Speech therapy

Recommended Citation

Curtis, Cassandra N, "The Validation of a Screening Instrument for Preschool-Aged Children in El Paso" (2018). ETD Collection for University of Texas, El Paso. AAI10823597.