Development and validation of the Spanish-English language proficiency scale (SELPS)

Ekaterina Smyk, Maria Restrepo, Joanna S. Gorin, Shelley Gray

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


Purpose: This study examined the development and validation of a criterion-referenced Spanish-English Language Proficiency Scale (SELPS) that was designed to assess the oral language skills of sequential bilingual children ages 4-8. This article reports results for the English proficiency portion of the scale. Method: The SELPS assesses syntactic complexity, grammatical accuracy, verbal fluency, and lexical diversity based on 2 story retell tasks. In Study 1, 40 children were given 2 story retell tasks to evaluate the reliability of parallel forms. In Study 2, 76 children participated in the validation of the scale against language sample measures and teacher ratings of language proficiency. Results: Study 1 indicated no significant differences between the SELPS scores on the 2 stories. Study 2 indicated that the SELPS scores correlated significantly with their counterpart language sample measures. Correlations between the SELPS and teacher ratings were moderate. Conclusions: The 2 story retells elicited comparable SELPS scores, providing a valuable tool for test-retest conditions in the assessment of language proficiency. Correlations between the SELPS scores and external variables indicated that these measures assessed the same language skills. Results provided empirical evidence regarding the validity of inferences about language proficiency based on the SELPS score.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)252-265
Number of pages14
JournalLanguage, speech, and hearing services in schools
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jul 2013


  • Assessment
  • English language proficiency
  • Rating scale
  • Sequential bilinguals

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Linguistics and Language
  • Speech and Hearing


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