Dynamic assessment of word learning skills: Identifying language impairment in bilingual children

Maria Kapantzoglou, Maria Restrepo, Marilyn Thompson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

82 Scopus citations


Purpose: Bilingual children are often diagnosed with language impairment, although they may simply have fewer opportunities to learn English than English-speaking monolingual children. This study examined whether dynamic assessment (DA) of word learning skills is an effective method for identifying bilingual children with primary language impairment (PLI). Method: Fifteen 4- and 5-year-old predominantly Spanishspeaking children with typical language development (TLD) and 13 with PLI each participated in a 30- to 40-min session of DA of word learning skills following a pretest-teach-posttest design. Results: Results indicated that TLD children made associations between the phonological and semantic representations of the new words faster than children with PLI did, showing greater modifiability. Further, a combination of word learning in the receptive modality and the Learning Strategies Checklist (Lidz, 1991; Peña, 1993) provided the best accuracy in identifying PLI in these children. Conclusion: Findings suggest that a brief DA is a promising method for accurately differentiating children with TLD from children with PLI.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)81-96
Number of pages16
JournalLanguage, speech, and hearing services in schools
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2012


  • Bilingual
  • Dynamic assessment
  • Language impairment
  • Word learning

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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


Dive into the research topics of 'Dynamic assessment of word learning skills: Identifying language impairment in bilingual children'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this