Date of Award


Degree Name

EdD Doctor of Education

Dissertation Committee

Dr. DeForest Strunk, Director; Dr. Robert L. Infantino; Dr. Donald Omark


assessment, California, children & youth, disability, education, Los Angeles (California), Spanish, Speech-language therapy


Problem The objectives of this study were (1) to examine the procedures used by speech-language pathologists in identifying Spanish-speaking students with speech and language handicaps, (2) to determine the extent to which practicing speech-language pathologists are qualified to conduct these evaluations, and (3) to develop a comprehensive set of assessment guidelines. Procedure A 27-item survey instrument constructed by the researcher was distributed to 408 individuals in Los Angeles County, selected from the 1980 membership directory of the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association and the 1981 directory supplement. A total of 285 (69.85%) of the surveys were returned, but 44 of these surveys did not meet the criteria for inclusion in this research. Thus, 241 (59.07%) of the returned questionnaires were included in the analysis. A total of 154 survey respondents were employed in public school speech and language therapy programs. This sample was divided into four groups based on Hispanic enrollment in the school population served. The remaining 87 respondents were employed in clinical or educational settings other than public school speech and language therapy and were asked to respond only to survey questions relating to their background, qualifications, and training. Results Some of the major findings and conclusions of this research were the following: 1. The supply of Spanish-speaking speech-language pathologists is insufficient to meet the needs of Spanish-speaking students. 3. Bilingual classroom instructional aides and other paraprofessionals are often used to administer articulation and language tests in Spanish. 4. Speech-language pathologists working in schools where Hispanic enrollment is high show evidence of being better prepared (e.g., more fluent in Spanish) to assess Spanish-speaking children than speech-language pathologists working in schools with low Hispanic enrollment. 5. A variety of formal and informal test instruments are being used in assessment, including tests that have been developed locally. Commercially available Spanish language tests are often not providing the information needed to identify Spanish-speaking children with language handicaps. Commercially available Spanish articulation tests, however, are generally providing the information needed. 6. Conversational speech samples are often not a part of the assessment battery used with Spanish-speaking students. 7. Coursework in speech-language pathology has generally not provided information about Spanish speech and language tests. Recommended Assessment Guidelines The information obtained from the current study and from an extensive review of the literature was used to develop a recommended set of assessment guidelines. The guidelines include detailed recommendations for the use of test instruments with Spanish-speaking students. Also included are recommendations for the training and use of assessment personnel. Selected recommendations from the guidelines are these: 1. Spanish-speaking children should not be identified as handicapped based solely on scores derived from standardized test instruments. Further reproduction prohibited without permission. 2. Conversational speech samples should always he included in the assessment battery. 3. Training should be provided to Spanish-speaking personnel (e.g., bilingual classroom aides) selected to participate in the testing of Spanish speaking children. 4. Academic degree programs designed to train speech-language pathologists should provide information relating to the use of test instruments and personnel in the assessment of Spanish-speaking students. 5. School districts should provide workshops on bilingual speech and language assessment relevant to identified needs.

Document Type

Dissertation: Open Access