Assessing Preschool Dual Language Learners: Traveling a Multiforked Road


  • The authors wish to thank Dr. Behnosh Najafi, Dr. Laida Restrepo, and Dr. Martha Zaslow for their helpful comments on earlier drafts of this article.

concerning this article should be addressed to Elizabeth D. Peña, Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders, University of Texas at Austin, One University Station, A1100, Austin, TX 78712; e-mail:


Abstract— This article explores linguistic, cultural, and contextual factors that may present significant challenges to the accurate assessment of capabilities of preschool dual language learners (DLLs). This discussion includes an examination of (a) differences between “cultures” of home and school and their implications for assessing DLL children’s development, (b) content and language(s) used for assessments of children’s development, and (c) the ability of extant standardized assessments to provide accurate portrayals of DLL children’s abilities. The article concludes with recommendations for improving the accurate assessment of DLL preschoolers, and for the development of an expanded research agenda.