New Assessment Accurately Measures Spanish-Speaking Students’ Strength and Challenges in Their Native Language

Pearson’s DAS-II Early Years Spanish Supplement Developed Based on Best Practices for Collaborating With an Interpreter in Assessment 

BLOOMINGTON, Minn. Oct. 31, 2012 – Critical to the academic success of the millions of U.S. school students from homes where Spanish is the primary language is quick and accurate identification of their strengths and challenges. Today Pearson unveiled the Different Ability Scales Second Edition (DAS-II) Early Years Spanish Supplement, designed to assess Spanish-speaking children in their primary language to gain a complete picture of their cognitive strengths across the ability spectrum, allowing for early intervention or placement in gifted and talented programs.

The National Clearinghouse for English Language Acquisition and Language Instruction Educational Programs recently reported that the number and proportion of young children attending public education programs in the United States whose first language is not English is rising. Eighty percent of these English language learners speak Spanish as their primary language.

Assessing these students in their primary language is critical to gaining an accurate view of their strengths and weaknesses. There must also be an understanding of the child’s lexical and regional language variation, cultural background and interactions to develop an informative and incisive evaluation. However, in many cases, school psychologists and other clinicians don’t speak Spanish or have the appropriate cultural background. The DAS-II Early Years Spanish Supplement provides clinicians with the tools for collaborating with an interpreter to assess a child’s cognitive strengths and weaknesses.

Developed by Colin D. Elliott, Ph.D., the DAS-II Early Years Spanish Supplement is the only assessment of its kind that is based on best practices for collaborating with an interpreter in assessment. Recognized for his research on individual children’s temperament, personality and learning difficulties, Elliott centered the development of the DAS-II on his work on the British Ability Scales.

“A recent Pearson survey revealed that more than 40 percent of school psychologists are responsible for assessing the abilities of Spanish-English bilingual students. Yet, in many instances, those individuals are not fluent in Spanish,” said Carol Watson, president, Pearson’s Clinical Assessment, North America. “The DAS-II Early Years Spanish Supplement provides an accurate tool for measuring the strengths and challenges in their native language by collaborating with an interpreter if needed. As a result, schools can personalize learning to ensure that those students are on track for success in school, college and careers.”

During the translation and adoption of the DAS-II Early Years Spanish Supplement, Pearson involved clinicians representing numerous Spanish-speaking countries, including Argentina, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba, El Salvador, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Peru, Puerto Rico, Spain and Venezuela. This ensured that the assessment addresses the cultural and language issues of each of those specific cultures.

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    Game changer or vaporware?