Lack of understanding about language acquisition. Inadequate or inappropriate psychoeducational assessment practices. Restricted access to effective understanding.
The National Association of School Psychologists (NASP) position lists these as some of the reasons why English language learners (ELL) are overrepresented in special education and underrepresented in gifted programs.
In U.S. schools, more than 77% of ELL students speak Spanish. Based on their educational history and exposure to the language and the culture, these students will exhibit different degrees of acculturation and English-language proficiency.
Cognitive assessment that relies on verbal interaction and response in English is naturally unfair for individuals who are still learning the language. Nonverbal assessment is not free from cultural bias, either, and using translations or interpreters is not ideal.
The Reynolds Intellectual Assessment Scales, Second Edition (RIAS-2) evaluates verbal intelligence, nonverbal intelligence, memory, and speeded processing and provides an estimate of general intelligence in under an hour. The new RIAS-2 Spanish Form with Spanish Responses provides correct Spanish-language responses for the RIAS-2 Guess What, Verbal Reasoning, and What’s Missing subtests. Designed for use with Spanish bilingual and ELL students, it allows examinees to answer items in English or in Spanish, providing a practical and more ecologically valid way to test the intelligence of individuals who are still learning English.
Acceptable Spanish responses represent Spanish dialects most commonly spoken in the U.S., including Mexican, Central American, Caribbean, Colonial Spanish, Puerto Rican, Cuban, Venezuelan, Colombian, and Argentinian. The form also includes a new Language Acculturation Meter, a tool that provides a framework for test administration and interpretation.
The goal, after all, is to assess general intelligence, not English-language knowledge or fluency.