Language Assessments for Bilingual and Multilingual Children

One thing parents of multilingual children worries the most is if their children will be able to keep up with all the languages and have a sufficient knowledge, proficiency, academically speaking, once they go to school.

Schools do regular language and literacy assessments and even international schools tend to assess the school language only or at least also the dominant language – for example, for a German child living in the Netherlands and attending an English speaking school, the assessment would be focusing on Dutch and English.

As there isn't one test that can be applied to all languages and teachers who evaluate these tests should at least have a basic knowledge of the other languages involved, I always advise parents of multilingual children to make sure their children are not only tested on one or two – usually the most dominant languages – but also on their family languages. In fact, as stated in the article mentioned here below, "SLPs have acknowledged competence in the assessment of monolingual children's speech but must consider additional aspects when assessing the speech of children who speak nondominant languages and dialects."

If you are a parent of multilingual children and you have the impression that your school is not updated on the latest findings about language and literacy assessments, you may find an assessment in this list to submit to your school.

You want to make sure that during the speech assessment they will identify the presence or absence of SSD* and include referral, case history, assessment of speech production, additional areas of assessment (intelligibility, acceptability, stimulability, speech perception, phonological processing, language, hearing, oral structure and function, nonverbal intelligence, and participation), analysis, diagnosis, and goal setting.



This is a scientific article about Speech Assessment for Multilingual Children who don't speak the same language(s) as the Speech-Language Pathologist





If you need support on this matter, I offer mediation with schools to make sure your child gets the right assessment and support he / she deserves! – Contact me at


*SSD= Speech Sound Disorders (cfr. from the article mentioned above “Children with speech sound disorders can have any combination of difficulties with perception, articulation/motor production, and/or phonological representation of speech segments (consonants and vowels), phonotactics (syllable and word shapes), and prosody (lexical and grammatical tones, rhythm, stress, and intonation) that may impact speech intelligibility and acceptability” (International Expert Panel on Multilingual Children's Speech, 2012, p. 1).)


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