The WMLS manual on page 5 states that the WMLS is a test of the aspects of language that are acquired in formal schooling. In the WMLS manual, it seems to me that the English WMLS is standardized on monolingual English speakers and can be used to identify gifted students. It seems to me that the Spanish WMLS is standardized on monolingual Spanish speakers.
The Spanish CELF manual states on page 17-18 that the most of the subtests for the Spanish CELF assess BICS. Three Spanish CELF subtests, Listening to Paragraphs, Word Definitions and Expressive Vocabulary, are tests of CALP. So, no CALP subtest is used for the Core Language Score until the age of 13 years. “The Spanish CELF 4 is not designed for assessment of academic achievement.”
Here are some questions I have:
1. If CALP skills take 5-7 years to develop and BICS take 1-2 years, what is the rationale for using the results of a test of CALP (WMLS) to determine whether to give a test of BICS (Spanish CELF)?
We do not use the WMLS to determine whether or not to administer formal tests in Spanish. The primary purpose of the Woodcock-Muñoz/ Woodcock-Johnson is to determine classroom placement.
2. If the WMLS is a test of those aspects of language which develop from formal schooling, what is the rationale for using the results of the Spanish WMLS to determine whether to give the Spanish CELF if the student has never received any education in Spanish?
Again, we do not use this to determine what tests to administer in our assessment. We always try to administer both formal and informal tests in both languages. If formal tests are not possible due to low proficiency, we use only informal measures.
3. Since the English WMLS is standardized on monolingual English speakers, we could use the English WMLS to determine the CALP levels for monolingual English students who are referred for a speech-language evaluation. What is the rationale for determining CALP levels for bilingual students when we are not determining CALP levels for monolingual English students?
Good question. Since the primary purpose of these two tests is to make decisions about classroom placement (a regular education decision), there is not a need to determine CALP for monolinguals to make that decision since their obvious classroom placement is English.
4. What research has been conducted to determine whether the results of the WMLS can be used to predict a student’s performance on the CELF?
We’ve started looking at this this year and have found that students’ scores on the Woodcock-Muñoz and the Woodcock-Johnson often fall about 10 standard score points below our testing results for expressive and receptive. When we remove the effects of Crystallized Knowledge (aka, experiential knowledge), the scores are similar.