Advances in Fairness and Testing with Second Language Learners

1.5 hours
SKU: abad_6021 Categories: ,

Dr. Samuel Ortiz, St. Johns University, New York.

Wed. January 12th – 5-6:30pm CST

Course Type: Live Webinar

Same-age English learners (ELs) can vary widely in their exposure to and opportunity for learning a second language. Unbiased testing thus depends heavily on controlling for these differences in development. The EL norms in the Ortiz PVAT represent an innovative step toward achieving greater fairness and equity in testing.

Join Dr. Ortiz as he discusses this tool and others that he has created to reduce bias and increase accuracy when testing bilingual students.

Bilinguistics – 0.15 ASHA CEUs (Intermediate Level)

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DISCLOSURE OF FINANCIAL RELATIONSHIPS: Dr. Sam Ortiz is receiving financial compensation from Bilinguistics, Inc. for this presentation. She is the lead author of the BESA and receives royalties.  DISCLOSURE OF NONFINANCIAL RELATIONSHIPS: Dr. Sam Ortiz does not have any non-financial relationships to disclose.

Vocabulary acquisition has long been one of the mainstays of speech-language, clinical, school-based, and neuropsychological evaluations as it represents both a general estimate of language and cognitive development as well as a strong correlate of educational attainment. Despite its importance for all individuals, vocabulary measurement has remained problematic when attempted with diverse groups, particularly English learners. Because the methods and format for conducting such evaluations have also changed very little over the decades, they have become increasingly less useful as the population of non-native English speakers continues to increase. For these reasons, the Ortiz PVAT has been designed specifically with an emphasis on fairness, universal applicability, and the integration of technological advances to create a new and higher standard of measurement for all individuals, including those who are learning English as a second or third language. Not only does the Ortiz PVAT meet rigorous standards for reliability and validity, it also establishes these psychometric properties by incorporating aspects of fairness to ensure true non-discriminatory evaluation of English language ability. Perhaps the most important feature of the Ortiz PVAT is the incorporation of fairness for non-native English speakers by the creation of dual norms within the test including one set for monolingual, native-English speakers, and a separate distinct norm sample for English learners which specifically controls for the exact amount of English exposure for each individual being assessed. In this way, diagnostic questions can be answered in a valid manner by comparing English learners only to other English learners with the same level of exposure to English to assist in resolving the issue of “difference vs. disorder” rather than unfairly comparing them to monolingual, native-English speakers. As such, the Ortiz PVAT represents a rather unique and pioneering approach for eliminating bias in testing with English learners and points the way toward the construction of future standardized tests that can achieve the highest levels of fairness and equity.

Dr. Ortiz is Professor of Psychology and Director of Graduate Programs in School Psychology at St. John’s University, New York. He holds a Ph.D. in clinical psychology from the University of Southern California and a credential in school psychology with postdoctoral training in bilingual school psychology from San Diego State University. He has served as Visiting Professor and Research Fellow at Nagoya University, Japan, as Vice President for Professional Affairs of APA Division 16 (School Psychology), as member and Chair of APA’s, Committee on Psychological Tests and Assessment, as member of the Coalition for Psychology in Schools and Education, as representative on the New York State Committee of Practitioners on ELL and LEP Students, and as member of APA Presidential Task Force on Educational Disparities. Dr. Ortiz serves or has served on various editorial boards including Journal of School Psychology, School Psychology Quarterly, and Journal of Applied School Psychology and is a member of the Society for the Study of School Psychology (SSSP). Dr. Ortiz has published widely on a range of topics and is a frequent presenter at professional conferences as well as an internationally recognized expert on issues involving nondiscriminatory assessment, evaluation of English learners, Cross-Battery Assessment (XBA), and specific learning disabilities. He is author of the new Ortiz Picture Vocabulary Acquisition Test (Ortiz PVAT)—the first test with dual norms designed specifically for English learners and English speakers. He is also primary co-author of the Cross-Battery Assessment Software System (X-BASS v2.0), the Culture-Language Interpretive Matrix (C-LIM), and co-author of the Intervention Library: Finding Resources for Students and Teachers (IL:FIRST v1.0). His books include “Assessment of Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Students: A practical guide,” which is currently under revision, and “Essentials of Cross-Battery Assessment, 3rd Edition.” Dr. Ortiz is bilingual (Spanish) and bicultural (Puerto Rican).

Learner Objectives
1) Identify the limitations of current approaches to testing English learners with respect to validity
2) Explain the need for “true peer” group comparison to establish diagnostic validity of test results
3) Explain how language development differences are controlled within the EL normative sample in the Ortiz PVAT to create fairness in evaluating receptive vocabulary
4) Engage in fair and equitable evaluation of receptive vocabulary for any individual regardless of language background

Time-ordered agenda
10 minutes – Introductions and disclosures
10 minutes – Issues in first and second language acquisition
10 minutes – Understanding bias and problems with test score validity
10 minutes – Current and typical methods for addressing test score validity
10 minutes – Understanding the notion of “true peer” comparison for English learners
10 minutes – Controlling for language development in norm sample development
5 minutes – Summary and closing
25 minutes – Moderated question and answer with Dr. Ellen Kester