Multilingual Assessment of Early Child Development: Analyses from Repeated Observations of Children in Kenya
In many low- and middle-income countries, young children learn a mother tongue or indigenous language at home before entering the formal education system where they will need to understand and speak a country’s official language(s). Thus, assessments of children before school age, conducted in a nation’s official language, may not fully reflect a child’s development, underscoring the importance of test translation and adaptation. To examine differences in vocabulary development by language of assessment, we adapted and validated instruments to measure developmental outcomes, including expressive and receptive vocabulary. The authors assessed 505 2-to-6-year-old children in rural communities in Western Kenya with comparable vocabulary tests in three languages.
Their findings suggest that multilingual testing is essential to understanding the developmental environment and cognitive growth of multilingual children.