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Communication Language

The Q-BEx Project: Creating a Tool to Document Bilingual Language Experience

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Children’s language abilities are one of the strongest predictors of their academic success. Children with English as an Additional Language (EAL) might experience difficulties with English initially, but once their English “catches up”, they do as well as their peers academically, and sometimes even better. The challenge is to identify early those EAL children who need extra support with English: those who have had sufficient exposure to English but continue to struggle.

As a part of the Q-BEx project, we created an online tool for schools to use as part of their assessment of needs for EAL children. The tool consists of an online questionnaire (for parents to fill in) and an automatic report generator, which can be used to draw a language profile of individual EAL children. The tool can be customised to elicit different amount of information. As a minimum, this report will include:

  • the amount of experience the child has had in English and in their Home Language(s)
  • an indication of whether their experience with English should already be sufficient for them to have “caught up” with their monolingual peers

The reports obtained through the Q-BEx questionnaire can help teachers gather relevant information about each child’s linguistic background. For instance, if a report shows that a child has had sufficient exposure to English, but is still struggling with it, this is an indication that the child should be referred for assessment by a language specialist. Currently, we are working with teachers, teaching assistants and EAL coordinators to help us gather feedback about the ease-of-use and accessibility of the questionnaire for caregivers and children. Please get in touch if you would like to join this part of the project.

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