Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Granting Department

Special Education

Major Professor

Ann Cranston-Gingras, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Deirdre Cobb-Roberts, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Arthur M. Guilford, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Patricia Alvarez McHatton, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Anthony Onwuegbuzie, Ph.D.


culturally and linguistically diverse, cultural competence, assessment, English language learners, diversity, interpreters, ASHA focused initiative


Like educators, speech-language pathologists can anticipate working with culturally and linguistically diverse students and their families. Data reported from the Study of Personnel Needs in Special Education (SPeNSE), 1999-2000, revealed that during the years 1999-2000 speech-language pathologists caseloads included students from various culturally and linguistically diverse groups (U.S. Department of Education, Office of Special Education Programs, 2001). Furthermore, on average, more than one-fourth of students seen by speech-language pathologists were from a culturally and/or linguistically diverse group than their own and 8.8% were English language learners (U.S. Department of Education, 2001). Thus, guaranteeing a highly qualified pool of speech-language pathologists to meet these students needs is essential.

This study examined speech-language pathologists (a) beliefs about the language assessment of bilingual/bicultural/bidialectal students, (b) professional efficacy beliefs (both personal and general) as they relate to assessing the language skills of bilingual/bicultural/bidialectal students, and (c) reported supports and barriers to assessing the language skills of bilingual/bicultural/bidialectal students. It involved a mixed method research design (Tashakkori and Teddlie, 1998, 2002) and was organized into three central components that included a quantitative phase and a qualitative phase: (a) survey administration, (b) reflective analysis of the researchers experience as a speech-language pathologist, and (c) follow-up semi-structured interviews.

Quantitative analyses of speech-language pathologists professional efficacy beliefs revealed that most speech-language pathologists believed they personally, and the field in general, were somewhat competent in assessing the language skills of bilingual/bicultural/bidialectal students. While none of the predictor variables were significantly related to personal efficacy, one of the predictor variables (Hispanic/Latino) was significantly related to general efficacy.

Qualitative analysis of speech-language pathologists professional efficacy beliefs varied as a function of race/ethnicity. Higher beliefs of personal efficacy existed among speech-language pathologists of color. Perceived supports and barriers as well as the demographics of survey respondents, which highlight low numbers of speech-language pathologists from bilingual/bicultural/bidialectal backgrounds, confirmed the need to address assessment and intervention practices of bilingual/bicultural/bidialectal students.