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The UKBTAT was designed to help early years practitioners in the UK to decide whether a 2-year-old bilingual toddler is at risk of a language delay, or not. It provides you with a simple outcome: in which percentile is the child in English and the Additional Language, for production and comprehension?

Bilingual children tend to know less words in each language, as compared to their monolingual peers. This is very problematic when an assessment needs to be done, as most tools are standardised for monolingual children. In addition, when bilingual assessment tools exist, they are done for one pair of languages only, e.g. American English and Spanish. The UKBTAT is the first tool allowing an early assessment of language development of any child learning British English and any other Additional Language.

There are three steps, each involving the parent, not the child.

  1.  The parent is asked to go through a list of 100 common English words, and tick whether their child understands them, or understands and says them (the English CDI or Communicative Developmental Inventories).
  2.  A similar task is required in the Additional Language (see below), the Additional Language CDI.
  3.  A questionnaire, the LEQ (language Exposure Questionnaire) must be filled in by yourself and the parent, and this can be done over the phone or face to face.

Then the UKBTAT automatically calculates the outcome and sends you an email with the final diagnostic. It is then down to you to inform the parents.

It is based on a statistical model of vocabulary knowledge in bilingual 2-year-olds growing in the UK. We collected data from 372 children, and we examined a wide range of factors such as socio-economic status, number of siblings, number of non-native speakers in each language, etc. In the end, we found a handful of factors that correctly predicted vocabulary knowledge in each language. These factors are the relative amount of exposure to each language in typical week, the child's gender, and the language spoken between the two parents when addressing one another. The resulting equations underpin the UKBTAT model.

After watching the video tutorials, you can enter fake child data if you wish to practice with the UKBTAT. In that case, please ensure that you later delete that child case from your practitioner main screen at Practitioner/Admin

Conditions of Use »

The UKBTAT is most accurate for any child aged 2 years (plus or minus 3 weeks), living in England or Wales, and learning British English plus an Additional Language from the following list: Bengali, Chinese Cantonese, Dutch, French, German, Greek, Hindi/Urdu, Italian, Chinese Mandarin, Polish, European Portuguese, and Welsh.

If the Additional Language is not in that list (e.g. Arabic, Punjabi), then the UKBTAT can still be used, but the diagnostic in the Additional Language will be less reliable. However the diagnostic in English will remain accurate.

Any Additional Language can be assessed. The difference will be that if the Additional Language belongs to the list of our initial target languages (Bengali, Chinese Cantonese, Dutch, French, German, Greek, Hindi-Urdu, Italian, Chinese Mandarin, Polish, European Portuguese, and Welsh), the parent will be asked to go through a list of words in that language.

These lists, called CDI (Communicative Developmental Inventories), were developed by researchers in various countries, and therefore they all vary in length. For example, the Greek CDI is 654 words long, whereas the Bengali one is 62 words long.

If the Additional Language is not on that list (e.g. Arabic, Punjabi), then the parent is asked to go through a list of 30 English words, think about their translation in their Additional Language, and tell us whether their child knows/says the word in the Additional Language.

By design, the UKBTAT is more accurate for the target Additional Languages (e.g. Polish) rather than for those Additional Languages which are not on that list (e.g. Arabic). But it is always accurate for English.

Yes, and it will give you this information for English comprehension, English production, Additional Language comprehension and Additional Language production. Note however that if the child's score is above the 50th percentile, it will simply state so. But if the child is under, it will tell you for example that the score is between the 21st and the 22nd percentile.

The UKBTAT was standardised for children growing in England and Wales. Some words can vary in other areas of the UK, which could affect the results of the English CDI. Therefore, if you want to use the test in Scotland or Northern Ireland, simply tell the parents that upon filling in the CDI in English, they need to think about the equivalent words in their English variety.

The UKBTAT was validated in the UK, in an environment where English is widely spoken in society; therefore, if the child lives in a non-English speaking country (e.g. Spain), measures of exposure (provided by the LEQ) must then be taken very cautiously. This means that the validity of the diagnostic is not reliable.

If the child lives in another English-speaking country (US, Australia..), and if parents are aware of the dialectal differences between British English and this variety of English upon filling in the English CDI, then the UKBTAT can be used in principle. However, we don't know to what extent the cultural variations between different countries can affect the results. For example, recent data show that American-English children tend to learn words faster than British English children; this would be a problem to interpret the results of the UKBTAT. The test would probably fail to identify most American-English bilingual children at risk of language delays.

The results will not be as accurate, but you can still get a reasonable estimate for English and the Additional Language which is mostly spoken around the child.

Our recommendation is to list all non-English languages with the parents, for example Italian, Russian, Arabic and Spanish. The UKBTAT will ask you to enter two of those only, so identify first the most frequent one, e.g. the one which is most frequently spoken by the mother to the child, e.g. Italian. Then enter the second most frequent, e.g. Arabic.

The parents will then be asked to fill in the Additional Language CDI in the most frequent one only (here, Italian). The LEQ will automatically be a trilingual version, in which questions will be about exposure to English and the two most frequent languages (here Italian and Arabic).

The child must be aged 24 months, plus or minus 3 weeks at the moment of testing, that is, when the parents fill in the two CDIs (English and Additional Language). Then you should make sure you fill in the LEQ within one or two weeks from this.

It can happen that a 2-year-old would have had no exposure at all to English yet, because she wouldn't attend a nursery/playgroup and parents would never speak English at home. In that case, the child would be developing as a monolingual child, and the UKBTAT would not be entirely appropriate.

However, in principle, it could still be used to assess the child's knowledge in the Additional Language, bearing in mind that results would be compared ultimately to bilingual norms. This means that the UKBTAT would probably fail to detect a language delay in most children.

This situation is common when English is not spoken at home. You can then print the English CDI to give to the parents, who can pass it to a childminder, or the nursery, to fill in. Remember in that case to make sure the date of completion is carefully recorded.

Technical Information »

All data are for your eyes only, secure on your account as a practitioner. From the programmer's perspective, each child case is anonymised with a secure unique code. If parents have signed the consent form authorising us to use their data to continue refine the underlying statistical model, then their data (anonymous) are visible to us as well, stored on our secure protected database.

When you set up a new child case, you can choose between sending an email to the parents with a secure link to the CDIs, or give them a paper copy.

If you choose the online route, parents will then have to sign a consent form online, and fill in the lists in their own time. When they are done, you will be informed by email, so that you can proceed to the LEQ.

If the parents do not want to be contacted by email, or cannot, then you can print the CDIs and the consent forms, to give to them. Then when they return them to you, you will have to input their data on the system yourself.

For each child, you will receive an email with information which looks like this (keep this email preciously because it will not be saved on the database at this point):

Based on the data you provided, Harry Potter has an observed vocabulary in English of 40 words out of 100 in comprehension, and 10 words out of 100 in production. He also has an observed vocabulary in French of 15 words out of 30 in comprehension, and 4 out of 30 in production.

The child's age when tested (on the English CDI completion date) was 744 days.

Given the child's exposure and demographic characteristics, he would be predicted the following scores:

  • English comprehension: 55.9/100 words
  • English production: 27.6/100 words
  • French comprehension: 18.4/30 words
  • French production: 8.4/30 words

The distance between observed and predicted values place this child within the following percentiles:

  • English comprehension: Between 22nd and 23rd percentiles
  • English production: Between 21st and 22nd percentiles
  • French comprehension: Between 28th and 29th percentiles
  • French production: Between 28th and 29th percentiles

Depending on the Additional Language of the family, parents are asked to fill in a CDI that could vary in length, from 62 (Bengali) to 654 (Greek). Out of these, we have extracted the common 30 words, which is what we based all our calculations on. These 30 words are also those which are used in the Additional Language CDI when the language doesn't belong to our original target language list.

Please cite:

Floccia, C., Sambrook, T. D., Delle Luche, C., Kwok, R., Goslin, J., White, L., Cattani, A., Sullivan, E., Abbot-Smith, K., Krott, A., Mills, D., Rowland, C., Gervain, J., & Plunkett, K. (2018). Vocabulary of 2-year-olds learning English and an Additional Language: Norms and effects of linguistic distance. Monographs of the Society for Research in Child Development, Serial No. 328, Vol. 83, No. 1.

Contributors are:

This research was subsidised by an ESRC grant.

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If you have lost your password, please contact us. In the future we will install a facility to change the password.

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