Is it true that low scores on both English and Spanish PLS-4 do not necessarily mean that the child had a disorder?
On tests that do not report dual language scores, best practice has been to administer separate tests, one in English and one in Spanish. As an example, if you used a CELF-4 in English and a CELF-4 in Spanish, many children who are English language learners might obtain low scores on both of those tests, but were really just exhibiting characteristics of normal typically developing second language speakers. The same situation could occur with PLS-4. If you administer PLS-4 Spanish, and a child responds only in Spanish, you would not have not re-administered those test items because that was not part of the standardization. A child may earn a low score in Spanish and a low score on the English version of PLS-4 because you are not able to combine what he knows in both languages into one score. On the PLS-4 Spanish, you were able to give credit for items answered in English, but it was not part of the standardization to re-administer any of the items he missed. So you might have missed some skills that the child had in English but did not have in Spanish. Essentially, by administering tests that are only normed in one language, you might be missing some skills in the other language that would enable a child to earn additional score points.
Nancy Castilleja is Senior Product Manager for Speech and Language products at Pearson Assessment. Prior to this role, Nancy developed many assessments with The Psychological Corporation and Harcourt Assessment, including PLS English and Spanish editions, Boehm-3, and CELF-4 Spanish. Nancy has 8 years of clinical experience working with infants, school-age children, adolescents, and adults in school and community settings.