The purpose of this study was to identify the number and characteristics of latent (unobservable) language ability groups in an unclassified sample of predominantly Spanish-speaking children. An unclassified sample of 431 predominantly Spanish-speaking 5–7 year olds learning English participated in the study. The groups were identified based on (a) language sample analyses (semantic, grammatical, and sentence-length measures); (b) language processing tasks (phonological working memory and processing speed measures); and (c) non-verbal cognitive abilities based on a standardized measure. All tasks were administered in Spanish. Latent profile analysis was used to examine the number and nature of distinct language ability groups in the unclassified sample. The authors reported results indicated that a three-group model best represented the data, characterized by low grammaticality in one group, low phonological working memory in another group, and average skills in a third group. The authors concluded that classifying children into two groups, those with and without language impairment, may lead to misidentification of language impairment.
Kapantzoglou, Maria, Restrepo, Adelaida, Gray, Shelley, and Thompson, Marilyn S. (2015). Language Ability Groups in Bilingual Children: A Latent Profile Analysis. Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research. doi:10.1044/2015_JSLHR-L-14-0290