The BLP draws on elements from recently published assessment tools, including the LEAP-Q and the BDS. Differences between the BLP and these instruments are highlighted below.
Language Experience and Proficiency Questionnaire (LEAP-Q)18
While the LEAP-Q instrument is excellent for eliciting descriptive data (i.e., comprehensive, not limited to bilinguals), it is not a dominance assessment per se. The LEAP-Q provides independent data for each of a multilingual’s languages rather than a composite dominance score. The BLP can be used both as a descriptive bilingual profile and as a dominance measure.
The LEAP-Q also contains many items, some of which are lengthy and complex. The BLP underwent several rounds of pilot testing in order to refine, shorten, and clarify questionnaire items.
“When choosing to read a text available in all your languages, in what percentage of cases would you choose to read it in each of your languages? Assume that the original was written in another language, which is unknown to you.” (LEAP-Q)
Bilingual Dominance Scale (BDS)6
The BDS elicits self-reports for a number of factors influencing language dominance. In scoring the questionnaire, weights are assigned to each factor. In the BLP, each module is equally weighted so as to minimize the risk of inflating the significance of any one factor.
The BLP also steers clear of open-ended questions that feature in the BDS. We foresaw difficulty assigning scores to unrestricted responses. For this reason, we chose to include only multiple-choice scalar responses, which is also in keeping with the notion of a scalar dominance score.
Finally, we improved upon accessibility of the instrument and ease of use. The BDS is available as a pencil-and-paper questionnaire that must be scored by hand. The BLP exists as both a pencil-and-paper questionnaire and an online questionnaire. It can be accessed freely as a template in Google Docs, which offers the additional advantage of providing an adjoining Excel spreadsheet that automatically tabulates scores for each testee.
Comparison of BLP, BDS, and LEAP-Q
|BILINGUAL LANGUAGE PROFILE (Birdsong, Gertken, & Amengual, 2012)||BILINGUAL DOMINANCE SCALE (Dunn & Fox Tree, 2009)||LANGUAGE EXPERIENCE AND PROFICIENCY QUESTIONNAIRE (Marian, Blumenfeld, & Kaushanskaya, 2007)|
|Online and paper-and-pencil formats||Paper-and-pencil questionnaire; Can be administered orally||Writable pdf format and paper-and-pencil versions for some languages|
|Currently available in 7 languages (English, French, Spanish, Catalan, Arabic, Russian, ASL)||Available in English||Currently available in 12 languages|
|Less than 10 minutes to complete||Less than 5 minutes to complete||15-25 minutes to complete|
|Four equally-weighted modules||Weighted point system for each item||No scoring procedure|
|Continuous dominance score||Continuous dominance score||No dominance index|
|Self-scoring||Scored by hand||No scoring procedure|