The starting point of most experimental and clinical examinations of bilingual language development is the choice of the measure of participants’ proficiency, which affects the interpretation of experimental findings and has pedagogical and clinical implications. Recent work on heritage and L2 acquisition of Russian used varying proficiency assessment tools, including elicited production, vocabulary recognition, and in-house measures. Using such different approaches to proficiency assessment is problematic if one seeks a coherent vision of bilingual speaker competence at different acquisition stages. The aim of the present study is to provide a suite of validated bilingual assessment materials designed to evaluate the language proficiency speakers of Russian as a second or heritage language. The materials include an adaptation of a normed language background questionnaire (Leap-Q), a battery of participant-reported proficiency measures, and a normed cloze deletion test. We offer two response formats in combination with two distinct scoring methods in order to make the testing materials suited for bilingual Russian speakers who self-assess as (semi-) proficient as well as for those whose bilingualism is incipient, or declining due to language attrition. Data from 52 baseline speakers and 503 speakers of Russian who reported dominant proficiency in a different language are analyzed for test validation purposes. Obtained measures of internal and external validity provide evidence that the cloze deletion test reported in this study reliably discriminates between dissimilar target language attainment levels in diverse populations of bilingual and multilingual Russian speakers.
Journal: Languages issue 2 vol 6