Equitable Evaluation Of Bilingual Children's Language Knowledge Using the CDI

It Really Matters Who You Ask


  • Annick De Houwer Universität Erfurt




bilingual children, vocabulary, screening, CDI, Dutch, French


The parent report or rating instrument commonly known as the CDI is an effective and fast method for evaluating, among other things, young children’s early comprehension and production vocabulary. It is widely used with both monolingual and bilingual populations. However, when the CDI is used with bilingual populations, methodological issues arise as to how the instrument can best be employed so that the evaluation is as complete and equitable as possible. It is commonly agreed that children need to be evaluated in both their languages. Who should provide these dual language data is less clear, and there is little attention to how data should be evaluated. Based on a detailed case study, this article focuses on some of these issues, with particular consideration given to (1) the added value of engaging more than a single rater per language in CDI data collection, and (2) the way ratings are processed. Given appropriate methodological attention, the CDI can effectively screen young bilingual children for a possible language delay. The article ends with a proposal for how one could do so in clinical practice.

Author Biography

Annick De Houwer, Universität Erfurt

Professor of Language Acquisition and Multilingualism, Universität Erfurt, Germany


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How to Cite

De Houwer, Annick. 2019. “Equitable Evaluation Of Bilingual Children’s Language Knowledge Using the CDI: It Really Matters Who You Ask”. Journal of Monolingual and Bilingual Speech 1 (1):32–54. https://doi.org/10.1558/jmbs.11184.