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Elizabeth D Peña

ProfessorPh.D., Speech-Language-Hearing Sciences, Temple University

Professor, George Christian Centennial Professor in Communication
Elizabeth D Peña



bilingual language acquisition, second language acquisition, language impairment, non-biased assessment, between-language transfer in intervention


Elizabeth Peña is the George Christian Centennial Professor in Communication. She is a certified Speech-Language Pathologist and is a Fellow of the American Speech Language Hearing Association. Her research focuses on two lines of inquiry that address the goal of differentiating language impairment from language difference. These two interrelated areas include dynamic assessment and semantic development in bilinguals.  Dynamic assessment tests ability to learn new language skills. In contrast, standardized tests asses what children already know. The advantage of focusing on learning is that it greatly reduces bias by not assuming lack of knowledge is lack of ability. In the semantics area she is interested in how children from diverse linguistic backgrounds learn new language skills and how they lexicalize their conceptual knowledge across two languages. Through careful qualitative and description of bilingual children’s performance, she is currently focusing on potential similarities among typical monolingual and bilingual children as well as differences between typical and impaired bilingual or monolingual children. Outcomes of these lines of study have resulted in publication of the Dynamic Assessment and Intervention: Improving Children's Narrative Abilities protocol and the Bilingual English Spanish Assessment test.

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