Elizabeth D. Peña

picture of Elizabeth D. Peña

Professor, Education
School of Education

Ph.D., Temple University, 1993, Speech, Language, Hearing Sciences

Phone: (949) 824-5118
Email: edpena@uci.edu

University of California, Irvine
3000C Education
Mail Code: 5500
Irvine, CA 92697
Research Interests
bilingualism, language impairment, language development, assessment bias & measurement
URLs
Academic Distinctions
Fellow, AMERICAN SPEECH LANGUAGE HEARING ASSOCIATION (2010)

Fellow, CENTER FOR ADVANCED STUDY IN THE BEHAVIORAL SCIENCES, Stanford, CA (2004-2005)
Research Abstract
Elizabeth Peña, Ph.D. CCC-SLP is a professor in the School of Education at UCI. 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 leading to test development. 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. She further focuses on language impairment in children from diverse linguistic backgrounds. Specifically, 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. Her work on test development for bilinguals has focused on assessment of semantic skills using a battery of related tasks. Because typical vocabulary tests rely on knowledge of specific vocabulary items children from diverse cultural and linguistic backgrounds often perform below age expectations, possibly leading to misdiagnosis. The bilingual semantics test tasks are designed to allow responses that reflect cultural knowledge and allow children to respond in Spanish, English, or both. Outcomes of these efforts have resulted in publication of the Dynamic Assessment and Intervention: Improving Children's Narrative Abilities protocol and the Bilingual English Spanish Assessment test.
Professional Society
American Speech-Language-Hearing Association
Last updated
10/10/2018