"Contribution of Nonverbal Cognitive Skills on Bilingual Children’s Grammatical Performance: Influence of Exposure, Task Type, and Language of Assessment"
Wood holds a B.A. in Religious Studies and a Post-baccalaureate in Elementary Education. While a doctoral student, she worked in the Individualizing Student Instruction (iSi) lab and served as Education Chair for the campus-wide Diverse Educational Community and Doctoral Experience (DECADE); senior professional development representative for Associated Doctoral Students in Education (ADSE); and UC Irvine student representative for the UC Center for Research on Special Education, Disabilities, and Developmental Risk (SPEDDR).
Pratt’s research investigates the typical and atypical language development of children who speak Spanish. She is particularly interested in how young children’s language ability serves as a foundation for later literacy development, and how children’s language and literacy growth can be supported via evidence-based, culturally appropriate intervention. She serves as a visiting specialist on the Language Evaluation and Development in Education Research (LEADER) project in UCI's HABLA Lab.
Peña is a certified Speech-Language Pathologist and a Fellow of the American Speech Language Hearing Association. In the UCI School of Education, she serves as Associate Dean of Faculty Development and Diversity and directs the Human Abilities in Bilingual Language Acquisition (HABLA) Lab. She also serves as co-chair of the School’s Climate Council. Peña's research interests include bilingualism, language impairment, and test development and treatment.
This study explores the contribution of nonverbal working memory and processing speed on bilingual children’s morphosyntactic knowledge, after controlling for language exposure. Participants include 307 Spanish-English bilinguals in Kindergarten, second, and fourth grade (mean age=7;8, SD=18 months). Morphosyntactic knowledge in English and Spanish was measured using two separate language tasks: a cloze task and a narrative language task. In a series of four hierarchical linear regressions predicting cloze and narrative performance in English and Spanish, we evaluate the proportion of variance explained after adding (a) English exposure, (b) processing speed and working memory, and (c) interaction terms to the model. Results reveal differential contribution of nonverbal cognitive skills on cloze versus narrative tasks. Cloze tasks in both languages tap working memory; cloze and narrative tasks in English pose an additional processing cost. Findings suggest that cognitive demands vary for bilinguals based on the language of assessment and the task.