School of Education


Doctor of Philosophy in Education (PhD)


Heather L. Strafaccia


speech-language impairment, speech-language pathology, self-efficacy, culturally and linguistically diverse, assessment practices


Communication Sciences and Disorders | Education


The purpose of this phenomenological study was to understand speech-language pathologists’ (SLP) self-efficacy beliefs toward assessing culturally and linguistically diverse (CLD) students within public elementary schools in California. Bandura’s self-efficacy theory guided this study since it evaluated SLPs’ belief in their capacity to manage their motivation, behavior, and social environment to carry out appropriate assessment procedures for CLD students. As not all students from CLD backgrounds are accurately identified, gathering the SLPs’ lived experiences regarding current assessment practices helped provide insight into the appropriate identification of SLI. Participants included SLPs employed by rural public school districts in California, with students with cultural and ethnic diversity composing more than half the student population. The participants involved in this study were determined through total population sampling. Data were gathered through interviews, focus group discussions, and prompt letters. Three themes emerged from the data: understanding language and cultural sensitivity, the influence on confidence, and the effects of collaborative experiences when conducting multicultural assessments. Subthemes included: continual training, limited resources, pressure, uncertainty, balancing language difference versus disorder, team assessment, and colleague collaboration. The study guided implications for school districts and SLPs, emphasizing the significance of implementing policies and practices that promote culturally responsive assessments. Future research is recommended to expand the scope of the study to include varied sample pools, examine the effectiveness of specific resources to aid in assessment, and explore the long-term impact of appropriate SLI identification.