How Can MABEL Help Bilingual Assessment?

MABEL is an anagram for the Multi-language Assessment Battery of Early Literacy. Quite a mouthful, but a potentially useful resource for schools. Why? Because it can assess pupils’ early literacy skills in a small, but growing, range of languages.

MABEL looks at different aspects of early literacy development.  The tests include:

Phoneme Measures

  • Phoneme Awareness
  • Letter Knowledge
  • Rapid Naming

Reading tests

  • Picture word matching
  • One-minute word reading
  • One-minute pseudo-word reading

Currently, the tool has four languages available for teachers to use: English, Spanish, Czech and Slovak with several others being developed, including Welsh and Polish.

The tests available have been developed by a group of researchers so that they are consistent across the different languages. Therefore, results from children taking the tests in English would be comparable to pupils taking the tests in Spanish.

With more languages being added, there is real potential for school to use the tools to discover level of literacy in first language.

Additionally, as the tests are available in English, schools can use them with monolingual, native English speakers to measure pupils’ language development against standardised norms.

You can access all the tests FREE at:

Thank you to Dr Marketa Caravolas, who is leading the research with her colleagues, for creating and sharing MABEL.

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