Objective: This paper describes an alternative assessment tool for second language learning, based on Processing Theory (PT). The basis of this theory is that language learners cannot acquire what they cannot process. This paper presents a tool, based on this theory that avoids the over- or under-diagnosis of language impairment in second language learners. Method: This tool has five levels, with the prerequisites for the following step at each level. Each level is designed to determine children’s ability to process language factors required at each stage. The five levels begin with identification and acquisition of words in a target language and end with the acquisition of grammar based on word order rules. Results: Findings were that bilingual children, with typical language development, were successful at level 4 (the phrase and morphology level) after 2 years of exposure to Swedish. Bilingual children with language impairment were much slower in their language development in both their first and second languages.

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