Dynamic Assessment of School-Age Children’s Narrative Ability: An Investigation of Reliability and Validity.

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Journal of Speech, Language, Hearing Research





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Two experiments examined reliability and classification accuracyof a narration-based dynamic assessment task.

PURPOSE: The first experiment evaluated whether parallel results wereobtained from stories created in response to 2 different wordlesspicture books. If so, the tasks and measures would be appropriatefor assessing pretest and posttest change within a dynamic assessmentformat. The second experiment evaluated the extent to whichchildren with language impairments performed differently thantypically developing controls on dynamic assessment of narrativelanguage.

METHOD: In the first experiment, 58 1st- and 2nd-grade children told2 stories about wordless picture books. Stories were rated onmacrostructural and microstructural aspects of language formand content, and the ratings were subjected to reliability analyses.In the second experiment, 71 children participated in dynamicassessment. There were 3 phases: a pretest phase, in which childrencreated a story that corresponded to 1 of the wordless picturebooks from Experiment 1; a teaching phase, in which childrenattended 2 short mediation sessions that focused on storytellingability; and a posttest phase, in which children created a storythat corresponded to a second wordless picture book from Experiment1. Analyses compared the pretest and posttest stories that weretold by 2 groups of children who received mediated learning(typical and language impaired groups) and a no-treatment controlgroup of typically developing children from Experiment 1.

RESULTS: The results of the first experiment indicated that the narrativemeasures applied to stories about 2 different wordless picturebooks had good internal consistency. In Experiment 2, typicallydeveloping children who received mediated learning demonstrateda greater amount of pretest to posttest change than childrenin the language impaired and control groups. Classificationanalysis indicated better specificity and sensitivity valuesfor measures of response to intervention (modifiability) andposttest storytelling than for measures of pretest storytelling.Observation of modifiability was the single best indicator oflanguage impairment. Posttest measures and modifiability togetheryielded no misclassifications.

CONCLUSION: The first experiment supported the use of 2 wordless picturebooks as stimulus materials for collecting narratives beforeand after mediation within a dynamic assessment paradigm. Thesecond experiment supported the use of dynamic assessment foraccurately identifying language impairments in school-age children.


Published by American Speech-Language-Hearing Association in the Journal of Speech, Language, Hearing Research. Publisher PDF is available through link above. Publisher requires a subscription to access article.