Measuring Preschool Attainment of Print-Concept Knowledge: A Study of Typical and At-Risk 3- to 5-Year-Old Children Using Item Response Theory Purpose This research determined the psychometric quality of a criterion-referenced measure that was thought to measure preschoolers' print-concept knowledge (PCK). Method This measure, titled the Preschool Word and Print Awareness (PWPA), was examined using the partial credit model (PCM) to determine its suitability for use by clinicians, educators, ... Research Article
Research Article  |   July 01, 2006
Measuring Preschool Attainment of Print-Concept Knowledge: A Study of Typical and At-Risk 3- to 5-Year-Old Children Using Item Response Theory
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Laura M. Justice
    University of Virginia, Charlottesville
  • Ryan P. Bowles
    University of Virginia, Charlottesville
  • Lori E. Skibbe
    University of Virginia, Charlottesville
  • Contact author: Laura M. Justice, Box 400873, Preschool Language and Literacy Lab, University of Virginia, Charlottesville, VA 22904-4873. E-mail: ljustice@virginia.edu
Article Information
Development / School-Based Settings / Research Articles
Research Article   |   July 01, 2006
Measuring Preschool Attainment of Print-Concept Knowledge: A Study of Typical and At-Risk 3- to 5-Year-Old Children Using Item Response Theory
Language, Speech, and Hearing Services in Schools, July 2006, Vol. 37, 224-235. doi:10.1044/0161-1461(2006/024)
History: Received January 3, 2005 , Accepted August 22, 2005
 
Language, Speech, and Hearing Services in Schools, July 2006, Vol. 37, 224-235. doi:10.1044/0161-1461(2006/024)
History: Received January 3, 2005; Accepted August 22, 2005
Web of Science® Times Cited: 76

Purpose This research determined the psychometric quality of a criterion-referenced measure that was thought to measure preschoolers' print-concept knowledge (PCK).

Method This measure, titled the Preschool Word and Print Awareness (PWPA), was examined using the partial credit model (PCM) to determine its suitability for use by clinicians, educators, and researchers. The extent to which the PWPA differentiated estimates of PCK for at-risk populations on the basis of socioeconomic status (SES) and language ability was also studied. The sample population was one-hundred twenty-eight 3- to 5-year-old children who varied in SES (middle, low) and language ability (typical language, language impairment) as derived from several previous or ongoing studies of emergent literacy intervention.

Results The PCM fit analyses showed good fit between the overall data and the PCM, indicating that the PWPA provided a valid estimate of the latent PCK trait. SES and language ability were significant predictors of PWPA scores when age was used as a covariate. These results showed the PWPA to be suitable for measuring preschoolers' PCK and to be sensitive to differences among children as a function of risk status.

Clinical Implications The results show the PWPA to be an appropriate instrument for clinical and educational use with preschool children.

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
This research was supported by Grant DC04933 from the National Institute of Deafness and Other Communication Disorders, Grant HD43204 from the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, and an Elva Knight Research Award from the International Reading Association. We are grateful to the many children, families, teachers, SLPs, and program administrators who have assisted us with collecting the data presented in this work.
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