Empirically Derived Combinations of Tools and Clinical Cutoffs: An Illustrative Case With a Sample of Culturally/Linguistically Diverse Children Purpose Using a sample of culturally/linguistically diverse children, we present data to illustrate the value of empirically derived combinations of tools and cutoffs for determining eligibility in child language impairment. Method Data were from 95 4- and 6-year-olds (40 African American, 55 White; 18 with language impairment, 77 ... Research Article
Research Article  |   January 01, 2008
Empirically Derived Combinations of Tools and Clinical Cutoffs: An Illustrative Case With a Sample of Culturally/Linguistically Diverse Children
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Janna B. Oetting
    Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge
  • Lesli H. Cleveland
    Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge
  • Robert F. Cope, III
    Southeastern Louisiana University, Hammond
  • Contact author: Janna B. Oetting, Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders, 64 Hatcher Hall, Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge, LA 70803. E-mail: cdjanna@lsu.edu.
Article Information
Cultural & Linguistic Diversity / Research Articles
Research Article   |   January 01, 2008
Empirically Derived Combinations of Tools and Clinical Cutoffs: An Illustrative Case With a Sample of Culturally/Linguistically Diverse Children
Language, Speech, and Hearing Services in Schools, January 2008, Vol. 39, 44-53. doi:10.1044/0161-1461(2008/005)
History: Received August 8, 2005 , Revised November 6, 2006 , Accepted April 30, 2007
 
Language, Speech, and Hearing Services in Schools, January 2008, Vol. 39, 44-53. doi:10.1044/0161-1461(2008/005)
History: Received August 8, 2005; Revised November 6, 2006; Accepted April 30, 2007

Purpose Using a sample of culturally/linguistically diverse children, we present data to illustrate the value of empirically derived combinations of tools and cutoffs for determining eligibility in child language impairment.

Method Data were from 95 4- and 6-year-olds (40 African American, 55 White; 18 with language impairment, 77 without) who lived in the rural South; they involved primarily scores from the Comprehension subtest of the Stanford-Binet Intelligence Scale—Fourth Edition (CSSB; R. Thorndike, E. Hagen, & J. Sattler, 1986), but scores from an experimental nonword repetition task (NRT; C. Dollaghan & T. Campbell, 1998) were also included as supplements to these scores.

Results Although the CSSB led to low fail rates in children without impairment and a statistically reliable group difference as a function of the children’s clinical status but not their race, only 56% of children with impairment were accurately classified when −1 SD was employed as the cutoff. Diagnostic accuracy improved to 81% when an empirically derived cutoff of −.5 SD was used. When scores from the NRT were added to those from the CSSB, diagnostic accuracy increased to 90%.

Implications This illustrative case adds to the growing number of studies that call for empirically derived combinations of tools and cutoffs as one option within an evidence-based practice framework.

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
The CSSB was initially examined as part of the second author’s master’s thesis. The thesis and analyses of diagnostic accuracy were made possible by an LEQSF grant from the Louisiana Board of Regents and an RO3 grant from the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (DC03609) awarded to the first author. Appreciation is extended to the teachers, parents, and children who participated in the research, and to Lesley Eyles, Anita Hall, and Karen Lynch for help with data collection and coding.
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