Creating Language Impairments in Typically Achieving Children The Pitfalls of "Normal" Normative Sampling Research Article
Research Article  |   January 1996
Creating Language Impairments in Typically Achieving Children
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Teresa Ukrainetz McFadden
    University of Texas at Austin
    Department of Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology, P.O. Box 3311, University of Wyoming, Laramie, WY 82071-3311
  • Corresponding author: e-mail: tumcf@uwyo.edu
Article Information
Language Disorders / Research Articles
Research Article   |   January 1996
Creating Language Impairments in Typically Achieving Children
Language, Speech, and Hearing Services in Schools, January 1996, Vol. 27, 3-9. doi:10.1044/0161-1461.2701.03
History: Received June 14, 1994 , Accepted January 25, 1995
 
Language, Speech, and Hearing Services in Schools, January 1996, Vol. 27, 3-9. doi:10.1044/0161-1461.2701.03
History: Received June 14, 1994; Accepted January 25, 1995

Many popular standardized language tests use a "normal" sample for their normative comparison group. This article describes the errors that result from current uses of such tests; (a) identification of normal children as language impaired, (b) provision of misleading profiles of verbal and nonverbal performance, (c) inability to estimate the severity or describe the general nature of a language impairment, and (d) a gradual increase in the number of children identified as language impaired with progressive test re-normings. Recommendations to alleviate this problem include (a) test users employing only full-range standardized tests; (b) test users using flexible cutoff scores, with the major emphasis on descriptive, criterion-referenced testing, and (c) test makers moving to full-range normative samples with descriptions of what particular test performances indicate in terms of the daily communication functioning of typically achieving children and clinical subgroups of children.

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
This work was partially supported by a doctoral fellowship from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada. The author wishes to thank David McFadden, Ron Gillam, Dorothy Aram, Wayne Secord, Alan Kamhi, and two anonymous reviewers for helpful comments on earlier versions of the manuscript.
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