Test–Retest Reliability of Independent Measures of Phonology in the Assessment of Toddlers' Speech Purpose The purpose of this study was to assess the temporal stability of 5 independent measures of phonological skill: phonetic inventory (initial, final), word shape, syllable structure level, and the index of phonetic complexity. Method Ten toddlers with typical development participated in two 20-min play sessions within a ... Research Article
Research Article  |   January 01, 2009
Test–Retest Reliability of Independent Measures of Phonology in the Assessment of Toddlers' Speech
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Sherrill R. Morris
    Northern Illinois University, DeKalb
  • Contact author: Sherrill R. Morris, Northern Illinois University, Department of Allied Health and Communicative Disorders, DeKalb, IL 60115. E-mail: srmorris@niu.edu.
Article Information
Speech, Voice & Prosodic Disorders / Speech, Voice & Prosody / Research Articles
Research Article   |   January 01, 2009
Test–Retest Reliability of Independent Measures of Phonology in the Assessment of Toddlers' Speech
Language, Speech, and Hearing Services in Schools, January 2009, Vol. 40, 46-52. doi:10.1044/0161-1461(2008/07-0082)
History: Received October 15, 2007 , Revised February 3, 2008 , Accepted June 25, 2008
 
Language, Speech, and Hearing Services in Schools, January 2009, Vol. 40, 46-52. doi:10.1044/0161-1461(2008/07-0082)
History: Received October 15, 2007; Revised February 3, 2008; Accepted June 25, 2008
Web of Science® Times Cited: 7

Purpose The purpose of this study was to assess the temporal stability of 5 independent measures of phonological skill: phonetic inventory (initial, final), word shape, syllable structure level, and the index of phonetic complexity.

Method Ten toddlers with typical development participated in two 20-min play sessions within a 1-week period. Test–retest reliability for each measure was determined.

Results Syllable structure level and index of phonetic complexity achieved high test–retest reliability. Word-final phonetic inventory and word shape analyses had moderate but not significant reliability. Word-initial phonetic inventory was not reliable.

Discussion Twenty-minute conversational speech samples were insufficient to obtain reliable results for all measures. Practitioners may want to obtain more extensive sampling when using a phonetic inventory for diagnosis or progress monitoring purposes. Reliable measures within the constraint of a 20-min session, syllable structure level and index of phonetic complexity provide summarized information concerning the phonetic and syllabic characteristics of a child’s speech. Syllable structure level places less emphasis on accurate phonetic transcription, making it a good option for speech that is difficult to transcribe.

Acknowledgments
I would like to thank the children and their families who participated in this project. Additionally, I am grateful for the assistance of Regina Lockhart, Kristy Cesarone, and all of the other students who participated in SSLAB. Preparation of this manuscript was partially supported by a 2004 Summer Research and Artistry Grant that the Graduate School at Northern Illinois University awarded to the author.
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