Validity of Teacher Report for Assessing the Emergent Literacy Skills of At-Risk Preschoolers Purpose The purpose of this study was to determine the predictive validity of teacher report for assessing the emergent literacy skills of preschool-age children. The aims were twofold: (a) to examine predictive relationships between teacher report and direct behavioral assessment, and (b) to examine the extent to which teacher report ... Research Article
Research Article  |   April 01, 2009
Validity of Teacher Report for Assessing the Emergent Literacy Skills of At-Risk Preschoolers
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Sonia Q. Cabell
    University of Virginia, Charlottesville
  • Laura M. Justice
    The Ohio State University, Columbus
  • Tricia A. Zucker
    University of Virginia
  • Carolyn R. Kilday
    University of Virginia
  • Contact author: Sonia Cabell, Preschool Language and Literacy Lab, P.O. Box 400873, University of Virginia, Charlottesville, VA 22904. E-mail: sqc2d@virginia.edu.
Article Information
Development / School-Based Settings / Research Issues, Methods & Evidence-Based Practice / Normal Language Processing / Research Articles
Research Article   |   April 01, 2009
Validity of Teacher Report for Assessing the Emergent Literacy Skills of At-Risk Preschoolers
Language, Speech, and Hearing Services in Schools, April 2009, Vol. 40, 161-173. doi:10.1044/0161-1461(2009/07-0099)
History: Received December 20, 2007 , Revised June 17, 2008 , Accepted August 14, 2008
 
Language, Speech, and Hearing Services in Schools, April 2009, Vol. 40, 161-173. doi:10.1044/0161-1461(2009/07-0099)
History: Received December 20, 2007; Revised June 17, 2008; Accepted August 14, 2008
Web of Science® Times Cited: 18

Purpose The purpose of this study was to determine the predictive validity of teacher report for assessing the emergent literacy skills of preschool-age children. The aims were twofold: (a) to examine predictive relationships between teacher report and direct behavioral assessment, and (b) to examine the extent to which teacher report accurately differentiates children who are exhibiting low levels of emergent literacy skills relative to their peers.

Method Forty-four preschool teachers completed a rating form reporting the print-related emergent literacy skills of 209 children who were enrolled in their classrooms. Approximately 2 months later, the children completed direct assessments of these skills.

Results Correlations between teacher report and children’s performance on direct behavioral assessments were positive, moderate to large in size, and statistically significant. In terms of classifying children into groupings based on risk (e.g., at risk, low risk), global teacher ratings demonstrated a sensitivity of 51.9% and a specificity of 87.9%.

Clinical Implications The present results indicate that teacher report provides a somewhat valid representation of children’s skills. However, the diagnostic accuracy of teacher report for identifying children who are at risk is generally low. With this limitation in mind, teacher report can provide an important complement to current assessment approaches that are used in preschool settings.

Acknowledgments
We thank the many administrators, teachers, and students who contributed to this project. We are grateful to the many research assistants who helped to collect and code data, with special mention to Alice Wiggins, Khara Pence, and Sarah Friel. Funding was provided by the U.S. Department of Education, Institute of Education Sciences, Grant R305F050124. The content of this publication does not necessarily reflect the views or policies of the Institute of Education Sciences, nor does mention of trade names, commercial products, or organizations imply endorsement by the U.S. Department of Education.
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