Factors Influencing the Selection of Standardized Tests for the Diagnosis of Specific Language Impairment Purpose Standardized tests are one of the primary assessment tools used by speech-language pathologists (SLPs) to diagnose child language impairment. Numerous child language tests are commercially available; however, it is unknown what factors lead clinicians to select particular tests to use in clinical practice. This study investigated whether the quality ... Research Article
Research Article  |   April 01, 2013
Factors Influencing the Selection of Standardized Tests for the Diagnosis of Specific Language Impairment
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Stacy K. Betz
    University of Washington, Seattle
  • Jessica R. Eickhoff
    University of Washington, Seattle
  • Shanleigh F. Sullivan
    University of Washington, Seattle
  • Correspondence to Stacy K. Betz: s-betz@wiu.edu
  • Editor: Marilyn Nippold
    Editor: Marilyn Nippold×
  • Associate Editor: Phyllis Schneider
    Associate Editor: Phyllis Schneider×
Article Information
School-Based Settings / Research Issues, Methods & Evidence-Based Practice / Language Disorders / Specific Language Impairment / Research Articles
Research Article   |   April 01, 2013
Factors Influencing the Selection of Standardized Tests for the Diagnosis of Specific Language Impairment
Language, Speech, and Hearing Services in Schools, April 2013, Vol. 44, 133-146. doi:10.1044/0161-1461(2012/12-0093)
History: Received October 12, 2012 , Accepted October 25, 2012
 
Language, Speech, and Hearing Services in Schools, April 2013, Vol. 44, 133-146. doi:10.1044/0161-1461(2012/12-0093)
History: Received October 12, 2012; Accepted October 25, 2012
Web of Science® Times Cited: 19

Purpose Standardized tests are one of the primary assessment tools used by speech-language pathologists (SLPs) to diagnose child language impairment. Numerous child language tests are commercially available; however, it is unknown what factors lead clinicians to select particular tests to use in clinical practice. This study investigated whether the quality of standardized tests, as measured by the test's psychometric properties, is related to how frequently the tests are used in clinical practice.

Method A total of 364 SLPs completed a survey regarding how frequently they used specific standardized tests when diagnosing suspected specific language impairment (SLI). The test manuals for 55 tests were reviewed to determine whether test characteristics, such as test reliability, validity, and accuracy, correlated with the frequency of test use.

Results The most frequently used standardized tests were omnibus measures (e.g., Clinical Evaluation of Language Fundamentals—Fourth Edition [Semel, Wiig, & Secord, 2003 ], Preschool Language Scale, Fourth Edition [Zimmerman, Steiner, & Pond, 2002 ]) and single-word vocabulary measures (e.g., Peabody Picture Vocabulary Test, Fourth Edition [Dunn & Dunn, 2007 ]). Publication year was the only test characteristic that correlated significantly with the frequency of test use.

Conclusion The quality of a standardized test, as measured by the test's psychometric properties, does not appear to influence how frequently a test is used. These results highlight the need for increased evidence-based practice when diagnosing children with language impairment.

Acknowledgments
We would like to thank the many SLPs and researchers who provided us with access to standardized test manuals. We would also like to thank Joanna Ristow for help with data collection and all the SLPs who participated in our survey.
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