The Rules of the Game: Properties of a Database of Expository Language Samples Purpose The authors created a database of expository oral language samples with the aims of describing the nature of students' expository discourse and providing benchmark data for typically developing preteen and teenage students. Method Using a favorite game or sport protocol, language samples were collected from 235 typically ... Research Article
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Research Article  |   October 01, 2014
The Rules of the Game: Properties of a Database of Expository Language Samples
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • John Heilmann
    University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee
  • Thomas O. Malone
    School District of Brown Deer, Wisconsin
  • Disclosure: The data were collected by practicing clinicians (who have no financial interests in SALT Software, LLC) and were transcribed at the transcription lab of SALT Software, LLC. Dr. Jon Miller and the employees of SALT Software provided the transcription as an in-kind service for this research. The data analysis, interpretation, and manuscript preparation were completed by the two authors listed in the byline, neither of whom has a financial interest in SALT Software, LLC. No members of SALT Software, LLC, were involved in the writing of this manuscript. The authors believe that there is no real conflict of interest, but they wish to acknowledge the role of SALT Software, LLC, to address any perceived conflict of interest.
    Disclosure: The data were collected by practicing clinicians (who have no financial interests in SALT Software, LLC) and were transcribed at the transcription lab of SALT Software, LLC. Dr. Jon Miller and the employees of SALT Software provided the transcription as an in-kind service for this research. The data analysis, interpretation, and manuscript preparation were completed by the two authors listed in the byline, neither of whom has a financial interest in SALT Software, LLC. No members of SALT Software, LLC, were involved in the writing of this manuscript. The authors believe that there is no real conflict of interest, but they wish to acknowledge the role of SALT Software, LLC, to address any perceived conflict of interest.×
  • Correspondence to John Heilmann: heilmanj@uwm.edu
  • Editor: Marilyn Nippold
    Editor: Marilyn Nippold×
  • Associate Editor: Lynne Hewitt
    Associate Editor: Lynne Hewitt×
Article Information
School-Based Settings / Language Disorders / Specific Language Impairment / Research Articles
Research Article   |   October 01, 2014
The Rules of the Game: Properties of a Database of Expository Language Samples
Language, Speech, and Hearing Services in Schools, October 2014, Vol. 45, 277-290. doi:10.1044/2014_LSHSS-13-0050
History: Received July 17, 2013 , Revised March 17, 2014 , Accepted June 2, 2014
 
Language, Speech, and Hearing Services in Schools, October 2014, Vol. 45, 277-290. doi:10.1044/2014_LSHSS-13-0050
History: Received July 17, 2013; Revised March 17, 2014; Accepted June 2, 2014
Web of Science® Times Cited: 5

Purpose The authors created a database of expository oral language samples with the aims of describing the nature of students' expository discourse and providing benchmark data for typically developing preteen and teenage students.

Method Using a favorite game or sport protocol, language samples were collected from 235 typically developing students in Grades 5, 6, 7, and 9. Twelve language measures were summarized from this database and analyses were completed to test for differences across ages and topics. To determine whether distinct dimensions of oral language could be captured with language measures from these expository samples, a factor analysis was completed.

Results Modest differences were observed in language measures across ages and topics. The language measures were effectively classified into four distinct dimensions: syntactic complexity, expository content, discourse difficulties, and lexical diversity.

Conclusion Analysis of expository data provides a functional and curriculum-based assessment that has the potential to allow clinicians to document multiple dimensions of children's expressive language skills. Further development and testing of the database will establish the feasibility of using it to compare individual students' expository discourse skills to those of their typically developing peers.

Acknowledgments
Special thanks to Jon Miller, Ann Nockerts, Joyelle DiVall-Rayan, and Karen Andriacchi of SALT Software, LLC, for their assistance with this project, including provision of transcription services. Neither author has a financial interest in SALT Software, LLC. Additional thanks go to Mary-Beth Rolland and Elizabeth Schoonveld of the Madison (Wisconsin) Metropolitan School District. We gratefully acknowledge the speech-language pathologists and students who generously contributed the samples described in this study; they are affiliated with the following Wisconsin public school districts: Brown Deer, Fox Point-Bayside, Madison, Shorewood, Waukesha, Wauwatosa, and West Allis-West Milwaukee.
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