Validating the Use of D for Measuring Lexical Diversity in Low-Income Kindergarten Children Purpose Children from low–socioeconomic status families often perform poorly on standardized vocabulary assessments. The primary purpose of the study was to determine whether lexical diversity as measured by D (Malvern, Richards, Chipere, & Durán, 2004) serves as a valid measure of vocabulary in at-risk, low-income, predominantly African American kindergartners. ... Research Article
Research Article  |   July 01, 2016
Validating the Use of D for Measuring Lexical Diversity in Low-Income Kindergarten Children
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Stephanie A. Lai
    University of Georgia, Athens
  • Paula J. Schwanenflugel
    University of Georgia, Athens
  • Disclosure: The authors have declared that no competing interests existed at the time of publication.
    Disclosure: The authors have declared that no competing interests existed at the time of publication. ×
  • Correspondence to Stephanie A. Lai: stephanielai@uga.edu
  • Editor: Marilyn Nippold
    Editor: Marilyn Nippold×
  • Associate Editor: Mary Alt
    Associate Editor: Mary Alt×
Article Information
Development / Cultural & Linguistic Diversity / School-Based Settings / Language Disorders / Research Articles
Research Article   |   July 01, 2016
Validating the Use of D for Measuring Lexical Diversity in Low-Income Kindergarten Children
Language, Speech, and Hearing Services in Schools, July 2016, Vol. 47, 225-235. doi:10.1044/2016_LSHSS-15-0028
History: Received June 1, 2015 , Revised September 1, 2015 , Accepted March 23, 2016
 
Language, Speech, and Hearing Services in Schools, July 2016, Vol. 47, 225-235. doi:10.1044/2016_LSHSS-15-0028
History: Received June 1, 2015; Revised September 1, 2015; Accepted March 23, 2016

Purpose Children from low–socioeconomic status families often perform poorly on standardized vocabulary assessments. The primary purpose of the study was to determine whether lexical diversity as measured by D (Malvern, Richards, Chipere, & Durán, 2004) serves as a valid measure of vocabulary in at-risk, low-income, predominantly African American kindergartners.

Method Kane's (1992)  argument-based approach was used to validate D. Six assumptions were examined. Kindergartners (N = 210) from a high-poverty, low-achievement region of the United States were recorded narrating a wordless picture book and assessed using the Expressive Vocabulary Test, Second Edition (Williams, 2007), and the Kaufman Test of Educational Achievement, Second Edition–Listening Comprehension subtest (Kaufman & Kaufman, 2004).

Results D was distributed normally and did not vary as a function of language sample length or child ethnicity. D was significantly but weakly related to the Expressive Vocabulary Test, Second Edition, indicating some distinction between D and the Expressive Vocabulary Test, Second Edition, scores. Further, D was only marginally related to the Kaufman Test of Educational Achievement, Second Edition–Listening Comprehension subtest.

Conclusions Although evidence was somewhat mixed, the study supported the view that D is a potentially valid measure of lexical diversity among low-income, predominantly African American kindergartners and could be a useful supplement to standardized vocabulary measures.

Acknowledgment
The research was carried out with funding from the National Center for Education Evaluation and Regional Assistance, Institute of Education Sciences, under Contract ED-06C0-0028 with Regional Educational Laboratory Southeast, administered by the SERVE Center at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. We thank Stacey Neuharth-Pritchett and Nancy Knapp for their comments on an earlier draft of this manuscript, and, particularly, Liang Chen for his help and guidance throughout this project. We thank Nicole Barned for her help in overseeing the transcriptions of language samples used in this study.
Order a Subscription
Pay Per View
Entire Language, Speech, and Hearing Services in Schools content & archive
24-hour access
This Article
24-hour access