Validating a Rate-Based Measure of Early Grammatical Abilities Unique Syntactic Types Research Article
Research Article  |   August 01, 1999
Validating a Rate-Based Measure of Early Grammatical Abilities
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Pamela A. Hadley
    Arizona State University, Tempe
  • Contact author: Pamela A. Hadley, PhD, Department of Communicative Disorders, 360 Gilbert Hall, Northern Illinois University, DeKalb, IL 60115.
    Contact author: Pamela A. Hadley, PhD, Department of Communicative Disorders, 360 Gilbert Hall, Northern Illinois University, DeKalb, IL 60115.×
Article Information
Special Populations / Genetic & Congenital Disorders / Research Issues, Methods & Evidence-Based Practice / Research Articles
Research Article   |   August 01, 1999
Validating a Rate-Based Measure of Early Grammatical Abilities
American Journal of Speech-Language Pathology, August 1999, Vol. 8, 261-272. doi:10.1044/1058-0360.0803.261
History: Received November 30, 1998 , Accepted April 9, 1999
 
American Journal of Speech-Language Pathology, August 1999, Vol. 8, 261-272. doi:10.1044/1058-0360.0803.261
History: Received November 30, 1998; Accepted April 9, 1999

This paper introduces an alternative measure of grammatical development, unique syntactic types (UST), for use with young children with intervention goals focusing on the emergence of word combinations. A unique syntactic type refers to a unique combination of two or more words with syntactic status that could fit into the phrase structure of a more grammatically complete adult utterance. The measure is appropriate only for children in Brown’s Stage I of language development (mean length of utterance [MLU] 1.00 to 2.00). It is intended to monitor the facility with which children deploy their grammatical knowledge under the realtime demands of conversation. The relationships between UST and existing measures of grammatical development were examined among 20 toddlers with specific language impairment to explore its validity. Similarly, measures of UST obtained on two separate days were compared to evaluate its reliability. Results revealed that UST demonstrates temporal reliability and is highly correlated with MLU (Brown, 1973) and total scores on the Index of Productive Syntax (Scarborough, 1990) at concurrent measurement points. Additionally, UST demonstrates predictive stability over 3- and 6-month intervals. These findings support the use of UST as an alternative measure for tracking the progress of children in this early stage of grammatical development. Data collection strategies for use in real practice settings are also discussed.

Authors Note
This work was supported by an American Speech-Language-Hearing Foundation New Investigator Award and a Faculty-in-Aid Grant Program from Arizona State University to the author. Portions of this paper were presented at the 1997 American Speech-Language-Hearing Association convention in Boston, MA and the 1997 Arizona Speech-Language-Hearing Association convention in Phoenix, AZ. Many graduate students must also be recognized for their invaluable assistance during different phases of this project: Elizbeth Arenas, Jennifer Buttke, Valerie Duncan, Josefa Hernandez, Windi Krok, Amy Reeves, and Mari Suzuki and especially Jennifer Heath Henretty for her assistance with initial data analysis. Finally, special gratitude is expressed to Cathy Bacon, David Ingram, Matthew Rispoli, and Jeanne Wilcox for ongoing dialogue regarding the current study. The archival database used in this study was originally collected with support of a U.S. Department of Education Research Grant #H024G80012 awarded to Professor Wilcox. The information contained in this article does not necessarily reflect the view of that department, and no official endorsement should be inferred.
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