Standardized Assessment of Phonological Awareness Skills in Low-Income African American First Graders Accurate identification of students with poor phonological awareness skills is important to providing appropriate reading instruction. This is particularly true for segments of the population, such as African American students, who have a history of reading failure. The purpose of this study was to examine the performance of a group ... Research Article
Research Article  |   May 01, 2004
Standardized Assessment of Phonological Awareness Skills in Low-Income African American First Graders
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Shurita Thomas-Tate, PhD
    University of Michigan, Ann Arbor
  • Julie Washington
    University of Michigan, Ann Arbor
  • Jan Edwards
    Ohio State University, Columbus
  • Contact author: Shurita Thomas-Tate, PhD, Post-Doctoral Fellow, University Center For the Development of Language and Literacy, University of Michigan, 1111 East Catherine Street, Ann Arbor, MI 48109-2954. E-mail: shuritat@umich.edu
Article Information
Research Articles
Research Article   |   May 01, 2004
Standardized Assessment of Phonological Awareness Skills in Low-Income African American First Graders
American Journal of Speech-Language Pathology, May 2004, Vol. 13, 182-190. doi:10.1044/1058-0360(2004/018)
History: Received April 17, 2003 , Accepted March 2, 2004
 
American Journal of Speech-Language Pathology, May 2004, Vol. 13, 182-190. doi:10.1044/1058-0360(2004/018)
History: Received April 17, 2003; Accepted March 2, 2004

Accurate identification of students with poor phonological awareness skills is important to providing appropriate reading instruction. This is particularly true for segments of the population, such as African American students, who have a history of reading failure. The purpose of this study was to examine the performance of a group of African American first-grade students from low-income families on a standardized test of phonological awareness. Fifty-six African American first graders were given the Test of Phonological Awareness (TOPA; J. K. Torgesen & B. R. Bryant, 1994). Mean student performance on the TOPA was significantly below expected norms and negatively skewed. However, students' mean performance on a test of basic reading skills indicated performance within normal limits. Outcomes are discussed relative to the validity and predictive power of standardized phonological assessment instruments, in this case, the TOPA, for use with African American students and the possible influence of dialect on performance.

Acknowledgments
A National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders Minority Dissertation Grant (5R03DC4808-2), awarded to the first author, Shurita Thomas-Tate, supported this study. An Urban Affairs Grant from the Ohio State University to the third author, Jan Edwards, provided additional funding for part of this work. We give special thanks to the children, teachers, and administrators of the Columbus, Ohio Public Schools for their cooperation and participation in this project.
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