Oral Language Expectations for African American Children in Grades 1 Through 5 Reference profiles for characterizing the language abilities of elementary-grade African American students are important for assessment and instructional planning. H. K. Craig and J. A. Washington (2002)  reported performance for 100 typically developing preschoolers and kindergartners on 5 traditional language measures: mean length of communication units, amount of complex syntax ... Research Article
Research Article  |   May 01, 2005
Oral Language Expectations for African American Children in Grades 1 Through 5
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Holly K. Craig
    University of Michigan, Ann Arbor
  • Julie A. Washington
    University of Michigan, Ann Arbor
  • Connie A. Thompson
    University of Michigan, Ann Arbor
  • Contact author: Holly K. Craig, University Center for the Development of Language and Literacy, University of Michigan, 1111 E. Catherine Street, Ann Arbor, MI 48109-2054. E-mail: hkc@umich.edu
  • Julie A. Washington is now at Wayne State University, Detroit, MI. Connie A. Thompson is now with the Ypsilanti Public Schools, Ypsilanti, MI.
    Julie A. Washington is now at Wayne State University, Detroit, MI. Connie A. Thompson is now with the Ypsilanti Public Schools, Ypsilanti, MI.×
Article Information
Cultural & Linguistic Diversity / School-Based Settings / Research Articles
Research Article   |   May 01, 2005
Oral Language Expectations for African American Children in Grades 1 Through 5
American Journal of Speech-Language Pathology, May 2005, Vol. 14, 119-130. doi:10.1044/1058-0360(2005/013)
History: Received October 21, 2003 , Revised June 11, 2004 , Accepted February 25, 2005
 
American Journal of Speech-Language Pathology, May 2005, Vol. 14, 119-130. doi:10.1044/1058-0360(2005/013)
History: Received October 21, 2003; Revised June 11, 2004; Accepted February 25, 2005
Web of Science® Times Cited: 7

Reference profiles for characterizing the language abilities of elementary-grade African American students are important for assessment and instructional planning. H. K. Craig and J. A. Washington (2002)  reported performance for 100 typically developing preschoolers and kindergartners on 5 traditional language measures: mean length of communication units, amount of complex syntax production, number of different spoken words, responses to wh-questions, and understanding of active/passive sentence construction. The present study reports performances on the same measures for 295 typically developing African American children in the 1st through 5th grades. Findings revealed increasing performance scores with increasing grades on 4 of the tasks. A ceiling effect was evident on the task that assessed comprehension of active and passive voice. Gender, socioeconomic status, and community influenced the values in systematic ways, and responses to requests for information varied relative to vocabulary skill. These measures are recommended for inclusion in culturally fair assessment protocols designed to characterize the language abilities of elementary-grade African American students.

Acknowledgments
This work was supported by the U.S. Department of Education, Office of Educational Research and Improvement, Grant R305T990368. The authors extend a special acknowledgment to the students, families, and school personnel who participated in this study, and to Stephanie Hensel, Erin Quinn, and Mary Packard for their valuable comments.
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