Date of Award

5-1-2013

Degree Name

Master of Science

Department

Communication Disorders and Sciences

First Advisor

Boyer, Valerie

Abstract

Clinical assessment of children who are English language learners (ELL) is often a difficult and time-consuming task for speech-language pathologists (SLPs) due to the complex nature of second-language acquisition and current methods of formal language assessment. Using an invented rule procedure has emerged in the literature as a screening tool to help determine whether flaws in language use and production are a consequence of language difference or language disorder. The current study utilized invented rule learning with a modeling protocol to compare performance on the invented rule task between children who are ELL to children who are monolingual. The study also compared task performance between age groups and compared individual participant's task scores to scores on the Peabody Picture Vocabulary Test - III (PPVT-III). The results indicated no significant difference between ELL and monolingual raw scores on the task. A significant difference was present between the youngest age group and the older two age groups. There was a weak positive correlation between the invented rule task and the PPVT-III, which could indicate that the two tests are assessing two different areas of language. The invented rule could play a role in language assessment, however more research is necessary to determine under what circumstances its use is appropriate.

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