Diagnostic accuracy of recall and past tense (Redmond et al., 2019)

Purpose: Measures of linguistic processing and grammatical proficiency represent strong candidates for adaptation into language screeners for early elementary students. One key barrier, however, has been the lack of consensus around the preferred reference standard for assigning affected status. Diagnostic accuracies associated with sentence recall and past tense marking index measures were examined relative to 5 different reference standards of language impairment: receipt of language services, clinically significant levels of parental concern, low performance on language measures, a composite requiring at least 2 of these indicators, and a composite requiring convergence across all indicators.
Method: One thousand sixty grade K–3 students participated in school-based language screenings. All students who failed the screenings and a random sampling of those who passed were invited to participate in confirmatory assessments. The community-based sample was supplemented by a clinical sample of 58 students receiving services for language impairment. Two hundred fifty-four students participated in confirmatory testing. Examiners were naive to participants’ status.
Results: Diagnostic accuracies for the sentence recall and past tense marking index measures varied across the different reference standards (areas under receiver operating characteristic curves: .67–.95). Higher levels of convergence occurred with reference standards based on behavioral measures. When affected status was defined by receipt of services and/or parental ratings, cases presented with higher levels of performance on the language measures than when affected status was based on behavioral criteria.
Conclusion: These results provide additional support for the adaptation of sentence recall and past tense marking to screen for language impairments in early elementary students.

Supplemental Material S1. School details.

Supplemental Material S2. Conversion table from normative sample.

Supplemental Material S3. Nonword Repetition Task (NWR; Dollaghan & Campbell, 1998).

Redmond, S. M., Ash, A. C., Christopulos, T. T., & Pfaff, T. (2019). Diagnostic accuracy of sentence recall and past tense measures for identifying children’s language impairments. Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, 62, 2438–2454. https://doi.org/10.1044/2019_JSLHR-L-18-0388