Assessing children referred to speech and language therapy: Static and dynamic assessment of receptive vocabulary
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Dynamic assessment (DA) has been proposed as an alternative or complementary means for assessing children's language development. This study investigates the use of a DA methodology alongside a static assessment in order to obtain information on the receptive vocabulary skills of young children with suspected language impairments. A DA procedure was piloted with a group of 14 children for whom there were no concerns about speech and language development and 40 children who had been referred to speech and language therapy (age 3;05 to 5 years). Twelve of the referred children had English as an additional language (EAL) and 28 were monolingual English. The static assessment from which the DA was developed was the British Picture Vocabulary Scales. The DA incorporated measures of children's ability to match a word to a referent and to retain the words for expressive and receptive purposes. Results indicated that monolingual children and those with EAL had comparable DA scores even though their static vocabulary scores were significantly different. Children with normally developing language and children referred to speech and language therapy performed significantly differently on these dynamic measures. In addition, there was greater variability in performance on the dynamic measures within the delayed language group than in the language normal group. The DA appears to capture additional information above and beyond that captured by the BPVS especially in the group of children with the lowest language skills.