Seeking a Valid Gold Standard for an Innovative, Dialect-Neutral Language Test PurposeIn this study, the authors explored alternative gold standards to validate an innovative, dialect-neutral language assessment.MethodParticipants were 78 African American children, ages 5;0 (years;months) to 6;11. Twenty participants had previously been identified as having language impairment. The Diagnostic Evaluation of Language Variation—Norm Referenced (DELV–NR; Seymour, Roeper, & J. de Villiers, ... Research Article
Research Article  |   April 01, 2014
Seeking a Valid Gold Standard for an Innovative, Dialect-Neutral Language Test
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Barbara Zurer Pearson
    University of Massachusetts Amherst
  • Janice E. Jackson
    DeKalb County Public Schools, GA
  • Haotian Wu
    University of Massachusetts Amherst
  • Disclosure:The first and second authors worked on the DELV project. They have no financial interests related to their work on the DELV.
    Disclosure:The first and second authors worked on the DELV project. They have no financial interests related to their work on the DELV.×
  • Correspondence to Barbara Zurer Pearson: bpearson@research.umass.edu
  • Editor: Janna Oetting
    Editor: Janna Oetting×
  • Associate Editor: Ron Gillam
    Associate Editor: Ron Gillam×
Article Information
Cultural & Linguistic Diversity / Language Disorders / Language
Research Article   |   April 01, 2014
Seeking a Valid Gold Standard for an Innovative, Dialect-Neutral Language Test
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, April 2014, Vol. 57, 495-508. doi:10.1044/2013_JSLHR-L-12-0126
History: Received April 17, 2012 , Revised January 12, 2013 , Accepted August 9, 2013
 
Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, April 2014, Vol. 57, 495-508. doi:10.1044/2013_JSLHR-L-12-0126
History: Received April 17, 2012; Revised January 12, 2013; Accepted August 9, 2013
Web of Science® Times Cited: 5

PurposeIn this study, the authors explored alternative gold standards to validate an innovative, dialect-neutral language assessment.

MethodParticipants were 78 African American children, ages 5;0 (years;months) to 6;11. Twenty participants had previously been identified as having language impairment. The Diagnostic Evaluation of Language Variation—Norm Referenced (DELV–NR; Seymour, Roeper, & J. de Villiers, 2005) was administered, and concurrent language samples (LSs) were collected. Using LS profiles as the gold standard, sensitivity, specificity, and other measures of diagnostic accuracy were compared for diagnoses made from the DELV–NR and participants' clinical status prior to recruitment. In a second analysis, the authors used results from the first analysis to make evidence-based adjustments in the estimates of DELV–NR diagnostic accuracy.

ResultsAccuracy of the DELV–NR relative to LS profiles was greater than that of prior diagnoses, indicating that the DELV–NR was an improvement over preexisting diagnoses for this group. Specificity met conventional standards, but sensitivity was somewhat low. Reanalysis using the positive and negative predictive power of the preexisting diagnosis in a discrepant-resolution procedure revealed that estimates for sensitivity and specificity for the DELV–NR were .85 and .93, respectively.

ConclusionThe authors found that, even after making allowances for the imperfection of available gold standards, clinical decisions made with the DELV–NR achieved high values on conventional measures of diagnostic accuracy.

Acknowledgments
This work was supported, in part, by Contract N01 DC8-2104 from the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders and Training Grant H029D30072-97 07 from the U.S. Department of Education to Harry Seymour, P.I. We are grateful to Harry Seymour and his collaborators, Tom Roeper and Jill de Villiers, for allowing us access to the language samples for this article, and to Peter de Villiers for significant contributions to earlier versions of this article.
Order a Subscription
Pay Per View
Entire Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research content & archive
24-hour access
This Article
24-hour access