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Comparison of the Diagnostic Evaluation of Language Variation–Screening Test Risk subtest to two other screeners for low-income prekindergartners who speak African American English and live in the urban South


Purpose: We compared the Risk subtest of the Diagnostic Evaluation of Language Variation–Screening Test (DELV– Screening Test Risk) with two other screeners when administered to low-income prekindergartners (pre-K) who spoke African American English (AAE) in the urban South. Method: Participants were 73 children (six with a communication disorder and 67 without) enrolled in Head Start or a publicly funded pre-K in an urban Southern city. All children completed the DELV–Screening Test Risk, the Fluharty Preschool Speech and Language Screening Test–Second Edition (FLUHARTY-2), and the Washington and Craig Language Screener (WCLS). Test order was counterbalanced across participants. Results: DELV–Screening Test Risk error scores were higher than those reported for its standardization sample, and scores on the other screeners were lower than their respective standardization/testing samples. The 52% fail rate of the DELV–Screening Test Risk did not differ significantly from the 48% rate of the WCLS. Fail rates of the FLUHARTY-2 ranged from 34% to 75%, depending on the quotient considered and whether scoring was modified for dialect. Although items and subtests assumed to measure similar constructs were correlated to each other, the three screeners led to inconsistent pass/fail outcomes for 44% of the children. Conclusions: Like other screeners, the DELV–Screening Test Risk subtest may lead to high fail rates for low-income pre-K children who speak AAE in the urban South. Inconsistent outcomes across screeners underscore the critical need for more study and development of screeners within the field. (author abstract)

Resource Type:
Reports & Papers
United States

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