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An Exploratory Study of Young Children's Thinking on the Test of Early Language and Literacy (TELL) using Verbal Report Data and a Cognitive and Normative Model of Test Performance Open Access


Other title
Verbal Report
Test of Early Language and Literacy
Cognitive and Normative Model
Type of item
Degree grantor
University of Alberta
Author or creator
Vavra, Karen Lori
Supervisor and department
Dr. Linda M. Phillips (Department of Elementary Education)
Examining committee member and department
Dr. Denyse Hayward (Department of Educational Psychology)
Dr. Jean Clandinin (Department of Elementary Education)
Dr. Peter Afflerbach (Department of Curriculum and Instruction)
Dr. George Buck (Department of Educational Psychology)
Dr. Todd Rogers (Department of Educational Psychology)
Department of Elementary Education

Date accepted
Graduation date
Doctor of Philosophy
Degree level
Early indications of potential school failure include difficulties in early language and literacy development. Thus, prevention and early identification depend on timely and coordinated assessment of language and literacy ability. Despite the critical need, there are no available Canadian assessment instruments to provide the type of diagnostic information needed for early, effective, and appropriate intervention. This exploratory study investigated whether the Oral Narrative (ON) and Oral Reading-Reading Comprehension (OR-RC) subsections of the newly-developed Test of Early Language and Literacy (TELL) measure the skills and processes fundamental to listening and reading comprehension ability and are suitable for their intended purpose and use with children 3- to 8-years old. Children (n = 174) from 3- to 8-years of age completed the literal and inferential comprehension questions for each subsection with the inclusion of think-aloud probes of their reasoning for each item response. Test performance and protocol analyses supported the TELL subsections and confirmed the TELL as developmentally appropriate across the intended age range and highlighted that comprehension development is not age dependent. Four response patterns underscored the informative portrayal of the information sources used by children to answer and provide reasons for their answers. Collectively, the patterns revealed the diagnostic attributes of the measures for identifying strengths and weaknesses in comprehension. The feasibility of using meta-level questions with young children was established in this first known use of verbal reports with preschoolers and in the first Canadian combined language and literacy comprehension test.
This thesis is made available by the University of Alberta Libraries with permission of the copyright owner solely for the purpose of private, scholarly or scientific research. This thesis, or any portion thereof, may not otherwise be copied or reproduced without the written consent of the copyright owner, except to the extent permitted by Canadian copyright law.
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