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Quantifying the Linguistic Demand of the WISC-IV's Test Directions Open Access


Other title
linguistic demand
cognitive assessment
Type of item
Degree grantor
University of Alberta
Author or creator
Wang, Kun
Supervisor and department
Cormier, Damien (Educational Psychology)
Examining committee member and department
Mrazik, Martin (Educational Psychology)
Bulut, Okan (Educational Psychology)
Department of Educational Psychology
School and Clinical Child Psychology
Date accepted
Graduation date
Master of Education
Degree level
The diversity of the school-age population in both Canada and the United States has been increasing (Cummins, 1997). Thus, it is imperative for researchers to empirically evaluate the influence of culture and language on existing assessment tools to inform best practices (Cormier, McGrew, & Ysseldyke, 2014). The purpose of this study is to examine linguistic complexity, linguistic verbosity, and combined linguistic demand of the Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children, Fourth Edition (WISC-IV) test directions. The 15 subtests from the WISC-IV were analyzed using the Readability Calculations software programs (Micro Power and Light Co., 2002). Two files were created for the 15 subtests. The standard file included the typical instructions for examinees and the supplemental file included additional directions in response to mistakes and inadequate answers. Results of the analysis indicated that the standard test directions of Block Design, Letter-number Sequencing, Cancellation, and the supplemental test directions of Comprehension, Matrix Reasoning, and Letter-number Sequencing were high on linguistic verbosity, and both the standard and supplemental test directions of Comprehension were high on linguistic complexity. Based on the findings of this study and previous research, it can be concluded that linguistic demand should be taken into consideration when practitioners select and interpret cognitive tests. In addition, empirical evidence regard linguistic demand can be used to inform the linguistic demand classification of the C-LIM framework, which currently is largely based on expert consensus.
Permission is hereby granted to the University of Alberta Libraries to reproduce single copies of this thesis and to lend or sell such copies for private, scholarly or scientific research purposes only. The author reserves all other publication and other rights in association with the copyright in the thesis and, except as herein before provided, neither the thesis nor any substantial portion thereof may be printed or otherwise reproduced in any material form whatsoever without the author's prior written permission.
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