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

  • Author / Creator
    Vavra, Karen Lori
  • 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.

  • Subjects / Keywords
  • Graduation date
    Spring 2016
  • Type of Item
  • Degree
    Doctor of Philosophy
  • DOI
  • License
    This thesis is made available by the University of Alberta Libraries with permission of the copyright owner solely for non-commercial purposes. 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.
  • Language
  • Institution
    University of Alberta
  • Degree level
  • Department
  • Supervisor / co-supervisor and their department(s)
  • Examining committee members and their departments
    • Dr. Denyse Hayward (Department of Educational Psychology)
    • Dr. Peter Afflerbach (Department of Curriculum and Instruction)
    • Dr. Todd Rogers (Department of Educational Psychology)
    • Dr. George Buck (Department of Educational Psychology)
    • Dr. Jean Clandinin (Department of Elementary Education)