Eliciting the Language Sample for Developmental Sentence Scoring: A Comparison of Play with Toys and Elicited Picture Description

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Purpose: This study investigated whether language samples elicited during play and description of pictured events would yield the same results for developmental sentence scoring (DSS). Method: Two language samples were elicited from 58 three-year-olds. One sample was elicited during play with a parent, and the other sample was elicited by an examiner asking children to talk about pictured events in response to elicitation questions. Results: DSS scores were not significantly different between the play and event description samples. However, sentence points were significantly higher for the play sample than for the event description sample. Although there was a correlation between sample types for both DSS and sentence points, the correlation for DSS (r =. 52) was below an acceptable level, and the correlation for sentence points (r =. 71) was at a minimally acceptable level. Agreement between sample types for pass–fail decisions on the DSS scores using the 10th percentile cutoff recommended by Lee (1974) was only moderate (78%). Conclusion: The current study shows that type of language samples could affect DSS and sentence point scores of 3-year-olds and, hence, the passing and failing decisions for their performance on DSS.



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