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IES Grant

Title: The Development and Validation of the Inventory of Phonological Awareness using Alternative Responses (IPAAR): An Assessment of Phonological Awareness Appropriate for Children with Speech Production Difficulties
Center: NCSER Year: 2015
Principal Investigator: Skibbe, Lori Awardee: Michigan State University
Program: Early Intervention and Early Learning in Special Education      [Program Details]
Award Period: 4 years (7/1/2015-6/30/2019) Award Amount: $1,598,920
Goal: Measurement Award Number: R324A150063
Description:

Purpose: The purpose of this study is to develop a computerized adaptive test of phonological awareness, called the Inventory of Phonological Awareness using Alternative Responses (IPAAR). Phonological awareness, the explicit awareness of and ability to manipulate the sound structure of language, is a key predictor of later literacy development. However, there are no standardized, validated tools of phonological awareness suited to meet the needs of children with limited speech production, despite the critical nature of this emergent literacy skill. This project will address this gap by developing the IPAAR to assess levels of phonological awareness for children with speech production difficulties as well as a wide range of children with and without disabilities.

Project Activities: The development and evaluation of the IPAAR will occur in three phases. During the first phase, the team will create and revise items, assessment instructions, and the user interface. The item pool will be administered to approximately 1000 typically developing children during the second phase to calibrate and eliminate items, create a common scale of phonological awareness, and examine construct validity. The final IPAAR will be administered to 300 children with speech production difficulties during the third phase to assess item validity for this population. The research team will use exploratory factor analysis and item response theory to determine the items to use and the instrument's validity.

Products: The project will result in a new assessment called the IPAAR to assess levels phonological awareness for children with speech production difficulties. The project will also develop a website to make the assessment widely available.

Setting:  The research will primarily occur in Michigan. Children from Pennsylvania, Texas, and California will also participate during item development.

Population: Approximately 300 children in preschool or early elementary school with speech production difficulties will participate in the research. Children will be included if they have an Individualized Education Program with active goals related to speech or language services. In addition, approximately 1000 typically developing 3- to 7-year-old children will participate in phases one and two of the research.

Assessment:  IPAAR is intended to be a computerized adaptive assessment that measures phonological awareness of children ages 3 to 7. It will address children's rhyming, blending, and segmentation skills. Its features will include options for nonverbal responses, scores that can be easily interpreted in terms of other assessments of phonological awareness, and individualized instructions depending on a child's skills.

Research Design and Methods:  A three-phase process will guide the development and evaluation of the IPAAR. During the first phase, the team will create and revise items, assessment instructions, and user interface. The item pool will be administered to typically developing children during the second phase to calibrate and eliminate items that are not functioning properly, create a common scale of phonological awareness, and examine the construct validity of items. During the third phase, the final IPAAR will be administered to children with speech production difficulties to assess item validity for this population.

Control Condition:  Due to the nature of this research, there is no control condition.

Key Measures: Across all phases, children will be administered items from the IPAAR. During the second phase, the 3-year-old children in the sample and half of the participating 4- and 5-year old children will also be administered the phonological awareness subtest of the Test of Preschool Early Literacy; the other half of the 4- and 5-year-old children and all 6- and 7-year old children will be administered the phonological awareness subtest of the Comprehensive Test of Phonological Processing-2. All 5- to 7-year-old children will be administered the first sound fluency and phoneme segmentation fluency subtests of the Dynamic Indicators of Basic Early Literacy Skills Next.

Data Analytic Strategy:  Exploratory factor analysis and item response theory analysis will be used to identify items that should be eliminated or revised and to demonstrate that the IPAAR is measuring a unidimensional construct with construct validity.


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