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FY Awards

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Expanding Individual Growth and Development Indicators of Language and Early Literacy for Universal Screening in Multi-Tiered Systems of Support with Three-Year-Olds

Year: 2016
Name of Institution:
University of Minnesota
Goal: Measurement
Principal Investigator:
McConnell, Scott
Award Amount: $1,399,808
Award Period: 4 years (8/1/2016-7/31/2020)
Award Number: R305A160034


Co-Principal Investigators: Anthony Albano (University of Nebraska-Lincoln), Michael Rodriguez and Alisha Wackerle-Hollman (University of Minnesota)

Purpose: The purpose of this project is to develop an extension of an existing measurement system, Individual Growth and Development Indicators (IGDIs), to assess the language and literacy development of three year old children and screen children for supplemental intervention in oral language, phonological awareness, and alphabet knowledge/concepts of print. IGDIs are general outcome measures of early development that have been used for screening and progress monitoring in a Response to Intervention and other multi-tiered systems of support models. The researchers will build on previous and current IES-funded research projects to develop items and construct measures for screening three-year-old children in three language and literacy domains. Development of the IGDIs PK3 measure will lead to improvements in school readiness outcomes for three year old preschool children by providing an age appropriate assessment of language and literacy skills that can be used to document language and literacy development from age 3 to kindergarten entry.

Project Activities: The researchers will identify and develop assessment formats, develop and refine test items for each language and literacy domain, select items from the item pools to create screening measures, and use the IGDI-APEL software application to administer the fully developed test items to three year olds. The team will collect data and conduct analyses to examine the feasibility and utility of the administration formats and evaluate the reliability and validity of the IGDIs PK3 measure.

Products: The products of this project include fully developed, application ready sets of items to assess three domains of language and literacy skills, administration instructions, a technical manual, and peer reviewed publications.

Structured Abstract

Setting: The study will take place in public and private center-based preschool programs in Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, and Los Angeles County that serve three- year- old children.

Sample: Study participants will include more than 1,445 children across all phases of the project. Samples will be recruited locally and nationally to ensure geographic, economic, and racial diversity. At least 10 preschool teachers who are experienced IGDIs users will assist with format development

Assessment: The IGDIs PK3 measure for three year olds is an extension of the existing IGDIs PK4 measure that was developed for use with four year olds. The IGDIs PK3 measure will address three sets of language and literacy skills for three year olds: (1) oral language; (2) phonological awareness; and (3) alphabet knowledge and concepts of print. The existing IGDIs PK4 measure is a direct assessment of children's language and literacy skills. Early literacy IGDIs were first developed in 1996. In 2007, as part of the IES-funded Center for Response to Intervention in Early Childhood (CRTIEC), the researchers revised the early literacy IGDIs measure to create the IGDIs PK4. The IGDIs PK4 measure has been used as a screening tool to assess children's oral language, phonological awareness and alphabet knowledge for four year olds. The fully developed IGDIs PK3 measure will be used to assess the language and literacy skills of three year olds and screen children to identify children for early intervention services.

Research Design and Methods: The project activities will take place in five phases. In Phase 1 (Year 1), the researchers will review and refine construct definitions to guide their measurement development work. They will also develop and test data collection formats likely to work with the target population of three year olds. The research team will revise the test items and administration formats based on the results from this initial field test. They will retain three formats for additional field testing. In Phase 2 (Year 1), the research team will create and test items for each IGDI subscale. The researchers will create a large sample of approximately 60 to 70 items for each format. They will test new items with 600 preschool children from local and national preschool programs. In Phase 3 (Year 2), they will expand the initial pool of test items and expand item banks to fully cover the range of children's ability. The researchers will administer the final test sets of items to least 300 children. In Phase 4 (Years 2 and 3), the researchers will use these item banks for standard-setting, scaling, and cross-sectional validation studies in preschool programs serving a diverse sample of 3-year olds. The research team will complete final calibration of individual items and set preliminary cut scores for identifying individual children in need of more intensive intervention in fall, winter and spring of the preschool year. They will administer the test items to a large sample of children. Each child will complete a set of 20 to 30 items. The research team will recruit at least 500 children participants enrolled in at least 40 classrooms from both local and national preschool programs for this phase of the project. They will collect IGDIs PK3 data in fall, winter, and spring. Teachers will complete Performance Level Descriptor (PLD) surveys for participating students enrolled in their classroom to provide information about the child's performance in each language and literacy domain. In spring of the preschool year, the research team will administer several criterion measures to a subset of at least 120 children. Finally, in Phase 5 (Years 3 and 4), the research team will follow a subsample of children (n=300) from Phase 4 longitudinally to assess associations into the next academic year, to vertically scale measures for 3- and 4-year old children, and empirically explore relations in language and early literacy development for preschoolers. Data collection will occur in spring of PK3 year and in fall, winter, and spring of the next preschool year when children are four year olds.

Control Condition: There is no control condition for this project.

Key Measures: Measures include direct assessments of a range of children's language and literacy skills, including oral language development, phonological awareness, and alphabet knowledge. Direct child assessments will include the Individual Growth and Development Indicators for PK4, the Peabody Picture Vocabulary Test, 4th Edition, Test of Preschool Literacy, Expressive One-Word Picture Vocabulary Test, Preschool Word and Print Awareness, and Test of Early Reading Ability.

Data Analytic Strategy: The researchers will conduct item and scale level analyses to examine the psychometric properties of the IGDIs PK3 measure. They will conduct analyses based on Rasch modeling and item response theory, including item-level analysis and revision, person fit and scaling, contrasting groups design for standard-setting, and structural equation modeling for theoretical analysis.

Related IES Projects: Center for Response to Intervention in Early Childhood (R324C080011)
Individual Growth and Development Indicators: Automated Applications for Performance Evaluation of Early Literary (IGDI-APEL) (R305A140065)
Research and Development of Spanish Individual Growth and Development Indicators (S-IGDIs): Early Literacy Identification Measures for Spanish-English Bilingual Children (R305A120449)