CSD Faculty Spotlight
Dr. Brian Weiler, Ph.D, CCC-SLP
CSD Professor Dr. Brian Weiler was involved in a study focused on the rate of failure
in kindergarten language screenings when the Rice Wexler Test of Early Grammatical
Impairment was used. Dr. Weiler provides a summary of this study and its results:
Brian Weiler- Western Kentucky University
C. Melanie Schuele- Vanderbilt University Medical Center
Jacob I. Feldman, Hannah Krimm- Vanderbilt University
This study was undertaken to address the challenge of under-identification of oral language impairment (e.g., specific language impairment or SLI, developmental language disorder or DLD) in the kindergarten population. Epidemiologic studies reveal that at least 7% of kindergarteners have a language impairment. Of critical concern, only 29% of kindergarten children meeting research criteria for language impairment had received intervention services, for example from a speech-language-pathologist (SLP; Tomblin et al., 1997). Mass language screenings at the point of elementary school entry offer the potential to improve the identification of children at-risk for language impairment and subsequent academic difficulties.
The purpose of this study was to evaluate, over two separate school years, the school district-wide failure rate of kindergarteners on a screener of grammatical tense marking – the Rice Wexler Test of Early Grammatical Impairment (TEGI) Screening Test – comprised of Past Tense (PT) and Third Person Singular (3S) Probes. In the fall of two consecutive school years, consenting and eligible kindergarteners (n = 148 in Year 1; n = 126 in Year 2) in a rural southern school district were administered the TEGI Screening Test. Children who failed the Screening Test or either of the individual probes (PT or 3S) were administered the Primary Test of Nonverbal Intelligence. All children also completed the Test of Articulation Performance – Screen and, in Year 2, the Get Ready to Read! emergent literacy screener.
The screening tool outcome most closely and consistently aligned with the recommended failure rate of ~30% (Oetting et al., 2016; based on Tomblin et al., 1997) was the TEGI PT Probe. TEGI Screening Test and 3S Probe failure rates fell below the recommended level. The majority of children who failed the PT Probe demonstrated nonverbal intelligence skills within the average range. Additionally, the majority of children who failed the PT Probe would not have been readily identified based only on the results of their articulation or emergent literacy screenings. To identify children at risk for language impairment, it is therefore necessary to directly screen oral language.
***Note – the results of this study were presented at the 2017 Symposium on Research in Child Language Disorders in Madison, WI. A manuscript for this study has been accepted for publication and is in press at the journal Language, Speech, and Hearing Services in Schools.