Purpose

Both narrative language samples and norm-referenced language tests can be important components of language assessment for school-age children. The present study explored the relationship between these 2 tools within a group of children referred for language assessment.

Method

The study is a retrospective analysis of clinical records from 73 school-age children. Participants had completed an oral narrative language sample and at least one norm-referenced language test. Correlations between microstructural language sample measures and norm-referenced test scores were compared for younger (6- to 8-year-old) and older (9- to 12-year-old) children. Contingency tables were constructed to compare the 2 types of tools, at 2 different cutpoints, in terms of which children were identified as having a language disorder.

Results

Correlations between narrative language sample measures and norm-referenced tests were stronger for the younger group than the older group. Within the younger group, the level of language assessed by each measure contributed to associations among measures. Contingency analyses revealed moderate overlap in the children identified by each tool, with agreement affected by the cutpoint used.

Conclusions

Narrative language samples may complement norm-referenced tests well, but age combined with narrative task can be expected to influence the nature of the relationship.

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