As I’m preparing to conclude my experience as a University Honors Scholar, it’s hard to believe that this summer is already coming to an end. I spent the first six weeks of the summer completing an in-depth literature review of my topic and the last three weeks on data entry and analysis. In the midst of the nine weeks, I also completed my blog posts, met with Dr. Tattersall several times, wrote up my Capstone proposal, and completed a SIRCA proposal for the Illinois Speech-Language-Hearing Association’s convention in February 2016. Ultimately, my goal was to answer my two original research questions for the summer: (1.) Is there a difference in performance on the tasks between children with and without language-learning deficits (LLD)? (a.) For the dynamic probe? (b.) For the spelling probe? (2.) Is there a correlation in performance on the dynamic assessment task (oral) and the spelling (written) task? (a.) For children with typically developing skills? (b.) For children with LLD?
As the data was analyzed, it seemed most beneficial to split students into four different groups (as opposed to our original division that included only 2 groups: TL and LLD). These groups differentiated students who had typical language, students with articulation disorders, students with language-learning disorders, and students who were in a response to intervention (RTI) program. Students with typical language and articulation disorders performed similarly on the two tasks as did students with LLD and those enrolled in RTI. When these four groups were classified into two subgroups (TL/Articulation vs. LLD/RTI), there was a significant difference in performance between the two groups on both tasks. A Pearson product-moment correlation coefficient was measured for performance on the two tasks for all four groups individually. Negative weak to moderate correlation was measured for both students with TL and articulation disorders, and a positive strong correlation was measured for students with LLD and those enrolled in RTI. The correlation coefficients measured for students with TL and articulation disorders differ from our initial hypotheses. These correlations (for children with TL and articulation disorders) may be skewed by ceiling effects, so the implications of these results will be considered as the project continues.
As I look to the upcoming school year, I plan to expand this project to include data about the error patterns of children in each of our four groups. This will necessitate the expansion of our results about the number of errors made by both groups to include data about the types of errors made by students. In this analysis, we will examine student spellings to draw conclusions about the metalinguistic skills used during testing, which will give us insight as to the expected spelling errors of children in each group. My project will conclude with presentations at the annual Illinois Speech-Language-Hearing Association convention and the Undergraduate Research and Artistry Day.
This summer has been a unique experience in that I’ve gotten the opportunity to get ahead on my capstone project and make significant strides towards its completion. I’m grateful to the Lord, the University Honors Department, and Dr. Tattersall for making this summer possible. It’s been an excellent learning experience and I’m looking forward to the continued work on my project this school year.
by Marissa DeVlieger