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Validity of caregiver-report measures of language skill for Wolof-learning infants and toddlers living in rural African villages

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  09 March 2018

Ann M. WEBER
Affiliation:
Department of Pediatrics, Stanford University School of Medicine, USA
Virginia A. MARCHMAN
Affiliation:
Department of Psychology, Stanford University, USA
Yatma DIOP
Affiliation:
Human Development and Family Studies, Michigan State University, USA
Anne FERNALD
Affiliation:
Department of Psychology, Stanford University, USA
Corresponding
E-mail address:

Abstract

Valid indigenous language assessments are needed to further our understanding of how children learn language around the world. We assessed the psychometric properties and performance of two caregiver-report measures of Wolof language skill (language milestones achieved and vocabulary knowledge) for 500 children (ages 0;4 to 2;6) living in rural Senegal. Item response models (IRM) evaluated instrument- and item-level performance and differential function by gender. Both caregiver-report measures had good psychometric properties and displayed expected age and socioeconomic effects. Modest concurrent validity was found by comparing the caregiver-report scores to transcribed child language samples from a naturalistic play session. The caregiver-report method offers a valid alternative to more costly tools, such as direct behavioral assessments or language sampling, for measuring early language development in non-literate, rural African communities. Recommendations are made to further improve the performance of caregiver-report measures of child language skill in these settings.

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Articles
Copyright
Copyright © Cambridge University Press 2018 

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