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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Syntactic abilities : the use of the TSA screening test with selected sub-pupulations of hearing-impaired students Anderson, John Lloyd


In the Spring of 1978, the Screening Test (Form 1 s 2) of the Test of Syntactic Abilities was administered to a large hearing-impaired population for the first time. Performance scores were collected from a British Columbian sample of 233 prelingually hearing-impaired students between the ages of eight and nineteen years, who were enrolled in a public school or a school for the deaf. Examination of these data showed the two forms of the test to be parallel, possess good content validity, and high reliability for all nine syntactic structures and total screen scores. Reliability remained high when results were examined for different hearing loss categories (<59, 60-89, >90 dB). As the severity of hearing loss increased from mild to profound, scores decreased significantly, but there was a marked increase in the discriminating power of the screens. These results indicate that while the test was valid for the severely and profoundly deaf, its use with mildly or moderately hearing-impaired students is questionable. Two way analysis of variance showed that performance differed significantly among age groups for the syntactic structure, conjunction; and among hearing loss groups for determiners, question formation, pronominalization, relativization, complementation and nominalization. Correlations were moderate to strong between the screen variables and the diagnostic test of the Test of Syntactic Abilities. Such consistently high correlations suggested the existence of a common underlying language factor, which while permitting the test to provide an accurate measure of syntactic functioning may prevent it from discriminating strengths and weaknesses in individual structures.

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