Project: Impact of Discourse Type and Elicitation Task on Language Sampling Outcomes


Language sampling is a critical component of language assessments. However, there are many ways to elicit language samples that likely impact the results. The purpose of this study was to examine how different discourse types and elicitation tasks affect various language sampling outcomes. A diverse group of K–3 students (N = 1,037) contributed eight spoken language samples in four elicitation conditions: (a) expository generation, (b) expository retell, (c) narrative generation, and (d) narrative retell. Samples were audio-recorded, transcribed, and coded for number of total words, number of different words, mean length of utterance in words (MLUW), and number of clauses per communication unit (i.e., Subordination Index [SI]). Narrative retell and expository generation conditions yielded the largest samples with the greatest lexical diversity when compared to narrative generation and expository retell. MLUW was higher in expository conditions, but mean
SI was higher in narrative conditions. For both measures of syntax, narrative retell and expository generation yielded the highest mean scores. For each outcome, there were expected increases corresponding to grades; however, the differences faded between second and third grade. As a component of language assessments, clinicians’ selection of language sampling procedures will impact the sample length, lexical diversity, utterance length, and syntactical complexity of the samples.

Project Active From
2018 to 2022
Educational Environment
Project Method(s)
Developmental Design
Funding Agency / Grant Number
Institute of Educational Sciences [IES] / R305A180037

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