Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (M.S.) in Speech: Emphasis in Speech Pathology/Audiology



Physical Description

1 online resource (68 p.)


Children -- Language




One of the primary responsibilities of a speech pathologist is the assessment of a child’s language. Many studies have been done in the area of language development. The results of these studies have varied causing concern among researchers over the validity of the data gathered. Many factors that could affect the results of previous research have been investigated. Until recently, however, there has been relatively little research about the effects of examiner differences on the results of language assessments.

Research in the area of examiner differences has resulted in the discovery of factors which could affect the results of language assessments and, more specifically, Mean Length of Response (MLR). McGuigan (1963) suggested the interaction of the examiner's personality characteristics and the independent variable. Cowan et al., (1963) suggested examiner and stimulus variables could affect the subject according to the age and sex of the child. Wilson (1969) stated that there was no standardization for an examiner's method of eliciting a language sample or for the stimulus materials used by the examiner. Casteel (1969) suggested an interaction between the examiner and the setting of the examination. He concluded that the best results were obtained when the examiner was in his most comfortable setting (the mother in the home and the speech pathologist in the clinic). A study by Mathis (1970) substantiated the results of the study by Casteel (1969). Mathis concluded that the speech pathologist elicits as representative a language sample from the child in the clinic as the mother elicits from the child in the home.

The purpose of this study was to discover to what extent the MLR of children will differ when elicited by two examiners, the speech pathologist and the mother, who are in the clinical setting.

Fourteen children, four years of age, were examined in the clinical setting by the speech pathologist and the mother. Twenty-eight 15-minute tape recorded conversations were transcribed, the MLR tabulated, and the results analyzed statistically by means of the t-test for significance. The Spearman Rank Correlation Coefficient was used to compare the consistency of each child's performance with that of his peers from one examination to another.

The results indicate that there is a statistically significant difference between the amount of language elicited by the speech pathologist and the mother in favor of the speech pathologist when the examination takes place in the clinical setting. The .05 level of confidence was established for this test.

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