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Download the full text: Cruz_2023_Development of a Group Emergent Literacy Screening Tool
core topic(s)Early Literacy
Population CharacteristicsInternational , Kindergarten , Toddler/Preschool
Exposures, Outcomes, OtherLanguage and Literacy Development , Parent Behaviors and Skills , School Readiness and Educational Outcomes , Screening and Tools , Validity, Reliability, Feasibility, and Acceptability
objectivesThe goal of this study was to explore the psychometric properties (difficulty, reliability, and validity) of a group emergent literacy screening test for Portuguese-speaking children.
exposureEmergent Literacy Skills Universal Screening Test (DUCLE—Despiste Universal de Competências de Literacia Emergente)
outcomes evaluatedPsychometric properties of the test
settingAll schools were public schools that were located in the north (N = 1253, 90.9%), center (N = 57, 4.1%), and south (N = 69, 5.0%) of Portugal.
methodsThe goal of this study was to explore the psychometric properties (difficulty, reliability, and validity) of a group emergent literacy screening test for Portuguese-speaking children. The test includes two phonological awareness tasks, one vocabulary task, and one concepts of print task. The sample comprised 1379 children from pre-K (n = 314), kindergarten (n = 579), and first grade of primary education (n = 486). Measures of emergent literacy, reading and writing skills, and academic achievement were used to test the validity of the screening test.
sample sizen=1379 (children)
- The Emergent Literacy Skills Universal Screening Test (DUCLE—Despiste Universal de Competências de Literacia Emergente): this test includes four tasks presented in a booklet for each child. The four tasks assess three emergent literacy domains: phonological awareness (two tasks), vocabulary (one task), and concepts about print (one task).
- Measure of Phonological Awareness Skills: Battery of Phonological Tests (BPF – Bateria de Provas Fonológicas)
- Measure of Vocabulary: Portuguese Oral Language Assessment (ALO-Avaliação da Language Oral)
- Measure of Print Concepts: WPPSI – Wechsler Preschool and Primary Scale of Intelligence and Assessment Battery of Initial Reading Behaviors (BACIL – Bateria de Avaliação dos Comportamentos Iniciais de Leitura)
- Measure of Alphabet Knowledge: examiner asked children to name the 23 uppercase letters of the alphabet, presented in random order.
- Measure of Word Recognition: Word Recognition Test (PRP—Prova de Reconhecimento de Palavras)
- Measure of Word Writing: 30 words were dictated to the students, and they are asked to write them correctly. The list included regular, inconsistent, frequent, and less frequent words.
- Measure of Teacher Reported Student Reading Performance: Ratings were collected from teachers at the end of the school year. The teachers were asked to rate each student on four domains—syllable recognition, word recognition, word writing, and oral comprehension—considering students’ performances across the school year.
resultsThe Rasch model results suggest that the tasks were suitably difficult for the kindergarten group, but had varying levels of difficulty for pre-K and first grade. Reliability was adequate for the tasks with an appropriate level of difficulty. Scores for the screening test were highly correlated with measures of literacy and with academic achievement.
conclusionsThese findings suggest that the presented emergent literacy screening test is valid and reliable, making it a useful tool for practice and research.
limitationsOne of the limitations that should be considered in future studies was that no data on the children’s socioeconomic status and parental educational levels were collected. Future research should also include divergent validity studies of the DUCLE by studying the association between the results obtained in each task and the results on a test that measures a theoretically unrelated construct. Additionally, future studies could use a longitudinal methodology and use the test scores of second-grade students on the annual tests administered by the Portuguese Ministry of Education to assess the predictive properties of the DUCLE. It maybe also relevant to understand the children’s perspective regarding the experience of being administered this screening evaluation, as well as to perform assessments across the academic year to allow a closer monitoring of children’s development. The relationship between the emergent literacy skills and home literacy practices should also be addressed in future studies.