Research to Support Reliable and Valid Technology-Based Phonological Awareness Assessment
The SAPAD is modelled from a computer-based phonological awareness screening and monitoring assessment developed in New Zealand. Research on the New Zealand version of the assessment was conducted as part of Dr Karyn Carson’s PhD thesis under the supervision of Professor Gail Gillon and Dr Therese Boustead at the University of Canterbury. The SAPAD expands on the New Zealand assessment through implementation with a younger group of children, that is children prior to school-entry, and includes pictures and dialogue that represents the Australian context. A new single word reading task and a print concepts task are also included.
A summary of research findings and current publications related to the SAPAD and New Zealand phonological awareness screening and monitoring assessment are outlined below:
- Online screening and monitoring of phonological awareness and letter-knowledge ability is more time efficient than paper-based testing. In a study by Carson, Gillon, & Boustead (2011), computer-based administration was 30% faster than paper-based administration of identical tasks.
- Online screening and monitoring of phonological awareness and letter-knowledge skills can help predict which children may or may not struggle with reading and spelling. In a study by Carson, Boustead, & Gillon (2014), rhyme oddity and initial phoneme identity tasks predicted end-of-year word decoding ability with 92% accuracy. Re-administration of all tasks by the middle of the first year at school predicted end-of-year word decoding ability with 94% accuracy.
- Computer-supported screening and monitoring of phonological awareness in the first year of school can help differentiate between the phonological awareness abilities, and by proxy, reading difficulty risk, for 5-year-old children. In a study by Carson, Boutstead, and Gillon (2015) Rasch Model analysis demonstrated that: 1) rhyme oddity and initial phoneme identity tasks were most appropriate at school-entry and sampled a spectrum of difficulty levels, 2) more challenging phoneme level tasks (e.g., final phoneme identity, phoneme blending, phoneme deletion and phoneme segmentation) became increasingly appropriate and differentiated between high- and low-ability students by the middle and end of the first year of school, and 3) letter-knowledge tasks were appropriate but declined in their ability to differentiate student ability as the year progressed.
- Preliminary results from a longitudinal study evaluating the use of the SAPAD with Australian children in the year prior to school-entry demonstrated that administration of web-based phonological awareness tasks at 4 and 4.5 years of age identified children with stronger and weaker early decoding knowledge at 5 years of age (school-entry) with 93.5% and 97.8% accuracy, respectively. In addition, high levels of test-retest reliability were achieved.
Carson, K.L., Boustead, T., & Gillon, G. (2015). Content validity to support the use of a computer-based phonological awareness screening and monitoring assessment (Com-PASMA) in the classroom. International Journal of Speech-Language Pathology, 17(5), 500-510.
Carson, K. L., Boustead, T., & Gillon, G. (2014). Predicting reading outcomes in the classroom using a computer-based phonological awareness screening and monitoring assessment (Com-PASMA). International Journal of Speech-Language Pathology, 16(6), 552-561.
Carson, K.L., Gillon, G., & Boustead, T. (2013). New Zealand Phonological Awareness Database [online resource]: http://newzealandphonologicalawarenessdatabase.com
Carson, K.L., Gillon, G. and Boustead, T. (2013). Classroom phonological awareness instruction and literacy outcomes in the first year of school. Language Speech and Hearing Services in Schools, 44, pp. 147-160.
Carson, K.L., Gillon, G. and Boustead, T. (2011). Computer-administered versus paper-based assessment of school-entry phonological awareness ability. Asia Pacific Journal of Speech, Language and Hearing, 14(2), pp.85-101.