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FINNUT-Forskning og innovasjon i utdanningssektoren

Better equipped for school: Identifying children who needs extra language support in preschool

Alternative title: Bedre rustet for skolen

Awarded: NOK 8.0 mill.

Sensitivity to children who could potentially benefit from supplemental language support is a central task of all preschools. The project "Better Equipped” addresses the need to ascertain more information about language assessment practices in preschools. It proposes to develop a valid, well-designed tool to assess children's language skills from an early age. Currently, the extent to which preschools attempt to identify children who need extra language support is unclear. In addition, few tools for identification of language problems are up to date, properly developed and used in preschools. The current project consists of two main studies. Study 1 aims to generate fresh insights into the use of language assessment tools in preschools today through a nationwide survey. The goal is to uncover whether and how preschools assess the children's language skills (including why and at what age) and understand how we can support preschool teachers in this important work. Study 2 focuses on development and evaluation of a screening tool that can be used by preschool teachers to identify children in need of deeper assessment and extra language support. Through a combination of parent questionnaires, teacher questionnaires, individual testing of children and teacher interviews, we aim to understand how this instrument will function as a screening tool for identification of children at risk for language problems.

Sensitivity to children who could potentially benefit from supplemental language support is a central task of all preschools. The project "Better Equipped for School: Identifying Children Who Needs Extra Language Support in Preschool" addresses the need to ascertain more information about language assessment practices in preschools and to develop a valid, well-designed tool to assess children's language skills from an early age. Currently, the extent to which preschools attempt to identify children who need extra language support is unclear. In addition, few tools for identification of language problems are up to date, properly developed and used in preschools. The current project consists of two main studies. 1) In Study 1, I propose to conduct a survey for preschools to uncover whether and how they assess the children's language skills (including why and at what age). This work will generate fresh insights into the use of language assessment tools in preschools today. 2) Study 2 focuses on development and evaluation of a screening tool that can be used by preschool teachers to identify children in need of deeper assessment and extra language support. In addition to examining the psychometric properties of the tool, a main objective is to investigate whether and how this instrument will function as a screening tool for identification of children at risk for language problems. Following a longitudinal design, sensitivity (probability to detect those at risk) and specificity (probability of negative results among those not at risk) of the test will be examined. Next, I plan to conduct focus group interviews with preschool teachers to understand how they use the screening tool and what kind of support they need to assess children's language skills.

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FINNUT-Forskning og innovasjon i utdanningssektoren