Should We Use Sentence- or Text-Level Tasks to Measure Oral Language Proficiency in Year-One Students following Whole-Class Intervention? Academic Article uri icon


  • AIMS:To compare students' oral language proficiency on sentence- versus text-level tasks at school entry and following tier 1 intervention in their first year of formal schooling. METHODS:104 students participated in this study. Participants were part of a broader longitudinal study and were enrolled at 3 low socioeconomic, linguistically diverse Australian primary schools. Tasks were administered to all students at the beginning and end of the school year. Performance on the sentence-level task, the Renfrew Action Picture Test (RAPT), was analysed for information and grammar as per the test manual. Performance on the text-level task, the Profile of Oral Narrative Ability, was analysed for measures of story length, mean length of utterance, grammatical accuracy, number of different words, and story quality. RESULTS:Results showed that both tasks are sensitive to measure progress following tier 1 intervention. However, RAPT concern status was not related to oral narrative concern status. Furthermore, if only the RAPT task had been used, between 11 and 21% of students performing below expectations in oral narrative would not have been identified. CONCLUSION:It is recommended that the assessment of oral language proficiency of students from culturally diverse, low socioeconomic backgrounds goes beyond the sentence level and includes an oral narrative retell task.

publication date

  • 2017