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Development of the Teacher

Assessment of Student Communicative


Competence (TASCC) for Grades 1
: Through 5

Ann R. Smith, Rebecca McCauley, and Barry Guitar,


University of Vermont

With increased calls for documenting the educational impact of Attention to the functional implications of communica-
communication deficits and treatment outcomes, the need for tion disorder.s has been advanced through the application of
systematic measures of students' communicative effectiveness in the 1980 International Classification of Impairments, Disabili-
the classroom has never been greater. Teachers are in an excel- ties, and Handicaps (ICIDH; World Health Organization,
lent position to observe and measure their students' verbal and 1980) to communication di.sorders (e.g., Curlee, 1993; Gold-
nonverbal communicative abilities and use of compensatory stein & Geirut, 1997; Holland & Thompson, 1997; Yaruss,
strategies; thus, speech-language pathologists in schools may 1998). In the ICIDH system, consequences of a disorder are
benefit from a use of teacher rating scales. This article describesexamined on several levels. At the impairment level, disorders
the initial development and possible applications of such a mea- are defined in terms of a behavioral or structural abnormal-
sure, the Teacher Assessment of Student Communicative ity. At the disability' level, disorders are defined in terms of the
Competence (TASCC), for use with students in the first effects of the impairment on physical function. Finally, at the
through fifth grades. handicap level, disorders are defined in terms of the effects of
an impairment or disability on social function. Until very re-
cently, formal measures designed to assess children's commu-
nication disorders have focused on the impairment level
The need to gain information about children's communica- (Goldstein & Geirut). This meant that the functional and so-
tive competence is fueled not only by the desire of speech- cial implications of communication disorders in children
language pathologists (SLP) to understand the strengths and have been largely overlooked in formal assessments.
challenges of each child they serve but also by demands from To date, the most ambitious attempt at assessing (a) the
employers, fellow professionals, and consumers for increased functional impact of communication disorders in children
accountability. Historically, clinicians have often been content and (b) treatment outcomes has been the American Speech-
to examine immediate measures of behavioral change in Language-Hearing Association's development of the Pediatric
making treatment decisions, followed by repeated testing Functional Communication Measures (FCMs; American
using standardized tests to substantiate major decision.s about Speech-Language-Hearing Association Task Force on Treat-
initiating or terminating treatment (McCauley & Swisher, ment Outcomes and Cost-Effectiveness, 1995). The FCMs are
1984). In addition, they have looked to the small body of 7-point .scales that are being studied for reliabihty and validity
treatment efficacy research reported in professional journals when used to assess a variety of areas—including articulation/
as further substantiation of the quality of their services. In- phonology, augmentative/alternative communication compre-
creasingly, however, speech-language pathologists are being hension, augmentative/alternative communication production,
called upon to examine treatment outcomes at several levels fluency, rate or rhythm, voice production, language compre-
(Frattali, 1998), including outcomes affecting an individual's hension, and language production—by clinicians who have
social and educational functioning. undergone special training. The Task Force is also developing

Communication Disorders Quarterly 22:1 • pp. 3-11


Communication Disorders Quarterly • vol. 22, no. 1 / Fall 2000

a Pediatric Functional Status Measure (FSM) to be completed the question of how to effectively measure each student's
by a child's teacher as a means of assessing the child's func- communication skills and compensatory strategies.
tional status at initiation of and discharge from treatment. In order to determine which components of commu-
The need for teacher rating scales and measures of nicative competence to address in this scale, a literature
communicative competence is recognized throughout the review on the available definitions of the construct was con-
literature on second language acquisition (Savignon, 1983), ducted. Many definitions for communicative competence are
psycholinguistics (Ganguly, 1988), social psychology (Buhr- offered in the literature; however, the most useful definitions
mester, Furman, Wittenberg, & Reis, 1988), and augmentative identified in this review were those of Kent (1993), Light
and ahernative communication (Light, 1989). Implicitly re- (1989), Savignon (1983), and W^hitehead and Barefoot
ferring to the evaluation of communication skills, Kent (1993) (1992). Although these authors addressed communicative
stated that "appropriate assessment tools are sorely needed competence for a wider range of populations, their interpre-
for each of these areas (phonological knowledge, language tations of communicative competence and its related con-
formulation abilities, and sociolinguistic operations] and for cepts, such as intelligibility, provided the scale's theoretical
their integration, which occurs in the act of speaking" basis.
(p. 235). In his review article, Spitzberg (1988) noted that Kent (1993) was particularly influential in the construc-
most of the classroom performance evaluation measures cur- tion of the model that led to the development of the TASCC.
rently available "have been subjected to minimal systematic In his chapter, he proposed a diagram that consisted of the
investigation" (p. 69). Measures have been developed to assess following four principle dimensions of a child's social use of
preschool children's conversational skills (Girolametto, 1997) speech and language:
or first-grade students' language skills (the Observational
Checklist of Conversational Skills; Sanger, Aspedon, Hux, &
• intelligibility . , ...
Chapman, 1995), as have several instruments that assess the
V* reliance on speech - • >: s-
communicative competence of college-age students in the
;• appropriateness of communication ; -
college environment (Powell & Avila, 1986). However, few
;: •,''*' use of clarification and repair strategies /•
standardized instruments are available for the younger stu-
dent (Spitzberg), in particular, students in Grades 1 through 5.
In 1987, Prutting and Kirchner published an article de- Through his diagram, Kent illustrated that intelligibility is
scribing the use of a descriptive taxonomy—the Pragmatic strongly related to a student's social use of language and that
Protocol—to evaluate the pragmatic skills of individuals with decreased intelligibility could limit a student's success with
language disorders. This protocol was designed to provide an social communication. Additional important elements in the
overall communicative index for school-age children, adoles- model used here were approach/avoidance attitude toward
cents, and aduhs by evaluating a range of 30 nonverbal (e.g., communication (Guitar, 1998) and nonverbal pragmatic com-
physical proximity), paralinguistic (e.g., intelligibility), and munication (Kirchner & Prutting, 1989; Light, 1989). Due to
verbal parameters (e.g., topic selection) that affect commu- their similarities, the elements of reliance on speech and non-
nicative competence. In their article, Prutting and Kirchner verbal pragmatic communication were combined to form one
discussed the importance of assessing a client's conversational dimension for the TASCC. Thus, this five-dimensional model
language in order to understand how his or her speech and was adapted in order to capture a rich range of behaviors as-
language difficulties affected his communicative competence. sociated with effective communication in the classroom.
The authors also emphasized the importance of identifying a
client's intact linguistic and paralinguistic abilities in order to
u.se them in designing treatment strategies. . METHOD ^
Speech-language pathologists look for both the com-
munication strengths and impairments of a client. For exam- Preliminary Work
ple, when evaluating an individual with communication Table 1 lists the subscales and the definitions that were used
challenges, an SLP may record a student's low score on an ar- in generating items. The original pool of 121 items was de-
ticulation test but also make note of the student's compen- rived in part from the examination of 10 previous teacher
satory strategies for communicating messages to others. This and/or parent rating forms addressing social-behavioral is-
is important because individuals with the same degree of re- sues (Achenbach, Howell, Quay, & Conners, 1991; Carlson &
duced intelligibility may nonetheless vary in the strategies Stephens, 1986; Eyberg, 1992; Gresham & EUiott, 1990; High-
they use to increase their communicative effectivenes.s. There- tower et al., 1986; Kendall & Wilcox, 1979; Lahey, Stempnick,
fore, SLPs observe and evaluate the student's competence with Robinson, & Tyrcler, 1978; Merrell, 1993; Sanger et al., 1995;
language (knowledge and skills) and the student's ability to Waksman, 1985); 2 self-rating forms addressing negative-
compensate (use effective strategies when receiving and send- emotions concerning stuttering (Brutten & Dunham, 1989;
ing messages). The presence of such strategies can be a pow- Guitar & Grims, 1977); and 2 nonstandardized probes created ;
erful strength for the student. Presently, SLPs struggle with by local school SLPs for addressing receptive and expressive
Commimication Disorders Quarterly • vol. 22, no. 1 / Fall 2000

TABLE 1. Subscales and Definitions

Subscale Definition

Approach/avoidance attitude Communicative comfort level within verbal interactions and the willingness to initiate and
maintain communicative interactions with others.
Intelligibility Ability to combine phonological segments of his or her sound system into meaningful
communicative utterances and present them to others using appropriate vocal intensity,
inflection, rate, and articulatory clarity within communicative interactions.
Clarification/repair (af output)/ Recognition of communicative breakdown and the ability to adjust the expressive communi-
comprehension (of input) cative message when it is not understood by the listener; the implementation of strategies
when clarifying o misunderstood message for the listener; the ability to extract meaning
from a speaker's message; and the implementation of strategies when clarifying a mis-
understood message from the speaker.
Appropriateness of communication Ability to produce and respond to appropriate cammunicative messages that "fit" a
particular social context.
Pragmatic/nonverbal communication Ability to use nonverbal communicative means to express feelings, to express intentions,
and to remain as an equal communicator in a communicative interaction.

speech and language abilities (M. H. Hanson & S. K. Keitel, mont, Virginia, Texas, and Idaho. The authors wanted to ob-
personal communication, November 1996). In addition, tain a varied population sample during this project, and they
items were developed independently. Each item on the scale had personal contacts in each of these states who had shown
tits into one of the five defined subscales of communicative interest in participating in the scale's development. In the ma-
competence and is rated using a 5-point scale (1 = never, jority of the cases, individual teachers were not directly con-
2 = seldom, 3 = sometimes, 4 = often, 5 = always). tacted; instead, school principals, SLPs, and special education
coordinators were invited to participate via phone, mail,
and/or e-mail. Each contact person received an introductory
Empirical Study of Test Items-Part 1 letter that briefly explained the steps involved in the study and
described how the results would be used. The contact person
Preliminary feedback on scale format and item clarity was
at each school presented the opportunity to participate in this
obtained by distributing scales to fellow graduate students
study to the teachers, and then a specific number of scales
and then to a group of 10 kindergarten to second-grade
based on the number of teachers expressing the desire to par-
teachers and a group of 10 fourth- to sixth-grade teachers in
ticipate was sent to the contact person. The school contact
two school districts in Maine. Each teacher was asked to rate
person passed out the scales and a brief instructional letter to
an "average" student (one who was not receiving speech and
the participating teachers.
language services) in the first or fifth grade, depending on the
teacher's regular teaching assignment. The instructional letter asked each teacher to rate an in-
dividual student in his or her grade whom he or she consid-
Three sources of information were used during the
ered to be a "normal" communicator. With the intention of
process of condensing the scale—the results of t tests exam-
increasing the study's external validity, the authors did not
ining the consistency of item performance for first versus fifth
impose criteria for student selection for the "normal" com-
graders, the teachers' responses to scale items, and their nar-
municative competence group. The intent was to obtain such
rative feedback. The t tests were used because differences be-
criteria fTom the study. At the top of the first page of the scale,
tween grades were not expected, and items that showed a
each teacher was asked to provide the student's age, grade in
significant difference were excluded (n = 10). Based on these
school, gender, and ethnicity, as well as narrative feedback
information sources, a total of 57 items were discarded, re-
about the scale's format, overall length, and item clarity.
vised, or combined, reducing the scale's length to 64 items.
A total of 85 scales were returned and 69 of these were
used in the items analysis. Sixteen scales could not be used for
the following reasons:
Empirical Study of Test Items-Part 2
After the preliminary feedback on item clarity and scale for- 1. Someone other than the intended participant
mat was obtained and the scale was revised, 200 scales were (e.g., a school counselor or an SLP) completed
distributed to teachers in Grades 1 through 5 in Maine, Ver- the scale (n = 2).
Communication Disorders Quarterly • vol. 22, no. 1 / Fall 2000

2. The teacher used double answers 20% or more and for each grade and subscale. This coefficient reflects the
of the time (e.g., circled "4" and "5" for one extent to which items on the scale, taken as a whole and
item; n = 1). broken down into groups, measure components of the same
3. At least one item was left blank on the scale construct—in this case, communicative competence (Schi-
(n = 9). avetti & Metz, 1997). When developing a device that could be
4. The scale was completed using a student who used to screen children, it is recommended that the reliability
was not in Grades 1 through 5 (e.g., kinder- be at least .80 (Salvia & Ysseldyke, 1978). The Cronbach's co-
garten; n = 5). efficient alpha for the total scale was .9751.
5. The student's grade was not specified on the The Cronbach's coefficient alpha scores for the individ-
scale {n= 1). ual subscales and the individual subscales by grade are dis-
played in Tables 3 and 4. As can be seen by these coefficient
Of the 69 students who v^'ere rated, more students over- alphas, the individual items were related and all measured a
all were from the lower grades, and there were more girls than similar construct, which we would argue is communicative
boys, although nine teachers did not give gender information. competence. Thus, these items appeared to form a cohesive
Table 2 provides specific participant information. Only 29% scale.
of the teachers provided ethnicity information about the stu-
dents; about 45% of these students were from minority
groups as specified by their states (e.g., Asian, African Ameri- Redundancy Analysis
can, Filipino, Hispanic).
A redundancy analysis was conducted on the items that
seemed to measure the same underlying component (as indi-
cated through narrative feedback from teachers), as well as on
RESULTS the items that were different only because one item asked
Item Analysis about the student's interaction with peers and the other, sim-
ilarly worded item asked about the student's interaction with
An item analysis was conducted using the Statistical Package adults.
for the Social Sciences for Macintosh, version 6.1 (SPSS, Inc., Three criteria were used during the process of condens-
1994) to decide which items should be kept, revised, com- ing the scale:
bined, or deleted. Specifically, internal consistency reliability
was evaluated using Cronbach's coefficient alpha (Feldt & 1. If the teachers' narrative feedback concerning
Brennan, 1989), and the level of redundancy of the rating on the items suggested that an item was redun-
scores was examined for specific items that measured similar dant, confusing, and/or in need of examples,
components of communicative competence. In addition, nar-
that item was revised or deleted.
rative feedback from teachers regarding item clarity was con-
2. For item pairs that had not been labeled as re-
sidered in the process.
dundant in teachers' narrative feedback, if the
level of redundancy of paired items was high
Internal Consistency (more than half the teachers rated each item in
the pair similarly), then one item was omitted
In order to measure the internal consistency of the scale, the and the other one was used as it was or was re-
Cronbach's coefficient alpha was calculated for the total scale vised to include an idea from the omitted item.

TABLE 2 . Numbers of Participants and Teachers, by Grade

Grade Participating teachers M a l e students rated Female students rated


1° U 5 7
2b
16 7 8
21 8 9
9 3 4
5 9 4 5
Totals 27 33

•Two students' genders were not reported. ''One student's gender was not reported. 'Four studenu' genders were not reported.
Communication Disorders Quarterly • vol. 22, no. 11 Fall 2000

3. Items were kept in spite of Criterion 2 if it was student is somewhat decreased; however, the scale was con-
likely that important specific information densed because teachers' narrative feedback indicated that its
would be generated from keeping the items length was a concern. Moreover, specific examples of a stu-
separate. dent's skills can be generated by the individual teachers
and presented along with the information firom the scale, if
During the redundancy analysis, 14 items were deleted, 7 items desired.
were combined, 11 items were reworded to increase clarity or
to include specific examples, and 33 items were kept with no
changes. DISCUSSION
After revisions based on the above analyses were made,
the revised scale contained a total of 50 items that were ran- The literature supports the development of a tool to effec-
domly listed rather than grouped within one of the five com- tively measure the communicative competence of students in
municative competence categories (see the Appendix). The earlier grades. A rating scale used by teachers is likely to be
items were randomly listed to ensure that teachers would not most effective because teachers work very closely with their
be influenced by the title of the subscale when rating a stu- students and have greater access to their performance in class-
dent during future validation studies. Currently, the subscale room special areas. In addition, the use of such a scale would
for Intelligibility contains 8 items, the subscale for Appropri- facilitate effective, efficient collaboration between teachers
ateness of Communication contains 17 items, the subscale for and SLPs on behalf of children with speech and language
challenges, which is known to benefit such students (Ebert &
Comprehension (of input)/Clarification/Repair (of output)
Prelock, 1994).
contains 8 items, the subscale for Pragmatic/Nonverbal Com-
munication contains 10 items, and the subscale for Approach/ The results of this study—in particular, the high internal
Avoidance Attitude contains 7 items. By condensing some of consistency scores—indicate that the items on the TASCC are
the items, the ability to generate specific information for a related and work well together. Once further evaluations have
been done, this scale may be used to enable teachers and SLPs
to recognize and analyze a student's strengths and challenges
within the five areas of communicative competence. Numer-
TABLE 3 . Cronbach's Coefficient Alpha for Each Subscale
ous practical applications for the TASCC suggest themselves,
including its use in providing an overall picture of a student's
Subscale Coefficient alpha
communication abilities, suggesting intervention targets
based on strengths and weaknesses, and establishing baselines
Approach/avoidance attitude .7729
for evaluating treatment progress. Finally, use of the TASCC
Intelligibility .9206 might be expected to facilitate collaboration among team
members. Although validation of these uses still needs to be
Comprehension (of input)/clarification/ .8764
repair (of output) done, the TASCC holds considerable promise as an outcome
measure that can be used for program planning and docu-
Appropriateness of communication .9461 mentation of accountability (Eger, 1998).
Pragmatic/nonverbal communication .9280 The content of this scale fosters the use of a broad
perspective by professionals when thinking about a stu-

TABLE 4 . Cronbach's Coefficient Alpha by Each Grade Within Each Subscale

Comprehension
Approach/ (of input)/ Pragmatic/
avoidance clarification/repair Appropriateness nonverbal
Grade attitude Intelligibility (of output) of communication communication

1° .7378 .8872 .8839 .9282 .9135


• • > . : • • ' . .
.7182 .9322 .9129 .9703 .9337
> : • * " ' - " "
.7995 .9427 .8644 .9538 .9500
.7910 .7080 .6586 .8331 .8016
5« .8330 .9437 .9113 .9453 .9471

12. l-n = 15. 'n = 17. ''n = 7.'n = 9.


Communication Disorders Quarterly • vol. 22, no. 11 Fall 2000

dent's communicative competencies. Many teachers who par- was evaluated more negatively than "standard" English. The
ticipated in the study commented that they gained a new authors have chosen to address ethnicity issues by including
understanding about communication, in particular, commu- the following statement in the directions to the teachers using
nication skills in the classroom, as they used the scale to rate the scale in the future: The ratings on some of the items
a student. As part of the narrative feedback, one teacher said, may be affected by the student's culture; thus, the teacher rat-
"I had never considered the aspect of nonverbal communica- ing the student should be knowledgeable of the individual
tion before." A more "global" perspective of a student's com- student's cultural norms around communication before at-
munication needs to be integrated into the classroom, if it is tempting to rate the student.
not already there. A teacher who uses this scale to describe a The TASCC has potential future implications for a vari-
student's speech and language challenges and strengths may ety of areas of speech and language, such as in work with
find it easier to understand (a) the importance of incorporat- individuals who have autism, phonological disorders, or stut-
ing speech and language intervention into the classroom en- tering or those who use augmentative and alternative com-
vironment and (b) how this can be done .sy.stematically and munication .systems. Future studies will focus on validating
successfully (Ebert & Preiock, 1994; Ripich, 1989). the scale in accordance with the previously stated practical
applications. During these studies, the teachers will be in-
formed that they may substitute the words developmentally
Limitations • /
appropriate for age appropriate on certain items when rating a
One limitation of this study was the possible existence of the student whose developmental level is lower than his or her
Rosenthal effect or experimenter bias (Schiavetti & Metz, chronological level. This would allow teachers to measure the
1997). The fact that the teacher who selected the "normal" student's progress according to his or her developmental level
communicating student was the same person who rated this over time. Studies currently underway are focusing on the use
student could have contributed to a biased rating of the stu- of the scale to compare students with decreased communica-
dent's communicative competence on each of the items. Also, tive competence and those with "normal" communicative
the participating teachers had diverse teaching experiences competence. By demonstrating that contrasting groups differ
and might have held varied perspectives as to what is meant in performance on the scale, these studies will help contribute
by communicative competence within a classroom. to the construct validation of the measure, an ongoing and
Another limitation was the low return rate from teach- never-ending process for any measure of this kind. These and
ers. Schiavetti and Metz (1997) reported that researchers usu- numerous other studies will be required to help us under-
ally achieve a response rate of 30% for questionnaires. They stand (a) the extent to which the measure can be used for
also noted that although a 50% response rate would be ade- the various purposes for which it has been designed and
quate for analysis and reporting purposes, 60% is good and (b) for which groups of students its use would be most appro-
70% is very good. The response rate for tbis study was 42.5%; priate.
hovyrever, some of this might have been due to problems in
delivering the scale to teachers, including the lack of follow
through by the individuals responsible for giving the scales to ABOUT THE AUTHORS
the teachers. Future studies will include more participants
from a wider geographic distribution for further generaliza- Ann R. Smith, SLP, MS, is at the Northeast Hearing and Speech Cen-
ter in Portland, Maine, and is completing her third year on the Ver-
tion of the scale.
mont Rural Autism Project. Rebecca McCauley, PhD, is a professor
These two limitations represent only a few of the limita- of communication .sciences at the University of Vermont and has
tions typically affecting any behavioral measure for which the authored numerous publications addressing measurement issues
validation process is just beginning. Validation is an ongoing in children's communication disorders, particularly language disor-
process in which empirical and judgmental evidence is pro- ders. Barry Guitar, PhD, a professor of communication sciences at
vided to support scientific uses of the measure. Thus, poten- the University of Vermont, is the author of a widely used text on
tial users will want to consider future evaluations of the stuttering as well as numerous related research publications. His in-
TASCC in relation to the specific purpose and child for which volvement in this project is based on his interest in studying and
it will be used. improving treatment methods for school-age children who stutter.
Address: Ann Smith, 62 Old Farm Road, South Portland, ME 04106.

Future Studies
:; AUTHORS'NOTE •
Future studies will address the cultural component of this
scale. Research has indicated that a mismatch between the We wish to thank the professors and graduate students in the Uni-
versity of Vermont's Communication Sciences Department for their
rater's dialect and that of the student can have a negative ef-
help in gathering participants for this study across the nation; Allen
fect on perceptions of a student's communicative abilities. For
Howard for his help in statistics; and teachers, SLPs, and school prin-
example, Ryan and Sebastian (1980) and Miller (1975), dis- cipals in Maine, Vermont, and Texas for participating in the different
cussed in Powell and Avila (1986), found that accented speech phases of this study.
Communication Disorders Quarterly • vol. 22, no. 11 Fall 2000

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Communication Disorders Quarterly • vol. 22, no. 1 / Fall 2000

APPENDIX: TEACHER ASSESSMENT OF STUDENT COMMUNICATIVE


COMPETENCE (TASCC)
Age Gender Ethnidty
Below are a series of items that describe a student's communicative competence. Use the following scale to rate a student in your
grade^ whom you consider to have communicative competence issues. For each item, circle the number that best describes the stu-
dents communication. Please answer each item as well as you can, even if the item does not seem to apply to the student.
1 = Never 2 = Seldom 3 := Sometimes 4 = Often 5 = Always
1) Student remains attentive when others communicate with him or her
1 2 3 4 5
2) Student verbally relates thoughts in an age-appropriate, meaningful manner to adults 1 2 3 4 5
3) Student adjusts style and content of speech according to communication partner and 1 2 3 4 5
situation

4) Student appears to nonverbally relate feelings in an age-appropriate, meaningful manner 1 2 3 4 5


(e.g., facial glare, smile)

5) Student demonstrates age-appropriate nonverbal requests for message repetition 1 2 3 4 5


(e.g., makes a "puzzled" face)

6) Student participates in age-appropriate turn-taking in conversations and class discussions 1 2 3 4 5


7) Student demonstrates age-appropriate verbal requests for message repetition (e.g., "Could 1 2 3 4 5
you say that again?" or "What?")

8) Student uses appropriate voice inflection when speaking (e.g., intonation with questions) 1 2 3 4 5
9) Student uses appropriate eye contact when speaking to adults 1 2 3 4 5
10) Student gets the listener's attention before the student introduces a topic 1 2 3 4 5
11) Students uses age-appropriate opening and closing communication comments in 1 2 3 4 5
conversations with peers (e.g., "Hello," "See you later.")

12) Student's speech is understandable even when the topic is unknown 1 2 3 4 5


13) Student participates in story-description/retell interactions 1 2 3 4 5
14) Student verbally relates thoughts in an age-appropriate, meaningful manner to peers 1 2 3 4 5
15) Student sticks up for his or her own views when confronted by group pressure 1 2 3 4 5
16) Student's overall speech is understandable (e.g., clear voice, clear articulation) 1 2 3 4 5
17) Student nonverbally expresses frustration toward peers, when appropriate 1 2 3 4 5
18) Student responds within an appropriate time frame to remarks, questions, requests 1 2 3 4 5
19) Student joins conversations with peers easily
1 2 3 4 5
20) Student uses vocabulary that is relevant to the conversation 1 2 3 4 5
21) Student appropriately engages in group discussions 1 2 3 4 5
22) Student uses appropriate rate of speech for situation 1 2 3 4 5
23) Student initiates topics of conversation in one-to-one situations with adults 1 2 3 4 5

{appendix continues)
Communication Disorders Quarterly • vol. 22, no. I / Fall 2000
11

(Appendix continued)

24) Student intiates topics of conversation in one-to-one situations with peers


1 2 3 4 5
25) Student adjusts vocal intensity to account for distance and noise variables 1 2 3 4 5
26) Student freely volunteers answers to questions in class 1 2 3 4 5
27) Student uses speech effectively in directing peer's actions, when intended 1 2 3 4 5
28) Student's speech is understood by unfamiliar listeners 1 2 3 4 5
29) Student uses appropriate eye contact when speaking to peers 1 2 3 4 5
30) Student uses age-appropriate humor within peer conversations 1 2 3 4 5
31) Student uses age-appropriate verbal communication to gain attention 1 2 3 4 5
32) Student nonverbally expresses frustration toward adults, when appropriate 1 2 3 4 5
33) Student uses a variety of age-appropriate (or better) vocabulary words 1 2 3 4 5
34) Student seems to understand age-appropriate humor within peer conversations 1 2 3 4 5
35) Student clarifies and/or rephrases when verbal communication is not understood by 1 2 3 4 5
the listener

36) Student uses age-appropriate (or better) sentence length when answering questions in class 1 2 3 4 5
37) Student is able to shift to different topics within conversations 1 2 3 4 5
38) Student links his or her words together with age-appropriate (or better) grammatical 1 2 3 4 5
structures

39) Student follows 3-step instructions with minimal need for repetitions or visual cues 1 2 3 4 5
40) Student's speech is understood even when the speech becomes more complex (e.g., longer 1 2 3 4 5
sentences, change in topic)

41) Student verbally or nonverbally indicates that he or she understands the speaker's message 1 2 3 4 5
42) Student is able to integrate information presented auditorily (e.g., lessons, stories, a 1 2 3 4 5
sequence of directions) and comprehend the meaning

43) Student identifies characters/people in conversations 1 2 3 4 5


44) Student uses age-appropriate (or better) sentence length when having a conversation 1 2 3 4 5
45) Student uses the environment to get a message across when the student's verbal 1 2 3 4 5
communication is not understood (e.g., points to relevant objects or people)

46) Student seems to understand nonverbal communication (e.g., gestures) 1 2 3 4 5


47) Student uses age-appropriate nonverbal communication to gain the attention of adults 1 2 3 4 5
48) Peers and adults seem to understand what the student says to them 1 2 3 4 5
49) Student interacts with a variety of peers and adults 1 2 3 4 5
50) Student uses age-appropriate nonverbal communication to gain the attention of peers 1 2 3 4 5
(e.g., wave, gentle tap)

Copyright 1998 by A. R. Smith, R. McCauley, and B. Guitar. Used with permission.