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Continuing the Dialogue on Dialect: Positive Steps Toward Less Biased Assessments of Children Who Speak African American English

March 11, 2020
7:00 - 9:00 p.m. ET

Ventris Learning

Sponsored by Ventris Learning

As SLPs, we strive to reduce cultural and linguistic biases within our assessments of children who speak AAE. According to ASHA’s Position Statement on Social Dialects (1983), SLPs must have certain competencies to distinguish between a dialectal difference and communicative disorder which includes knowledge of nonbiased assessment procedures. This live chat will discuss positive steps being taken by three clinical researchers to reduce current biases within the field. These include using a patterns- and systems-based approach when analyzing language samples (Johnson), administering dialect-informed probes with strategic scoring and dialect-specific cut scores to measure linguistic productivity rather than correctness (Oetting), and conducting curriculum-based language assessments to tailor our services to students’ needs within schools (Newkirk-Turner). While each of us is focused on different aspects of the assessment process, each line of work compliments the others, and together, they allow clinicians to ask different types of assessment questions and collect different types of assessment data. While developed for children who speak AAE, these approaches are also applicable to all children, regardless of the dialect they speak.

  • Valerie Johnson, PhD, CCC-SLP, Department of Rehabilitation and Movement Sciences, Rutgers University
  • Brandi Newkirk-Turner, PhD, CCC-SLP, Department of Communicative Disorders, Jackson State University
  • Janna Oetting, PhD, CCC-SLP, Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders, Louisiana State University

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This free event is offered to all ASHA members (it is not offered for CEUs).

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