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Psychometric Assessment of Pilot Language and Communication Items on the 2018 and 2019 National Survey of Children's Health

  • Helena Hutchins
    Correspondence
    Address correspondence to Helena Hutchins, Child Development Studies Team, Division of Human Development and Disability, National Center on Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 4770 Buford Hwy S106-4, Atlanta, GA 30341-3717
    Affiliations
    Child Development Studies Team, Division of Human Development and Disability, National Center on Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (H Hutchins and L Robinson), Atlanta, Ga

    Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Research Participation Programs (H Hutchins), Oak Ridge, Tenn
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  • Lara Robinson
    Affiliations
    Child Development Studies Team, Division of Human Development and Disability, National Center on Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (H Hutchins and L Robinson), Atlanta, Ga
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  • Sana Charania
    Affiliations
    Early Hearing Detection and Intervention Team, Division of Human Development and Disability, National Center on Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (S Charania), Atlanta, Ga
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  • Reem Ghandour
    Affiliations
    Office of Epidemiology and Research, Maternal and Child Health Bureau, Health Resources and Services Administration (R Ghandour), Rockville, Md
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  • Kathy Hirsh-Pasek
    Affiliations
    Department of Psychology, Temple University (K Hirsh-Pasek), Philadelphia, Pa

    Brookings Institution (K Hirsh-Pasek), Washington, DC
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  • Jennifer Zubler
    Affiliations
    Eagle Global Scientific (J Zubler), San Antonio, Tex

    Learn the Signs, Act Early Program, Division of Human Development and Disability, National Center on Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (J Zubler), Atlanta, Ga
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Published:December 27, 2021DOI:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.acap.2021.12.024

      Abstract

      Objective

      Until recently, normative data on language and communication development among children in the United States have not been available to inform critical efforts to promote language development and prevent impairments. This study represents the first psychometric assessment of nationally representative data derived from a National Survey of Children's Health (NSCH) pilot measure of language and communication development among children ages 1 to 5 years.

      Methods

      We analyzed 14,573 parent responses to language and communication items on the 2018 and 2019 NSCH to evaluate whether the newly added 11 items represent a single latent trait for language and communication development and to determine normative age of success on each item. We applied weighted, one-parameter Item Response Theory to rate and cluster items by difficulty relative to developmental language ability. We examined differential item functioning (DIF) using weighted logistic regression by demographic factors.

      Results

      Together, exploratory factor analysis resulting in a single factor > 1 and explaining 93% of the variance and positive correlations indicated unidimensionality of the measure. Item characteristic curves indicated groupings were overall concordant with proposed milestone ages and representative of an approximate 90% success cut-point by child age. Indicated normative age cut-points for 3 of the items differed slightly from proposed milestone ages. Uniform DIF was not observed and potential nonuniform DIF was observed across 5 items.

      Conclusions

      Results have the potential to enhance understanding of risk and protective factors, inform efforts to promote language and communication development, and guide programmatic efforts on early detection of language delays.

      Keywords

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