Center Papers

A Psychometric Study Of The ASL Receptive Skills Test When Administered To Deaf 3-, 4-, And 5-year Old Children

Allen, T. E. & Enns, C. J. (2013). A Psychometric study of the ASL Receptive Skills Test when administered to deaf 3-, 4-, and 5-year old children. Sign Language Studies 14(1), 58-79.

A new test, the ASL Receptive Skills Test (ALS-RST), adapted from the BSL Receptive Skills Test (BSL-RST), was administered to 160 deaf children, ages 3–5, as part of the Early Education Longitudinal Study conducted by the Science of Learning Center on Visual Language and Visual Learning. An analysis of the test’s psychometric properties was conducted. The results support the use of the ASL-RST for measuring ASL grammatical knowledge for developing signers at this young age level. The overall reliability of the test across all age groups was .96. An ANOVA revealed significant differences among sample age groups, as well as significant differences among groups of children differentiated by whether their families reported regularly using sign in the home. An analysis of items grouped by the grammatical feature that determined the structure of the ASL-RST showed systematic gains by age and systematic differentiation by the degree of grammatical complexity represented by the items. These grammatical differences in score performance are discussed from a developmental perspective in light of the current research literature on ASL acquisition.