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Hierarchy and reliability of the Preschool Language Scales–Fifth Edition: Mokken scale analysis


This study examined the psychometric properties of the Preschool Language Scales–Fifth Edition (PLS-5 English) among preschool children from low–socioeconomic status (SES) families. Method: The PLS-5 was administered individually to 169 3- to 4-year-old children enrolled in Head Start programs. We carried out a Mokken scale analysis (MSA), which is a nonparametric item response theory analysis, to examine the hierarchy among items and the reliability of test scores of the PLS-5 Auditory Comprehension (AC) and Expressive Communication (EC) scales. Results: The PLS-5 EC items retained a moderate Mokken scale with the inclusion of all the items. On the other hand, the PLS-5 AC items formed a moderate Mokken scale only with the exclusion of five unscalable items. The latent class reliability coefficients for the AC and the EC scale scores were both above .90. Several items that violated the invariant item ordering assumption were found for both scales. Conclusions: MSA can be used to examine the relationship between the latent language ability and the probability of passing an item with ordinal responses. Results indicate that for preschool children from low-SES families, it is appropriate to use the PLS-5 EC scale scores for comparing individuals’ expressive language abilities; however, researchers and speech-language pathologists should be cautious when using the PLS-5 AC scale scores to evaluate individuals’ receptive language abilities. Other implications of the MSA results are further discussed. (author abstract)

Resource Type:
Reports & Papers
United States

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