Date of Award


Degree Name

Master of Arts


Speech, Language and Hearing Sciences

First Advisor

Dr. James Hillenbrand

Second Advisor

Dr. Michael Clark

Third Advisor

Dr. Nickola Nelson

Access Setting

Masters Thesis-Open Access


This study was designed to analyze the oral communication exchanges between first, third, and fifth grade teachers and their students. It was based on the hypothesis that discourse parameters of linguistic quantity and complexity and communication acts change over grade level, much as the discourse parameters of caregivers with young children have been found to do. The language of teachers and students in 15 classrooms was examined by measuring 6 form and quantity variables and 11 communication act variables. Results showed significant differences for some form variables (MLU, mazes, and Type-token ratio) and some communication acts (convey content, mark content, solicit students). A major purpose of the study was to gather evidence regarding the linguistic demands placed upon students that will be helpful in planning relevant language intervention services for them. The results regarding proportion of talking time will provide information about opportunities that children have to use their language skills in the classroom.