Date of Award

4-2011

Degree Name

Master of Arts

Department

Speech Pathology and Audiology (to 2016)

First Advisor

Nickola W. Nelson, Ph.D.

Access Setting

Masters Thesis-Campus Only

Abstract

This study was designed to investigate whether students in undergraduate courses in speech-language pathology could learn to divide children's written discourse into T-units to an 85% level of clinical reliability after completing brief (30 minutes or less) paper-and- pencil self-instructional training. Participants were 106 students in undergraduate courses in speech-language pathology. Participants completed five forms (a demographic questionnaire, a pre-test, training with practice exercises, a post-test, and a post-test questionnaire) within a SO-minute class session. Participants improved their accuracy in dividing T-units from the pre- to post-test (p < .0005); however, only 30.2% of participants were able to achieve a clinical criterion of 85% accuracy. Confidence in T-unit division increased from pre- to post-test (p < .0005). Accuracy scores and course type were associated, with participants in undergraduate phonetics courses scoring better than those in introductory courses (p = .018). Academic level (i.e., inclusion of freshmen in the introductory class) was the only systematic difference found between the demographics of the participants in the two types of classes. Grammatical knowledge was positively correlated with accuracy scores (p = .009). Participant feedback was analyzed to inform the development of better training materials. Further research is needed to ensure that professionals unfamiliar with T-units can learn to divide them accurately.

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