American Speech-Language-Hearing Association

1997-1998 Projects on Multicultural Activities

Computer Practice Module for the PRAXIS Examinations in Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology
Kay Payne
Howard University

A survey conducted by Shewan (1988) estimated that there are approximately 30,000 master's level speech-language pathology service providers who are non-certified by ASHA. It may be asserted reasonably that a sizeable portion of these individuals exist as a result of their failure to achieve a passing score on the PRAXIS Examinations in Speech Pathology and Audiology. A study by Goertz and Pitcher (1985) indicated that the national pass rate ranges from 66.3 to 67.8 percent. Goertz and Pitcher also cite a noticeably higher failure rate for multicultural groups. During 1981-1985, the failure rate was 13.7% for whites, but 53.8% for African Americans. A 1990 report from ETS shows mean scores of 648 for whites, 545 for African Americans, 576-599 for Hispanic groups and 588 for American Indians. The high failure rate of multicultural groups is particularly disturbing since these groups are seriously underrepresented in the professions.

Failure of the PRAXIS does not necessarily imply professional incompetence. Payne, Anderson and Cole (1988) found that cognitive, affective and test-wiseness requirements for standardized test may actually mask professional knowledge. These investigators have also shown that rigorous coaching and intense practice directed toward test requirements can improve the scores of test-takers by an average of 30 points.

The purpose of the project was to develop, evaluate, and disseminate an innovative approach to test preparation which will enable examinees to pass the PRAXIS. Using the computer to gain knowledge of their performance, i.e. error patterns, examinees will receive a diagnosis of their test-taking skill deficiencies and will have the opportunity to practice and develop their test-taking skills.

Defining Your Own Cultural Mission in the Fields of Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology - Improving Leadership
Michael Fain & Dorian Lee Wilkerson
Hampton University

This project was designed to host a symposium in which students and established African American scholars met and interacted in small group settings. The purpose of the symposium was to instill in its student participants a personal sense of mission that would inspire leadership. The symposium targeted African American students and others from underrepresented groups who were attending historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs) and majoring in communication disorders at the graduate and undergraduate level.

The symposium was titled "The Multicultural Leadership Symposium" and was structured to give students information about leadership skills, leadership styles, educational opportunities, and career opportunities. It was thought that by providing such information, students would be better able to make informed choices when deciding upon educational and career paths. It was also anticipated that by participating in the Multicultural Leadership Symposium, students would accept the "torch" of leadership as proposed by the project's creator.

Identifying Language Disorders in Multicultural Populations of Children
Mary Laura Farnham
University of Nebraska - Omaha

In recent years, the validity of most language assessment measures for children with culturally and linguistically different (CLD) backgrounds has been questioned. Currently available procedures and instruments often discriminate against these children. In a previous study (Jacobs, 1995), a culturally fair, computerized language test called KIDTALK was used to differentiate between children with language differences and disorders across two cultural/linguistic groups. KIDTALK was designed to assess children's ability to acquire linguistic features of a novel language "Kiswa". The study demonstrated KIDTALK to be an effective assessment of language disorder among the two cultural/linguistic groups tested.

The proposal had three objectives:

  • to further validate KIDTALK by testing its effectiveness with other ages and cultural/linguistic groups of children,
  • to provide minority university students with research and field experience in the assessment of culturally and linguistically diverse children, and
  • to provide university students, practicing clinicians, and researchers with information regarding effective language assessment with multicultural populations of children.

The purpose of this project was to improve the identification of language disorders in multicultural populations of children. The expected outcomes of the project included increased opportunities in research and field experience for minority university students, and the further development of a culturally fair, computerized language screening test.

Phonological Development in Sequential Child Dual Language Learners
Raquel Anderson
Indiana University

Data on child SLA phonological development can provide important information that can aid us in understanding phonological universals as well as language-specific factors that impact acquisition. Thus, the main objective of this investigation was to collect comprehensive longitudinal data on a group of preschool-aged children who were learning English as a second language via immersion in an English-speaking environment. The investigation differed from previous research in important ways: (1) both L1 and L2 skills were assessed; and (2) more than one first language group was included. The following research questions were posed:

  • Do preschool age children learning English as a second language follow similar patterns of development, regardless of L1 background?
  • Does English L2 learning parallel what has been observed in English L1 phonological acquisition?
  • Do sequential second language learners demonstrate, via developmental error patterns and sound use across languages, that they have two independent phonological systems? Does this change across time?

The investigation was designed to provide information about English L2 acquisition which had previously been inadequately researched. The results benefit clinical and university programs, speech-language pathology clinicians, and institutions who provide services to non-native English-speaking children.

Prereferral Intervention Team: Professional Development Consortium
Kathleen Moore
Oakland (MI) Schools

Oakland County, Michigan is an area of growing cultural and linguistic diversity. As families immigrate to Michigan, growing numbers of language minority students are entering Oakland County schools at varying levels of English language and primary home language proficiency. In 1987, slightly more than 30 home languages were identified in Oakland County schools. In September 1997, ten years later, Oakland County schools enrolled students from more than 100 primary home languages. In 1989, the Michigan Department of Education identified slightly more than 30,000 language minority students who come from homes where languages other than English were spoken. Today, statewide, more than 56,000 language minority students are enrolled in our schools.

The Office of Civil Rights (OCR) was involved in a proactive compliance review with 12 of the 28 local school districts in Oakland County to monitor how local districts provide language minority student with equitable access to educational services. The partnership agreement entered into by the local districts and OCR confirmed a commitment to provide appropriate instruction for language minority students. A significant part of the commitment was to provide professional development to district staff to create a system of service to meet the educational needs of language minority students.

The objective of the project was to build a team of knowledgeable staff at the building, district and county levels. The multidisciplinary team consisted of a speech-language pathologist, audiologist, psychologist, teacher consultant, administrator, social worker, ESL/bilingual staff, and general education teacher.

Providing Speech-Language Pathologists Materials and Research: Issues of Culturally and Linguistically Diverse (CLD) Populations
Alejandro Brice
University of Central Florida

The principal aim of this project was to disseminate information regarding cultural and linguistic diversity to speech-language pathology clinicians and speech-language university faculty members. The dissemination of information, in specific, was aimed to accomplish the following:

  • allow for clinicians and faculty the ability to infuse multicultural issues in the areas of clinical practice and professional education, and
  • allow for clinicians and for faculty the ability to infuse multicultural issues in the area of research.

The specific objectives were accomplished through the development of:

  • a Web site specifically devoted to dissemination of culturally and linguistically appropriate therapy materials, and
  • a Web-based, refereed journal on CLD issues for speech-language pathologists (http://pegasus.cc.ucf.edu/~abrice/jccd.html).

The online resource would provide free, easily accessible information to speech-language pathologists and other related professionals. Through e-mail advertising, the Web site would reach a large audience and thus fill the current need for dissemination of tests, information and materials concerning culturally and linguistically diverse populations and how to serve them.

Serving the Academic Needs of Students with Physical Disabilities Through Distance Learning
Phyllis Breen
University of Cincinnati

Making graduate programs in speech-language pathology and audiology accessible to students with physical disabilities is consistent with the commitment to recruit individuals from diverse backgrounds into the professions. Despite federal mandates and firm commitments by the universities to make education and campus buildings accessible, students with physical disabilities may find it difficult or be unable to come to formal organized classes on campus.

The University of Cincinnati has been involved in distance learning for providing education to speech-language pathologists working in the schools in areas where no graduate program is available. The purpose of this project was to help students with physical disabilities earn a master's degree in speech-language pathology and/or audiology through providing distance learning opportunities and special accommodations for practicum. Making graduate programs more accessible to students with physical disabilities helped the department expand their role in serving students with diverse backgrounds.

1997-1998 Review Panel: Arturo Cabello, Tempii Champion, Joan Kosta, Sandra Lebowitz, Mercedes Benitez McCrary, Sharon Moss, Diane Scott

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