The use of a standardized language assessment tool to measure the language development of urban Aboriginal preschoolers

Erin Miller, Vana Webster, Jennifer Knight, Elizabeth Comino*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Citations (Scopus)


The use of standardized language assessment tools with Australian Indigenous children has been criticized for language and cultural reasons; however, this has not been tested in an urban context. The aim of the study was to explore the language performance of a small sample of urban Aboriginal preschoolers on a standardized language tool compared with a conversational sample. Fifteen participants (drawn from a birth cohort study of over 150 Aboriginal infants born at a metropolitan hospital) completed the Clinical Evaluation of Language Fundamentals-Preschool Edition, Second Edition (CELF-P2) and generated a 30-minute conversational language sample. Descriptive data are reported, and five case studies are explored in detail to compare results of the CELF-P2 and the language sample analysis. Grammatical features of Aboriginal English are also investigated. There was a diverse range of responses to standardized assessment and language sampling, with some samples reflective of CELF-P2 results. Two or more grammatical features of Aboriginal English were identified in 13 of the language samples. The results suggest the CELF-P2 is an appropriate tool to use to assess the language development of the children in the study when used in conjunction with analysis of language samples obtained using culturally appropriate methods.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)109-120
Number of pages12
JournalInternational Journal of Speech-Language Pathology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2014
Externally publishedYes


  • Assessment
  • CELF-P2
  • Indigenous
  • Indigenous children
  • Language
  • Speech-language development


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