Analysis of Receptive and Expressive Vocabulary Test Performance in Children of Varying Language Abilities

Open Access
Alberts, Rachel Leah
Area of Honors:
Communication Sciences and Disorders
Bachelor of Science
Document Type:
Thesis Supervisors:
  • Carol Anne Miller, Thesis Supervisor
  • Carol Anne Miller, Honors Advisor
  • Krista M Wilkinson, Faculty Reader
  • Semantic Representation
  • Specific Language Impairment
  • PPVT
  • EVT
  • Expressive and Receptive Vocabulary
Abstract This study examined the results of receptive and expressive vocabulary tests to investigate the strength of semantic representations. Participants in this research consisted of 24 children, 16 males and 8 females, from ages 5-13. A series of tests measuring language ability and attention were administered to the participants. For the purposes of this research the Expressive Vocabulary Test (EVT II) and the Peabody Picture Vocabulary Picture Test (PPVT IV) were analyzed to determine how the participants’ semantic representations were related to their expressive and receptive abilities. In the context of this thesis semantic representation refers to a child’s ability to pair the meaning of a word with a referent. Although many of the participants earned scores on the two tests that were comparable, some participants had scores that differed by at least one standard deviation. The hypothesis states, for those that had a difference between their EVT and PPVT score of at least one standard deviation, their receptive scores should be higher than the expressive scores because the receptive test puts less stress on semantic representations. The hypothesis was tested by comparing the results of the EVT and the PPVT. The results from comparing the EVT and PPVT revealed that receptive scores were better than expressive scores. In addition to comparing the EVT and PPVT, the hypothesis was supported through further analysis of the EVT where a pattern of errors was established. The errors were also broken down into seven categories. It was determined that the errors of those who had better receptive scores, could be categorized into category member errors and semantically related responses. The results suggest that fine-grained analysis of receptive and expressive vocabulary scores may provide better understanding of the semantic representations of children with and without language impairment