The purpose of this study was to examine the extent to which modifiability ratings and gains in narrative language, made through intervention over time with culturally and linguistically diverse children, aligned with the results of a diagnostic dynamic assessment of language. This study also examined the sensitivity and specificity of the dynamic assessment when response to language intervention was used as the primary indicator of language disorder (LD). A total of 32 culturally and linguistically diverse students from an elementary school in Utah participated in this study, with 17 students with LD and 15 students without LD. Students were administered a dynamic assessment of language and were then provided small group narrative-based language intervention for several weeks. Student progress was monitored each week by collecting narrative language samples. Modifiability ratings were also collected, which provided information on student learning potential. Progress monitoring gain scores from the first intervention session to the last intervention session and mean modifiability ratings were compared between children with and without language disorder. Logistic regression and receiver operator characteristic analyses were conducted to obtain classification accuracy information. The results of this study indicated that growth in narrative language due to intervention did not reflect the results of the dynamic assessment; however, modifiability scores, which measure a student's difficulty in learning language, aligned with the dynamic assessment results. Sensitivity was 94% and specificity was 71%. It is possible that a dynamic assessment of language may be a less biased approach to diagnose LD in culturally and linguistically diverse students.



College and Department

Communication Disorders



Date Submitted


Document Type





dynamic assessment, language disorder, response to intervention, narrative



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Education Commons