The purpose of the current study was to examine and compare relative and absolute reliability estimates between brief, linguistically compact narrative retells and longer, more linguistically diffuse narrative retells. The participants included 190 school-age children in firstsixth grade from Utah, Arizona, and Colorado. Participants completed two brief narrative retells using the Narrative Language Measures (NLM) Listening subtest of the CUBED assessment and one longer narrative retell using the wordless picture book Frog, Where Are You? (FWAY). These language samples were then analyzed for language productivity, complexity, and story grammar elements using the Systematic Analysis of Language Transcripts software program and the NLM Flow Chart. Analyses of relative reliability reveal that there are significant differences across all measures, when controlled for length, except for mean length of utterance in words. The language measures are higher in the shorter narrative NLM condition, while inclusion of story grammar is higher in the longer FWAY narrative retell. Additionally, all productivity and complexity measures have moderate to strong correlations between the NLM and FWAY narrative retells. Analyses of absolute reliability shows the FWAY narrative retell to demonstrate less variance across all measures when compared to the NLM, indicating that measures are more stable in the longer sample. Although the brief narrative retells does not demonstrate a sufficient degree of relative or absolute reliability, this study indicates that clinicians may be able to elicit brief narrative retells from school-age children without losing meaningful information on language complexity and productivity measures.



College and Department

David O. McKay School of Education; Communication Disorders



Date Submitted


Document Type





narrative, language sample analysis, reliability, language sample length, assessment