Date of Completion


Embargo Period



Bernard Grela; Frank Musiek

Field of Study

Communication Science


Master of Arts

Open Access

Open Access


Purpose: This study compared the performance of preschool children with SLI and controls on the PPVT-III and PPVT-IV to determine the effect of test revision on identification of language impairment.

Method: Twenty preschool children with SLI and 20 typically developing controls served as the exploratory group. The confirmatory group consisted of 5 children with SLI and 20 controls. Children were administered both test versions in counterbalanced order.

Results: As expected, children with SLI performed significantly worse than their TD peers on both test versions. The discriminate analyses identified an optimal cut-off of 103 for both tests. Using this cut-off, sensitivity of both remained consistent at 80% while specificity dropped from 75% on the PPVT-III to 70% on the PPVT-IV. The confirmatory group’s data support these findings.

Conclusions: The lower diagnostic accuracy of the PPVT-IV highlights the need to avoid assuming newer versions are superior to older in identifying presence or absence of language impairment. Furthermore, the high cutoff for maximizing diagnostic accuracy provides further support that children with SLI are unlikely to score as low as clinicians may expect on these tests.

Major Advisor

Tammie J. Spaulding