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Title:The Conversational Performance of Low Achieving and Normally Achieving Third Grade Children
Author(s):Schober-Peterson, Debra Lynn
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):Johnson, Cynthia J.
Department / Program:Speech and Hearing Science
Discipline:Speech and Hearing Science
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Degree:Ph.D.
Genre:Dissertation
Subject(s):Health Sciences, Speech Pathology
Abstract:The purpose of this study was to examine the structure and content of children's conversation and to investigate the relation between academic achievement, social status, and topic performance. Thirty children participated in the study; ten were identified by their classroom teacher as low-achieving students and twenty were considered to be normally achieving students. Subjects were selected from three regular education third grade classrooms within the same school. The children were from a predominantly working class community.
For the study, children participated in three tasks. First, the selected subjects along with their classmates completed two friendship questionnaires. Then, dyads of children were videotaped during casual conversation. Half of the normally achieving children participated twice in this task, paired once with a low-achieving classmate and once with another normally achieving classmate. Finally, all subjects participated in a brief interview with the investigator.
For the data analysis, friendship scores were calculated. Videotapes were transcribed orthographically and segmented into conversational topics. Then, transcripts were coded for topic progressions. A topic progression was defined as a series of related topics linked together by a common theme, construct, concept, or lexical item. Each topic was also coded for topic content. Measures were obtained to describe dyad and individual subject performance.
Results revealed that the low-achieving children were significantly less well-liked than their normally achieving classmates. Moreover, some low-achieving children were less skillful at conversation than their normally achieving peers. While comparisons of topical performance revealed no significant differences among the dyads, individual differences in performance did exist among the children. Most notable was the fact that the normally achieving children who participated twice in the conversational task "worked hard" to maintain interaction when paired with a low-achieving classmate. Specifically, most of the normally achieving children initiated more topics within a progression and fewer task-related topics than their low-achieving partners.
Findings of this study suggest that 8- to 10-year-old children have knowledge about how to establish cooperative conversation. Noteworthy, was the fact that all dyads displayed topic progressions. Moreover, the children were able to adapt their conversational behavior to ensure some amount of successful conversation.
Issue Date:1988
Type:Text
Description:173 p.
Thesis (Ph.D.)--University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 1988.
URI:http://hdl.handle.net/2142/70684
Other Identifier(s):(UMI)AAI8908831
Date Available in IDEALS:2014-12-16
Date Deposited:1988


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