Predicting adult second language literacy with dyslexia screening tools: A conceptual replication of Elbro et al. (2012a)
A key issue in dyslexia screening assessments is ensuring that results can be identified early, accurately, and without undue influence from external factors (language proficiency and education background; Cline & Shamsi, 2000). Conventional static assessments (SA) involve observations of single-point-in-time measures of current literacy skills (Petersen et al., 2016). These assessments have been reported to have low screening accuracy with (adult) second language literacy learners (Lindgrén & Laine, 2007). In contrast, newly developed dynamic decoding assessments (DDA) include instruction and feedback into assessments to measure learning potential (Elbro et al., 2012a). Research has found that DDA may improve screening accuracy for language learners (Petersen & Gillam, 2015). However, Elbro et al. (2012a) has to date been the only study to compare SA and DDA accuracy with adult second language learners.
The present small-scale study is a conceptual replication of Elbro et al. (2012a). Piloting an innovative approach, it aims to examine SA and DDA accuracy to predict the literacy gains and losses of low-proficiency adult second language learners in New Zealand. The following results are reported. SA is more influenced than DDA by confounds (language proficiency, education background). Additionally, DDA but not SA is sensitive to phonological skills associated with dyslexia. Regarding what these assessments predict, SA is more sensitive to literacy gains than losses, while the converse is true of DDA. Importantly, SA and DDA combined most accurately predict literacy development. Overall, the findings suggest the importance of DDA for reducing dyslexia misidentification for this population. This study may be of practical use for the New Zealand tertiary second language education sector.