How to refine measurements of phonemic awareness in preschool children
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The aim of the study was to further refine and develop a test instrument for mapping phonemic awareness in preschool children. The test consisted of three subtests, each measuring different aspects of phonemic awareness. The test and its details were similar to an earlier, validated version of the test as regards content, while the form of the test and its psychometric standards were improved. In order to evaluate the test´s ability to measure the changes in phonemic awareness after one preschool year of systematice exposure to training of phonemic awareness, a premeasurement was made before the training programme and a post measurement thirtytwo weeks later when the program was finished. The results showed the strong, significant positive effects of the training program. The psychometric characteristics of the test and its subtests also revealed that the subtests reflect both similar and complementary aspects of phonemic awareness that can be reliably measured and which together form a robust and reliable test of phonemic awareness. The results revealed no differences in means and dispersions between groups of boys and girls on any of the subtests or on total scores, thereby supporting the view that these well structured training tasks affected phonemic awareness in a similar way over time. The teachers´ professional role and attitudes to the systematic training programme also affected both the children’s motivation for the tasks as well as their amusement. Another conclusion was that the teacher’s job can be seen as both ardous and very rewarding. Finally, a further validating study is announced which will show that phonemic awareness among preschool children, as measured by the present test, is a necessary prerequisite for the decoding of words in written text when reading.
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