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J Child Lang. 2013 Sep;40(4):821-35. doi: 10.1017/S030500091200030X. Epub 2012 Jul 31.

A long-term predictive validity study: can the CDI Short Form be used to predict language and early literacy skills four years later?

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University of Washington, Institute for Learning and Brain Sciences, Portage Bay Building, Box 357988, Seattle, Washington 98195, United States.


This longitudinal study examined the predictive validity of the MacArthur Communicative Developmental Inventories-Short Form (CDI-SF), a parent report questionnaire about children's language development (Fenson, Pethick, Renda, Cox, Dale & Reznick, 2000). Data were first gathered from parents on the CDI-SF vocabulary scores for seventy-six children (mean age=1 ; 10). Four years later (mean age=6 ; 1), children were assessed on language outcomes (expressive vocabulary, syntax, semantics and pragmatics) and code-related skills, including phonemic awareness, word recognition and decoding skills. Hierarchical regression analyses revealed that early expressive vocabulary accounted for 17% of the variance in picture vocabulary, 11% of the variance in syntax, and 7% of the variance in semantics, while not accounting for any variance in pragmatics in kindergarten. CDI-SF scores did not predict code-related skills in kindergarten. The importance of early vocabulary skills for later language development and CDI-SF as a valuable research tool are discussed.

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