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Thesis (M.A.)—University of Nebraska—Lincoln, 1966. Department of Speech and Dramatic Art.


Copyright 1966, the author. Used by permission.


The major purpose of the present study will be to investigate the reliability of the direct-magnitude estimation method for rating defective spontaneous speech.Specifically, the following questions will be asked.

  1. How does the interobserver reliability vary by changing the level of speech defectiveness of the standard (i.e., from mild to moderate to severe) in relation to which speech samples are judged?

  2. How does interobserver reliability of spontaneous speech samples (obtained in conversation) vary from that obtained with fixed speech samples (obtained by recitation of a nursery rhyme, e.g., Jack and Jill)?

  3. Is there a significant difference between ratings of speech-defectiveness of spontaneous speech samples and fixed speech samples when these ratings are obtained in relation to the same standard?

Twenty children with articulation ranging from mildly defective to severely defective were selected from the University of Nebraska Speech and Hearing Clinic and the Lincoln, Nebraska area.

The following conclusions are offered:

  1. The use of direct-magnitude estimation to rate speech defectiveness by an observer-group can be done satisfactorily under a greater number of experimental conditions than reported previously.

  2. The use of a selected moderate standard would be more satisfactory if the type (i.e., fixed or spontaneous) of speech samples presented is not taken into consideration.

  3. The use of fixed speech samples would be more satisfactory if the kind of standard (i.e., whether mild, moderate, or severe) is not taken into consideration.

  4. The differences between the fixed and spontaneous speech samples may be due to the heavier loading of sounds of greater articulatory complexity in the nursery rhyme.

  5. The method of assessing speech defectiveness by direct-magnitude estimation has clinical usefulness when used in conjunction with articulation testing. It may have greatest usefulness in measuring progress in therapy particularly with respect to carryover when care is taken to obtain the speech samples under simulated non-test conditions.

Advisor: Herbert F. Schliesser