Project III.13. Core Project: Development of a National Database of Language, Literacy and School Achievement Measures for Children of Various Populations

L. Miller

Objectives: 1) to develop a database including measures of language, literacy, cognitive abilities, and school achievement-related abilities, collected on a diverse set of child populations from studies across Canada; and 2) to facilitate use of this database to address relevant research questions, including questions of population differences, and ability modeling within and across populations, and demographic data pertaining to literacy across the nation.

Rationale: CLLRnet datasets have value beyond the individual projects for which they are collected; data contributed to this project will come from multiple researchers across Canada investigating diverse populations. The network will facilitate the process of achieving consensus regarding the particular measures included, and will also facilitate transfer of data to a common, core site. Researchers within the network would contribute to the database, and could also access the database to address research questions.  It is hoped that the data from most CLLRnet-funded projects would be included in the database and projects should be planned and executed accordingly.

Methodology: Most CLLRnet projects, including all Theme III and IV projects incorporate measures of language ability, components of literacy, and/or school achievement, measuring these constructs across diverse populations at various locations across Canada. All projects have identified the specific measures to be used and/or the constructs to be measured, but not the specific measures to be used. There is considerable agreement in the measures to be used. For example, several protocols specify use of the WRAT BV.3 as the measure of school achievement, several would use the PPVT, and so on.  Where studies propose to measure comparable constructs, CLLRnet will seek a consensus regarding common measures, facilitating the collection of comparable data across populations.

Data on the common measures collected for use in individual projects will be collected at a single site where a research assistant will create a master database, coding all data with information such as original study source, population of interest, and geographical location. This database will then be accessible to CLLRnet researchers to facilitate future research. Since this project will be ongoing, following the progress of individual studies, it will be necessary to conduct this project over the full duration of the network funding period.

Significance and Deliverables: CLLRnet provides a unique opportunity for a project of this type, which could not reasonably be conducted without the involvement of a network of researchers. The result will be an extremely valuable and rich source of national, multi-population data. Many research questions can be addressed properly only with the use of extremely large samples, and it is often difficult to obtain data for large samples, particularly on special populations.  A national database of language, literacy, and school achievement measures could thus provide a rich resource and enable researchers to address questions that would otherwise appear infeasible due to sample constraints. Additionally, this database could provide valuable demographic information pertaining to literacy in Canada, with the potential to affect policy decisions regarding education and literacy.

For more information on this project, please contact Linda Miller (lmiller@uwo.ca).

Core Facilities