Development of a new speech comprehension test with a phonological distance metric  

Robert McAllister & Benny Brodda

Fonetik 2002, the XVth Swedish Phonetics Conference, Fysikcentrum, Stockholm, May 29 - 31, 2002. Quartely Progress and Status Report (Department of Speech, Music and Hearing and Centre for Speech Technology, KTH, Stockholm) 44: 149-151.


We are in the process of developing a new speech comprehension test with special consideration of test features which enhance construct validity. These features include a careful selection of test stimuli as well as an innovative test methodology with the use of a phonological distance metric. Introduction The first and foremost problem to be addressed in the setting up of guidelines for the construction of a comprehension test is that of the definition of "speech comprehension". The decoding of the speech signal and the subsequent understanding of the spoken message involves a complex of physiological and psychological mechanisms that makes this definition and the description of this phenomenon a formidable task indeed. The comprehension test which is the object of this report is being developed with a linguistically based view of this process. In this paper we will attempt to briefly describe the theoretical bases for the principle features of the test. These theoretical considerations provide then, in turn, the basis for a judgement of test validity, particularly that which Cronbach (1960) refers to as "contruct validity".The work on the development of a comprehension test has, as its point of departure, the identification of the need for a tool which could provide an explicit measurement of speech comprehension in several contexts. An inventory of the need for explicit measurement of speech comprehension was carried out by McAllister and Dufberg (1989) It was found that such methods are needed in various research contexts as well as in some major clinical settings such as Audiology and Logopedics and Phoniatrics.

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