Language Assessments of Pre-School Children from a Low-Income Neighborhood Before and After Involvement in a Family-Based Intervention Program



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The current program evaluation study assessed the impact of parent and child classes on language development among 20 children from a low-income neighborhood. The families were participants in the East Lubbock Promise Neighborhood initiative. Using a pre- and post-test design, language assessments were given to children (age range 30 to 74 months) at two points in time. The assessments given include the Peabody Picture Vocabulary Test (PPVT™-4) and the Expressive Vocabulary Test (EVT™-2).
Consistent with other findings for children from low-income families, most of the children scored low on the language assessments at both Time 1 and Time 2. However, assessment scores did increase from Time 1 to Time 2 and this effect was driven primarily by an increase in expressive vocabulary. Furthermore, expressive vocabulary scores were lower than receptive vocabulary scores at Time 1 but not at Time 2.
The program design and evaluation were influenced by a systems-theory perspective, which focuses on the accumulation of social and physical risk factors among children from low-income families. We conclude that this intervention program is effective in influencing children’s developmental trajectory but that continued, and perhaps more intense, interventions are needed to continue to “close the gap” in language skills among children from low-income families.



Language development, Program evaluation, Intervention program, Early childhood, Low income neighborhood