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Thesis defences

PhD Oral Exam - Anne Laurie, Education

Curriculum-Based Dynamic Assessment of Narratives: Benefits for Bilingual Filipino Children

Date & time
Wednesday, August 23, 2023
10 a.m. – 12 p.m.

This event is free


School of Graduate Studies


Daniela Ferrer


Faubourg Ste-Catherine Building
1610 St. Catherine W.
Room FG 5.315

Wheel chair accessible


When studying for a doctoral degree (PhD), candidates submit a thesis that provides a critical review of the current state of knowledge of the thesis subject as well as the student’s own contributions to the subject. The distinguishing criterion of doctoral graduate research is a significant and original contribution to knowledge.

Once accepted, the candidate presents the thesis orally. This oral exam is open to the public.


Canadian schools (Statistics Canada, 2022). Filipino-speaking children who display challenges in learning the language of instruction may be referred for language assessment. However, standardized assessments are often not suited to children acquiring a second language, leading to inaccurate conclusions regarding their abilities. This set of studies examines the benefits of a novel curriculum-based dynamic assessment (CBDA) developed to assess the narrative abilities of children acquiring English as a second language.

Study 1 examined the accuracy of the CBDA in distinguishing typical language development (TD) from language difficulties (LD) for 34 bilingual Filipino children and compared the classification accuracy to the Test of Narrative Language – Second Edition (TNL-2; Gillam & Pearson, 2017). The results showed that the CDBA was an excellent predictor of language ability.

Study 2 examined narrative microstructure for children from Study 1 at pretest and posttest. Children in the TD group scored higher than the LD group on productivity measures at both pretest and posttest and on complexity measures at pretest. The TD group also improved on the productivity measures, while the LD group changed negligibly.

Study 3 explored the modifiability ratings and performance on the TNL-2 of four kindergarten children with LD who participated in the first two studies, using a multiple case-study design. All four children showed difficulties answering wh-questions appropriately and warranted high examiner effort. They displayed differences in their learning preferences and potential and performed differently from one another on the TNL-2.

Study 4 explored Filipino-Canadian parents’ views on Filipino children’s narratives and on the usefulness of the CBDA through focus groups. They indicated that the story content was influenced by personal experiences common in the Filipino culture and described “good” stories as elaborated and structured in keeping with story grammar models. Lastly, parents appreciated the CBDA's focus on individual capabilities and its cultural sensitivity.

Together, the studies provide evidence that the CBDA of narratives is valuable for assessing Filipino- and English-speaking children and contributes to research on dynamic assessment for bilingual children.

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