The Predictive Value of Preschool Language Assessments on Academic Achievement: A 10-Year Longitudinal Study of Icelandic Children

Am J Speech Lang Pathol. 2016 Feb;25(1):67-79. doi: 10.1044/2015_AJSLP-14-0184.


Purpose: The purpose of this study was to investigate the relationship between language knowledge at 5 years of age and later academic achievement throughout compulsory school in Iceland.

Method: Between 1997 and 1998, 267 Icelandic preschool children aged from 5;4 (years;months) to 5;10 were tested with the HLJÓM-2 (an Icelandic test of phonological awareness; Símonardóttir, Einarsdóttir, & Björnsdóttir, 2002) and the Icelandic version of the Test of Language Development-Primary: Second Edition (TOLD-2P; oral comprehension tasks; Símonardóttir, Guðmundsson, Skúlason, & Pétursdóttir, 1995). In 2011 these individuals, now aged 18-19 years, were contacted again. Of the original 267 participants, 221 (83%) gave permission to link their results from the preschool language assessments with their performance on national tests in 4th, 7th, and 10th grades.

Results: The results showed strong correlation between phonological awareness (as measured by the HLJÓM-2) and academic achievement (Icelandic and mathematics) in 4th, 7th, and 10th grades. There was also a significant but lower correlation with oral comprehension skills, as measured with the TOLD-2P. Regression analysis showed that the preschool oral-language assessments in phonological awareness and oral comprehension explained between 35% and 43% of variability in scores on national tests in Icelandic and between 20% and 39% of variability in scores in mathematics.

Conclusion: Preschool language knowledge is a reliable predictor of later academic achievement.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Achievement*
  • Adolescent
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Comprehension
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Iceland
  • Language Development Disorders / diagnosis*
  • Language Development Disorders / therapy
  • Language Tests*
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Male
  • Phonetics
  • Speech Perception