Purpose: The aims of this study were to assess the reliability and validity of the Computer Articulation Instrument (CAI), a speech production test battery assessing phonological and speech motor skills in 4 tasks: (1) picture naming, (2) nonword imitation, (3) word and nonword repetition, and (4) maximum repetition rate (MRR).
Method: Normative data were collected in 1,524 typically developing Dutch-speaking children (aged between 2; 0 and 7; 0 [years; months]). Parameters were extracted on segmental and syllabic accuracy (Tasks 1 and 2), consistency (Task 3), and syllables per second (Task 4). Interrater reliability and test-retest reliability were analyzed using subgroups of the normative sample and studied by estimating intraclass correlation coefficients (ICCs). Construct validity was investigated by determining age-related changes of test results and factor analyses of the extracted speech measures.
Results: ICCs for interrater reliability ranged from sufficient to good, except for percentage of vowels correct of picture naming and nonword imitation and for the MRRs for bisyllabic and trisyllabic items. The ICCs for test-retest reliability were sufficient (picture naming, nonword imitation) to insufficient (word and nonword repetition, MRR) due to larger-than-expected normal development and learning effects. Continuous norms showed developmental patterns for all CAI parameters. The factor analyses revealed 5 meaningful factors: all picture-naming parameters, the segmental parameters of nonword imitation, the syllabic structure parameters of nonword imitation, (non) word repetition consistency, and all MRR parameters.
Conclusion: Its overall sufficient to good psychometric properties indicate that the CAI is a reliable and valid instrument for the assessment of typical and delayed speech development in Dutch children in the ages of 2-7 years.