Shortened Nonword Repetition Task (NWR-S): A Simple, Quick, and Less Expensive Outcome to Identify Children With Combined Specific Language and Reading Impairment


The purpose of this research note was to validate a simplified version of the Dutch nonword repetition task (NWR; Rispens & Baker, 2012). The NWR was shortened and scoring was transformed to correct/incorrect nonwords, resulting in the shortened NWR (NWR-S).


NWR-S and NWR performance were compared in the previously published data set of Rispens and Baker (2012; N = 88), who compared NWR performance in 5 participant groups: specific language impairment (SLI), reading impairment (RI), both SLI and RI, one control group matched on chronological age, and one control group matched on language age.


Analyses of variance showed that children with SLI + RI performed significantly worse than other participant groups in NWR-S, just as in NWR. Logistic regression analyses showed that both tasks can predict an SLI + RI outcome. NWR-S holds a sensitivity of 82.6% and a specificity of 95.4% in identifying children with SLI + RI. The sensitivity of the original NWR is 87.0% with a specificity of 87.7%.


As the original NWR, the NWR-S comprising a subset of 22 nonwords scored with a simplified scoring system can identify children with combined SLI and RI while saving a significant amount of the needed assessment time.

Supplemental Materials


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