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Abstract

Purpose: This study aimed to determine if Speech-Language Pathology (SLP) graduate students’ perceptual skills improved after taking an MSD course by comparing pre- and posttest performance. The potential relationship between posttest perceptual-skills performance and academic performance was also investigated.Method: Before beginning instruction in MSD course content, students in a Master’s program in SLP were given a pretest (The Baseline & Post Learning Assessment of Listening & Diagnostics Skills (BPLALDS; Duffy, n.d.a)). Throughout the semester, students were exposed to didactic learning in the classroom supplemented by audio and video modules. At the end of the course, the BPLALDS was used as a posttest. Variation in perceptual skills development was described and compared to overall course performance. Results: Scores on posttests of perceptual ability were significantly higher than pretest scores. Post-hoc comparisons revealed that students who learned relatively more were those who generalized perceptual knowledge to novel stimuli. Academic grade assignment correlated strongly with but accounted for only some of the variation in perceptual ability. Conclusion: Although some variation in perceptual ability related to differentially diagnosing motor speech disorders can be accounted for by academic attainment, additional factors, such as students’ ability to generalize knowledge from novel to new cases, likely contribute. The authors reflect on the manner in which learning theory can inform these results.

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