Beyond Communication has a large and ever expanding battery of assessments at our fingertips. Each of these tools helps clarify a child learning profile and their learning differences. For each case, we carefully consider the questions driving the evaluation and choose the combination of tools needed to answer those questions. We recognize that evaluation reports filled with data from all these technical instruments can be hard to wade through. We created this page to help you understand what each test is, what it looks like to your child, and what it tells us. Once you have your evaluation from BC in your hands, you can locate the tests we used listed under the Assessments Administered heading.
Find out what you need to know about each by clicking on the title below.
The Apraxia Profile measures the child’s ability to engage in a variety of automatic, volitional and speech movement sequences in order to determine the presence of verbal apraxia. Subtests are targeted for both preschool and school age populations. It consists of the following subtests:
Oral Motor Exam: This section contains oral motor tasks, ranging from imitation of single movement or phonemes to imitation of multiple movements or phoneme sequences and rate variations. This section provides assessment of the child’s control over his/her articulators, relative strength, motion, coordination, speed and ability to vary muscle tension when appropriate.
Words: In the word repetition subtest, the child is required to repeat a list of words after the examiner’s example, starting with simple consonant-vowel-consonant (C-V-C) combinations and proceeding to difficult multisyllabic words and phrases such as “fire extinguisher”.
Phrases and Sentences: In this section of the examination, the child is asked to produce utterances at the multi-word level. Nursery rhymes, rote counting, and sentence repetition tasks may be used.
Connected Speech Sample:
Apraxia Characteristics Checklist: This checklist assesses the amount of characteristics, behavioral and clinical, that determine the presence of apraxia.
Test Description: The BRIEF-2 provides a standardized framework for deriving information about a student’s level of functioning within different aspects of executive function skills, based on observations of parents, teachers, and the subject students themselves. Instead of Standard Scores, as seen on most formal educational assessments, the BRIEF provides T scores, for which the mean is 50 and one standard deviation is 10. Percentile ranks are also provided. Higher percentile ranks reflect more extensive degrees of difficulty in a given area. T-scores from 60 to 64 are considered mildly elevated, T scores from 65 to 69 are considered potentially clinically elevated, and T scores at or above 70 are considered clinically elevated.
The following are descriptions of the different clinical scales and indices.
The Inhibit scale measures the student’s ability to resist impulses and modulate his/her behavior as needed at a given moment. Poor inhibition presents as impulsivity.
The Self-Monitor scale assesses awareness of the impact of one’s own behavior on other people and outcomes.
The Shift scale measures the student’s ability to transition between environments, ideas, activities, or daily scenarios when required. Shifting is closely related to attention modulation, problem-solving, and flexibility.
The Emotional Control scale assesses the student’s control over his or her expression of feelings.
The Initiate scale represents the student’s competency with developing plans, identifying actions, and developing approaches to tasks as well as getting started independently.
The Working Memory scale assesses the extent to which the student can store, manipulate, and use information in order to carry out cognitive processes. Working memory is a critical foundation for following instructions, working independently on complex tasks, and academic thinking such as performing mental math. Working memory is also very closely tied to sustained attention.
The Plan/Organize scale has two portions. It measures the student’s ability to plan steps in a sequence, identify goals, and predict future events. It also measures the student’s ability to organize information by sorting into main ideas and related details, or prioritizing or classifying information.
The Organization of Materials scale represents the student’s success with managing their belongings and spaces, both in school and at home.
The Task Monitor scale addresses self-monitoring skills such as self-checking during a task process, including evaluating one’s own performance during and after a task.
The Behavioral Regulation Index (BRI) is calculated from the Inhibit and Self Monitor scales. It summarizes the student’s skills with regards to controlling their impulses and managing their actions and reactions in a variety of settings and situations.
The Emotional Regulation Index (ERI) is calculated from the Shift and Emotional Control scales. It summarizes the student’s ability to manage his/her feelings, including reacting flexibly to changes in the environment and situation.
The Cognitive Regulation Index (MI) is calculated from Initiate, Working Memory, Plan/Organize, Organization of Materials, and Task Monitor scales. It summarizes the student’s skills with regards to planning, organizing, self-monitoring, self-starting, and sustained attention and memory. It is also closely related to problem-solving abilities and the ability to work independently.
The Global Executive Composite (GEC) is a total score that incorporates the student’s performance on all scales described above.
Test Description: The CELF-5: Metalinguistics is a revised version of the previous assessment, Test of Language Competence- Expanded Edition. It is used to measure higher-level language skills and the use of semantic, syntactic, and pragmatic language strategies. Emphasis is placed on assessing a student’s ability to perceive, interpret and respond to the nuanced contextual and situational demands of conversation.
The Making Inferences subtest requires the student to use inferential thinking skills to determine cause-effect relationships. The examiner reads a short story in which the cause of a stated outcome is missing. The student follows along with a printed copy. The student then must choose two logically possible answers from a set of four choices.
The Multiple Meanings subtest focuses on the student’s ability to interpret multiple meanings at the phrase and sentence level. He is shown and read a sentence and asked to describe two different possible meanings.
The Conversational Skills subtest involves semantic, syntactic, and pragmatic language skills. The student is shown a picture and given three target words. He must incorporate the three words into a sentence that one of the pictured people might say in the situation. The task requires high-level language formulation skills as well as critical thinking and perspective-taking.
The Figurative Language subtest evaluates the student’s knowledge of idiomatic expressions. The student is read and shown a sentence containing an idiom in a particular context. First, the student describes what he thinks the idiom means, then he is shown additional idioms and is asked to choose one that has the same meaning. In this way, two levels of understanding (retrieval and recognition) are assessed.
Test Description: The CELF-5 is the among most widely used and accepted clinical tools for the identification, diagnosis, and follow-up evaluation of language and communication disorders in students 5-21 years old. It contains tools to assesses the basic skills in each of the five critical areas of language; syntax, semantics, morphology, phonology, and pragmatics. Individual subtest scores show strengths and weaknesses in particular areas, and then are combined into index scores, which illustrate a more global language profile.
Test Description: The CTOPP-2 is a widely used assessment for examining the skills that form the foundations for literacy.
In the Elision subtest, the student is asked to repeat a word, then repeat it again without a given sound. The task requires the child to both blend and segment word sounds, all while relying upon working memory, as no visuals are allowed.
The Blending Words subtest assesses the student’s skill in synthesizing individual phonemes in order to form a word. The test begins with 2-sound words and progresses through words of increasing length.
The Phoneme Isolation subtest asks the student to listen to a spoken word, then state the sound in a given position (e.g. first sound, third sound, middle sound, final sound). Success with this task requires the ability to segment phonemes and apply working memory.
The Memory for Digits subtest evaluates auditory memory span through having the student repeat numbers in sets of increasing length.
The Rapid Digit Naming subtest measures rapid naming skills, which play an important role in reading fluency. The student looks at a page of printed digits and is asked to “read” them as quickly as possible.
The Nonword Repetition subtest assesses sound perception, sequencing, and memory skills. The student listens to made-up words of increasing length, and must repeat them with all of the sounds present and properly sequenced.
The Rapid Letter Naming is similar to the Rapid Digit Naming in task structure and function. The student is shown a page of letters and must name them as quickly as possible. Results of this test are reflective of the student’s retrieval abilities.
The supplemental subtest Segmenting Nonwords is a pure segmenting task, unlike the Elision subtest, which requires both segmentation and blending. Here, the student is presented with a nonword and asked to say all of the sounds in the word individually.
The Phonological Awareness composite score is obtained by combining the standard scores of three subtests: Elision, Blending Words, and Phoneme Isolation. It measures a student’s awareness of the phonological structure of oral language and ability to apply knowledge of the phonological structure to identify and manipulate phonological segments.
The Phonological Memory composite score is obtained by combining the standard scores of two subtests: Memory for Digits and Nonword Repetition. It measures the student’s ability to code information phonologically for temporary storage in working or short-term memory.
The Rapid Naming composite score is obtained by combining the standard scores of two subtests: Rapid Digit Naming and Rapid Letter Naming. t measures efficient retrieval of phonological information from long-term or permanent memory and executing a sequence of operations quickly and repeatedly.
Test Description: The ELLA is a comprehensive, norm-referenced assessment designed to evaluate aspects of the foundations for literacy. The test is divided into three sections. The first section contains subtests that evaluate the child’s phonological awareness and flexibility. The second contains subtests that evaluate the child’s recognition and interpretation of printed information. The third section contains subtests that probe memory, retrieval, and verbal automaticity. These skills are critical underpinnings of literacy development. The test is normed for children ages 4.6 – 9.11.
Test Description: The EOWPVT assesses expressive vocabulary through a confrontational picture naming task.
Test Description: The Expressive Language Test-2 is a diagnostic measure designed to assess language knowledge and flexibility with expressive language. It was developed with a focus on the key skills required of students to communicate effectively through elementary and middle school.
There are five subtests:
The Sequencing subtest evaluates sequencing skills by asking the child to use pictures to tell about sequential events, to tell the steps of a sequential event without pictures, and to put picture cards in order and describe the process shown. (e.g. “Tell me how you wrap a present.”)
The Metalinguistics: Defining subtest requires the student to define a curriculum-related word presented by the examiner. (e.g. “Tell me what a question is.”)
The Metalinguistics: Generating Examples subtest requires the student to provide an example of a language concept presented by the examiner. (e.g. “Tell me a question.”)
The Grammar and Syntax subtest is divided into two tasks. The student repairs grammatical or syntactical error in a sentence presented by the examiner. (e.g. “Her and I are best friends.”) The student also rearranges words presented in random order to make a grammatically and syntactically correct sentence. (e.g. “our is broken window”)
The Defining Categories subtest asks the student to describe critical features of given categories. (e.g. “Tell me what a tool is.”)
Test Description: As listed in the manual, the purpose of the Functional Communication Profile – Revised is to offer a sensible and organized method of evaluating communication skills in individuals across age ranges with developmental and acquired delays, primarily the population of children, adolescents and adults diagnosed with autism and severe developmental disabilities. This profile is a comprehensive guide in which the evaluator assesses (primarily through observation and parent interview) and then rates the client on eleven major skill categories of communication and related aspects, including Sensory, Motor, Behavior, Attentiveness, Receptive Language, Expressive Language, Pragmatic/Social, Speech, Voice, Oral, and Fluency. In addition, the assessment allows the user flexibility in evaluating communication skills for individuals, regardless of whether expression is by means of speech, non-orally (including sign-language, low- or high-technology augmentative communication), or through nonverbal communication. This profile targets practical skills individuals with developmental and acquired delays encounter daily. This test has no scoring system and similarly, there are no age-referenced or severity norms. Subjective rating for the impairment level for each category is a decision based on the responses to the test items via parental report, behavior observed, and the examiner’s general impression.
Test Description: The GFTA-2 is perhaps the most widely used articulation test in the nation. The student is presented with a series of pictures and is asked to name them. The evaluator then makes observations regarding articulation of target consonant sounds at the beginning, middle, and end of words.
Test Description: The GORT-5 is the most recent revision of this widely used instrument that provides for both diagnosis and progress monitoring of reading abilities. The student is presented with a printed passage and asked to read aloud. His/her reading is timed and all miscues are recorded. Then, s/he is asked to answer five open-ended comprehension questions based on the material in the passage. Comprehension questions and answers are presented orally. The student is not permitted to refer to the original text while answering the questions.
The Rate score reflects the speed with which the student read aloud.
The Accuracy score reflects the degree to which the client made errors in oral reading. Errors include such mistakes as decoding or sight word recognition, repetitions, omissions, and skipped lines.
The Fluency score is a combination of the rate and accuracy scores.
The Comprehension score reflects how well the student was able to recall and synthesize information from the passages. Both literal-level and inferential-level comprehension skills are included.
The Oral Reading Index incorporates all four areas listed above, for a global representation of the student’s overall reading ability.
Test Description: The Hodson Assessment of Phonological Patterns-Third Edition (HAPP-3) was designed explicitly to assess and analyze phonological deviation(s) of the children with highly unintelligible speech. It is an objective, standardized dynamic assessment instrument that is both norm-referenced and criterion-referenced. The HAPP-3 was designed to (a) assess and categorize phonological deviations (b) provide a treatment direction for children whose speech is highly unintelligible, and (c) yield post treatment data that can be used for evidence-based practice documentation. The HAPP-3 provides a method for systematically sampling and recording phonological deviation in a child’s speech. It provides specific and valuable information about substitutions and omissions of sounds by children whose speech is difficult to understand. HAPP-3 incorporates pattern-oriented analyses to identify broad patterns of deviation. The general types of patterns are (a) Word/Syllable Structures (omissions of syllables, consonants in sequences/clusters, and singleton consonants); (b) Consonant Category Deficiencies (omission and specific substitutions of consonants) and (c) Substitutions and Other Strategies (e.g., assimilations).
Test Description: The Kaufman Speech Praxis Test for Children, (KSPT), was developed to assist speech and language pathologists in the diagnosis and treatment of Childhood Apraxia of Speech (CAS). This test was chosen due to Adreanna’s severely restricted speech output, primarily unintelligible speech as her language increases in length and complexity, and most importantly, minimal gains made in the past with a traditional approach focusing on normal development of speech sound production. The KSPT was developed in order to take data of what vowels, consonants and syllable shapes (gestures) a child has in her repertoire and how well they can maintain production of phonemes in controlled syllabic length and complexity.
Test Description: The Listening Comprehension Test-2 is a diagnostic test of listening comprehension skills as related to classroom and daily life situations. The test uses the natural context of brief messages in order to assess the student’s ability to attend to what they hear, listen with a purpose in mind, remember what they hear well enough to think about it, avoid being impulsive in giving answers, and express answers verbally. There are five subtests:
The Main Idea subtest requires the student to listen to verbally presented information and identify the main idea. The child is asked, “What am I talking about?”
The Details subtest requires the student to listen to verbally presented information, remember the details, and answer a literal recall question.
The Reasoning subtest requires the student to infer answers from the information he heard. These are generally “why” or “what do you think” questions.
The Vocabulary subtest evaluates the child’s ability to apply semantic skills to listening comprehension situations. He is asked to give a definition of a word used in the passage.
The Understanding Messages subtest simulates daily situations in which practical information is related verbally and must be retained for later use. The student is asked to recall specific, key aspects of these messages.
Test Description: The Listening Comprehension Test-Adolescent is a diagnostic test of oral language comprehension skills as related to classroom and daily life situations. The test uses the natural context of brief messages in order to assess the student’s ability to attend to what they hear, listen with a purpose in mind, remember what they hear well enough to think about it, avoid being impulsive in giving answers, and express answers verbally. There are five subtests:
The Main Idea subtest requires the student to listen to verbally presented information and identify the main idea. The student is asked, “What is the main idea of this story?”
The Details subtest requires the student to listen to verbally presented information, remember the details, and answer a literal recall question.
The Reasoning subtest requires the student to infer answers from the information he heard. These are generally “why,” “how,” or “what do you think” questions.
The Vocabulary subtest evaluates the student’s ability to apply semantic skills to listening comprehension situations. He is asked to give a definition of or synonym for a word used in the passage.
The Understanding Messages subtest simulates daily situations in which practical information is related verbally and must be retained for later use. The student is asked to recall specific, key aspects of these messages.
Test Description: The OPUS is a measure of listening comprehension, a skill set which forms a critical foundation for learning and literacy. The examiner reads passages aloud to the student, then asks open-ended questions about the narratives or information. The passages of the OPUS are drawn from high-quality literature and nonfiction texts, and are lengthier and more complex than found in many other assessments of listening comprehension skill, providing a valuable view of the student’s academic language skills. The level of the passages can be adjusted to the functional skill level of the examinee. Though only one standard score is obtained, student performance can be examined based on language comprehension sub-skills. Criterion referenced data for each question type are provided. The student’s performance level relative to their peers in the standardization sample is provided for inference and memory tasks.
Test Description: The Oral and Written Language Scales- II incorporates four scales for measuring language abilities: Listening Comprehension, Oral Expression, Reading Comprehension, and Written Expression. The scales can be administered together or individually. For the purposes of the current assessment, only the Written Expression scale was utilized. The Written Expression scale of the OWLS-II is designed for ages 5 to 21. For each item, the examiner reads a prompt and the examinee is asked to respond in writing. The items vary in design from fill in the blank to sentence composition to paragraph-level composition. The test has a start and stop point for each age level, so every examinee is exposed only to items within an appropriate range of difficulty.
Test Description: The PAT was designed to diagnose deficits in phonological processing and phoneme-grapheme correspondence. The skills assessed in this battery have all been correlated with success in early reading and spelling.
The Rhyming subtests assess the student’s ability to recognize and generate rhyming words.
The Segmentation subtests examine the student’s ability to take sounds apart at three different levels: dividing sentences into words, words into syllables, and words into discreet phonemes. This skill is a primary aspect in the process of determining how a word should be spelled by listening to its sounds.
The Isolation subtests require the student to identify sounds in specific word positions; initial, medial, and final.
The Deletion subtests measures the student’s ability to manipulate sounds in words. The student is asked to delete one part of a multisyllabic word, then to delete an individual phoneme from a word.
The Substitution subtest also involves sound manipulation. The student is shown how unifix cubes can represent single sounds and be put together to form a representation of a word. The student must then remove and add cubes to show sound changes between similar words. This task is a high-level phonological awareness skill and involves working memory.
The Blending subtests asses how well the student can hear the word formed by individual syllables and sounds. This skill is essential to reading decoding.
The subtests of the Graphemes section of the test assess the student’s understanding of the sounds represented by single letters or letter combinations (e.g. bl, wh, oy). Knowledge of letter-sound relationships is essential for both reading and spelling.
The subtests of the Decoding section ask the student to read single words consisting of various key constructions. The words presented are nonwords, so that sight word memory cannot influence the student’s performance.
The PLS: 5 measures a child’s receptive and expressive language abilities.
The Auditory Comprehension subtest is used to evaluate receptive language skills in the areas of attention, semantics (vocabulary and concepts), structure (morphology and syntax), and integrative thinking skills.
The Expressive Communication subtest evaluates expressive language skills in the areas of vocal development, social communication, semantics (vocabulary and concepts), structure (morphology and syntax) and integrative thinking skills.
The PLSI is based on the theory of pragmatic language described by Bates (1976), who defined pragmatic language as the use of language in context. The PLSI is a 45-item, standardized, norm-referenced teacher-rating instrument that helps identify children ages 5-12 who have pragmatic language disabilities. It can be administered in a short amount of time (5 -10 minutes) using a simple 9 point scale to rate the student’s pragmatic language skills compared with average, below average, or above average students of the same age and gender. The characteristics of pragmatic language were included into the three sub classes of Classroom interaction skills, Social interaction skills, and Personal interaction skills. Th PLSI is used to identify students with a pragmatic language disorder, document progress in pragmatic language ability, and target pragmatic language goals for IEPs. Since some of Marty’s behaviors revolve around among his peers, it was felt that his teacher/ABA specialist’s perspective of his current pragmatic language functioning was valuable. Classroom Interaction Skills include using figurative language, maintaining a topic during a conversation, explaining how things work, writing a good story and using slang appropriately. Social Interaction Skills include knowing when to talk and when to listen, understanding classroom rules, taking turns in conversations and predicting consequences for one’s behavior. Personal Interaction Skills include initiating conversations, asking for help, participating in verbal games, and using appropriate nonverbal communicative gestures.
Test Description: The Qualitative Reading Inventory-6th Edition is a criterion-referenced assessment of passage reading skills. It can be administered as either a silent or oral reading task. The student first answers open-ended questions that address background information on the topic of the passage, so the examiner can determine the degree of the student’s familiarity with the content. The student then reads the passage independently, either silently or aloud, depending on the purpose of the assessment. After the reading, the student is asked to retell as much of the story or information as they can. The retellings are scored based on how many key ideas are recalled. Finally, the examiner asks the student open-ended comprehension questions. Both explicit and implicit questions are included. The student answers the questions without referencing the text. After a third-grade level, the student is permitted to try the comprehension questions a second time while looking back over the passage (these two phases are called “Without Look-Backs” and “With Look-Backs”). For each grade-level passage, the student is assigned an “Independent,” “Instructional,” or “Frustration” level based on their comprehension performance.
Test Description: The RAN/RAS Test are individually administered measures designed to estimate an individual’s ability to see a visual symbol—such as a letter or color—and to name it accurately and rapidly. The RAN/RAS Tests consist of four RAN tests (Objects, Colors, Numbers, Letters) and two RAS tests ( 2-Set Letters and Numbers, and 3-Set Letters, Numbers, and Colors). On all tests, the examinee is asked to name each stimulus item as quickly as possible without making any mistakes. Scores are based on the amount of time required to name all of the stimulus items on each test.
The Receptive-Expressive Emergent Language Scale (REEL) is a standardized assessment designed to help clinicians identify infants and toddlers who have language impairments or who have other disabilities that affect language development. Information is gathered by the therapist’s direct observation or elicitation, or by parent report based on their observations of the child at home.
Receptive Language: the child’s understanding of verbal language with and without linguistic cues.
Expressive Language: the child’s use of preverbal and verbal behaviors to communicate with others.
Test Description: The ROWPVT assesses the student’s vocabulary comprehension by requiring him to listen to a target word and point to a matching picture from a field of four.
SALT is a groundbreaking technology that allows clinicians to analyze spontaneous language samples based on normative data. During the testing session, the student is asked to either retell a story they’d heard the examiner read aloud from a picture book, describe how to play a familiar game or sport, or give a persuasive argument for a position on a topic. The task is determined by the student’s age. The student is prompted to talk for about five minutes, or tell the complete story. The examiner audio or video records the student’s sample. Then, after the testing session, the sample is transcribed using a coding system for a variety of language features, and the transcript is analyzed by the SALT software. Extensive data provides norm-referenced information about many aspects of verbal expression, such as mean length of utterance, lexical variety, grammatical structure, verbal fluency, and more. The tables shown above compare the student’s language production to the database samples in standard deviation units. For each language measure, the student’s score is listed, followed by the number of standard deviations that score is from the database mean, and the mean itself for each skill or quality. Though traditional standard scores are not provided, the data presented is compared to age-matched normed samples, and calculated based on standard deviations from the mean performance for each skill. The results provide a clear comparison of the expressive language skills of the target student relative to age-based expectations for spontaneous, discourse level verbal expression.
Test Description: The Social Language Development Test- Elementary is designed to assess the language-based skills of social interpretation and interaction with friends, in order to provide insight into a student’s social understanding and social language competency. The test assesses the language required to appropriately infer and express what another person is thinking or feeling within a social context, to make multiple interpretations, take mutual perspectives, and negotiate with and support their peers. Test tasks reflect the developmental refinement of social language comprehension and expression and differentiate typically-developing children from those with significant social communication needs.
The Making Inferences subtest assesses the student’s ability to read nonverbal cues. The student looks at photographs of people portraying different facial expressions and body language. The student is first asked to state what the person in the picture is thinking, then asked to explain which nonverbal signals conveyed this message.
The Interpersonal Negotiation subtest focuses on the student’s approach to managing conflicts with peers. The student listens to the examiner read a brief explanation of a social scenario, in which the student must imagine himself. These scenarios involve typical conflicts such as wanting to engage in different activities or use the same item at the same time. The student is asked three types of questions about the scenario: What is the problem? What could you do? Why would that (i.e. the proposed solution) be a good thing to do?
The Multiple Interpretations subtest examines cognitive flexibility along with inferential skills and interpretation of nonverbal cues. The student looks at a photograph of a person in a certain situation. The examiner reads a brief description of the scenario, and asks the student to provide two different interpretations for the person’s thoughts or motivations.
The Supporting Peers subtest measures the extent to which the student can generate tactful comments or responses in tricky social situations. The examiner explains that the goal is to avoid hurting the feelings of the other person in each scenario. The student listens to the examiner read a brief description of an awkward situation, such as being asked about a friend’s unattractive new haircut. The examiner then asks the student what they could say in response.
The Social Language Development Test-Adolescent is a diagnostic test of social language skills for adolescents aged 12.0 through 17.11. The tasks focus on taking someone else’s perspective, making correct inferences, solving problems with peers, interpreting social language, and understanding idioms, irony, and sarcasm.
In the Making Inferences subtest, the student takes the perspective of someone in a photograph and, based on context cues (facial expression, gesture, posture), tells what the person is thinking as a direct quote from the character. The student then states a relevant visual clue suggesting the character’s thought. This clue frequently relates to something specific about nonverbal communication clues.
The Interpreting Social Language subtest examines the student’s social metalinguistic skills. The questions are designed to variety of skills that reflect how people communicate.
In the Problem Solving subtest, the student imagines being in a problem situation with a friend. The student proposes an appropriate, logical solution and justifies why that solution would be a good one.
In the Social Interaction subtest, the student assumes the perspective of the main character in a situation with a peer, considers the perspective of the peer, and makes a comment or does something to support the peer. The student provides an appropriate response that supports the situation and avoids responses that are negative, unsupportive, or passive.
In the Interpreting Ironic Statements subtest, the student listens to situations on a CD and shows an understanding of the dialogue, including idioms, and picks up on irony and sarcasm. The student understands the intention of the speaker and uses context clues from the story to explain irony and the sarcasm.
Test Description: The SPELT-3 measures a child’s use of morphology (i.e. word grammar) and syntax (i.e. sentence grammar) in expressive language at the sentence level. The child looks at a series of photographs, and the examiner prompts the child to produce a sentence to describe the picture or to tell what someone in the picture might be saying. There are 53 test items, and a wide variety of developmental structures are targeted.
Test Description: The Social Skills Improvement System (SSIS) is a standardized test that uses parent, teacher, and student questionnaires to gather information about the child’s daily functioning. All responders answer questions about the social skills of communication, cooperation, assertion, responsibility, empathy, engagement, and self-control. In addition, each responder comments on the frequency of observing different forms of problem behaviors in the child. It should be noted that the higher the standard score in problem behaviors, the more prevalent the problem behavior. Thus, higher scores are positive indicators for social skills and academic competence, but negative indicators for problem behaviors.
Test Description:The TAPS-3 measures selected auditory processing skills which are critical to the comprehension and retention of oral language as it is used in functional situations. The following are descriptions of each subtest:
The Word Discrimination subtest examines auditory discrimination skills by presenting two phonemically similar or identical words and asking the student to state whether the words are the same or different.
The Phonological Segmentation subtest requires the student to listen to a word, repeat it, and then repeat it without a specified sound or syllable. This subtest calls upon the student’s phonological awareness skills, which are a critical foundation for literacy development.
In the Phonological Blending subtest, the examiner presents a string of isolated speech sounds and the student must blend them to identify the word they create. Sound blending skills underlie the ability to decode printed words.
The Number Memory Forward, Word Memory, and Sentence Memory subtests measure the student’s short-term memory for auditory information of varying type and complexity.
In the Number Memory Reversed subtest, the student is presented with a list of digits and asked to repeat them in reverse order. This task incorporates a working-memory component and requires substantial attention.
The Auditory Comprehension subtest is a literal-level comprehension task. The student is read a very short passage (1-5 sentences) of information and then immediately asked factual recall questions.
The Auditory Reasoning subtest is structured in a similar manner to the previous, but the questions following the passage are at the inferential level. These questions tap into critical thinking skills and the results of this task show the student’s skills with higher-order language.
The Overall Index incorporates the student’s performance on all 9 subtests.
The Phonologic Index is calculated from the student’s scores in Word Discrimination, Phonological Segmentation, and Phonological Blending. It conveys how effectively the student is able to work with the sounds in words.
The Memory Index is derived from the Number Memory Forward, Number Memory Reversed, Word Memory, and Sentence Memory subtests. It is a broad reflection of the student’s short-term auditory memory skills.
The Cohesion Index score is drawn from the sum of the student’s scores on the Auditory Comprehension and Auditory Reasoning subtests. It is suggestive of the level to which the student understands spoken language in context.
Test Description: The Test of Integrated Language and Literacy Skills (TILLS) is a norm-referenced test that measures an individual’s oral and written language skills at both the sound/word level and the sentence/discourse level. The four modalities in this model are listening, speaking, reading and writing. The assessment is designed to measure and compare language skills at the sound/word level with those at the sentence/discourse level. This comparison provides critical information about the specific nature of a student’s strengths and needs in literacy development. The TILLS also offers a specific cutoff score that can be useful in diagnosing a language/literacy disorder.
Oral Language Subtests: Sound/Word Level
The Phonemic Awareness subtest is designed to assess a student’s awareness of the individual speech sounds of language. Phonemic awareness is evident when the student can isolate single sounds within real words or nonsense words and manipulate them. This subtest asks the individual to remove single sounds from the initial position of words.
The Nonword Repetition subtest assesses a student’s speech perception, the ability to hold a sequence of speech sounds in immediate memory, and the ability to reproduce those speech-sound sequences accurately. This subtest asks the individual to repeat nonsense words that are presented via audio recording.
The Digit Span Forward subtest assesses a student’s short-term and verbal working memory. This subtest asks the individual to repeat digits in the same order that are presented orally.
The Digit Span Backward subtest assesses a student’s working memory. This subtest asks the individual to repeat digits in the reverse order of how they were presented orally.
Oral Language Subtests: Sentence/Discourse Level
The Vocabulary Awareness subtest is designed to assess a student’s lexical knowledge, awareness of semantic relationships, and cognitive-linguistic flexibility. This subtest asks the individual to first identify a pair of semantically related words from a triplet of three words and explain how the pair of words is related. Then the individual is asked to switch sets to identify a second semantic pairing.
The Listening Comprehension subtest is designed to assess a student’s ability to comprehend the complex syntax of academic language and to draw inferences allowed by the text. Students must also have metalinguistic awareness to detect when the text does not provide sufficient information to answer a particular question definitively. This subtest asks the individual to listen to short stories read by the examiner and then answer questions about the text providing a “yes”, “no” or “maybe” response.
The Following Directions subtest is designed to measure a student’s ability to listen to a sequence of directions, to understand them, and to hold them in short-term memory long enough to carry them out. This subtest asks the individual to listen to the instructions stated orally, move a card covering the stimuli and execute the directions by marking a paper in their student response booklet.
The Story Retelling subtest is designed to assess a student’s abilities to listen to, comprehend, and retell a story. This subtest asks the individual to listen to a story told once by the examiner and then tell it back to the examiner.
The Delayed Story Retelling subtest is designed to measure retention of narrative information over a period of 20-30 minutes. This is a measure of longer-term memory. This subtest asks the individual to retell the story again that was heard during the Story Retelling subtest.
Written Language Subtests: Sound/Word Level
The Nonword Reading subtest is designed to measure reading decoding. It uses nonwords that follow the orthographic rules of English in order to assess a student’s ability to decode novel words that are not recognizable as real words. This subtest asks an individual to read aloud the nonsense words presented on the test easel.
The Reading Fluency subtest is designed to assess automatic word recognition. This subtest asks the individual to read aloud sentences that tell a story.
The Nonword Spelling subtest is designed to assess a student’s ability to represent phonemic and morphemic components of novel spoken words by spelling them with conventional orthographic patterns. This subtest asks the individual to spell (write) the nonsense words presented via an audio recording in the student response booklet.
The Written Expression- Spelling score is derived from a connected writing task that also yields scores for connected language use. (See description of the Written Expression subtest, below.)
Written Language Subtests: Sentence/Discourse Level
The Reading Comprehension subtest is designed to parallel the Listening Comprehension subtest. This subtest is designed to assess a student’s ability to comprehend the complex syntax of academic language and to draw inferences allowed by the text. Students must also have metalinguistic awareness to detect when the text does not provide sufficient information to answer a particular question definitively. This subtest asks the individual to read short stories and then answer questions about the text providing a “yes”, “no” or “maybe” response.
The Written Expression subtest is a complex, integrated language task that allows the examiner to observe a student’s written expression skills at the sound/word level and the sentence/discourse level. This subtest asks the individual to rewrite the sentences from the story used in the Reading Fluency subtest by combining simple sentences into more complex sentences. Word-level skills for spelling real words in sentence contexts are also assessed. The task yields three different scores. The Written Expression- Discourse score represents the extent to which the student represented the targeted content in his/her writing. The Written Expression- Sentence score reflects the level of syntactic complexity in the student’s writing. The Written Expression- Word score is a measure of spelling and is included in the Sound/Word Level group of Written Language Subtests scores.
Test Description: The Test of Narrative Language-2nd Edition assesses the student’s expressive and receptive language skills in a connected context. There are three sections to the test. In each section, the student is asked to listen to a story and then answer orally presented comprehension questions, and is also asked to tell a story independently. Results of this test often give a more functional view of the child’s daily communication skills than tests which look at sub-skills in isolation.
Test Description: The TOPS-2 Adolescent assesses critical thinking performance within a standard environment. It focuses on many distinct cognitive processes, including comprehension, analysis, interpretation, evaluation, explanation, inference, decision-making, intent, and problem-solving. In the test procedure, the student follows along a text passage while the examiner reads aloud. The passages tell stories about people in various situations. The student is then asked open-ended questions about the characters’ scenarios.
The Making Inferences subtest requires the student to generate a logical explanation for a situation, combining information from the passage with previous experience.
The Determining Solutions subtest requires the student to provide a solution to some problematic aspect of the story.
The Problem Solving subtest involves recognizing problems, thinking of alternative solutions, evaluating possible options, and then selecting the best solution. It also includes questions regarding how to avoid specific problems.
The Interpreting Perspectives subtest asks the student to evaluate other points of view in order to draw conclusions.
The Transferring Insights subtest asks the student to compare analogous situations by using information in the passages combined with their own world knowledge.
Test Description:The TOPS-3 examines discrete skills that form the foundation of thinking, reasoning, and problem solving abilities. The current research in thinking, language, and cognition forms the basis of this standardized assessment. The test is comprised of a single task. The student looks at photographs showing people in various social situations, and the examiner asks open-ended questions about the scenario. The student’s responses are scored according to a rubric, which allows for individual variation and different levels of correctness. The questions are then grouped by type, yeilding the following “subtest” scores.
The Making Inferences questions ask the student to give reasons for and explanations about a situation and the actions of the people involved.
The Sequencing questions ask the student what might have happened before or after the depicted moment.
The Negative Questions questions ask the student why a person isn’t taking a particular action, or why a decision would not be appropriate. These questions add another level of linguistic complexity.
The Problem Solving questions ask the student to determine what the people should do to either solve the current problem or avoid a similar problem in the future. Many of these questions simply ask, “What should he/she/they do?”
The Predicting questions challenge the student to figure out what the result of the current situation might be. These questions generally expand further into the future than the Sequencing questions, which focus on the immediate next step in a process.
The Determining Causes questions focus on the reasons for the current situation. The student must interpret the pictured scenario as a result of a set of circumstances not shown, and describe what those might have been.
The Total Test score is a summation of the students’ performance on all of the test questions.
Test Description: The TORC-4 uses multiple subtest formats to gather information about a student’s reading comprehension skills. All of the subtests are conducted through silent reading, as silent reading is the more usual method of mature, independent reading and it eliminates possible confounding variables that occur when an oral layer is imposed upon reading. The battery is composed of the following five tasks:
The Relational Vocabulary subtest measures a student’s ability to recognize semantic relationships between groups of printed words. Semantic skills are a critical component in building meaning from text.
The Sentence Completion subtest requires the student to read a sentence with two missing words, then choose, from a set of four, a pair of words that would make sense in the sentence. This type of task is called a “cloze procedure” and it is often included in reading assessments because good readers are able to predict words and word meanings as they build context from sentences.
The Text Comprehension subtest is a passage-reading task. The student first sees a list of five questions. He/she then reads a paragraph in order to find the information the questions will require. Finally, he/she answers the five questions, which are presented in a multiple-choice format.
The Paragraph Construction subtest requires the student to read five sentences which have been presented out of order and then determine the proper sequence of the information. The result should be a plausible informative paragraph or short story.
The Contextual Fluency task assesses the student’s reading fluency in the silent reading format. The student sees a row of text that has been printed in capital letters without any spaces between words. The student mist identify the boundaries between words, and mark lines to show these boundaries. The student marks as many words as they can in a 3-minute time limit.
Test Description: The TOWL-4 assesses written language skills in the domains of conventions, linguistics, and cognition. It is comprised of the following six tasks.
Vocabulary: The student writes a sentence that incorporates a given stimulus word.
Spelling: The student writes sentences from dictation, taking particular care to make proper use of spelling rules.
Punctuation: The student writes sentences from dictation, taking particular care to make proper use of punctuation and capitalization rules.
Logical Sentences: The student edits an illogical sentence so that it makes better sense.
Sentence Combining: The student integrates the meaning of several short sentences into one grammatically correct written sentence.
The Contextual Conventions and Story Composition subtests are based on a story that the student writes in response to a picture prompt.
Contextual Conventions: The student’s story sample is analyzed, and points are earned for satisfying specific requirements relative to orthographic and grammatical conventions.
Story Composition: The student’s story is evaluated on the quality of its composition, including such elements as vocabulary, plot, prose, development of characters, and interest to the reader.
Test Description:The TOWRE-2 assesses two kinds of word reading skills that are critical in the development of overall reading ability: the ability to accurately recognize familiar words as whole units or “sight words,” and the ability to sound out, or decode, words using phonics skills.
In the Sight Word Efficiency subtest, the student reads aloud from a list of high-frequency real words.
In the Phonemic Decoding Efficiency subtest, the student reads aloud from a list of decodable nonwor
Test Description: The Test of Word Finding in Discourse (TWFD) is a standardized, diagnostic tool used for the assessment of word finding (also known as word retrieval) skills for students in grades 1 through 6. Unlike many other standardized tests of expressive language, the TWFD requires the student to talk at length, rather than giving single word or single sentence responses. The student is asked to talk about picture scenes. The student’s responses are audio-recorded and later transcribed for analysis. The assessment measures how much language the student produces (verbal productivity) and how many examples of word-finding behaviors occur within the sample. In children with typical language development, verbal productivity will be high and word finding behaviors will be low. Significantly low verbal productivity and/or high incidence of word finding behaviors are associated with oral language difficulties.
Test Description: The TWS-5 is a standardized measure of spelling skills. The test is conducted as a dictation task. The examiner says a word then uses it in a sentence. The student writes the target word. The list of words is presented in order of increasing difficulty and the test is discontinued after the student makes five consecutive errors. The words vary in structure. Some are phonetically and orthographically regular, while others are are irregular. There are also words with homophones, requiring the student to identify which spelling to use based on the example sentence provided.
Test Description: The WADE is the official, criterion-referenced test associated with the Wilson Reading System. It provides a highly detailed snapshot of a student’s orthographic skills. The test is administered in three parts. In the Sounds section, the student is shown cards printed with single letters or letter groups that form a single sound and is asked to name the sound. In the Reading section, the student is asked to read from three different word lists; one of decodable real words, one of non-decodable (or sight) real words, and one of decodable nonwords. In the Spelling section, the student is given a single-word dictation task for decodable real words and sight words, then is asked to write dictated sentences. Each subtest is discontinued after the student makes five consecutive errors. Though normative information is not provided, this assessment is invaluable for assessing early literacy skill development.
The WIAT-IV is an individually administered assessment designed to measure the academic achievement of students who are in grades Pre Kindergarten through Grade 12. This test consists of 20 subtests to measure listening, speaking, reading, writing and mathematics skills; however not all subtests are administered at every grade level. The WIAT-IV is a well-standardized measure of academic learning with a mean of 100 and a standard deviation of 15. Specific combinations, or groupings, of these 20 subtests form Composites for interpretative purposes.
The Core Composite areas include Reading, Written Expression, Mathematics and Total Achievement. The Supplemental Composites include Reading-Related, Academic Fluency, Language Processing and the Dyslexia Index. Below are the descriptions of the subtests.
The Listening Comprehension subtest consists of two components;Receptive Vocabulary and Oral Discourse Comprehension. The Receptive Vocabulary component measures listening vocabulary. The student points to the picture that best illustrates the meaning of each word he or she hears. The Oral Discourse Comprehension component measures the ability to make inferences about, and remember details from oral sentences and discourse. The student listens to sentences and passages and orally responds to comprehension questions.
The Oral Expression subtest contains three components; Expressive Vocabulary, Oral Word Fluency and Sentence Repetition. The Expressive Vocabulary component measures speaking vocabulary and word retrieval ability. The student says the word that best corresponds to a given picture and definition. The Oral Word Fluency component measures efficiency of word retrieval and flexibility of thought processes. The student names as many things as possible belonging to a given category. The Sentence Repetition component measures oral syntactic knowledge and short-term memory. The student listens to sentences that increase in length and complexity and repeats each sentence verbatim.
The Phonological Processing Composite consists of the Pseudoword Decoding subtest and the Phonemic Proficiency subtest. The Pseudoword Decoding subtest measures the ability to decode nonsense words. The student reads aloud from a list of pseudowords that increase in difficulty.The Phonemic Proficiency subtest measures the development of phonological/phonemic skills. Examinees respond orally to items that require the manipulation of sounds within words. Tasks include elision, substitution and reversal of sounds.
The Orthographic Processing Composite consists of the Orthographic Fluency and Spelling subtests. The Orthographic Fluency subtest measures an examinee’s orthographic lexicon, or sight vocabulary. Examinees read aloud a list of irregular words as quickly as possible during two timed trials. The Spelling subtest measures written spelling from dictation. Examinees write words that are dictated within the context of a sentence.
The Reading Composite comprises the Word Reading and Reading Comprehension subtests. The Word Reading subtest measures speed and accuracy of decontextualized word recognition. The student reads aloud from a list of words that increase in difficulty. The Reading Comprehension subtest measures untimed reading comprehension of various types of text, including fictional stories and informational text, advertisements and how-to passages. The student may read passages aloud or silently. After each passage, the student orally responds to literal and inferential comprehension questions asked aloud by the examiner.
The Basic Reading Composite comprises the Word Reading, Pseudoword Decoding and Phonemic Proficiency subtests. These subtests have been described above.
The Reading Fluency Composite comprises the Oral Reading Fluency, Orthographic Fluency and Decoding Fluency subtests. The Oral Reading Fluency subtest measures speed, accuracy, fluency and prosody of contextualized oral reading. The student reads passages aloud, and then orally responds to a comprehension question after each passage. The Orthographic Fluency subtest has been described above. The Decoding Fluency subtest is designed to measure phonic decoding fluency.
The Dyslexia Index Composite comprises the Word Reading and Phonemic Proficiency subtests for students PK-3. For students in grades 4-12, the Composite includes Word Reading, Pseudoword Decoding and Orthographic Fluency.
The Written Expression Composite, of the WIAT-IV, comprises the Spelling, Sentence Composition and Essay Composition subtests. The Spelling subtest was described above, The Sentence Composition subtest includes the Sentence Combining and Sentence Building components which measure sentence formulation skills, including the use of morphology, grammar, syntax, semantics and mechanics. Each Sentence Building item requires the student to listen and follow along as a target word is read aloud, and then write one complete sentence that uses the target word correctly with appropriate context.Each Sentence Combining item requires the student to listen and follow along as the target sentences are read aloud, and then write one complete sentence that includes all essential information from the target sentences and means the same thing. The Essay Composition subtest measures spontaneous written expression in response to a prompt under timed conditions. The student is asked to listen to the instructions for writing the essay; to listen and follow along as the examiner reads the essay prompt aloud; and then to plan, write and finalize an essay within a 10 minute time limit.
The Writing Fluency Composite of the WIAT-IV, comprises the Alphabet Writing Fluency and Sentence Writing Fluency subtests. The Alphabet Writing Fluency subtest is designed to measure letter writing fluency. The examinee writes as many letters of the alphabet as possible within 60 seconds. Sentence Writing Fluency is designed to measure sentence composition fluency. Examinees write a sentence for each item using a target word, completing as many items as possible within five minutes.
The Mathematics Composite, of the WIAT-IV, score comprises the Math Problem Solving and the Numerical Operations subtests. The Math Problem Solving subtest measures math problem solving skills under untimed conditions. The student is asked to listen as the examiner reads each problem, look at the corresponding visual stimuli and then provide an oral and/or pointing response.The Numerical Operations subtest measures written mathematical calculation skills under untimed conditions. The student is asked to complete problems presented in the student response book.
The Math Fluency Composite is composed of three subtests; Math Fluency-Addition, Math Fluency-Subtraction and Math Fluency- Multiplication. These subtests are designed to measure written mathematical calculation fluency. For each subtest, the student is asked to complete as many problems as he or she can within a 60 second time limit.
The Woodcock-Johnson IV Tests of Achievement contains 20 tests measuring four curricular areas — reading, mathematics, written language, and academic knowledge. Specific combinations, or groupings, of these 20 tests form clusters for interpretive purposes. The Broad Reading Cluster is a combined measure of Letter-Word Identification, Passage Comprehension and Sentence Reading Fluency. The Basic Reading Cluster includes the Letter-Word Identification and Word Attack subtests. The Reading Fluency Cluster of the WJ-IV is an aggregate measure of Oral Reading and Sentence Reading Fluency. The Reading Comprehension cluster is a combination of the Passage Comprehension and Reading Recall subtests.The Broad Written Language Cluster includes the subtests of Spelling, Writing Samples, and Sentence Writing Fluency. The Broad Mathematics Cluster is composed of three subtests: Calculation, Applied Problems, and Math Fluency Facts. Subtest descriptions are included below.
Letter-Word Identification measures the examinee’s word identification skills. The initial items require the individual to identify letters and the remaining items require the person to read aloud individual words.
Applied Problems subtest requires the person to analyze and solve math problems. An individual must listen to the problem, recognize the procedure to be followed, and then perform relatively simple calculations.
Spelling requires the person to write words that are presented orally.
Passage Comprehension measures the ability to use syntactic and semantic cues to identify a missing word in text. Initial task items involve the ability to match a rebus with an actual picture of the object, the next items require the person to point to the picture represented by a phrase and the remaining items require the person to read a short passage and identify a missing key word that makes sense in the context of the passage.
Calculation requires the person to perform addition, subtraction, multiplication, division and a combination of these basic operations, as well as some geometric, trigonometric, logarithmic and calculus operations .
Writing Samples measures the examinee’s skill in writing responses to a variety of demands. The person must write sentences that are evaluated for their quality of expression. There is no penalty for spelling or punctuation.
Word Attack measures a person’s ability to apply phonic and structural analysis skills to the pronunciation of unfamiliar printed words. Initial items require the individual to produce the sounds for single letters. The remaining items require the person to read aloud letter combinations that are phonetically consistent.
Oral Reading asks a person to read aloud sentences that gradually increase in difficulty. Performance is scored for both accuracy and fluency of expression.
Sentence Reading Fluency asks a person to read simple sentences silently and quickly in the Response Booklet, deciding if the statement is True or False, and then circling Yes or No within a 3-minute time limit.
Math Facts Fluency measures the ability to solve simple addition, subtraction, and multiplication facts quickly within a 3-minute time limit.
Sentence Writing Fluency measures the individual’s skill in formulating and writing simple sentences quickly that relates to a stimulus picture and includes a given set of three words.
Reading Recall asks an individual to read a short story silently and then retell as much of the story as he or she can recall.
Additional subtests from the WJ-IV Extended Battery may also be administered.