Language Assessment Descriptions

The following language assessments are used for children of various ages.

Oral and Written Language Scales (OWLS)  owls-picture

Ages 3-21.  Assesses listening comprehension and oral expression, using both scores to provide an oral composite.  Briefly assesses all domains of syntax, semantics, morphology, and pragmatics.  The OWLS is good at identifying the presence of language disorder, and identifying which area or areas are delayed.  If scores on the OWLS are low, additional testing can be done to obtain more specific information.  There is also a version of the OWLS that tests written expression.  The publisher’s site is here at Western Psychological Services.

Comprehensive Assessment of Spoken Language (CASL) 

casl-pictureTwo versions:  Ages 3-6 and 7-21.  There are 15 different subtests of the CASL; five tests in each area of semantics and syntax, four tests of supralinguistic skill measurement, and one test of pragmatic language.  Three, four, or five tests make up a global, or core composite, score, which varies for each age group.  The CASL can measure very specific things, and it’s not necessary to give each subtest required for a composite score.  If it’s necessary to get a composite, it can be very time consuming.  Research on these things has shown that the CASL is not the most specific test; in other words, the scores don’t always accurately identify the presence of a language disorder.  The CASL is best used to obtain additional information in specific areas.  The most useful subtests in this regard are the syntax construction, nonliteral language, and pragmatic judgment subtests.  More information is here at Western Psychological Services.

 Clinical Evaluation of Language Fundamentals – 4 (CELF-4)

Two versions:  Ages 5-8 and 9-21.  The CELF-4 assesses expressive and receptive syntax, semantics, and morphology.  There are 14 celf-4-picturesubtests with 4 subtests required to obtain a core language standard score.  Subtests include:  concepts/following directions, word structure, recalling sentences, formulated sentences, word classes, word definitions, and understanding spoken paragraphs, among others.  The CELF-4 is said to have good validity compared to other language tests.  It can take awhile to administer, however, and because skills are combined, it can be difficult to identify specific deficits. Find more here at Pearson Assessment’s site.

Continue reading for more tests, including the TOSS, SPELT, TACL, ROWPVT, and EOWPVT.

 Receptive One Word Picture Vocabulary Test (ROWPVT)

Ages 2-18.  Assesses reception of one word vocabulary using pictures.  Many of the words have varied affixes, but the ROWPVT doesn’t test for morphology; only vocabulary.  The ROWPVT is very similar to the Peabody Picture Vocabulary Test.

Expressive One Word Picture Vocabulary Test (EOWPVT)

Ages 2-18.  Assesses expression of one word vocabulary using pictures.  The EOWPVT may be sensitive for some specific areas of difficulty, such as categories, parts, and functions, but again, it’s primarily semantics.

Test of Auditory Comprehension of Language – 3 (TACL-3)

Ages 3-10.  Assesses receptive language in the areas of Vocabulary, Grammatical Morphemes, and Elaborated Sentences and Phrases.  Scores on the TACL-3 seem to run high, but it’s a good test to determine type of language deficit.  Vocabulary weakness indicates the problem may be exposure, while syntax and morphology deficits indicate more complex processing difficulties.

Structured Photographic Expressive Language Test (SPELT – 3)

Ages 4-10. Assesses expressive morphology and syntax. Child answers specific questions about pictures, such as “Where is the cat?” “What do you think the boy will do?”.  The SPELT is very intensive and specific, but doesn’t take long to administer.

Test of Semantic Skills – Primary/Test of Semantic Skills – Intermediate (TOSS-P/TOSS-I)

Ages 4-8 for TOSS-P.  Ages 9-13 for TOSS-I.  These tests assess more comprehensive receptive and expressive aspects of word knowledge.  They include identifying and stating labels, categories, attributes, functions, and definitions.

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