March 13:  Assessment of Oral Language

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Introduction (con't). Oral language assessment:Gather information for instructional planning.What is the student's current level of development in oral language?What are the students strengths

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March 13: Assessment of Oral Language

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1. March 13: Assessment of Oral Language Oral language is the most basic communication skill. By time children enter school, they are experienced oral communicators, able to understand the messages spoken by others and to express their own thoughts in speech. Oral language is the foundation for school learning; students learning during first few years of school by listening Among students with special needs, oral language is an area of concern May have difficulty understanding the language of others, expressing themselves in speech, or in both comprehension and production of oral language.

2. Introduction (conít) Oral language assessment: Gather information for instructional planning. What is the studentís current level of development in oral language? What are the students strengths & weaknesses in the various skill areas of oral language? Illustrates the multidisciplinary nature of assessment better than most others: teachers, speech-language pathologists in particular.

3. Considerations in Oral Language Assessment Purposes In general educ, teachers monitor oral language skills to determine pupil progress and evaluate effectiveness of school program. After early elementary grades, oral language is not usually taught as a separate school subject and it is not assessed through group achievement testing (listening skills may be, however.) Assumption that students learn to listen and speak during preschool years.

4. Considerations in Oral Language Assessment (conít) Students with difficulty in oral communication may require bilingual assessment. If determined to have limited English proficiency (LEP), may be eligible for: Bilingual education ESL (English as second language) & EOSL (English for speakers of other languages) In special education: Those with mild disabilities may have special instructional needs in oral language MR may show delay in acquisition of listening and speaking skills LD in written language may have equivalent disability in oral expression Communication disorder: oral language is primary disability

5. Considerations in Oral Language Assessment (conít) Skill Areas: Language is a symbol system used for communication and speech is one medium used to express language Oral language can be receptive or expressive, depending on the personís role in the communication process Speech is the expressive component Listening is the receptive component

6. Considerations in Oral Language Assessment (conít) The form of language is determined by the rules used to combine speech sounds into meaning units and meaning units into communications Three aspects of language are involved: Phonology: the smallest units of oral language, the speech sounds (phonemes). Expressive phonology is called articulation while receptive phonology is called auditory discrimination (the ability to recognize and comprehend phonemes) Morphology: the smallest meaningful unit of language is called a morpheme. It may be a word such as flower or a meaningful part of a word such as Ėing in growing.

7. Considerations in Oral Language Assessment (conít) Syntax: grammatical rules for combining morphemes into comprehensible utterances. For communication to occur, language must also have meaning as well as form, called semantics. Semantics is concerned with the meaning of individual words and with the meaning that is produced by combination of words. Receptive semantics is language comprehension and expressive semantics is the production of meaningful discourse.

8. Considerations in Oral Language Assessment (conít) Pragmatics: language use, concerned with the speakers purposes for communication and the ways that language is used to carry out those intents. Adults are able to analyze the social contexts in which communications occur and alter their language accordingly. They are influences by the setting of the communication, the characteristics of the participants, the topic of conversation, & the goals/objectives of each participant.

9. Considerations in Oral Language Assessment (conít) Thus, oral language involves both reception and expression of communications, and those communications can be analyzed according to the dimensions of phonology, morphology, syntax, semantics, and pragmatics. Oral communication is also influenced by other aspects of the speech act (intonation, pitch, loudness, and stress) and by nonverbal communication that accompany speech (facial expressions, body language, gestures). Children can experience difficulty with any one or several of these dimensions.

10. Considerations in Oral Language Assessment (conít) Assessment: Measures of oral language focus on the comprehension & production of language form and content. In addition, traditional language measures are designed to evaluate studentsí products, not the process by which those products are created. Informal measures are used to gain information about a studentís ability to use language in a variety of communicative contexts or about the cognitive processes that interact with language comprehension & production.

11. Considerations in Oral Language Assessment (conít) Many measures of oral language are designed for young children (preK and children in first few years of school) because of rapid rate at which language skills develop during this period. Most are administered individually and many different types of assessment tasks are used to evaluate studentsí oral language skills: Expressive phonology (articulation of speech sounds): eliciting samples of studentís speech. Receptive phonology (auditory discrimination): measured by listening tasks.

12. Considerations in Oral Language Assessment (conít) Expressive morphology & syntax: eliciting samples of the studentís speech. With these skills the concern is the structural adequacy of the utterance, not its phonological characteristics. Receptive skills are typically assed by having the student select a picture that illustrates a sentence read by the tester. Semantics (meaning component of language): assessed both on oral language and intellectual performance tests. Most often expressive skills are the concern, and a typical test task is word definition. Recognition tasks are used to assess receptive skills.

13. Considerations in Oral Language Assessment (conít) Similar techniques are used to assess studentsí proficiency in languages other than English and the same language dimensions are of interest. In bilingual assessment, the language the child speaks upon entry to school is called the first language (L1), or home or native language. The second language that the child learns is usually English and is called L2. The language in which the student is most proficient is called the dominant or primary language. Among older students language preference is also an issue of concern.

14. Considerations in Oral Language Assessment (conít) Current Practices Group achievement and competency tests that are used in general education focus on written, not oral language. Only WIAT and DAB include oral language. Tests of intellectual performance (unless non-verbal) usually assess language skills in some way, e.g. WISC-III VIQ and VC scores or SB:FE Verbal Reasoning Composite score. Adaptive behavior (e.g. Vineland) usually includes oral language as one of the performance domains.

15. Comprehensive Measures of Oral Language Test of Language Development Ė3, Primary (TOLD-3 Primary) Individually administered, norm-reference test; a broad-based test for the identification of strengths and weaknesses in oral language development Listening, organizing and speaking skills in relation to phonology, syntax, and semantics 30 to 60 minutes administration time Ages 4-0 to 8-11 Percentile rank, standard scores and AE reported (subtests have M=10, SD=3). 6 Composite scores are also computed: Spoken Language Quotient (performance on all tests), Semantics Quotient, Syntax Quotient, and Listening, Organizing, and Speaking Quotients.

16. Comprehensive Measures of Oral Language TOLD-3 Primary (conít) 6 Core and 3 supplemental subtests: Core: Picture vocabulary (receptive semantics): tester reads a word, child points to the picture that best represents the word. Relational vocabulary (organizational semantics): tester reads two words and the child must tell how they are alike. Oral vocabulary (expressive semantics): tester reads a word and asks the child to define it orally. Grammatic understanding (receptive syntax): tester reads a sentence, the child must choose the picture that best illustrates the meaning of the sentence. Sentence imitation (organizational syntax): tester reads a sentence & the child must repeat it verbatim.

17. Comprehensive Measures of Oral Language TOLD-3 Primary (conít) Grammatic Completion (expressive syntax): tester reads an unfinished sentence and the child must supply the missing word. Included items that assess plurals, possessive, verb tenses, and comparative and superlative adjectives. Supplemental Subtests: Word discrimination (receptive phonology): tester reads 2 words and the child must say whether the words are the same or different. Different word pairs different in only 1 phoneme. Phonemic analysis (organizational phonology): tester reads a word and then asks the child to repeat the word with one syllable deleted. Word articulation (expressive phonology): tester shows the child a picture and reads a sentence that describes it. The child is asked to name the picture; if the child fails to respond correctly, the tester says the word and asks the child to repeat it. The purpose is to assess articulation, not vocabulary.

18. Comprehensive Measures of Oral Language TOLD-3 Primary (conít) TOLD-3 Primary is a useful measure for investigating oral language skills of young children because it assesses several dimensions of language ability. It is best used at the start of language assessment to identify areas in which the child is proficient and areas that require further evaluation.

19. Comprehensive Measures of Oral Language TOLD-3 Test of Language Development Ė3 Intermediate (TOLD-3): Much like TOLD-3 Primary except organizing skills are not assessed and measures of phonology are not included. Ages 8-0 to 12-11; One hour administration time Six subtests make up the TOLD-3 Intermediate: Sentence Combining (expressive syntax): tester reads two or more simple sentences and the student must combine these into one new sentence. Picture vocabulary (receptive semantics): tester reads a two-word phrase and shows a picture card with 6 photos. The student must point to the photo that the phrase describes best.

20. Comprehensive Measures of Oral Language TOLD-3 (conít) Word ordering (expressive syntax): tester reads several (3 to 7) words in random order and the student must put the words in order to form a sentence. Generals (expressive semantics): tester reads three words and the student must tell how the words are alike. Grammatic comprehension (receptive syntax): student listens to the tester read sentences, some of which contain syntax errors. The student then tells whether the sentence is correct; e.g. noun-verb agreement, plurals, pronouns, negatives, comparative/superlative adjectives, and adverbs. Malapropisms (receptive semantics): words that are used in place of similar-sounds words, thereby altering the meaning of the sentence. For example, ďJohn took a phonograph of his family.Ē

21. Comprehensive Measures of Oral Language TOLD-3 Subtests must be administered in order; ceiling rules vary from subtest to subtest. Subtest scores on the TOLD-3 Intermediate are AE, percentile ranks, and standard scores. 5 composite quotients are derived from subtest results: Spoken Language Quotient (overall test score), Listening Quotient, Speaking Quotient, Semantics Quotient, and Syntax Quotient. TOLD-3 Intermediate is a useful measure of oral language for older elementary grade students; it is best used at the start of assessment to identify the studentís strengths and weaknesses in listening and speaking skills.

22. Comprehensive Measures of Oral Language Other Comprehensive Measures Oral & Written Language Scales (OWLS): 1 written language and 2 oral language scales. Oral language scales measure ability to understand and use individual words, grammatical forms, and meaningful language. Broad-based measure of oral language Woodcock Language Proficiency Battery Ė Revised Shorten version of the WJ-R language battery Memory of sentences, Picture vocabulary, Oral Vocabulary, Listening Comprehension, and Verbal Analogies Most are measures of receptive or expressive semantics.

23. Comprehensive Measures of Oral Language Other Comprehensive Measures (conít) Test of Adolescent & Adult Language Ė3 (TOAL Ė3): Ages 12-0 to 24-11; requiring 1 to 3 hours to administer Two subtests assess listening skills and two evaluate speaking: Listening/Vocabulary Listening/Grammar Speaking/Vocabulary Speaking/Grammar TOAL-3 is constructed to compare a studentís language skills in several ways: subtest results are expressed as standard scores and combinations of subtests produce a variety of language quotients.

24. Assessment of Language Meaning: PPVT-III Peabody Picture Vocabulary Test, Third Edition (PPVT-III): Individual test of receptive vocabulary designed for ages 2-6 to 90+. Two test forms are available and administration typically requires <15 minutes. The student is shown a page containing four line drawings, the tester reads a word, and the student points to or says the number of the drawing that represents that word.

25. Assessment of Language Meaning: PPVT-III (Conít) The PPVT-III contains four training items; each item is stated the same way, ďShow meÖĒ or ďWhat number isÖĒ and contains 204 items arranged in 17 sets of 12 each. Tester consults the protocol for a suggested starting point, then begins administration with the first item in the suggested set, administering the entire set. A basal set is achieved when there is no more than 1 error in a 12 item set; the ceiling is reached when there are 8+ errors in a 12 item set.

26. Assessment of Language Meaning: PPVT-III (conít) The PPVT-III is not divided into subtests and only age-based norms are available. One result is obtained: an index of total test performance (standard scores, PR, stanine, and AE) PPVT-III sample did not include persons who showed evidence of uncorrected vision or hearing loss or who had limited proficiency in English. Easy, quick to administer measure of receptive vocabulary. Its manual also suggests it is both an achievement test (acquisition of English vocabulary) and aptitude test (verbal skills). At best, screening test of intellectual functioning Ė NOT comprehensive test of general intelligence!

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