School of Education

Language diversity and plurality in deaf education

Language Planning: Assessment

Select tools and protocols for language monitoring and assessment

assessmentUse this section to identify and select assessments tools and protocols to monitor and assess individual language use and development.

BSL translationThis section provides you with prompt questions and an audit of current assessment tools and protocols to plan your assessment strategies and processes for individuals. In this section we will cross reference to NatSIP/NDCS Communication, Language and Listening Guidance.

Assessment is a dynamic process, which contributes to the development of individual language profiles and plans and also provides strategies for the monitoring and assessment of progress. Assessment is thus positioned at the centre of the process emphasising its formative and summative functions. The ecological and integrative approach taken ensures that language planning takes full account of individual environments and contexts of language learning and is responsive to the breadth of individual language competencies. Approaching assessment in this way necessarily involves partnership working between ToDs, parents and other key professionals in order to provide the range and detail of information required to develop to understand individual contexts of language use and specific skills.

The use of assessment tools and protocols

Listed below are the most commonly used language assessments categorised according to the main aspect of language they assess. Details of individual assessment tools and protocols, their purpose and use can be can be accessed either in the NATSIP/NDCS Guidance: Assessing and monitoring the progress of deaf children and young people: communication, language and listening (Appendix 3).

When you use any assessment tool it is important to be clear about your objectives and your methodology and have consistent recording strategies. Some questions that you need to consider to help you select and identify the right kind of assessment are:

  • What do I already know about this child’s language use and competencies (from the individual profile)?
  • What do I need to know about this child’s language use and competencies?
  • What languages need to be considered for assessment?
  • What aspects of language use do I need to assess?
  • What assessments can tell me about these specific sign or spoken language skills?
  • What assessments can inform me about the mixed or blended use of these languages?
  • Who needs to be involved in the assessment?

Questions that you should think about before you start to use a particular tool are:

  • What is the objective of this assessment tool – does it tell me what I want to know?
  • What is the protocol for its use?
  • Can it be used flexibly to fit my assessment questions?
  • Who can use it – is any training needed?
  • How often should it be used?
  • How will the child, parents and other professionals be involved in this process?
  • How will I record and report the assessment outcomes?
  • How will the assessment outcomes inform the individual language plan?

The evaluation of functional language

Formal language assessments provide vital information for practitioners to inform effective planning and support for deaf children and young people. The test situation, however, represents a specialised, unfamiliar and infrequent context for the child. In order to develop a more integrated and ecological profile it is important to supplement formal assessment information with evidence and understanding of the child’s ability and willingness to transfer and use a range of linguistic skills within different learning contexts.

Evaluation of functional language use may be undertaken using a range of assessment tools as indicated in the list below to collect objective information. Practitioners should complement this by using observation and video evidence of how children use different language skills and modalities in different settings and for different purposes. This information may then present the stimulus through which to explore these abilities further with the child. Functional language assessment is also an extremely important aspect in evaluating a child’s appropriate use of audiological equipment such as a radio aid system.

If you are planning to undertake an observation you should think about:

  • Where will I collect the observational data? (home /school/nursery)?
  • What type of communication contexts do I want to observe?
    • Home environment with the family
    • Classroom interaction with peers working in a group
    • Classroom interaction within whole class teaching sessions
    • Classroom interaction 1-1 with an adult
    • Classroom interaction 1-1 with a peer
    • Social interaction with peers
  • Which aspect of language do I wish to observe?
  • How will I recognise and record this aspect of language use?
  • How will I analyse and report this aspect of language use?

Care should be taken when using video information that the process does not become too cumbersome by endeavoring to analyse in detail an extensive section of recorded information.

Video information can be extremely valuable and informative but preparation and clear aims are necessary to achieve this.

The ethics of assessment

All children are subjected to assessment throughout their childhood; it is a necessary part of growing up in our society. Deaf children experience significantly more assessment than their hearing peers and it is therefore important that ethical consideration is given prior to all assessments. More detailed information on the “Ethical Guideline for Educational Research” (2011) produced by the British Educational Research Association (BERA) can be found in the supplementary Appendices document.

The following questions may help guide you through the ethical considerations you should apply as part of the preparation for undertaking assessments with a particular pupil:

  • Will undertaking an assessment cause the pupil undue stress?
  • How recently has the pupil been involved in an assessment process?
  • How might the information be obtained most effectively? Which assessment should be used, video, observation or formal assessment?
  • Which method will provide the most useful information with the least imposition or burden on the child?
  • How will I ensure the information is shared and used appropriately i.e. what information should be provided with the results to enable others to use the data effectively?

N.B. You will need to ensure any video data collected is stored securely and is password protected.

Additional protocols and resources

The following information is not comprehensive but provides a current overview of the most commonly used assessments to develop understanding a deaf pupils current language levels across a range of different settings. The summary list provides key details including modality, repeatability and training recommendations within the following categories:

  1. Functional Language and Communication Skills – these assessments may be used to provide information regarding a child’s functional language use across a range of different settings. Some are specifically designed for particular settings; others may be adapted to provide further information.
  2.  Receptive Language – these assessments are developed to provide specific information within a test situation.
  3.  Expressive Language – these assessments are developed to provide specific information within a test situation.
  4.  Expressive and Receptive Language Packages – these assessments are developed to provide specific information within a test situation.
  5.  Auditory/speech perception – these assessments are developed to determine a child’s ability to distinguish between a range of different auditory information.
  6.  Speech Production – these assessments consider the child’s range of speech production skills primarily based on the successful production of phonemes.
  7.  Monitoring Protocols – these documents have been developed to reflect the child’s overall development, not specifically language. They provide an important tool in which to contextualise detailed language assessment information in terms of the whole child.

The summary list includes references to the page number in the NatSIP/NDCS document Assessing and monitoring the progress of deaf children and young people: Communication, language and listening (CLL) where further details of a particular assessment may be found. Information on individual assessments not included in this publication may also be found in Appendix 3.

British Sign Language assessments

There are now some standardised assessments of BSL acquisition which are used by bilingual schools and services. These include the BSL Receptive Skills Test, the BSL Production Test by R. Herman et al and the BSL vocabulary assessment by Wolfgang Mann (see following summary list). To supplement these assessments, practitioners may wish to adapt existing assessments including spoken language assessments or other sign language assessments such as those developed to be used with American Sign Language users.

Mann and Haug[1] have developed guidelines that provide a nine-step process that will help ensure the resulting adapted test is both reliable and valid. When adapting a test from another sign language differences in linguistic structures and cultural influences may affect the consistency of the language aspect being measured or lead to the assessment measuring a different aspect altogether.

It is vitally important that all adaptations are subsequently reported to ensure that context of the assessment used is clear and that the results are not reported against standardised criteria. The assessment, provided it has been carefully adapted, will provide useful and informative information that may be used to inform individual planning and development but not a broader picture.

[1] Mann, M., & Haug, T. (2014) Mapping Out guidelines for the development and Use of sign Language Assessments: some Critical Issues, comments and Suggestions in Quinto-Pozos, D., (Ed) Multilingual Aspects of Signed Language Communication and Disorder. Bristol, Buffalo: Multilingual Matters.

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Summary of Assessment Tools and Protocols

Main Aspect of Language / Communication Skills to be Assessed Tests and protocols REF Modality Age R T Q
Functional Language and Communication Skills

To provide information regarding a child’s functional language, including listening skills, across a range of different settings.

Pragmatics Profile Of Everyday Communications Skills

  • Pre school
  • School age
  • Adult
CLL 19 MI
Macarthur Communication Development Inventory (CDI)

  • Infant
  • Toddler
CLL 17 MI 0 – 30 mnths
Ling Sounds (test showing access to the full range of speech sounds for language learning) A 69 S
Listening Skills Profile (LIP)

Infant (iLIP) (NEAP)

CLL 61 S
Categories Of Auditory Performance (CAP) (NEAP) CLL 63 S
Meaningful Auditory Integration Scale (MAIS)

(NEAP)

IT-MAIS

CLL 65

 

CLL 66

Parents Evaluation Of Oral/Aural Performance Of Children (PEACH) CLL 73 S
Teachers Evaluation Of Oral/Aural Performance Of Children (TEACH) A 73 S
Screening Instrument for Targeted Educational Risk (SIFTER)

  • Pre-school
  • School Age
CLL 75 MI
Receptive Language

To provide specific information within a test situation.

Test for Reception of Grammar-2 (TROG) CLL 26 S 4 – 16 yrs
The British Picture Vocabulary Scale (BPVS) CLL 29 S 3 – 16 yrs

Spoken language

BSL Receptive Skills Test CLL 31 BSL 3 – 13 yrs
Expressive Language

 

To provide specific information within a test situation.

South Tyneside Assessment of Syntactic Structures (STASS) CLL 38 S 3 – 7 yrs
Dorset Assessment Of Syntactic Structures CLL 39 S 7 yrs – adult
Renfrew Word Finding Vocabulary Test CLL 35 S

MI*

3 yrs 3 mths – 8 yrs 6 mths

spoken language

Renfrew Action Picture Test (RAPT) CLL 33 S

MI*

3 – 8 yrs

spoken language

Renfrew Bus Story Test CLL 41 S

MI*

3 – 8 yrs
Assessing BSL Development: Production Test (Narrative Skills) CLL 43 BSL 4 – 11 yrs
Expressive and Receptive Language Assessment

 

To provide specific information within a test situation.

Pre-School Clinical Evaluation Of Language Fundamentals Preschool (CELF) CLL 51 S 3 – 6 yrs
Clinical Evaluation Of Language Fundamentals Fourth Edition (CELF-4) CLL 55 S 5 – 21 yrs
The Pre-school Language Scales, Fourth Edition (PLS-4) (currently only available to purchase by SLTs) CLL 47 S Birth – 6yrs 5mths
Assessment of Comprehension and Expression (ACE) CLL 53 S 6yrs – 11yrs 11mths
New Reynell Developmental Language Scales (NRDLS) CLL 45 S 3yrs – 7yrs 6mths
Tait Video Analysis CLL 21
The Derbyshire Language Scheme CLL 49 S
Web-based British Sign Language Vocabulary Test A 38 BSL 4 – 15 yrs
Auditory/Speech Perception

 

To determine a child’s ability to distinguish between a range of different auditory information and in particular speech patterns.

Ling Sounds A 27 S
Listening Skills Profile

Infant (NEAP)

CLL 61 S
Categories Of Auditory Performance (CAP)(NEAP) CLL 63 S
Meaningful Auditory Integration Scale (MAIS)(NEAP) CLL 65 S
Kendall Toy Test A 26 S
McCormick Toy Test CLL 67 S
Manchester Picture Test CLL 69 S
Merklein Picture Test A 71 S
Manchester Junior Words A 70 S
BKB Sentence Lists A 66 S
Parents Evaluation Of Oral/Aural Performance Of Children (PEACH) CLL73 S
Teachers Evaluation Of Oral/Aural Performance Of Children (TEACH) A 74 S
Listening Inventories For Education UK-Individual Hearing Profile (LIFE-UK-IHP) CLL 71 S
Speech Production

 

To investigate a child’s range of speech production skills, primarily based on the successful production of phonemes.

Profile Actual Linguistic Skills (PALS)

(NEAP)

A 72 S
Speech Intelligibility Rating (SIR)

(NEAP)

CLL 80 S
Hearing Age-Related Phonological Analysis (HARPA) A 73 S
South Tyneside Assessment Of Phonology (STAP) CLL 37 S 3 – 7 yrs
Children’s Auditory Performance Scale (CHAP) A 67 S
Profile Of Actual Speech Skills (PASS) CLL 78 S
Monitoring Protocols and Language Schemes

 

Some of these documents have been developed to reflect the child’s overall development not specifically language. They provide an important tool in which to contextualise detailed language assessment information in terms of the whole child.

PIVATS

Performance Indicators for Value Added Target Setting

A 79 MI
BSquared

 

A 76 MI
Monitoring Protocol for Deaf Babies and children

 

A 78 MI
Teaching Talking A 75 MI
Black Sheep vocabulary builder A 77 MI

Notes

CLL – Communication, Language and Listening – http://www.ndcs.org.uk/professional_support/our_resources/assessments.html
A – information may be found in the supplementary Appendices document
NEAP – Nottingham Early assessment Package DVD includes training tool- www.earfoundation.org.uk
Repeatability- those assessments/profiles with a tick may be repeated as required. For all other assessments consult the manual
S – Spoken Language
BSL – British Sign Language
MI – Modality Independent
MI* – May be adapted to be used with BSL but will not provide standardised information and inform individual progress only in an adapted form

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