is an online database containing reviews of a number of tests
relevant to developmental disorders of learning and literacy
Invented Spelling Test (AIST), Roslyn Neilson, 2003, Language,
Speech and Literacy Services, PO Box 72 , Jamberoo, NSW 2533.
The AIST is a quick, simple, child-friendly test of invented
spelling - which is itself a strong indicator of phonological
awareness. Children are asked to ‘have a go' at spelling
the names of a set of four humorous astronaut figures. Each first
and last name contains one or two syllables, involving simple
consonants, a range of vowels, and several consonants that are
more difficult to segment. Phonetically reasonable attempts are
scored as correct, with extra bonus points awarded for knowledge
of common spelling patterns. The test kit includes photocopy
masters. Note: The AIST was originally designed to allow local
norms to be constructed for individual classes and cohorts, but
a database of information on a range of populations is being
accumulated by the author, and this normative data will be distributed
to test purchasers at no extra cost during 2004.
Test (screener), problems using knowledge of tables as
most children do not learn their tables now.
test, a confrontation naming test. From Psych Corp, $48
Vocabulary Scales - 2nd Edition Good because has norms
up to 15 years.
Reading Test has a long history and is a measure of single
word recognition. The version we employ is based on a standardisation
carried out in the early 1980s in New Zealand by the New Zealand
Council for Educational Research. While doubts may be expressed
over the utility of reading single words in isolation, it remains
a robust test especially when used as part of a battery of reading
tests. Our experience with this test suggests that it now frequently overestimates reading
age. This needs to be remembered when interpreting the results
obtained with this test but it still provides a good reliable
measure of relative reading gain over time.
Note that the maximum reading age possible on the Burt is about
Contextual Reading Test, is a poor measure of reading
ability and rather serves as a predictor of IQ, indeed it was
developed as a measure of premorbid IQ.
Coltheart reading lists are good because they separate
different types of reading, and they have some norms. They are
good because they are free. They are not-so-good because the
norms have been done by researchers and are published in journals,
rather than the test being normed commercially. Also, they have
no discontinue rule so a child has to suffer all items.
Communication Checklist - 2nd Edition Good because it
assess pragmatic language use, which few tests do. Completed
by parents of children who have observed their child's use of
language in a variety of contexts. This information is not available
in a testing session. Norms for children who speak in sentences
up to the age of 16.
about Print test. For young children, assessing
awareness of book technology, print conventions etc. Biggish
home environment effects, little heritability
of Language Fundamentals – 3 rd Ed ( CELF– III),
Semel, E., Wiig,E.H. & Secord, W.A., 1995, The Psychological
Corporation. CELF-4 Complete Kit $1,174.80 (incl. GST), Australian
Adaptation Record forms (9-21yrs) (pack of 100) $627.00, Australian
Adaptation Record forms (5-8yrs) (pack of 100) $627.00. This
is a detailed oral language test, which identifies and diagnoses
oral language difficulties in children, both in areas of language
processing and expressive language. It is a measure used to give
a global indication of children's language functioning. There
are some concerns with some subtests which seem to be confounded
by working memory requirements. The CELF-3 is being replaced
with the CELF-4 (2003) with Australian Language Adaptation for
clinical purposes and for research other than longitudinal studies
in progress. The CELF-4 is said to have improved diagnostic power
and uses a step approach to assessment moving from screening
to identification of the nature of the disorder if this is required.
The Recalling Sentences subtest from the 4th Edition is a sensitive
marker of SLI and norms up to around 22 years.
test of phonological processing (CTOPP) Richard Wagner,
Joseph Torgensen, and Carol Rashotte, 1999,Pro-Ed), Complete
kit $677.The CTOPP assesses phonological awareness, phonological
memory, and rapid naming. This test is used extensively in profiling
the phonological processing of children with language and/or
literacy difficulties. It has a lot of subtests for phonological
awareness, rapid naming, digit span. An experimental but not-yet-published "pre-CTOPP," designed
for preschool children has a lot of pictorial support. Known
(and pretty good) reliabilities, and information on the heritability
of the subtests is being gathered. In preschool they are of the
order of .20 - .48, probably higher in Kindergarten and beyond. Also
probably shows shared environment effects from school-age up.
The Rapid Naming subtests are particularly useful, as
well as the Phoneme Reversal Subtest, used for older
students (e.g., above 8 yrs) to try to get at metalinguistic
phoneme awareness. As the stimuli for this subtest are nonwords,
it does stop students from using orthography to help them do
the phonological processing to some extent. This subtest is also
timed, so that if students have not developed automatised metalinguistic
phoneme awareness this does seem to be reflected in the score – this
does not seem to be the case for the Elision subtest in this
battery, which many students may do orthographically a lot of
nonword repetition test. Published by Psychological
Corporation, 30-52 Smidmore St , Marrickville, 2204, complete
kit $310. Almost an industry standard, though a bit "lumpy" in
its scoring (each item simply right or wrong, not phoneme-by-phoneme),
and not all that reliable with very young kids (preschool age).
Goldman Fristoe Test
of Articulation. This
test is good because it has norms for people up to around 22. It
is not-so-good because we are finding children perform near ceiling.
Hundred Pictures Naming
Test. This is a
confrontation naming test, and it is good for young children. It
shows big home environment effects, marginal heritability. From
Performance Scale – Revised (Leiter - R), Roid, G.H. & Miller, L.J., 1997, Stoelting. Three
subtests yield a Memory Span Composite, and an Associative Memory
composite is also available. This measures immediate and delayed
memory for associations between visual stimuli. The Visualisation
and Reasoning Battery is useful whenever it is suspected that performance
on one of the Wechsler scales has been negatively affected by either
receptive or expressive language difficulties. The Attention and
Memory section of this battery is very useful in children with
verbal short-term and working memory deficits, to check whether
the memory deficits also extend across the visual domain. The test
has subtests that separately examine visual short-term and working
memory, and visual spatial memory. Students with very weak verbal
memories may do much better in visual memory, especially in spatial
memory - this has significant implications for intervention.
Manis et al.'s (1996)
Orthographic choice task - it's not standardised and that's a weakness.
Martin and Pratt Nonword
Reading Test (MPNRT), Martin, F. & Pratt, C., 2001, ACER
Press. This is a simple
to administer test of students' phonological recoding skill, one
of the key skills involved in word reading. This test has the advantage
over other nonword reading tests of having difficulty levels established
on Australian students. Regular word structures are used for nonword
items to enable the student to employ phonological recoding strategies
to produce the combined sound of letter strings. Phonological recoding
is the ability to match a sequence of letters to its corresponding
sounds (decoding) and is indicative of a student's ability to read
novel or unfamiliar words in text. Students who are poor decoders
are more likely to rely on contextual information when they read.
The use of non-words in a test such as this allows for the detection
of those students who are largely relying on compensatory strategies
rather than generative decoding strategies when attempting to read.
The test consists of pseudowords, which range from simple three
letter non-words to more difficult multisyllabic non-words. This
test assesses performance between the ages of 6 to 16 years. It
is a g ood test of phonological coding that has norms and has discontinue
tests of phonological awareness (position analysis, phoneme deletion) - not standardised
and that's a weakness.
National Adult Reading
Test (NART), is a
poor measure of reading ability and rather serves as a predictor
of IQ, indeed it was developed as a measure of premorbid IQ.
Neale Analysis of Reading
, 3 rd Edition (NEALE-3), This is a standardised reading
test, administered individually, that provides measures of text
reading rate, accuracy and comprehension. The child is asked
to read aloud a series of short passages and then answer a set
of open-ended questions after each one. Given that the Neale
Analysis is based on a recent standardisation carried out with Australian students
(the third edition was published in 1999), that the accuracy
and reliability of the Australian version has been independently
confirmed, and its continued widespread use (particularly in
the UK and Australia), it is probably the best available measure
of reading accuracy and, arguably, of reading comprehension, for
Australian students. The Neale Analysis
measures, and provides reading age estimates for, both reading
accuracy and reading comprehension. Note that the maximum reading
age possible on the Neale is about 13 years. The Neale is good
because it gives measures of reading accuracy, fluency and comprehension
and it has parallel passages that can be used to assess listening
comprehension. This test is one that teachers and parents are familiar
with and understand. The comprehension measure however has several
confounds: the child is assisted with words that he/she cannot
decode so to some extent listening comprehension is being assessed
as well as reading comprehension; the child is asked to answer
questions without looking back over the text, so it places a load
on working memory. In addition older children are often uncomfortable/unfamiliar
with reading aloud.
NEPSY A developmental
neuropsychological assessment. Korkman, M., Kirk, U., & Kemp. S. (1998). San Antonio
, TX.: The Psychological Corporation. Repetition of Nonwords subtest
is good because non-word repetition is a sensitive marker of SLI
. The Narrative Memory Subtest is used to explore children's long-term
verbal memory. Spontaneous and cued recall are separately examined.
The Verbal Fluency Subtest is basically the adult FAS test but
has norms for children. It is useful for contrasting fluency with
meaning related and phonologically related information. Norms extend
only to 12 years 11 months.
Orthographic choice, a modified version
of Olson's well-known test for word-specific knowledge. Simple
and pretty quick to give.
Peabody Picture Vocabulary
Test-Third Edition (PPVT-III), Dunn, L.M.& Dunn, L.M. with Williams, K.T., 1997,
American Guidance Service. This is a measure of receptive vocabulary
and estimate of verbal ability/scholastic aptitude, expressed as
a standardised score and as a percentile rank. It may not be helpful
in identifying children with language impairment as single word
receptive vocabulary is often relatively sound in children with
a variety of other language difficulties. However it is possible
to explore, for example, whether a child's reading comprehension
problem may be the result of difficulties with listening comprehension.
The test is easy to use, is widely known and has good norms.
Battery (PhAB) Frederickson, N., Frith, U. & Reason, R.,
1997, NFER-Nelson, This is an alternative
test of phonological processing. The Alliteration Test with Pictures
subtest is good because it provides pictures to support the child,
so there not such a heavy load on memory. Norms are available up
to 15 years.
of Literacy (QUIL), Barbara Dodd, Alison
Holm, Michael Oerlemans & Marian McCormick,
1996, Department of Speech Pathology & Audiology, The University
of Queensland. This is a test of phonological awareness skills
as they pertain to literacy development. The test provides Australian
norms for children in Years 1-7, however, the tests needs bigger
sample for norms, as the grading is rather coarse at the moment.
The Nonword Spelling Subtest is useful for assessing older primary
children whose spelling and written development appear to be a
very specific difficulty. Norms only extend to Yr 7 but High School
children with these difficulties often rank very low and the qualitative
information is invaluable. It looks useful for research in raw
score form, and shows good discrimination over 24 items. This subtest
is thought to show when children are (1) not correctly conducting
the initial speech sound analysis required by spelling, and (2)
cannot write down what they “hear” in the correct English
sound/spelling code. Real word spelling (e.g., South Australian
Spelling Test) does not seem to us to reliably give this information.
The Spoonerisms subtest is probably the most useful as it gets
at metalinguistic phoneme awareness. Even so, we find that students
who are weak phonologically if given time can be accurate on these
stimuli because they do the task orthographically as the words
as mostly very simple. Hence, latency is a better indication of
phonological weakness than absolute score.
Raven's Coloured Progressive
Matrices (RCPM) -
it's easy and quick to use and you can create a 'board' form (similar
to a jigsaw puzzle) to use with children with intellectual disability
to explain what's required.
South Australian Spelling
Test (SAST), printed
in Peter Westwood, 1999, Spelling: Approaches to teaching and assessment.
ACER Press. This is a test of real word spelling which has been
standardised across the age range 6-15 years. The revised norms
for this simple spelling test provide estimates of spelling age
based on a sample of South Australian students tested in 1993.
This test assesses spelling performance from age 6 to over 15 years.
It is popular because it has Australian norms however in some places
it may be over-used and some children are developing familiarity
with the test.
South Tyneside Assessment
of Phonology (STAP) - especially for children
with speech output problems (e.g., with Down syndrome).
(SPAT-R), Roslyn Neilson, 2003, Language, Speech and Literacy
Services, PO Box 72 , Jamberoo, NSW 2533. The SPAT-R is a simple
yet thorough standardised test that provides a diagnostic overview
of the phonological awareness skills required for early literacy
development. The test targets sounds at the level of syllables,
onset/rime, and phonemes, including blends or clusters. Tasks involve
identification, blending, segmenting, and phoneme deletion. Photocopy
masters for the test booklets may be purchased. Teachers find this
test user-friendly and that student profiles can easily be related
to intervention programs. However, we the norms supplied with the
test may not be applicable for WA Pre-Primary children, possibly
because of the different programmes in the different states. Year
1 data seem to be much more convergent.
Test of Auditory Comprehension
of Language - Revised (TACL-R), - goes above the level of
Test of word knowledge, Good
because has norms. Bad because norms only up to 11 1/2 y.o.
Test of Written Spelling
(TWS). A strength
is its inclusion of words with predictable and unpredictable spellings.
Test of word reading efficiency (TOWRE),
from ProEd, Oz agent ProEd, PO Box 3161, Nerang East Qld 4211, Cost:Complete
Kit $360.80, Form A record booklets (pack of 25) $72.60, Form B record
booklets (pack of 25) $72.60. This timed test quickly and accurately
measures word recognition fluency by asking children to read as many
words as possible in 45 seconds, placing an emphasis on sight word
reading . The second subtest requires the child to read a list of
nonwords under the same conditions, measuring phonemic decoding fluency.
Results are presented as standard scores with a mean of 100 (range
85-115) and can be converted to percentile scores. Although this test
strongly resembles the Word Identification and Word Attack subtests
of the Woodcock, as mentioned above, the timed aspect of this test
is particularly valuable in identifying those children who have learned
to decode accurately but have not achieved automaticity in their reading.
The test is quick to give, spans early childhood to adulthood, is
highly reliable, correlates highly with other industry standards such
as Woodcock, and has known (and high) heritability.
Test for the reception of grammar
(TROG). Dorothy Bishop's test, just released in new
improved 3rd version. Tests a wide variety of grammatical forms,
with vocabulary precheck. Test for Reception of Grammar - 2nd
Edition Good because has norms for children and adults and norms suit
Australian children. Our supplier has closed, need to contact Dorothy
at Oxford for local supplier.
Visual Patterns Test - Thames Valley Test
Company - A nice, simple test of short term visual memory.
Achievement Test – 2nd
Edition (WIAT-II). The Psychological Corporation. The Spelling
Subtest can be used as an alternative to the SAST, but it is not
yet clear how well the norms work for Australian children. It has
potential use because the battery presents norms for prediction
of achievement from general ability as measured by the WISC-III.
This can be useful in demonstrating the specific nature of a student's
literacy problems. The reading word reading subtest has the same
Test for Children - 4th Edition. (WISC-IV). Subtests
include Matrix Reasoning. This test is good because has norms
for children up to 17 years, but norms for MR subtest are questionable
for Australian kids (this is currently being tested).
of Reading Passages (WARP). is a relatively new curriculum-based
measure of reading. The experimental edition of the WARP consists
of a series of 200 word passages, each passage comprising an
entire story, specially written so that there could be no danger
of students having encountered the passages before and thereby
eliminating the possibility of a practice effect. The WARP has
repeatedly been shown to be both highly reliable and valid. Three
WARP passages are typically administered as part of a MULTILIT
assessment. The number of words read correctly per minute is
averaged over the three passages to yield a single measure of
the number of words read correctly in one minute. The WARP is
used to measure oral reading fluency . Reading
fluency refers to how rapidly a child can read words correctly.
In essence, we are interested in how many words per minute a child
can read accurately. To be a competent reader, one needs to be
able to read at a reasonable speed in order to process the voluminous
amount of text that high school presents, for example. There is
another important reason, however. If a child takes an inordinately
long time to read the individual words in a sentence, it is quite
possible that s/he may have forgotten what the beginning of the
sentence was about by the time s/he reaches the end of the sentence.
This will be more evident in the case of a succession of sentences
within a paragraph. Obviously, this will hinder reading comprehension.
Consequently, the aim is not just to teach children to be able
to read words accurately, but to do so at a good rate.
Wide Range Achievement
Test (WRAT) Psych Corp. Spelling Subtest is well used standard, though lacking in
well thought-out items for particular spelling patterns.
Wide range assessment
of memory and learning (WRAML). Psychological Corp,
complete kit $1209. Standardised test of learning processes,
across about 8 domains. Our subtests
moderately heritable (.25 - .37), reliabilities with older kids
Woodcock Reading Mastery
W. Woodcock, 1998, American Guidance Service). This test has a
wide age range from young children to older adults. From ACER,
$650, $109 for 25 booklets. Very commonly used, this test gives
standardised scores for reading real and nonwords, but real words
are a mix of regular and irregular words and that's a weakness.
Subtests include Word Identification, Word Attack, Passage Comprehension
and Visual Auditory Learning. Word Identification uses a graded
word list which allows us to observe the child's word real word
recognition in single word reading where context and meaning cues
are not available. We find it useful to compare scores on this
subtest with those on the TOWRE speeded reading of real words.
Word Attack requires the student to read graded nonsense words.
This test purports to measure a child's use of letter-sound correspondences
i.e., phonological decoding, however, there are concerns that for
at least the first half of the items (one and two syllable nonwords)
students do these partly by visual analogy to real words. Thus,
children in lower grades may look as if they can decode when actually
we think they may be using primarily visual skills. Also, children
can score quite well in accuracy, but still have very poorly automatised
phonological decoding. So, for these reasons, this subtest is best
used in combination with a measure of speeded nonword reading e.g.,
TOWRE . Passage Comprehension is a graded series of sentences/paragraphs
presented as cloze exercises. The student is told to read the items
silently. This seems to get at how much meaning students are able
to extract unaided from what they have read. Visual Auditory Learning
is meant to tap ability to form associations between visual stimuli
and oral responses. We also find it a useful qualitative indicator
of verbal working memory problems.