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I come bearing more tests for you all.  R is gearing up to do a bunch of re-evaluations which I will be helping with on my final (make up) day of my school externship!  As a result, I have three more tests to summarize/review.  Let the excitement begin!

  • The HELP Test-Elementary:  A Test of Language Competence by Andrea M. Lazzari (published by LinguiSystems)

According to the the cover, this test looks at semantics, specific vocabulary, word order, general vocabulary, question grammar and defining.  Administration time takes 25-35 minutes and is for ages 6 to 11 years old.  Scoring is 1 or 0, which makes it simple to score, but does not necessarily allow for partial credit.  (I’m thinking of this particularly for the section on defining.)  However, they provide a number of “acceptable responses” in the scoring book, as well as “unacceptable responses.”  This makes it somewhat less intuitive to score if you feel the need to check the manual to make sure, but one can always double check the child’s response against what you scored after the test is over.  (Haha, an acceptable response for “Tell me two things you spread on bread” is “ham spread.”  Well, I would not have marked that as correct.)  All of the directions are on the scoring sheet; there are none in the stimulus book.  One annoying thing is that in the stimulus book, each section is not marked off by a tab.  I mean, obviously it’s not a long test and therefore you are likely to give the whole thing, but I still think they could have tabbed it.  It seems only average psychometrically.

  • The Listening Comprehension Test-2 by Linda Bowers, Rosemary Huisingh, and Carolyn LoGuidice

This test covers main idea, details, reasoning, vocabulary and understanding messages (by which it means…auditory comprehension 2-3 step commands…I think).  It tests children ages 6;0 to 11;11.  Once again, I am already liking this test because it talks about language as it relates to underlying cognitive processes such as attention, concentration, reasoning, and problem-solving.  The main idea, details, reasoning, and vocabulary are separate subtests.  There is one question that addresses each area for each passage you read.  Understanding messages is the only other separate subtest.  Again, this test scores either a 1 or 0 and the test takes approximately 35 minutes to complete.  It appears fairly easy to give, and all the instructions are on the score sheet.  It is mostly reading passages aloud and then having the child answer questions about them.  No test item can be repeated.  It’s a fairly new test, but seems pretty decent psychometrically.

I have almost completely taken over School 1 on Mondays/Wednesdays.  (Mwahahaha!  Next…the world!) It’s pretty intense to have back to back to back groups with different goals, different personalities, and different behavior modification needs.  Data collection has once again become a little more hectic for me; but data collection has always been a bit of a challenge for me and I expect to settle in to the new routine soon enough.  It’s not too bad considering the clinic schedule, lesson plan, and data collection are all on a single sheet of paper.  Bless R and her allowing me to inherit her awesome organizational materials.

I am also going to be doing my first evaluation this week (as long as the weather behaves).  Tomorrow, I am supposed to compare The Test of Word Knowledge and the Test of Adolescent Language-Primary and decide which one will better assess my client.  Fun!  Mostly I’m nervous because this starts me down the road to leading a case conference.  Meep.

On the bright side, I have a really cool test to review below.  It’s the Boehm-3, which tests basic concepts.

  • Boehm Test of Basic Concepts-3, by Ann E. Boehm

I have never heard of this test before, as it does not directly test language, but I think it is a good test for a SLP to have on hand, particularly for screening large groups of children.  It provides a good way to examine which basic concepts and their corresponding language concepts these children have acquired prior to beginning school.  There are two forms (also called parallel forms), which allows the administration of this test on at least two occasions without invalidating the results (i.e. pre-testing and post-testing).  Additionally, this test has a Spanish version, and a test form for screening entire classes at a time.  The class form allows the administrator of the test to mark which children have which concepts, providing an easy at-a-glance sheet for which children are struggling with which concepts.  Basically the test is a 16 page test consisting entirely of pictures.  The child circles different pictures based on the instructions provided by the administrator (e.g. “Circle the bird” in a row of animals; “Circle the cat that’s on top” in a picture of four cats in varying spatial positions, etc.).  I can’t imagine it taking more than 10-15 minutes total.  Overall, it seems pretty good psychometrically.  The test also appears easy to administer.

I was introduced to School 2 today.  I am in such trouble.  School 2 is like a maze, and as a spatially challenged person, I am liable to get lost.  I also failed at storing pretty much anyone’s names again.  Following my own advice from yesterday, however, I did learn the front office lady’s name AND the librarian, since my supervisor R pointed her out as someone I should definitely know.  Small victories, I guess.

Otherwise, the day was once again spent observing the various groups of students.  I felt like I saw more language today than I did yesterday, although lord knows there’s plenty of articulation/phonology treatment at either school.  I also went through most of the client files as well.  Not that I’m going to probably remember much at all about what I read for each kid.  Originally, I was just going through the drawer alphabetically, but then I realized I might want to know the information for the kids I was simultaneously observing, so I changed my tactic and started pulling files for the kids for each group.  I had a dim hope that if I looked at the file and then watched the kid in group I might somehow remember stuff better, but I’m not sure it helped much.  I’m already trying to think of a new plan of attack for tomorrow.  (I didn’t ready ANY files for School 1 yesterday.  I feel a little dumb about that, and it certainly would have livened up the afternoon after the novelty of the place wore off.)  In any case, it’s a relief that R provided me with a cheat sheet for all the kids on her caseload (i.e. an abbreviated summary of each kid’s goals).  For all those starting and/or planning on interning in the future, I highly recommend asking your supervisor if s/he has something, and if not, making one for yourself as you go through the files to pull out and refer to.

However, the file reading was worthwhile to see how the IEPs (Individualized Education Plans) were written and the sort of the language they used.  Apparently, the state I am currently in has instituted some kind of computer program that everyone is supposed to use to write IEPs so that everything is uniform and IEPs can be easily accessed by educators, educational support staff, and related professionals within the state.  There were easy to read in the sense that everything was uniform in format and presentation; however, I found the language goals annoyingly vague.  All goals made by the SLP and reported in the IEP have to match the state academic standards for that child’s grade…which of course don’t exactly match to the specific kinds of things an SLP might be working on.  For those of you planning on working in schools, you might want to go ahead and start to familiarize yourself with your state’s standards for each grade, as I believe many (most?  all?) will force you to write your goals (or use a program that forces you to write your goals) using state standards.  Each state’s academic standards are probably available for easy viewing on each state’s Department of Education website.

In any case, I have another summary of a test below and then (I think!) I’ll be done with learning about new tests I’ve barely heard of before.

  • TACL-3 (Test of Auditory Comprehension of Language) (1999)

Just as the test says, it tests the auditory comprehension of language for ages 3;0 to 9;11.  The three categories of language comprehension include: vocabulary, grammatical morphemes, and elaborated phrases and sentences (i.e. syntactically based word relations, complex sentences, embedded sentences, active/passive voices, direct/indirect objects, etc.).  It does not cover all aspects of language comprehension (e.g. comprehension of discourse, metaphors, idioms), but it does not claim to be all-encompassing, and it certainly covers a fair amount of ground as it is.  At 20-30 minutes testing time, it certainly makes it attractive to the busy speech pathologist.  Scoring is a simple 1 or 0 system, with a ceiling of missing three successive items for all subtests.  This tests also seems pretty strong psychometrically.  I just noticed that the woman who wrote this test, Elizabeth Carrow-Woolfolk, is the same person who wrote the CASL I wrote about yesterday.  Quite frankly I like both tests by her, but that may be partly due to the fact that my theoretical preferences seems to be similar to hers, and I’ll be damned if she doesn’t write a test that appears straightforward to administer and score.  (If I ever get the chance to actually administer any of these tests, I will report back on that.)

Goals for tomorrow:

  1. Jump on that file reading and figure out a better way to commit some of that to memory!
  2. Make more effort/use more strategies to learn peoples’ names.
  3. Ask to do things.  I’m there to learn, and I learn best by doing, so I might as well dabble around, even if it’s just familiarizing myself with materials or re-visiting my Boardmaker skills.

Day one complete!  Overall, I think it went fine.  Mostly it involved a tour of School 1 (there will be a new one to learn tomorrow), my supervisor’s (hereafter called R) room/office, meeting a lot of people whose names I will have forgotten by tomorrow, and observing the marathon of students she sees every day.  Whew!  Things will get serious when I start to take charge of some groups, maybe next week.

Things learned on day one?  Well, I definitely need to work on the name thing.  I’m bad at learning names, but I did not make much of an effort, and I could have.  However, I did learn the names of the two front office ladies, which is key.  (For those of you still in school, this is the equivalent of the clinic administrative assistant, and, from what I hear, the equivalent of the head nurse/s in the station/s you work in at the hospital.)  These people (often ladies in my limited experience) are the gatekeepers and all-knowing gods of whichever little universe you are working in.  You want to be on their good side.  Trust me.  (I will report back on the veracity of the hospital statement ten or so weeks from now.)

Also, I will really hit by the amount of negative things impacting kids’ lives…besides whatever disorder or disorders they are dealing with that brings them to speech.  This–for lack of a better word–surprise is likely a reflection on my privileged, middle-class, suburban upbringing; nevertheless, this may spawn another post further down the line if I ever get my thoughts in order.

Over the next few days, I will be bringing home and learning the tests R uses regularly.  The conversation earlier today went something like this:

R:  Have you given this test?

Me:  No.

R:  What about this one?

Me:  No.

R:  And then I give this one a lot….

Me:  I haven’t even heard of that one.

Embarrassing!  On the other hand, now I will write a summary of the tests and post them here for posterity and future reference.

  • Listening Test (1992)

The Listening Test is for ages 6;0 to 12;0 and tests main idea, details, concepts, reasoning, and story comprehension.  It is pretty neat in that it bases the content of its test based on what a child is asked to do in the classroom on a day-to-day basis.  It even includes a classroom listening scale for the teacher to fill about the student’s listening behavior in the classroom.  While not exactly ecologically valid, it is certainly ecologically friendly and tries to test based on the child’s environment.  It seems fairly psychometrically solid.  It states that is acceptable to give to minority students as the n included the a number of minority groups proportional to that of the general US population.  However, the test is rather old and not up to date.  I think R mentioned there is a newer version, though.  Also, it is very straightforward and easy to give (or so it appears from simply reading through/looking through everything.)  An easy 1 or 0 scoring system also lends to the ease of administration.  The only odd part of the test I find is the “reasoning” section.  It is really Inferencing and I’m not sure why they called it Reasoning in the first place except to force all speech pathologists to explain why they gave a “reasoning” test in the first place.  (Although, I guess we’d have to explain what “inferencing” is anyway.)  Although, I feel like some of the questions on Details were really like Inferencing Part I.  I mean, I realize details can be inferred, but perhaps they should separate out stated details from implied details.

  • CASL (Comprehensive Assessment of Spoken Language)  (1999)

This test is an oral language assessment for ages 3 to 21.  The test sections include:  lexical/semantic (subgroups: basic concepts, synonyms, antonyms, sentence comprehension, and idiomatic language), syntactic (subgroups:  syntactic construction, paragraph comprehension, sentence comprehension, grammatical morphemes, grammaticality judgement), supralinguistic (subgroups:  nonliteral language, meaning from context, inference, and ambiguous sentences), and pragmatic language.  The full test, obviously, is pretty long, but at least half of these subtests are apparently “supplementary” based on the child’s age.  For each age group, 3 to 5 core tests must be administered to get a standard core score.  I admit, I am really liking this test just because the author takes into consideration various cognitive factors beyond language (memory!  processing load!).  The best part of the manual has to be the helpful diagram they provide to show where examiner, examinee, record form, and test book should be placed when giving the test.  On a more serious note about administration, the test does have a basal of a score of 1 one 3 consecutive items, and a ceiling of 0 on 5 consecutive items, with different basals and ceiling for both paragraph comprehension and grammaticality judgment subtests.  Additionally, if the client misses any of the first 3 items administered, the items preceding the start item must be administered in reverse until a basal of 3 consecutive correct items is established.  Psychometrically it seems quite strong.  It covers many areas of language, can be used with a large age-range of individuals, and seems flexible in length given that many tests are supplementary and only 3 core tests have to be given to provide a core standard score.

That is all I have to report for today.  Goals following day one:

  1. Actively use mnemonic strategies to learn co-workers’ names.
  2. Continue being friendly, sociable, and assertive not awkward and silent.

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