Fast mapping is a type of novel word-learning, dynamic assessment used in evaluating preschool and school-aged children. 

Research has shown fast-mapping to be a promising and valid tool to use with children from diverse linguistic, socioeconomic, and cultural backgrounds (Horton-Ikard & Weismer, 2007). However, it should be noted that research has only been done with school-age children. Therefore, clinical judgement is essential in determining typical performance for a given speech community.

This method presents the child with six items, two familiar ones and four unfamiliar ones. The evaluator should find items unfamiliar to the child and have back-up items just in case. The examiner typically uses a play scenario to engage the child in the process. For example, the examiner uses a basket, or something the items can be placed in, and a puppet to make the experience a game. The puppet tells the child they are going on a picnic and that he needs help packing the basket. The puppet explicitly teaches the child the names of the two familiar items and the names of two of the unfamiliar items. The last two unfamiliar items are ignored so that during the receptive task the child will have a lesser change of guessing the right item. The puppet asks the child to put each item into the basket, noting if the child recalls the name of the unfamiliar items. The puppet then removes items under some pretense (e.g., he wants to make sure everything is there) and asks the child to name the familiar and unfamiliar items (still ignoring the other two unfamiliar unnamed items). The process is repeated to give the child another chance to identify and name the items as well as to confirm the evaluators preception of the child’s accuracy on the items.


Understanding Assessment: Applying Dynamic Assessment

Dynamic Assessment: Fast Mapping Introduction and Example 1

Dynamic Assessment: Fast Mapping Introduction and Example 2

Dynamic Assessment: Fast Mapping Introduction and Example 3


Horton-Ikard, R. & Weismer, S.E. (2007). A Preliminary Examination of Vocabulary and Word Learning in African American Toddlers From Middle and Low Socioeconomic Status Homes. American Journal of Speech-Language Pathology, 16, 381-392.