This resource, originally published in 1997, consists of reviews of standardized tests that are intended to measure language and communication skills. This volume is one in a series of guides for assessment in the New York City Public Schools.
Originally published in 1997, the Test Resource Guide Volume V: Communication/Language Assessment and Tests of Language Proficiency, consists of reviews of standardized tests that are intended to measure language and communication skills. In addition to assessing communication and language usage in English, tests of English proficiency, language dominance, and proficiency in languages other than English are included. Language scales that are part of daily living or adaptive behavior scales are reviewed in other volumes.
This volume defines the goals of communication and language assessment as determining stregnths and weakness, documenting behavior and identifying underlying causes of communication difficulties. In addition, when necessary, the assessment can be used to make educational placement decisions and to plan interventions. Expressive and receptive language should be assessed including: syntax, phonology, morphology, semantics, pragmatics, articulation, voice and fluency. Regarding standardized tests, the guide notes criticism of “poor psychometric strength, inherent and unavoidable bias and lack of concurrent validity.” Descriptive testing, described as “holistic,” includes language sampling which can “indicate overall language functioning and specific linguistic deficits.” In addition, it explicitly states that norms should be representative, relevant and recent. Tests used in assessment should also indicate acceptable reliability and validity. This volume also highlights that vocabulary tests, or tests highly dependent on vocabulary items, provide “erroneous information” regarding cognitive level and language development since vocabulary relies on prior knowledge and experience. For English Language Learners (ELL), the language history is especially important in determining hte presence of a language disorder. Assessment professionals are instructed to use the standard error of measure (SEM) when reporting test scores and are prohibited from using age and grade equivalents or translated test scores to represent a student’s functioning or development.
Regarding the reporting of standardized test scores, unreliable test scores or those for which the normative sample was not representative should not be reported and invalid tests should not have been administered at all (thereby precluding the test score).