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GFTA-3 Record Forms

Nancy Castilleja is a senior Product Manager for speech and language products, including PLS-5.

I just ordered a new package of GFTA-3 Record Forms and they look different from the ones described in the Manual! Did the norms change also?

We received a lot of feedback from clinicians who found the layout of the GFTA-2 Record Form easier to use than the GFTA-3 layout.

The new form includes the sound analysis tables and the Phoneme Emergence and Mastery tables that you can use to map the child’s performance and assist you in interpreting developmental considerations and explaining GFTA-3 test results to administrators and parents. Information about completing the new form and interpreting results can be found online. There were no changes to the normative scores.

For more information about correctly interpreting GFTA-3 results, view our live webinar on September 15th or listen to the recording posted on the website one week later.

FAQ by Donna Geffner

What do you think about early identification of Auditory Processing Disorders (APD)?

A few recent articles have been published:

Lucker JR (2015). How young is too young to evaluate children for auditory processing disorders. Canadian Audiologist, 2 (5). Available on-line at: http://canadianaudiologist.ca/issue/volume-2-issue-5-2015/column/from-the-centre-out/
Lucker, JR (2015). Auditory processing abilities in children: When to test? Audiology Today, 27 (1). Available on-line at: http://citeseerx.ist.psu.edu/viewdoc/download?doi=​

White-Schwoch​, T., Davies,​ E. C.,​ Thompson​, E. C.​, Woodruff Carr,​ K.,​ Nicol​, T.​, ​B​radlow,​ A. R., &​ Kraus​, N. (2015). Auditory-neurophysiological responses to speech during early childhood: Effects of background noise​. Hearing ​R​esearch, ​328, 34-47. Available online at: https://www.scholars.northwestern.edu/en/publications/auditory-neurophysiological-responses-to-speech-during-early-chil

In addition, the Auditory Skills Assessment (ASA) is an early screener for children as young as 3 years, 6 months to establish whether or not a young child’s auditory skills might be at risk. I am comfortable testing children down to age 3:6 for two measures: speech in noise and speech mimicry. The reliability and validity are good. Interestingly, Kraus and others found that children who have difficulty with speech mimicry and discrimination in noise (the din of the classroom) are at high risk for reading problems. I use the test in my practice and find it very helpful in identifying high risk young children. When I test those same children as they get older (with other measures), I get similar/consistent results. The other parts of the ASA are: Phonological Awareness and Non Speech Processing—a Tonal Patterning measure—are normed for 5-year-olds and up. I also use other tests, one of which is the Katz’ Phonemic Synthesis Picture Test—another good predictor of children at risk for reading problems. Other SLPs and audiologists use the ASA to find children with early listening skill deficits and determining goals for therapy, alone or with a tool like Phonemic Synthesis Picture Test.

Autism question

Nancy Castilleja is a senior Product Manager for speech and language products, including PLS-5.

I am doing a language assessment for a 5 year old boy diagnosed with autism. I plan to interview the parents and observe the child to obtain a language sample, but I’m not sure whether I should administer a PLS or CELF Preschool to obtain normed scores. Which would provide the best information?

It depends on the language abilities and attention behaviors of the child you are testing. Is the child you are testing nonverbal? If so, he will not be able to do the expressive tasks on the CELF Preschool-2, so your choice would be PLS, since the behaviors tested go down to first year communication behaviors. The play behaviors tested may be more likely to elicit the target behaviors, and you can administer the test items in any order. You will obtain good developmental information about the child’s skills. Is the child talking, using complete sentences? Can he attend to school-like tasks at a table to take the test in the standardized fashion? If so, you can obtain more in-depth information about the child’s strengths and weaknesses in semantics, morphosyntax, pragmatics, and preliteracy skills.

Use of Review360 for SLPs in Wider Applications

Q. Could you use Review360 for SLPs in wider applications outside your caseload?

A. Yes. Data collection, in general, is relatively universal. You might choose to use Review360 for SLPs with students on your caseload or those you are supporting through an RTI/MTSS model in general education. You may have other applications in your work where it also may make sense to use this tool. You will be able to do this by individualizing the existing student objectives selections to meet your specific student need.

For more information on Review360 for SLPs, a progress monitoring and intervention tool with 78 well-written goals and 74 evidence-based interventions gleaned from the literature by Dr. Judy Rudebusch, please click here.

Retesting Considerations circa 2016

Nancy Castilleja is a senior Product Manager for speech and language products, including PLS-5.

We often are asked, what is an appropriate or optimal time interval before a child can be retested with the same language assessment tool?

There isn’t a standard for an "optimal" time interval for retesting. There are some things to consider before retesting a child in a relatively short time frame:

  1. Has enough time elapsed so that the child isn’t likely to remember his or her answers?
    Retesting within 0–14 days is not recommended for this reason on language assessments, especially receptive language tasks. We generally find in our test–retest studies that a child’s test scores are slightly (1–3 standard score points) higher when he or she is retested the same day or less than 15 days later.
  2. Has enough time elapsed between tests so that the child chronological age now places him or her in the next normative group (i.e., has the child "aged-out" of the norm group used to score the first test)?
    It is best to wait to re-test the child when the child’s chronological age now places him or her in the next normative group.
  3. Is there a reason to believe that you didn’t get the child’s best performance from the first test, e.g., was the child was tired or ill?
    If you think the child may not have been able to perform well during the first test, you should consider retesting the child. However, retesting too soon may result in slightly higher standard scores due to practice effects.
  4. Has enough time elapsed between tests that the child has made progress?
    If so, you may want to retest to evaluate progress. If there is a question about prior test results, you may want schedule a retest to obtain a second opinion.

If the answer is no to any of these questions, it’s best to wait to retest until one of the questions can be answered yes. Information about test–retest score differences are included in the Technical manual in the Test Reliability, Test Stability or "Test–Retest Study sections.

Some employers may require clinicians to test more frequently than once or twice a year to assess a client’s progress. Most standardized assessments were not developed to be administered repeated in short time frames (e.g., every 6 weeks) as progress measures. Standardized tools can be used as progress measures when the answer to any of the above questions is yes, testing at the beginning and end of treatment.

These same considerations apply to articulation assessment, with the exception of #1 above. "Remembering" the test items from the first assessment is not expected to impact performance on an individual’s performance on formal measures of articulation.

Accounting on time limit for test items in CELF-5 Metalinguistics

Shannon Wang is a Senior Research Director.

In the CELF-5 Metalinguistics administration instructions, it gives a time limit for each test. For example, in the “Making Inferences” test, it says “Allow 15 seconds for each part of the test items”. If the client takes more than 15 seconds to answer an item, does that mean the client should get a score of “0” for that item? If not, how should I take that time limit into account?

The time limits in CELF-5 Metalinguistics are suggestions of how long to wait for a student to start his or her response to maintain the pacing of testing and to avoid unnecessarily prolonging testing time. If a student does not respond in 10 seconds for the trial item and 15 seconds for the test items, you should proceed to the next item. If a student begins a response, allow him or her to finish his or her response, regardless of how much time elapses.

Marking distortions of speech sounds as errors

Nancy Castilleja is a senior Product Manager for speech and language products, including PLS-5.

Do distortions of speech sounds count as errors? How do I mark that on Q global?

All distortions are counted as errors.
On both the Q-interactive and Q-global keypads, there is a Delta button that is used to note distortions and any productions that are not represented by the IPA symbols included on the keypad. When the Delta button is touched, a note/transcription screen pops up and the clinician may either write a note (e.g., “lateral lisp”), note the sound substitution, or transcribe the entire word.

It is important to note that when a clinician hits the Delta key, the Delta key counts as a substitution for the targeted phoneme, and an error will be scored.

If the clinician wants to note a dialectal difference (e.g., aspirated /s/ in final position from a speaker of English influenced by Spanish), then do not hit the Delta key. Rather, hit the pencil icon. The pencil icon will allow the clinician to write a note, note the sound substitution, or transcribe the entire word, without marking an error.

Terminology: What’s in a Name?

Tina Eichstadt

Terminology: What’s in a Name?

This month’s question is actually for you–not from you! We continue to watch the worlds of education and research closely. Lately, there has been a resurgence of the use of the term dyslexia. In fact, earlier this month Sen. Bill Cassidy [R-LA] sponsored a resolution that passed the Senate by Unanimous Consent declaring October 2015 “National Dyslexia Awareness Month.”

As SLPs, we tend to use the terminology “written language disorders” or “language/literacy connections” as we describe difficulties with the language basis of reading, writing, and spelling. Unfortunately, not everyone uses or understands this terminology.

So here’s a question (or two) for you: How do you respond to parents and other professionals who ask you if you, as an SLP, can help a particular child who is believed to have dyslexia? How will you bring your language expertise into all this recent and growing conversation around dyslexia?

As you ponder and reflect on your answers, feel free to post a comment below!

The difference between Spanish dominance and Spanish Proficiency


What is the difference between Spanish dominance and Spanish proficiency?

The concept of dominance encompasses the subtle differences in levels of language exposure that lead to differences in communicative performance of children in the areas of semantic and morphosyntax tasks (Pena, E., Iglesias, A., Gutierrez-Clellen, V., Goldstein, B. & Bedore, L. 2013). Dominant bilingualism as defined by Wei, L., (2000) includes situations in which a bilingual has greater proficiency in one language and uses it significantly more than any other(s). Wei goes on to define language dominance as one language being stronger or preferred by the individual. In communication disorders, the most familiar use of language dominance is in its use in the evaluation of English language learners. Language proficiency, in contrast, is a concept that has its roots in its use to select the most effective language of instruction in education (Collier, 2004). The use of language proficiency in the study of communication disorders began with studies similar to Hest (1997) who discusses the relationship between language proficiency as a developmental progression and its influences on the types of self-repair during the process of learning English. If you have a sense that these terms are similar and are used interchangeably, you are correct. If you are convinced that the terms have different meanings you are also correct. Although these terms are used interchangeably, the term proficiency lends itself more to the dynamic state of language skills in relation to colleagues exposure, demand and identity and to differences across language areas, modalities and domains in a communication system. Language proficiency reinforces the notion that language knowledge and skills change in response to social and academic environments, and may offer a better way to convey different levels of language function in a variety of social interactions and academic performance in different subject areas. Understanding that a student’s language ability is variable across speakers and linguistic contexts has important implications for determining a best course of support for an English Language Learner or a bilingual student. To summarize, Spanish dominance refers to a greater proficiency or preference for the use of Spanish. Spanish proficiency, on the other hand, refers to a measured degree of facility with which a person uses Spanish with different speakers and in different social and educational contexts.

Collier, C. (2004). Separating Difference from Disability. Ferndale, WA, CrossCultural Developmental Education Services.

Gerken, K. C. (1978). Language dominance: A comparison of measures. Language, Speech and Hearing Services in the Schools, 9, 187-196. doi:10.1044/0161.0903.187

Pena, E., Iglesias, A., Gutierrez-Clellen, V., Goldstein, B. & Bedore, L. (2013). Development of a Bilingual Test for Spanish-English Children: A Long and Winding Road, ASHA Convention, Chicago, IL. Wei, L (2000). The Bilingualism Reader. NY: NY, Routledge.

Using Alternate Vocabulary in CELF-4

Marie Sepulveda Ramos, MS CCC-SLP, Research Director, Pearson

I work in central Texas where there is a large Mexican-American population. I just received a referral for a child from Cuba. I know that I need to check certain to make sure that the words in the CELF-4 Spanish need to changed for a Spanish speaker from Cuba, but are there any other scoring modifications I need to make?

Because the vocabulary used in CELF-4 Spanish is typical of vocabulary used by Spanish-speaking individuals in the southwestern and western part of the United States, you may have to substitute some of the words used in the record form for other ones that are more familiar to the student you are testing.

Some factors to consider when you substitute vocabulary for the test items:

1. If you are able to have contact with the student’s parents, you might want to verify that the words you have selected for the student are the ones that are used by the family. The alternate vocabulary listed on the record form does not specify which words are used in each country. Also, students who have been in the U.S. for a while may begin using words that are used in his or her environment.

2. You cannot substitute words in the administration directions or in the test items with synonyms that you consider to be more familiar or child-friendly. The alternate vocabulary used on the test form represents words that vary across dialects, not synonyms within a dialect.

If you follow these recommendations, score the test as usual. All scoring rules are applied, regardless of dialect. However, if you change the administration directions or item prompts by substituting or omitting words, standard scores may not be used.