It is time to go back to school and as new kids arrive to your school, start school, or move up a grade level, it is also time to assess their skills for performing in the classroom. While a lot of us hope to see the use of standardized tests on to the iPad, this is not yet a reality. All of the assessment apps for the iPad, as of today, are designed to provide a qualitative assessment of student’s speech and language skills. The reason for the lack of a standardized test is the fact that the creators of a standardized assessment cannot guarantee reliability of the test given the fact that it was not standardized on the iPad itself. We don’t know if performance changes, due to the administration being on electronic format versus paper format. At the same time, it takes years of research and development to create a brand new tool, standardized on the iPad.
While I am a strong believer that the use of a specific cut off or number to determine eligibility for services is a disservice to our children, I also see that providing free services in the public school system or qualifying for Medicaid eligibility requires the use of standard scores.
We all also know that regardless of which standard score was obtained by the child, we will still need to identify strengths and weakness, identify which phonemes the child is not producing correctly and if those phonological processes are age appropriate. This is what makes us speech therapists, right?
There is hope, as a partnership between Smarty Ears and Bilinguistics is set to create the first standardized articulation and phonology tool for the iPad. The Bilingual Articulation and Phonology Assessment is already available on iTunes on a non-standardized form, and it is currently being standardized on both English monolinguals and Bilingual children. This tool is not only a tool for Bilingual children, but it is also designed to be used with English only children as well. The standardization will take a few years to complete, but preliminary data can be implemented on future updates as they get completed. I am very proud to be a part of this team.
While qualitative tools do not provide a standard score, they provide valuable information, have shown to be more engaging, analyzing the data obtained, and generating a report automatically which allows us to focus on what matters most: to help children improve their skills.
Here are the qualitative screeners and tools available for assessment speech and language skills using your iPad:
- Sunny Articulation and Phonology Test: One of a kind test, which I happen to have envisioned and developed. It assesses articulation and phonology skills and generates a report immediately after the assessment.
- Profile of Phonological Awareness: Developed by a Canadian SLP, this application is a tool for assessing phonological awareness skills such as segmenting sounds, blending, etc. A report is generated and scores can be compared against other students in the same classroom.
- Common Core Early Language Screener: A newly released app based on common core standards for kindergarteners. It can be used with preschools and kindergarteners.
- Receptive Language Assessment
- Disfluency Index Counter: A counter for number and types of disfluencies in a sample.
- Bilingual Articulation & Phonology Assessment: Assessment of English and Spanish Articulation and Phonological skills.
- Peter and the Cat Narrative Assessment: This app assesses narrative skills in children from 5 to 9 years old.