Instructional Strategies

Language

Assessment

Informational Chunk:Procedures for Assessment

I read about four different ways of assessing language abilities in deaf children. The first procedure is the Direct procedure. This refers to the emphasis on the use of language to communicate or convey information in a natural manner, conversation, for example. One of the goals of this procedure is to acquire a language sample, spoken or written, so that it can be analyzed.

Another procedure, Indirect measures, refer to conscious reflections of the language user on the language rules that are crucial to carry out a linguistic task. This procedure is often like taking a paper/pencil test. The main goal here is to acquire information on the person's language proficiency without specific reference to purpose or use. Most assessments are in this category via test formats like multiple choice and fill-in-the-blank. They both can be used to assess language knowledge and use.

Discrete-point procedures focus on evaluation of important language skills , like vocabulary and syntax. These tests are also like multiple choice tests, and include such other things as sentences with gaps to fill in and to be transformed in various ways. There is usually only one answer to each question, and each one requires the use of a separate skill.

Integrative measures are more commonly used than Discrete-point measures because of validity purposes. The main goal of this procedure is to obtain a global understanding of a particular person's language performance. This involves the focus on the use of language in natural, meaningful situations.

Paul, Peter V. & Quigley, Stephen P. (1994). Language Assessment. In Language and Deafness. San Diego, Ca. : Singular Publishing Group.

Insights:

These tests can be very technical. I believe that when you are assessing language in a deaf child, you need to focus on how well they can use it effectively and understandably. Let's face it. They will never sound as perfect as their parents, teachers, and speech therapists want them to sound. As long as they can use it functionally, then they are ahead of where most people expect them to be. . That is what should be worked on, not learning to speak with wonderful articulation. I agree that working on syntax and vocabulary is important, because it helps them become more independent, but in acquiring knowledge of how their language skills are, I think is still best done by getting them in conversational situations.