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What influences use of language assessment? (Denman et al., 2021)

journal contribution
posted on 14.04.2021, 20:32 by Deborah Denman, Reinie Cordier, Jae-Hyun Kim, Natalie Munro, Renée Speyer
Purpose: This study reports on data from a survey of speech-language pathologists’ (SLPs) language assessment practices for elementary school–age children. The objective was to investigate the regularity with which SLPs use different types of assessments (described across data types, task types, environmental contexts, and dynamic features). This study also investigated factors that influence assessment practice, the main sources from which SLPs obtain information on language assessment and the main challenges reported by SLPs in relation to language assessment.
Method: A web-based survey was used to collect information from 407 Australian SLPs regarding the types of assessments they use. Factors that influenced the regularity with which different types of assessments were used were investigated using regression analysis.
Results: Most SLPs regularly used assessments that are norm-referenced, decontextualized, and conducted in a clinical context and less regularly used other types of assessments. Service agency, Australian state, and SLPs’ years of experience were found to influence the regularity with which some types of assessments were used. Informal discussions with colleagues were the most frequently identified source of information on assessment practice. Main challenges related to limited time, lack of assessment materials, and lack of confidence in assessing children from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds.
Conclusions: SLPs could improve current language assessment practice for elementary school–age children through more regular use of some types of assessments. Actions to facilitate evidence-based assessment practice should consider the contextual differences that exist between service agencies and states and address challenges that SLPs experience in relation to language assessment.

Supplemental Material S1. Taxonomy terms (with definitions and examples) for describing assessments according to data types, task type, environmental context and dynamic features (Denman et al., 2019).

Supplemental Material S2. Survey for Australian speech-language pathologists: Questions related to the data reported in this study.

Supplemental Material S3. Number of speech-language pathologists surveyed in relation to estimated population for each Australian state/territory.

Denman, D., Cordier, R., Kim, J.-H., Munro, N., & Speyer, R. (2021). What influences speech-language pathologists' use of different types of language assessments for elementary school–age children? Language, Speech, and Hearing Services in Schools. Advance online publication. https://doi.org/10.1044/2021_LSHSS-20-00053


The authors would like to acknowledge financial support through an Australian Government Research Training Program Scholarship.