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Language skills

These pages detail assessments that can be used to assess and monitor the expressive and receptive language skills of deaf children. These assessments and information should be used alongside Key principles and effective practice.

When assessing the language skills of deaf children, professionals use a range of published assessments, most of which were originally designed for hearing children. This is useful for comparing the development of deaf children with hearing children of the same age as it allows us to consider any gap in attainment and decide on how to address it.

When deciding which language assessment(s) to use with a deaf child, we need to consider:

  • the age and language level of the child
  • the first language in which the child communicates (spoken English, another spoken language, British Sign Language, Sign Supported English)
  • the general developmental level of the child
  • which areas of language need to be assessed (e.g. understanding of grammar, understanding of non-literal language, understanding of vocabulary, use of grammar or use of vocabulary)
  • what we know already, for example whether there is a language delay or difficulty present.

Use the links below to find out more about each assessment in this section:

Receptive language skills

The Test for Reception of Grammar, Second Edition (TROG-2)

Age range? Four years - adult
Who can use it? Speech and language therapists, psychologists and Teachers of the Deaf. 

The British Picture Vocabulary Scale, Third Edition (BPVS-3)

Age range? 3 - 16 years
Who can use it? Speech and language therapists or any relevant professional using the manual. 

Prawf Geirfa Cymraeg

Age range? Version 1 (7–11 years) and Version 2 (11–15 years)
Who can use it? Teachers and interested professionals with a good knowledge of Welsh. 

Assessing British Sign Language Development Receptive Skills Test

Age range? 3-13 years
Who can use it? Someone with at least Level 2 British Sign Language and experience in testing. 

Expressive language skills

The Renfrew Action Picture Test (5th edition)

Age range? 3-8 years
Who can use it? Any relevant professional using the manual

Word Finding Vocabulary Test (Renfrew Language Scales)

Age range? 3-8 years
Who can use it? Specialist teachers, speech and language therapists and educational psychologists

South Tyneside Assessment of Syntactic Structures (STASS 2012)

Age range? 3-7 years 
Who can use it? Teachers and professionals who are familiar with the grammatical features of English 

The Dorset Assessment of Syntactic Structures (DASS)

Age range? 7 years–adult 
Who can use it? Teachers and speech and language therapists

Bus Story Test (Renfrew Language Scales)

Age range? 3-8 years
Who can use it? Teachers and speech and language therapists

Assessing BSL Development: Production Test (Narrative Skills)

Age range? 4-11 years
Who can use it? BSL users with at least a Level 2 qualification who have successfully completed the relevant course.

Receptive and expressive language skills

Wellcomm Primary: The complete speech and language toolkit

Age range? 6-11 years
Who can use it? SENCOs, teachers, teaching assistants, speech and language therapists and Teachers of the Deaf.

The New Reynell Developmental Language Scales (NRDLS- 4)

Age range? 3-7 years
Who can use it? Speech and language therapists, specialist teachers and educational psychologists

The Derbyshire Language Scheme

Age range? No minimum or maximum age is given. Suitable for a wide age range of children
Who can use it? Not specified, but there is a three day course that a range of professionals can attend to learn how to use the scheme.

The Assessment of Comprehension and Expression 6–11 (ACE 6-11 )

Age range? 6-11 years
Who can use it? Speech and language therapists, educational psychologists and other professionals who are familiar with standardised testing and have a knowledge of language structure

The Clinical Evaluation of Language Fundamentals (CELF-5 - UK)

Age range? 5-21 years
Who can use it? Speech and language therapists and educational psychologists

Test of Word Knowledge (TOWK)

Age range? Level 1 (5–8 years) and Level 2 (8–17 years)
Who can use it? Speech and language therapists and educational psychologists. Teachers need a masters degree in education, or linked subject, to be able to order it.

Teaching Talking (Second Edition)

Age range? 1-8 years
Who can use it? Teachers of the Deaf, teachers, speech and language therapists