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Test of Word Knowledge (TOWK)

This assessment is a norm-referenced instrument for testing receptive and expressive word knowledge. The Receptive Vocabulary subtest measures referential word knowledge involving the reception of nouns, verbs and modifiers, e.g. adjectives). It can be administered individually or in a group. The task lasts for approximately 25 minutes for the core test, and another 25 minutes for each subtest.

Age range

Level 1: 5–8 years

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.

How is it used?

In the receptive vocabulary task, the test administrator would provide a spoken stimulus word and show four pictures. One of the pictures is the ‘target’ picture, whereas the other three pictures are ‘distracters’ to the stimulus word. The child is asked to select the picture (either verbally or by pointing out one of the pictures) which matches the spoken stimulus word the closest. 

Level 1: 25 minutes for Core Battery, 25 minutes for supplementary subtest.

Level 2: 40 minutes for Core Battery, 25 minutes for supplementary subtest.

What can it tell us?

A standard score, percentile ranks and age-equivalent scores for receptive vocabulary and expressive vocabulary. This means that the participant’s score can be compared with that of hearing peers of their age.


  • Relatively quick and easy to use.
  • Can be used to measure progress from one year to the next.
  • Is well standardised.


  • At present it isn’t available for Teachers of the Deaf to use.

Is there a cost?


Where can I access it?

You can find the assessment on the Pearson Clinical website