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

  • This is an assessment of language skills, particularly verbal comprehension, grammar, semantic and pragmatic knowledge. It assesses language above the ‘sentence level’ – those aspects of language which are dependent on the integration of various language and cognitive skills.
  • An extensive standardised test of spoken language that consists of five main subtests plus an additional two extension subtests; this assessment provides information on a range of language skills including verbal comprehension, expression and grammar, plus aspects of semantic and pragmatic knowledge.
  • The subtests are as follows: Sentence Comprehension, Inferential Comprehension, Naming, Syntactic Formulation and Semantic Decisions.
  • The extended test includes these five subtests plus an additional two subtests: Non-Literal Comprehension and Narrative.

Age range

6–11 years

Who can use it?

Speech and language therapists, educational psychologists, and other professionals familiar with standardised testing and language structure. It’s meant for qualified, registered test users (and currently includes Teachers of the Deaf).

How is it used?

  • The assessment is administered individually on a table. It consists of a manual with picture and written stimuli which support the subtests.
  • Exact instructions on administration can be found in the manual. These should be read carefully before using this assessment.
  • The main test takes around 30 minutes and the extended test 45 minutes.

What can it tell us?  

  • The test gives standard scores and percentile ranks for each of the subtests as well as an overall score. It tells us how the child’s language skills compare to those of hearing children of the same age.
  • The test is designed to identify children with delayed or impaired language development.


  • The inferential comprehension subtest is an interesting task and tests the child’s ability to draw inferences based on what they can see and have heard. This does not feature in any of the other assessments described in this resource and is useful as this is an area of specific difficulty for deaf children.
  • Provides a flexible and comprehensive assessment of language for children within its age range.
  • The assessment can be used flexibly according to the needs of the child.
  • Is well standardised on a UK population.
  • UK and classroom-friendly content.
  • Children tend to enjoy the colourful pictures in the manual.


  • This is a test of English and can’t be ‘translated’ into BSL. If SSE or written support is used to help with the administration of any of the subtests, then the standard scores and percentile ranks will not be valid.
  • It takes at least 45 minutes.

Is there a cost? 


Where can I access it?

You can access the assessment on the GL Assessment website