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The New Reynell Developmental Language Scales (NRDLS- 4)

  • This assessment is an individually administered test of language that includes a production and receptive scale. The user can use either one or both of these scales. You can generate a standard score from each as well as a percentile rank and age-equivalent score if the child is within the standardisation range of the test.
  • The assessment uses both toys and a picture book in order to probe understanding and use of language.
  • The assessment comes with a ‘multilingual toolkit’ – a manual that provides guidance on how to adapt and use NRDLS with children where English is an additional language (EAL).

Age range

3–7 years

Who can use it?

Specialist teachers, speech and language therapists and educational psychologists.

How is it used?

  • Consult the manual for details of how to administer this assessment. It’s very important that the tester has had a chance to read the manual carefully beforehand and practise all of the different tasks, in terms of which toys/pictures to find and exactly what to say.

What can it tell us?

  • Age-equivalent scores, percentile ranks and standard scores are given for the receptive and expressive scale. This means that the child’s ability in both understanding and using language can be compared.
  • This assessment can be used to measure progress over time.
  • This assessment can be used to help inform clinicians about the nature of a child’s difficulties, eg whether language is normal, delayed or following a disordered pattern of development.
  • This assessment is useful in helping to guide a clinician with regards to setting targets for next steps.

What about children who sign?

  • This assessment is designed to test English language and was standardised using an oral presentation. It’s therefore not valid to quote standard scores, percentile ranks or age-equivalent scores if sign was used when administering the receptive scale or in responses in the expressive scale.
  • It’s useful to record all the information that a child gives, whether this is spoken or signed, and use this when describing the child’s language ability. However, you’ll need to use a key to record what was said/signed.
  • You could use SSE when administering the receptive scale items, but as stated above the standardisation information is then not valid.
  • This assessment does not translate into BSL. If it’s translated into BSL it’s completely changed and the age equivalents, standard scores etc. aren’t valid. For example, there’s no such thing as passive sentence structure in BSL. The receptive skills BSL test would be much more suitable for use with this type of child.


  • Once the tester has practised this is a straightforward assessment to carry out.
  • It probes both understanding and use of language.
  • Young children tend to like the toys that are used.
  • It’s based upon a good UK standardisation sample of 1,200 children, with additional information and case studies.
  • This assessment has a variety of test procedures to keep the child’s attention.
  • Multilingual toolkit for children with EAL.


  • It takes some practice to be able to access all of the different toys needed smoothly and quickly enough to maintain the child’s attention.
  • Takes 45–60 minutes.
  • This assessment is designed to measure understanding and use of English and doesn’t ‘translate’ into BSL. If any sign is used then the standard scores, percentile ranks and age-equivalent scores are not valid.

Is there a cost? 


Where can I access it?

You can access this assessment on the GL Assessment website.