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Word Finding Vocabulary Test (Renfrew Language Scales)

  • Test of expressive vocabulary.
  • An assessment to ascertain the extent to which pictures of objects, arranged in order of difficulty, can be named correctly. Most objects included have no alternative name, so the responses of children with difficulties can be quickly measured.
  • 50 line-drawn pictures, manual and photocopiable scoring form.

Age range

3–8 years

Who can use it?

Specialist teachers, speech and language therapists, educational psychologists.

How is it used?

  • Exact instructions for administration are in the manual and you should read this before using the test.
  • Explain to the child that they have to name some pictures.
  • Guidelines are given for starting points with hearing children, but when using the assessment with a deaf child it’s important think about their general language level, not their chronological age. It’s a good idea to start at the beginning, as deaf children often have gaps in their early vocabulary.
  • Present one picture at a time to the child and record responses on the sheet provided. It’s recommended that correct pictures are scored with a tick, incorrect responses are written in If the child says ‘don’t know’, try to discover if they don’t recognise the picture (and write DKP) or if the child recognises the picture, but doesn’t know the word/name (write DKN).
  • Try not to give away with your facial expressions whether the child’s result was correct or incorrect and also make sure that the child can’t see what you write on the record sheet. If the child then changes their response you’ll know this came from them and not from a deduction that their response must have been wrong because of something you did.
  • Don’t tell the child the answer if they get the item wrong as this may also contribute to the learning of the assessment, which would invalidate future administration.
  • When carrying out the test with a deaf child who uses sign language as well as spoken language, it’s useful to record whether they were able to give a sign if they couldn’t respond with a word. You should tell the child to give the spoken word if they know it. The child’s score when using signs will not give a valid age-equivalent score, but it’s useful to have a comparison of how much larger a child’s signed vocabulary is than their spoken.
  • With younger children you can make the task more interesting by allowing them to post the pictures when they’re finished.
  • When scoring, don’t penalise for articulation errors that you know the child would make anyway. For example ‘tandaroo’ instead of kangaroo is correct).
  • With deaf children, it can be useful to transcribe the responses exactly, so that information is gained on the child’s speech sound system as well as their expressive vocabulary.
  • Where it’s suspected that a child may have a word-finding difficulty it’s interesting to try prompting them with an initial sound or semantic (meaning) cue – you shouldn’t really do this with the items on this assessment, but could use any pictures or objects to name. If cueing does help then this gives diagnostically useful information.

What can it tell us?

  • An age equivalent for expressive vocabulary.
  • If used with other assessments – an indication of whether vocabulary is delayed (i.e. the child can’t name words because they don’t have them at all in their vocabulary – they don’t understand them) or whether there’s a specific word finding difficulty (a child can’t access the words they do understand).
  • Some information on the child’s single word production skills (their speech sound system).

Pros

  • Quick and easy.
  • Norm referred at six monthly intervals to enable production of comparative results.
  • More demanding to test expressive vocabulary than receptive as in BPVS.

Cons   

  • Can be difficult to decide on whether an item was correct if the child has very inconsistent, unintelligible speech; it’s helpful if the test is given or observed by someone familiar with the child’s speech.
  • Need to take care to highlight that it compares the child to their hearing peers.
  • Doesn’t give standard scores/percentiles as norm referenced.

Is there a cost? 

Yes.

Where can I access it?

You can access the assessment on the Winslow Resources website.