Friday, December 18, 2015

Assessment Considerations for Students with Hearing Loss: Part Two

This post is a continuation from last week’s, in which I explained variables to consider when assessing skills in speech, language, and self-advocacy. 

For the areas of assessment covered in this post—audition, academic/ reading/ writing, and psychological/ cognitive assessments—I have again listed some tests that your team may want to consider when assessing deaf or hard of hearing students. Because each student faces unique challenges and possesses different strengths, you will have to work with your team to determine the best options.  My suggestions are meant to serve as examples.

Audition: As part of a comprehensive assessment, we need to know what our students are accessing. A FunctionalListening Evaluation is sometimes a good option to get a sense of the student’s access in the classroom. Other less formal measures such as those on Karen Anderson’s site take less time to administer and provide similar information.

Examples of audition tests:
·      Functional Auditory Performance Indicators (FAPI)
·      Contrasts for Auditory and Speech Training (CAST)
·      COMPASS Test of Auditory Discrimination

Academic/Reading/Writing: Many schools use a version of the Woodcock-Johnson to assess academic skills. While this is generally considered to be the standard test, savvy students can appear more skilled than they actually are by guessing correctly on the multiple-choice items. More challenging tests—such as the Weschler Individual Achievement Test (WIAT)—which require students to read passages and respond to open-ended questions may provide a better picture of the student’s skills. Formal reading (including phonemic awareness, phonics, fluency, decoding, vocabulary, accuracy and self-correction, and comprehension) and a writing assessment should also be included with test results compared with student work samples.

Examples of academic/reading/writing tests:
·      Dynamic Indicators of Basic Early Literacy Skills (DIBELS)
·      Phonological Awareness Literacy Screening (PALS)
·      Gray Oral Reading Test 5 (GORT 5) 

Psychological/Cognitive: Testing in this area is most often done by the school psychologist and analyzes verbal and non-verbal abilities as well as auditory memory. A critical component of this testing is to look at the difference between verbal and non-verbal scores. Often our students with hearing loss will score lower in the verbal portions of the test as a direct result of their hearing loss, which indicates the need for intervention. 

Examples of psychological/cognitive tests:
·      Weschler Intelligence Scale for Children  (WISC)
·      WPPSI for younger children, WAIS for students age 17 and older

How are you involved with student assessment?

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