Language assessment for communication disorders

Authored by: John W. Oller

The Routledge Handbook of Language Testing

Print publication date:  March  2012
Online publication date:  October  2013

Print ISBN: 9780415570633
eBook ISBN: 9780203181287
Adobe ISBN: 9781136590863


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In language assessment, the task is only made more difficult by the existence of communication disorders. According to Michael Kane (2011), “finding that an examinee had a disability that had not been adequately accommodated could undermine a standard interpretive argument” (also see Abedi, this volume). How should we interpret scores, ratings, or any language assessment for persons with communication disorders? Is it possible to do so based on the expected ranges and milestones associated with persons who do not have any known disorder or disability? For instance, can a “non-verbal” person with severe “infantile autism” be judged with assessment procedures that are designed for application to normally developing individuals of comparable physical and chronological maturity? Is a differently calibrated scale required for the person with autism? If a newly discovered problem could overturn a standard interpretation of a score, rating, or assessment procedure, just how many distinct language assessment procedures should there be and how are they to be determined?

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