What Your Test Manual Will (and Should) Tell You—Part 4
Do you find preparing diagnostic reports cumbersome? Time-consuming? A bit of a drag? If you would like to streamline the process, take a close look at this month’s Clinical Café. Along with your test manual, this article offers some helpful tidbits that you can keep in mind for your next client evaluation.
Do you remember when you were in graduate school writing all those diagnostic reports for your practicum? If so, did the clinic supervisor tell you that your report must present a vivid picture of the client’s ability? Well, the world is still the same today. There are diagnostic reports and then there are DIAGNOSTIC REPORTS.
Here’s a prime example. I recently received two speech and language evaluations of school children from two different agencies. I didn’t know either child. One of the reports resembled a bare vine, while the other blazed like a plant in full bloom. When I had finished reading the first report, I wondered how I was going to write speech and language goals and benchmarks for this child’s Individualized Education Plan (IEP). The report told me nothing beyond the tests’ raw and standard scores. On the other hand, the second evaluation gave me a vibrant, detailed picture of the child’s strengths and weaknesses—a huge difference!
As you begin to score tests, remember that not only are the numbers important, but descriptive analysis is priceless. Luckily, tests and test manuals available today can provide us with much of this information without having to rack our brains for words to explain our impressions and observations. Here are some examples:
- Diagnostic analysis worksheets—If you use the Comprehensive Assessment of Spoken Language (CASL), descriptive analysis worksheets are available for many of the CASL tests. The Oral Written and Language Scales (OWLS LC/OE and WE) also offer descriptive analysis worksheets. These worksheets break down a child’s responses and target specific skills, making it easier to formulate IEP goals and benchmarks. Vocabulary with Ease, a companion tool for the Peabody Picture Vocabulary Test-Third Edition (PPVT-III) and Expressive Vocabulary Test (EVT) is filled with expressive and receptive intervention strategies and also contains reproducible descriptive analysis worksheets for the PPVT-III and EVT.
- Test publisher descriptions of tests and subtests—Test manuals provide concise descriptions of tests and subtests. Many of these resources are available on publishers’ Web sites as well. You can incorporate these descriptions right into your diagnostic report.
- Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)—Make sure to check out the FAQ resources attached to product pages within the publishers’ Web sites. Along with test manuals, these Web sites present practically everything you need to know about scoring and reporting.
Looking for a way to create diagnostic reports effortlessly? There’s more. Software programs now exist that give you scores, interpret results, and provide reports—often with graphical profiles and easy-to-read scores. Computer programs are the new dream tools of choice for speech-language pathologists. To complement your test manual, Pearson offers software tools for the following tests:
- GFTA-2/KLPA-2 ASSIST Software (Combined software for the Goldman-Fristoe Test of Articulation, Second Edition and the Khan-Lewis Phonological Analysis, Second Edition)
- OWLS: LC/OE ASSIST Software (Oral and Written Language Scales: Listening Comprehension and Oral Expression Scales)
- OWLS: WE ASSIST Software (Oral and Written Language Scales: Written Expression Scale)
- CASL ASSIST Software (Comprehensive Assessment of Spoken Language)
- PPVT-III ASSIST Software (Peabody Picture Vocabulary Test, Third Edition)
- EVT ASSIST Software (Expressive Vocabulary Test)
If you are in a school system as I am, you’re either on or coming back from a much needed “break in the action.” Why not make a New Year’s resolution to investigate ways to add depth and breadth to your diagnostic reports? Take a few moments to check out these ideas in your test manual and on the Internet. You might be surprised just how much you can expand your knowledge of the children you serve!
Happy New Year!