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Assessment Considerations for Students with Hearing Loss: Part One

December!
How is it possible that we are almost half way through this school year? Many
of my students have evaluations coming up in the spring and I’ve already begun
working with my teams to ensure comprehensive testing in the next few months by
meeting with teachers, discussing concerns and progress with parents, and
analyzing my own session notes. I am not always the one to administer the tests,
but I am always involved in the analysis and offering expertise on hearing loss.
Sometimes I am even able sit in during the testing, since the school
professionals who administer formal tests likely have experience with the
administration and analysis, but may not understand how hearing loss impacts
the results. Additionally, school staff may not have an understanding of the
best tests to administer in order to get an accurate picture of our students’
skill levels.

The
following areas must be addressed in comprehensive testing for students with
hearing loss. In addition, I have listed some tests that your team may want to  consider when assessing students with hearing
loss. Every student has different needs and therefore different tests are
appropriate in each situation and many more assessments are available, not just
the ones I’ve listed here!

This week I’ll cover speech, language, and self-advocacy
assessments. Next week, I’ll go over assessments in the areas of audition,
academic/reading/writing skills, and psychological/cognitive abilities.

Speech: Speech assessments are most
often administered by the student’s SLP. It is still necessary for the TOD/HOH
to be part of the analysis of test results. As TODs, we understand how auditory
access impacts speech production. Comparing articulation errors to the student’s
audiogram and using our knowledge of hearing technology, we can work with SLPs
to set high (but reasonable) expectations for articulation goals. For example,
we know that students with cochlear implants may not have great access to short
vowel sounds and may need practice in discriminating and producing these sounds
at the word or sentence level.  In
contrast, a student with a high frequency loss may have limited or no access to
high frequency speech sounds even with hearing aids. Such information shared
with the SLP can enhance the productivity of speech sessions, rather than creating
frustration for the SLP and the student.

Examples
of speech tests:

·     
Clinical Assessment of Articulation and
Phonology (CAAP)

·     
Goldman Fristoe Test of Articulation II

Language: Comprehensive language assessments
will include vocabulary; relationships between words; and receptive and
expressive language tests at word level, as well as in connected speech/passages.

TODs
understand how hearing loss impacts language development and rather than simply
looking at the percentile rank or standard score, we can analyze the test items
that our students miss and look for patterns in the errors. The majority of my
students are “average” according to their scores but with a closer analysis of
the test items, patterns emerge and these are the areas I want to be sure to
address during my time with the student in order to bridge the “gaps” we so
frequently hear about. Again, even if I am not the one administering these
tests, I always ask to meet with the test administrator and look at the
breakdown of test items.

Additionally,
language samples provide real life examples of what our students produce. Comparing formal testing with language
samples allows for a more complete picture of our student’s language skills.

Examples
of language tests:

Peabody
Picture Vocabulary Tests – expressive and receptive vocab

·     
Critical Evaluation of Language
Fundamentals (CELF )

·     
Cottage Acquisition Scales for Listening
Language and Speech (CASLLS)

·     
Oral and Written Language Scales (OWLS-II)

·     
Comprehensive Assessment of Spoken Language
(CASL)

·     
Test of Narrative Language (TNL)

·     
Test of Written Language 4 (TOWL IV)

Self-Advocacy / Pragmatics: Karen Anderson has many tools that can be used with students of
a variety of ages and abilities and I’ve described how I use some of them in anearlier post. Some are observational tools that I use in the
classroom and others I fill out with teachers. A student-completed report is
always included as well. Such assessments can be supplemented with anecdotal
data from observations within the classroom. Areas to look at include
pragmatics, social skills, the student’s understanding of and ability to
explain his hearing loss and amplification, and the student’s ability and
willingness to self-advocate.

Examples
of self-advocacy tests:

·     
Test of Pragmatic Language (TOPL)

·     
Minnesota Social Skills Checklist

·     
Placement and Readiness Checklist (PARC)

Stay tuned for my next post, in which I’ll discuss considerations for
assessments in audition, academic skills, and cognitive abilities.

How are you involved
with student assessment?

Hear Me Out

Hear Me Out is produced by Mainstream Services at Clarke Schools for Hearing and Speech as part of our mission to support children with hearing loss and the professionals who serve them.

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About the Hear Me Out Blog

Itinerant teachers of the deaf (TOD) provide direct services to children with hearing loss in mainstream schools, consultation to their teachers, and professional development to school staff. Itinerant TODs travel to a child’s neighborhood school to provide one-on-one educational support, foster listening and spoken language development, and help children build social and self-advocacy skills. They also act as a liaison between the family and their mainstream school. Hear Me Out provides a unique forum for these special teachers to share their experiences as they grow as professionals.

Hear Me Out is produced by Mainstream Services at Clarke Schools for Hearing and Speech as part of our mission to support children with hearing loss and the professionals who serve them.

2 Comments
Emma

Hi Heather. I am looking for resources for accommodations for deaf/HI students on state assessments. I have found some, but they are very vague. Do you know of any direct resources? Thank you.

Heather Stinson

Hi Emma,
Unfortunately I haven't found anything substantial either and at Clarke, we continue to discuss this very issue in terms of what students receive / are deemed eligible for at different schools and in different districts. Massachusetts in particular is in the process of transitioning to a new assessment (PARC, formally MCAS) which includes a video component for the computer based test and is proving challenging for many reasons. If I come across anything concrete I will definitely share!

Comments are closed.

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About the Author

Heather Stinson (CAGS, MED, S/LP-A) received her master’s degree in Education of the Deaf from Smith College in 2006 and a graduate certificate in Children, Families, and Schools (with a concentration in research methodology) from the University of Massachusetts in 2012. In addition to her many years of experience working with children with hearing loss who communicate using listening and spoken language, Heather has also worked as a preschool classroom teacher.

Heather has presented both locally and nationally on issues related to mainstreaming students with hearing loss and is a contributing author to Odyssey magazine. Heather currently works as an itinerant teacher of the deaf and hard of hearing at Clarke Mainstream Services, a program of Clarke Schools for Hearing and Speech.

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