Tuesday, May 10, 2016

App review: iTAP Test of Articulation and Phonology by Smarty Ears

The future in education is going digital.  I record my therapy notes digitally, Google drive contains all of my forms and documents, and teachers do their mClass reading assessments using an iPad.   It's only logical that articulation assessments would follow suit. I noticed that the Goldman-Fristoe Test of Articulation 3 has a digital option, and now Smarty Ears has the iTap Test of Articulation and Phonology.    
                               

    iTap is administered in the same way that most paper articulation tests are administered.  The child names a series of pictures that contain target phonemes and consonant clusters in single words.  The options for marking errors include deletion, cluster reduction, substitution, assimilation, and distortion.  The examiner records on the ipad the errors the child made.  At the end, there is a small multisyllable probe.  

Rather than providing a detailed tutorial myself, the author of the app has provided a video which explains all of the features.  You can watch that HERE.

video screen shot

As with any app, assessment, or program, there are things that are great, and some areas for growth.

What's great:
  • This is an awesome tool for PROGRESS MONITORING.   This year, I have three boys with significant phonological disorders.  I take data on specific sounds daily, but to get an overall picture of progress, I like to assess informally.  Paper test protocols are expensive, so this assessment can give a good picture of progress without using up your test forms.  
  • Once you finish an assessment, this app generates a report.  All words/sounds in error are compiled into something which makes a little sense without having to sit there with the manual and charts.  
  • The app itself is easy to use.  You have to take some time to practice scoring, and figuring out which sound and phonological process button to press, but my graduate student intern learned this in no time....quicker than me.
  • The pictures for eliciting sounds are well done.  Some words, I had to orally tell the child, but that is true for other articulation assessments too, especially for students with vocabulary delays.
  • The app developer is quick to respond to suggestions and ideas for improvement.  This is an extremely important feature.  Unlike paper assessments, if you notice a mistake, app bug, or have a suggestion, the turn around time to upgrade and update the app can be a couple of weeks.  The app you buy now will only get better!   I also have a copy of the Smarty Ears Sunny Test of Articulation, and upgrades have improved it immensely over the years!  
Areas to think about before purchasing:

  • I work for a school system and our assessment kit for articulation has one central player (in our case it's the Goldman-Fristoe).  This is not going to change anytime soon.  For placement purposes and eligibility, all kids need to be assessed the same way and it's hard for an app to compete with such a solid bedrock which has been standardized and used with such a large number of children.   I plan on continuing to follow our district guidelines for assessment when placing and re-evaluating children within the special education assessment process.  That being said, this app is extremely useful for monitoring progress of children who are currently in therapy.  
  • If a child has a severe phonological disorder where multiple processes might be playing a part in a single word, this app has limitations on how many errors you can actually record.  For example, my child had a voicing error and substitution for one blend.  I could only record one. There is a notes feature in the app, but that wasn't quite the same as being able to record as the child is articulating the word.
  • It would be nice if the app could automatically determine the phonological process based on the error recorded.  Sometimes, for example, I recorded an error as substitution when it actually was assimilation.
  • If your student only has one sound error, or a frontal or lateral /s/ distortion, this is not the test for you in my opinion.  This assessment is for children who have phonological disorders such as assimilation, cluster reduction, and multiple substitutions.    
  • I didn't have access to the manual or the normative data.  I did look up the other reviews of this app from other bloggers and they seemed to indicate that the norming sample was rather limited to Texas and a limited number of children.  For that reason, if your test absolutely needs valid standard scores, you may either want to find another assessment, or wait until this developer publishes their data and then determine whether the norming sample is adequate for where you live.
All in all, I plan on continuing to use this app to monitor progress in my students with phonological process problems.  As I said, this app is new, and is only getting better as time goes on due to quick follow-up by the people at Smarty Ears.  This is a nice tool for those of us who travel, and it's nice to have a quick means to measure overall progress in a child.


Disclaimer: I received this app via promo code from the developer. No compensation was received to review them and my opinions are strictly my own. Apps and the features within them change frequently as app updates are released.This developer has an excellent track record of supporting their apps and providing frequent updates.



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1 comment:

  1. Have you tried GFTA-3? We are still using GFTA2

    ReplyDelete