Sunday, January 5, 2014

Language Sampling---4th and 5th graders (1st in series) Printable form

Our school system is small enough where all of the speech-language pathologists get together often twice a month for business, peer review, and staff development.

 Last year, the big project was to revise our language sample forms for those kids in regular education classrooms who were referred for a speech-language assessment.  These forms are not intended for those children with severe disabilities who are not in the regular curriculum.  Since there are multiple SLPs and multiple schools, we wanted a standard set of stimulus questions so that the kids in the district are assessed the same way.

This blog entry is the first of three---4th and 5th graders only today.  Later this week, I'll share the primary grades language sample form, and then middle/high school.

Our language sample is part of a comprehensive assessment.  We are required to administer at least one standardized language test (such as the CELF-5), get a language sample, take a case history, have teachers fill out checklists, and observe in class and get work samples.  For eligibility, a child must show deficits on the language sample as well as score well below average on a standardized assessment.  There must be evidence of classroom impact, as well.  This is a simplified synopsis--I could write multiple blog entries about our assessment and eligibility process! 

Our 4th and 5th grade language sample is divided into 6 sections---each discussed here

  1. Wh-Questions--Typical children in the upper elementary grades are way beyond simple wh-questions in conversation.  They are expected to answer questions about complex text.  For this section, we took an internet story, ("Eating and Drinking in Space") and developed questions for it.  The child is not expected to read it--the examiner reads it to the child, showing the text and pictures.  Then questions are asked and the examiner records the child's answers.
  2.  Compare/Contrast--By 4th and 5th grade, a child in regular education should be able to answer questions comparing two items without pictures.  Our language sample is designed so that if a child doesn't answer fully the first time, the concept is demonstrated, and then the child is given a similar question with two different objects to compare.  This is a dynamic assessment process.
  3. How To--This section addresses a child's ability to explain a step-by-step procedure.  The SLPs all engaged in quite a bit of discussion about which questions to use in order to assess the language task and not background knowledge or exposure to a particular task.  Again, with this assessment, there is a chance to see if the child responds quickly to teaching and then retesting within the same session.
  4. Story Retell--We used old pictures and stories form an out-of-date CELF screening test for our stories.  If you don't have access to this, you should find two other stories for the child to retell. If the child does poorly after the first story, explain what you would like them to included, demonstrate how to retell a story, and then retest this ability with a second story.  If the child responds quickly to this teaching opportunity, then most likely the problem was not a language difficulty, but a lack of familiarity with the task.
  5. Story Telling--We used two different wordless books from Dynamic Assessment and Intervention.  If you do not have access to this, find wordless books with clear characters, a plot, opportunity for dialogue, and a sequence of events.  Again, testing, teaching, and retesting assesses whether there is a language difficulty, or merely lack of familiarity with the task.
  6. All kids and staff in my school--E for Ephesus Elementary
  7. Conversation---this should not need an explanation!

There are two downloads:

1. Eating and Drinking in Space story

2. Language Sample directions and form

If you have questions, feel free to ask.
I did not personally develop these forms---credit for the work is to the whole group.

Stay warm out there!



  1. This is amazing! Thank you for sharing!

  2. Thank you for sharing. This is great information.

  3. Hi. I'm having trouble seeing your language sample directions and form. A blank page comes up when I click on the link. Currently, I'm using a Mac. Do you think that's the problem?

    1. It works for me and I have a mac. You can try using a different browser or restart your computer.

  4. The link to the directions and form no longer works. Is there another way to access?


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