What Influences Speech-Language Pathologists' Use of Different Types of Language Assessments for Elementary School–Age Children?

Deborah Denman*, Reinie Cordier, Jae Hyun Kim, Natalie Munro, Renée Speyer

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


Purpose: This study reports on data from a survey of speech-language pathologists’ (SLPs) language assessment practices for elementary school–age children. The objective was to investigate the regularity with which SLPs use different types of assessments (described across data types, task types, environmental contexts, and dynamic features). This study also investigated factors that influence assessment practice, the main sources from which SLPs obtain information on language assessment and the main challenges reported by SLPs in relation to language assessment. Method: A web-based survey was used to collect information from 407 Australian SLPs regarding the types of assessments they use. Factors that influenced the regularity with which different types of assessments were used were investigated using regression analysis. Results: Most SLPs regularly used assessments that are norm-referenced, decontextualized, and conducted in a clinical context and less regularly used other types of assessments. Service agency, Australian state, and SLPs’ years of experience were found to influence the regularity with which some types of assessments were used. Informal discussions with colleagues were the most frequently identified source of information on assessment practice. Main challenges related to limited time, lack of assessment materials, and lack of confidence in assessing children from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds. Conclusions: SLPs could improve current language assessment practice for elementary school–age children through more regular use of some types of assessments. Actions to facilitate evidence-based assessment practice should consider the contextual differences that exist between service agencies and states and address challenges that SLPs experience in relation to language assessment.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)776-793
Number of pages18
JournalLanguage, Speech, and Hearing Services in Schools
Issue number3
Early online date13 Apr 2021
Publication statusPublished - 7 Jul 2021


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