Receptive Language
Assessments: The Peabody
Picture Vocabulary Test
(PPVT-III) and the Pre-school
Language Scale (PLS-4)
By Craig Domanski
&
Allison Vieira
PLS-4 Description
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The PLS-4 is an individually administered standardized test of
communication typically used with infants to children aged 6 years and
11 months who present characteristics of a language disorder or delay.
It consists of two subscales to assess auditory
comprehension/receptive and expressive skills.
It also provides three supplemental measures which include an
articulation screener, a language sample checklist and a caregiver
questionnaire.
The administration materials are an examiner’s manual that describes
the process of the administration, scoring and interpretation
procedures, a record form, a picture manual with colored stimuli and a
manipulative box (blanket,toys,spoons) used for assessment.
The test time is 20-45 minutes (dependent on child).
PLS-4 Description
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The auditory comprehension/ receptive subscale assesses areas such as:
attention to speakers, object play, comprehension of basic vocabulary,
grammatical markers, identifying rhyming words and making comparisons.
The expressive communication subscale asks preschoolers to name objects,
use concepts that describe objects, express quantity, use grammatical markers,
etc.
For older children it includes word segmentation, completing analogies, telling a
short story in sequence, etc. This test also includes an articulation screener and
a language sample checklist.
There are a totally of 62 receptive and 42 expressive areas assessed.
PLS-4 Description
PLS-4 Description
PLS-4 Description
PLS-4 Pros
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There is a Spanish version of the assessment
Info obtained from assessment can be used in portfolio
Can be useful for children with severe language delays
(autism)?
Is non biased in cases of children in low SES areas
Based on developmental milestones and research
Includes additional supplemental assessments for accuracy
(caregivers)?
Detailed
Aligned with IDEA legislation?
Norms/questions based on 2000 U.S. Census figures for
children birth through 6 years. The new norms are
based on a larger, more diverse sample of
approximately 1,500 children, including children with
disabilities 13.2% (autism)?
PLS-4 Cons
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The test is “standardized”
Do we need IOA for assessment?
Is not directed toward children 7 and older
Spanish is only language used
Recommended to be implemented by SLPs
Based on US Census 2000 results
Does not meet guidelines? Young,Hoffman &
Ameer (2004)
PLS-4 Cons
Young,Hoffman & Ameer (2004)
suggest that:
 the PLS-4 does not meet guidelines to
accurately diagnose a disorder
 the PLS-4 revision from PLS-3 was
made only to meet assessment
standards
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PLS-4 Cons
PLS-4 Supporting Research
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The development of the PLS-4 was based on:
developmental milestones and current trends
in developmental theories
 survey of clinicians who had used the PLS-3
for suggested modifications
 a list of new tasks tested and modified from
tests results/data collected from 661 children
from 46 US states
 task items and scoring rules were concluded
to be sensitive to the US population
according to the 2000 Census and a dialect
committee
PLS-4 Supporting Research
Zimmerman,Castilleja (2005) Mental
retardation and developmental
disabilities research review
 Zimmerman,Steiner,Pond (2004)
PsychCorp (authors)
 Both state that test is effective and
based on “extensive reliability and
validity”
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PLS-4 Individualized
 Spanish
Version
 Separate assessment areas for younger
and older children
 Provided case study example (task
analysis, developmental
checklist,varying age levels, determined
mastered and where help is needed)
PLS-4 Individualized
PLS-4 Modifications
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A revision based on more recent population
results with higher special population or in
2010
 An edition geared toward other languages
 A scientific study focusing on the
effectiveness in assessing children with ASDs
 A description of how IDEA regulations are met
PLS-4 Conclusion
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Although standardized, the PLS-4 seems to be an
adequate assessment of language but may not be
suitable for children with autism
 Is a Curriculum-Based Measurement
 More research
 Improvement from the PLS-3 for varied ethnic and
SES groups
 Based on developmental milestones to help
professionals plan their individualized program
 Can be helpful when starting individual portfolio
 Based on IDEA regulations?
References
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Ameer, J.,Hoffman, L., Young, J. (2004)
Teachers College, Columbia University
PLS-4: A real change or just more of the
same?
 Zimmerman, I.L., Steiner, V., Pond, R. E.
(2004) PsychCorp.
 Zimmerman, I.L., Castilleja, N.F. (2005).The
role of a language scale for infant and
preschool assessment. Mental Retardation
and Developmental Disabilities Review,11
(3),238-246.
Overview
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The Peabody Picture Vocabulary Test
(PPVT-III)
 Developed
by Lloyd and Leota Dunn
 1959
3
previous editions have been revised to create
the PPVT-IV
Overview
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Peabody Picture Vocabulary Test
(PPVT-III)
 Individually
administered
 Norm-referenced
 Measures listening comprehension for
spoken words in standard English
 Screening test of verbal ability beginning at
age 2.5
Overview
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Provides all professionals working with
a student a “valid, reliable, normreferenced measure of receptive
vocabulary”
Overview
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Tests students in vocabulary acquisition
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Screens for both giftedness and mental retardation
Measures English proficiency
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Demonstrates child’s linguistic skills as well as cognitive
development
For individuals who don’t speak English as their primary
language
Detects language impairments
Tests for some visual disabilities
Used in research studies
Description
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Item types
20 content categories
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Items are presented as a four-item multiple
choice
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Split into verbs, nouns, and adjectives
4 simple black and white pictures
Student selects the most appropriate picture that
illustrates the definition of the word orally
presented by the instructor
Sets are progressively difficult
Description
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Training items A & B
 For
students aged 2-6 through 7-11
 Before testing, the student must be able to
respond independently to at least 2 training
words
 Noun
(I.e. ball, dog, etc.)
 Verb (I.e. crying, sleeping, etc.)
 Can
be taught during training, before going
ahead with the assessment
Description
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Training items A & B
Description
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Training items C & D
 For
students aged 8 years or older
 Similar procedure to A & B
 Receptively
identifies the number associated
with each picture
 Nouns (I.e. parrot, flower, etc.)
 Verbs (I.e. mowing the lawn, riding a bike)
Description
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Training items C & D
Description
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As test continues, items get more
difficult…
Description
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Age 6,7
Description
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Age 9, 10
Description
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Final set
Pros & cons
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Pros
is “the leading measure of
receptive vocabulary for standard English
and a screening test of verbal ability.”
 PPVT-III
 Test
de Vocabulario en Imagenes Peabody is
the assessment in Spanish
Pros & cons
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Pros
 Individually
administered
 Norm-referenced
 Applicable for age 2+
 Untimed, quick administration
 Usually
 No
10-15 minutes
reading, writing, or speaking required
Pros & cons
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Pros
 Developed
in compliance with the
Standards of Educational and
Psychological Testing
 Published jointly by:
 American Educational Research Association
 American Psychological Association
 National Council on Measurement in Education
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There is an abundance of research
supporting its use
Pros & cons
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Supplemented by Technical References
book
 Development of each edition
 Process used to minimize bias
 How standardized
 Validity information
 Research
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Can be used for training, analysis, and
research
Pros & cons
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Cons
 Cost
 Supplemental
materials cost more money
 Expressive test (EVT) must be purchased
separately
 Some
items are ambiguous even for
professionals
Cons
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Example
 Item
for age 5
Individualization
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Items
 204
stimulus words in all
 17 sets of 12 words each
 However,
each is a set of 4 nouns, verbs, and
adjectives
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Each set only contains 4 items
Individualization
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Untimed
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Gives everyone an equal chance to respond to known words
Examinees
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Items can be answered
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Expressively
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Receptively
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By naming item
By stating number of item
By saying “yes” or “no”
By pointing to the item
By pointing to the number of the iteM
Gesturally
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Nodding “yes” or “no” as instructor points to item
 50% chance of guessing correctly
Research
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There is an abundance of research
supporting the use of the PPVT-III
 231
articles are cited in the technical
references manual
 Clingman & Fowler, 1976
Conclusion
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The Peabody Picture Vocabulary Test
is:
 Proven
 Valid
 Reliable
 Comprehensive
 Effective
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Any questions…?
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Receptive Language Assessments: The Peabody Picture