Language Rating Scale
Examine how language may affect everyday social interactions and/or academic performance
Analyze adverse IMPACT of language as required by IDEA
IMPACT Language Rating Scale (ages: 5-21) is an objective measure of language functioning based on informal observations of clinicians, teachers, and parents. This tool aids in the clinical determination of a diagnosis/special education eligibility by examining how language difficulties may affect everyday social interactions and/or academic performance (for educational planning purposes).
The IMPACT Language Rating Scale evaluates the impact of a child’s oral communication and on their social interactions, academic life, and home/after school life. The current rating scale asks parents, teachers, and clinicians to rate the various components of language functioning on a 4-point scale (“never,” “sometimes,” “often,” and “typically”) and yields a percentile and standard score. By utilizing this rating scale, we are able to develop a better understanding of how a student’s communication difficulties/differences may impact language development, as well as academic performance, and peer relationships.
This rating scale is a norm-referenced spoken language rating scale that is composed of 45 test items, and has three separate forms to be completed by clinician, parent(s), and teacher(s). It is an accurate and reliable assessment tool that provides valid results on informal observations of spoken language, language processing and integration, and social interactions in the school and home environment. Normative data of this test is based on a nationally representative sample of 1431 (typically developing) children and young adults in the United States.
Examples of the the IMPACT Language Rating Scale Questions
Frequently asked questions
The nationwide standardization sample consisted of 1431 examinees (typically developing), stratified to match the most recent U.S. Census data on gender, race/ethnicity, and region.
The Impact Language Rating Scale can be accessed as part of the Video Assessment Tools annual membership which costs $125 annually ($24.99 monthly), OR it can be accessed as part of the Social Squad intervention program membership at the Video Learning Squad site which costs $79 annually.
The IMPACT Language Rating Scale was developed at the Lavi Institute by Adriana Lavi, PhD, CCC-SLP (author of the Clinical Assessment of Pragmatics (CAPs) test, the Social Squad, the IMPACT Language Rating Scale, etc.
All standardization project procedures were implemented in compliance with the Standards for Educational and Psychological Testing (American Educational Research Association, American Psychological Association, & National Council on Measurement in Education [AERA, APA, and NCME], 2014). Additionally, all standardization project procedures were reviewed and approved by IntegReview IRB (Advarra), an accredited and certified independent institutional review board, which is organized and operates in compliance with the US federal regulations (including, but not limited to 21 CFR Parts 50 and 56, and 45 CFR Part 46), various guidelines as applicable (both domestic and international, including but not limited to OHRP, FDA, EPA, ICH GCP as specific to IRB review, Canadian Food and Drug Regulations, the Tri-Council Policy Statement 2, and CIOMS), and the ethical principles underlying the involvement of human subjects in research (including The Belmont Report, Nuremberg Code, Declaration of Helsinki).
This is an online rating scale with accompanying videos that narrate and explain the questions. SLPs, teachers and parents are able to access the rating scale forms online. SLPs use automated scoring online to obtain standard scores and to generate a report.
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Highlights of the IMPACT Language Rating Scale
The results of the IMPACT Language Functioning Rating Scale provide information on the spoken language comprehension and expressive language skills that children and adolescents require to succeed in school and social situations. This rating scale is particularly valuable to individuals who have delays in spoken language comprehension, expressive language, language integration, literacy, and social interactions. Data obtained from the IMPACT Language Functioning Rating Scale is useful in determining eligibility criteria for a student with a language impairment.
Strong Psychometric Properties
The IMPACT Language Functioning Rating Scale was normed on a nationwide standardization sample of 1431 examinees. The sample was stratified to match the most recent U.S. Census data on gender, race/ethnicity, and region. Please refer to Chapter 4 for more information of the standardization process.
The IMPACT Language Functioning Rating Scale areas have strong sensitivity and specificity (above 80%), high internal consistency, and test-retest reliabilities. Criterion-related validity studies were conducted during standardization, with over 1431 participants. Please refer to Chapter 5 for more information on the summary results of the reliability and validity studies.
The contextual background and theoretical background sections described in Chapters 1 and 2 provide construct validity of the IMPACT Language Functioning Rating Scale. Additionally, please refer to chapter 1 for descriptions of each language skill observed and literature reviews to support this type of measurement included in the IMPACT Language Functioning Rating Scale.
Ease and Efficiency of Administration and Scoring
The IMPACT Language Functioning Rating Scale consists of three observational rating scales, one for clinician, one for parent, and one for the teacher. All IMPACT rating scales and scale converting software is available on the Video Assessment Tools website. Rating scale item clarification videos are also provided on this website. Additionally, an instructional email with a link to the website and rating form is prepared for your convenience to send to teacher and parents. Please review Chapter 3 for more information on the easy and effective administration process.
Description of the IMPACT Language Rating Scale
The IMPACT Language Rating Scale is a norm-referenced spoken language comprehension and spoken language rating scale for children and young adults ages 5 through 21 years old. It is composed of 45 test items, and has three separate forms to be completed by clinician, parent(s), and teacher(s). It is an accurate and reliable assessment tool that provides valid results on informal observations of spoken language, language processing and integration, and social interactions in the school and home environment. Normative data of this test is based on a nationally representative sample of 1431 children and young adults in the United States.
The Impact Model
The IMPACT model was developed based on current literature and examination of real-world challenges faced by individuals with speech and language impairments such as school demands and social interactions. This model was designed to analyze the real-life authentic observations of teachers, parents, and clinicians. The IMPACT model uses a contextualized, whole language approach to see the impact and the outcome of a speech and/or language impairment on education and social interactions.
Rating Scale Areas
The test is composed of five areas: spoken language comprehension, oral expression, language processing and integration, literacy, and social language skills.
The IMPACT Language Rating Scale is composed of 45 test items. The test uses a series of items that asks the rater to score on a 4-point scale (“never,” “sometimes,” “often,” and “typically”). The rating scale yields an overall percentile and standard score. While completing this checklist, examinees are able to watch videos that will guide them by providing specific examples of what each question is asking. The videos are there to help examiners along if they have any questions regarding the skill that they are assessing.
Uses and Purpose
Clinicians, parents, and teachers can provide valuable information regarding a student’s understanding of spoken language, expressive language, language integration, literacy, and social language abilities. This information can help determine what areas the child has deficits in and how deficits in these areas may impact the child in both the classroom and in the home environment. The IMPACT Language Rating Scale should be used to evaluate children or young adults who have a suspected or previous diagnosis of a language disorder. This tool will assist in the identification or continued diagnosis of a spoken language comprehension and/or expressive language disorder. Additionally, this rating scale will help determine if there are any educational or personal impacts. The results of the IMPACT Language Rating Scale provide clinicians information on children and young adult’s ability to comprehend spoken language and use spoken language. By utilizing the IMPACT Language Rating Scale, we are able to develop a better understanding as to how a student’s language abilities may impact their academic performance, progress in school, and social interactions.
Code of Federal Regulations-Title 34: Education
34 C.F.R. §300.7 Child with a disability. (c) Definitions of disability terms. (11) Speech or language impairment means a communication disorder, such as stuttering, impaired articulation, a language impairment, or a voice impairment, that adversely affects a child’s educational performance.
The Individual’s with Disabilities Act (IDEA, 2004) states that when assessing a student for a speech or language impairment, we need to determine whether or not the impairment will negatively impact the child’s educational performance. In order to determine whether a language impairment exists, we can collect a language sample of the individual, and analyze language abilities and the impact of the impairment on academic success.
Importance of Observations and Rationale for a Rating Scale
When evaluating an individual’s language abilities, the evaluation should include systematic observations and a contextualized analysis that involves multiple observations across various environments and situations (Westby et al., 2003). According to IDEA (2004), such types of informal assessment must be used in conjunction with standardized assessments. Section. 300.532(b), 300.533 (a) (1) (I, ii, iii); 300.535(a)(1) of IDEA states that, “assessors must use a variety of different tools and strategies to gather relevant functional and developmental information about a child, including information provided by the parent, teacher, and information obtained from classroom-based assessments and observation.” By using both formal and informal assessments, clinicians are able to capture a larger picture of a student’s language abilities. By observing a child’s language via informal observation, examinees (i.e., clinician, teacher, and parent) can observe how the child understands language and uses language (e.g., express needs and wants, make requests, converse with peers/friends, etc.), as well as the potential impact a language disorder may have on a child’s academic and social life.
When we consider a formal spoken language comprehension and/or spoken language assessment, it may be difficult for clinicians to observe and gauge the impact that these deficits may have on a student’s everyday life. Parent and teacher input can be beneficial at this time because it allows for the observations to take place in an authentic everyday setting. Additionally, the examiners are already familiar with the child and may know what to look for which will help create a true representation of the child’s language abilities. The IMPACT Language Functioning Rating Scale provides us with clinician, parent, and teacher observations and perspectives of a child’s understanding and use of language. When given the guidelines of what to look for, parents will be able to provide numerous examples of their child’s language abilities and the impact these deficits may have on a child. Difficulties in the various parts of language may not be so easily observed during clinical assessment and observation. Furthermore, it can be important to obtain information on how a child engages with their family, friends, and peers during common tasks in order to obtain ecologically and culturally valid information on how a child functions and communicates on a daily basis (Jackson, Pretti- Frontczak, Harjusola-Webb, Grisham-Brown, & Romani, 2009; Westby, Stevens, Dominguez, & Oetter, 1996).
During assessment and intervention planning, it is important to consider how spoken language comprehension and spoken language abilities may adversely affect educational performance and a child’s social interactions. When compared to typically developing peers, children with language impairments are rated by their kindergarten teachers as being significantly less prepared in areas such as literacy, math, pro-social communication, and behavioral competence (Justice, Bowles, Pence Turnbull, & Skibbe, 2009). Previous research has suggested that language disorders can be detrimental to a child’s development and children whose language falls behind their peers are at an increased risk of academic failure (Durkin, Conti-Ramsden, & Simkin, 2012; Johnson, Beitchman, & Brownlie, 2010), behavioral and psychiatric problems (Conti-Ramsden, Mok, Pickles, & Durkin, 2013, Snowling & Hulme, 2006), unemployment, economic disadvantage, (Parsons, Schoon, Rush, & Law, 2011), and social impairment (Clegg, Hollis, Mawhood, & Rutter, 2005).
Contextual Background for Rating Scale Areas
Language impairment involves difficulty in the understanding and/or use of spoken, written, and/or other symbol systems. The disorder may involve: “(1) the form of language (phonology, morphology, syntax); (2) the content of language (semantics); and/or (3) the function of language in communication (pragmatics) in any combination” (ASHA, 2016). Listening comprehension is a high-order skill that involves both language and cognitive abilities (Florit, Roch, & Levorato, 2013; Kim & Phillips, 2014; Lepola, Lynch, Laakkonen, Silven, & Niemi, 2012). Specifically, listening comprehension refers to one’s ability to comprehend spoken language (e.g., conversations, stories/narratives) by extracting and constructing meaning. Research has showed that listening comprehension is critical to reading comprehension (Foorman, Koon, Petscher, Mitchell, & Truckenmiller, 2015; Kim, 2015; Kim, Wagner, & Lopez, 2012; Kim & Wagner, 2015). When children present with reading comprehension deficiencies, there is a heavy focus on word recognition difficulties, including dyslexia and learning disabilities. Difficulties with word recognition are linked to weakness in the phonological domain of language and are often identified early on in the pre-school years (Catts, Fey, Zhang, & Tomblin, 2001). On the other hand, some children demonstrate reading comprehension difficulties despite adequate word reading abilities (Catts, Adlof, & Ellis Weismer, 2006; Nation, Clarke Marshall, & Durand, 2004). This group of individuals is known as poor comprehenders. Poor comprehenders are able to read text accurately and fluently at age-appropriate levels, however, they have difficulty understanding what they are reading (Cain & Oakhill, 2007; Nation, 2005). For example, when reading, poor comprehenders have weaknesses in the areas of semantics, syntax (Catts, Adlof, & Ellis Weismer, 2006; Nation & Snowling, 1998; Nation, Snowling, & Clarke, 2007) and more complex parts of language such as idioms, inferencing, comprehension monitoring, and knowledge of text structure (Oakhill, 1984; Cain & Towse, 2008; Cain, Oakhill, & Bryant, 2004; Oakhill & Yuill, 1996). Additionally, when we consider narrative comprehension, children with language disorders are less likely to provide correct answers to literal or inferential questions about stories that have been read to them (Gillam, Fargo, & Robertson, 2009; Laing & Kamhi, 2002). Since reading comprehension takes time to develop, it is difficult to demonstrate reading comprehension deficits in children before they are able to read accurately and fluently. Thus, these students’ reading comprehension deficits may go unnoticed until later grades. As such, it is critical that language deficits are identified as early on in development as possible.
There is also a strong relationship between oral language abilities and reading ability (Hulme & Snowling, 2013). Nation, Clarke, Marshall, and Durand (2004) investigated poor compehenders’ spoken language skills. The results of this study found that these students were less skilled than those in the typically developing group on semantic tasks (e.g., vocabulary and word knowledge), morphosyntax (e.g., past tense inflection, sentence comprehension) and aspects of language use (e.g., understanding figurative language). Research also suggests that students with expressive language difficulties are four to fives times more likely than their peers to present with reading difficulties (Catts, Fey, Zhang, & Tomblin, 2001). For example, Zielinkski, Bench, and Madsen (1997) explored expressive language delays in preschoolers and found that these children were more likely to have difficulties with reading performance. Poll and Miller (2013) also reported that when children are 8 years old, expressive language delays could be a significant risk factor for poor oral language and reading comprehension. Furthermore, Lee (2011) discovered that expressive language development predicts comprehension of reading passages in both third and fifth grade students. Vocabulary can also play an important role early on in development as was demonstrated in Duff, Reen, Plunkett, and Nation’s (2015) study that found infant vocabulary between 16 and 24 months is predictive of reading comprehension early on in school instruction years. Additionally, Pysridou, Eklund, Poikkeus, and Torppa’s study (2018) found that expressive language ability at age 2–2.5 years old is associated with reading comprehension in ages 8–16 years old.
Listening comprehension and oral language abilities can also be important when we consider writing development (Kim, Al Otaiba, Wanzek, & Gatlin, 2015; Hulme & Snowling, 2013). Children with language impairments have been found to show grammatical errors (Gillam & Johnston, 1992; Scott & Windsor, 2000; Windsor, Scott, & Street, 2000) and spelling errors in their written texts. The spelling errors are similar to those found in children with dyslexia (Puranik, Lombardino, & Altmann, 2007), however, an individual’s ability to create and think of new ideas appears to be specific to difficulties within the language system (Bishop & Clarkson, 2003; Puranik, Lombardino, & Altmann, 2007). Numerous studies have explored the difficulties that school-age children with language impairment have with telling stories. For example, when compared to typically developing children, children with language deficits tend to compose stories that contain fewer words and utterances (Moyano & McGillivray, 1988 [as cited in Hughes, McGillivray, & Schmidek, 1997]), fewer story grammar components (Paul, 1996), reduced sentence complexity (Gillam & Johnston, 1992), fewer complete cohesive ties (Liles, 1985), increased grammatical errors (Liles, Duffy, Merritt, & Purcell, 1995; Norbury & Bishop, 2003), and poorer overall story quality (Gillam, McFadden, & van Kleeck, 1995; McFadden & Gillam, 1996).
Over the last thirty years, there has been an abundance of research demonstrating that children with specific language impairment (SLI) are at a disadvantage when it comes to peer relationships (Durkin & Conti-Ramsden, 2010). Individuals with SLI engage less in active conversation interactions, enter less frequently into positive social interactions, demonstrate poorer discourse skills, are more likely to provide inappropriate verbal responses, and are less likely to influence others successfully (Hadley and Rice, 1991; Craig, 1993; Craig and Washington, 1993; Grove, Conti-Ramsden, & Donlan, 1993; Guralnick, Connor, Hammond, Gottman, & Kinnish, 1996; Brinton, Fujiki, & McKee 1998; Vallance, Im, & Cohen 1999). Children with SLI also tend to score lower in the areas of social skills, social cognitive abilities, and may have trouble with behavioral and emotion regulation (Cohen, Barwick, Horodezky, Vallance, & Im, 1998; Fujiki, Brinton, & Clarke, 2002; Marton, Abramoff, &Rosenzweig, 2005; Lindsay, Dockrell, & Strand, 2007). Additionally, children with language impairments are at higher risk of academic failure, social exclusions, behavioral and emotional difficulties, and are more vulnerable to being bullied (Conti-Ramsden, Durkin, Simkin, & Knox, 2009; St Clair, Pickles, Durkin, & Conti-Ramsden, 2011). Lastly, children with language disorders are also at a heightened risk of exhibiting externalizing problems and antisocial conduct disorders (Beitchman, Wilson, Johnson, et al., 2001; Conti- Ramsden & Botting, 2004).
Description of Rating Scale Areas
Spoken Language Comprehension
The spoken language comprehension rating scale items look at how well an individual understands spoken language. For example, rating scale items look at a child’s ability to understand grade level stories, vocabulary, narratives, and his/her ability to answer questions regarding a given story. Additional test items in this area look at an individual’s ability to follow along with a conversation, lecture, or discussion, and the ability to recognize when something he/she hears does not make sense.
Sample Spoken Language Comprehension Item: After listening to a lesson, discussion, or story, is the student able to answer who, what, where, and when questions? For example, is the student able to recall the characters, setting, time, place, and what was happening in the story?
The oral expression rating scale items look at how well an individual is able to use spoken language. For example, test items investigate if the individual is able to appropriately ask and answer questions, initiate conversations, use narrative storytelling, grade level vocabulary, correct word order, and grammar. Additional test items in this area look at an individual’s ability to add comments and questions to a conversation, maintain the topic, form thoughts and ideas, problem solve, negotiate, and use critical thinking skills.
Sample Oral Expression Item: Does the student experience difficulty asking or answering questions in class? For example, does he/she have trouble responding to teacher or peer comments during classroom activities?
Language and Literacy
The language and literacy rating scale items look at an individual’s ability to comprehend and understand what he/she is reading, to distinguish between the main idea and supporting details, and to use his/her own experiences to predict what might happen in grade-level stories. Additionally, literacy rating scale items look at an individual’s writing abilities.
Sample Language Processing and Integration Item: Does the student demonstrate an understanding of grade level stories and literature? For example, is the student able to follow along with stories that are read in class and is he/she able to comprehend what is going on in the story?
Language Processing and Integration
The language processing and integration rating scale items look at how an individual follows multi-step instructions, understands figurative language, analogies, and inferences, and sequences details or events. Additionally, rating scale items look at whether an individual’s ability to comprehend and use spoken language impacts his/her reading abilities.
Sample Language Processing and Integration Item: Does the student have a difficult time making inferences/implied meaning from given information? For example, does the student have a difficult time “reading between the lines,” making connections, or drawing conclusions?
The social interactions rating scale items look at how spoken language comprehension and use may impact an individual’s social interactions. For example, rating scale items may look at whether an individual is aware of his/her language deficits and how he/she expresses their feelings towards their language disorder. Additionally, rating scale items investigate an individual’s confidence regarding his/her communication and how this impacts their participation in conversations and activities with peers, friends, and family.
Sample Language Processing and Integration Item: Does the student’s ability to understand and use language make it difficult for him/her to participate fully in school related clubs or activities? For example, does the student’s language skills hold them back from joining drama club or yearbook club?
Administration of the Rating Scale
Professionals who are formally trained in the ethical administration, scoring, and interpretation of assessment tools and who hold appropriate educational and professional credentials may administer the IMPACT Language Rating Scale. Qualified examiners include speech-language pathologists, school psychologists, special education diagnosticians and other professionals representing closely related fields. It is a requirement to read and become familiar with the administration, recording, and scoring procedures before using this rating scale and asking parents and teachers to complete the rating scales.
As described in Standard 6.7 of the Standards for Educational and Psychological Testing (AERA et al., 2014), it is the examiner’s responsibility to protect the security of all testing material and ensure confidentiality of all testing results.
Eligibility for Testing
The IMPACT Language Rating Scale is appropriate to use for individuals between the ages of 5-0 and 21-0 years of age. This rating scale is designed for individuals who are suspected of or who have been previously diagnosed with a speech sound disorder. The rating scale also addresses the potential impact that an articulation or phonological disorder may have on a child.
EASY TO FOLLOW STEPS
Complete the CLINICIAN online rating form that will calculate student age and raw scores for you!
Email or Text links to the online rating form to TEACHER(S) and PARENT(S), and get the results back by email (or printed pdfs).
Easily convert scores and use our report generating widget to generate a ready-to-use write-up for your assessment report.
Theoretical Background of the IMPACT Language Rating Scale
Spoken language comprehension and oral expression, refers to the understanding and the use of spoken language across various contexts and social situations. Approximately 7% of children have deficits in language comprehension or language use and these difficulties can persist into the school-age years and interfere with communication, academics, and social interactions (Tomblin, Records, Buckwalter, Zhang, Smith, & O’Brien, 1997). Longitudinal studies have revealed that language impairments that persist into school age remain in adolescence (Conti-Ramsden & Durkin 2007) and adulthood (Johnson, Beitchman, & Brownlie, 1999; Clegg, Hollis, Mawhood, & Rutter, 2005), often with accompanying literacy deficits (Clegg, Hollis, Mawhood, & Rutter, 2005, Snowling & Hulme, 2000). Lindsay and Dockrell (2012) conducted a longitudinal study with adolescents who were identified as having specific language impairment (SLI) during the early primary grades. This study assessed the behavioral, emotional, and social difficulties of students in relation to self-concept, language, and literacy abilities over time. Participants were followed from 8 years old to 17 years old. Lindsay and Dockerell (2012) found that poor language and literacy skills continued, and peer and conduct problems were found to increase over this age range. Joffee and Black (2012) explored behavioral, emotional, and social difficulties in young adolescents who, based on teacher report, were identified as having low language skills and/or poor academic achievement. These students had not been clinically diagnosed as having a language disorder. Results of Joffee and Black’s (2012) study indicate that even students with subtle language problems can negatively impact school and social interactions. The researchers emphasized the need to identify and treat language weakness in all students so that all children can be properly supported.
There is a clear need for formal and informal assessment tools that aid in the identification of language disorders because without appropriate assessment and intervention, there can be serious negative impacts to a child’s development, education, and social interactions. Observations of students’ language abilities in his/her natural educational environment, as well as teacher and parent observations of language functioning in educational settings are fundamental when determining eligibility. Bishop and McDonald (2009) emphasize that when assessing children for language impairment, it is important to use both language test scores and parental report in order to provide complementary information to the evaluation. Spoken language comprehension and spoken language disorders can have adverse effects on various aspects of language development, as well as academic performance, and peer relationships. For example, a child who has difficulty with their ability to understand spoken language may find it difficult to follow along during classroom instruction and fall behind in their classwork. Additionally, a child who has trouble understanding or using spoken language may have difficulty developing meaningful peer relationships and friendships, which could lead to a variety of other difficulties such as behavioral and emotional problems. By assessing students with the IMPACT Language Functioning Rating Scale, speech-language pathologists, teachers, and parents can observe children in their natural environments and identify those individuals who have a suspected or an existing diagnosis of a language disorder and the impact the language disorder may have on the child.