Speech therapy assessments

speech therapy assessments, assessments for speech therapy

Speech therapy assessments are comprehensive. During an initial evaluation, a speech and language pathologist is required to use a variety of methods and look at several different components. This provides the therapist with a look at the client’s skills in several areas of speech and language. One important part of a speech therapy assessment is the administration of standardized assessments.

According to the American Speech-Language Hearing Association (ASHA), a comprehensive speech therapy assessment includes: “Selection of standardized measures for speech, language, cognitive-communication, and/or swallowing assessment with consideration for documented ecological validity and cultural sensitivity.”

Standardized speech therapy assessment tools that are norm referenced allow the clinician to compare a client’s performance on a specific task to other individuals of the same age (and in some cases, gender).

Criterion-referenced standardized tests provide a measurement of the client’s skills compared to standards or criteria of what the client is expected to know at that age.

Speech therapy assessment tools provide the clinician with evidence-based scores that guide the SLP to determine the type and severity of diagnosis to report. For reimbursement purposes, many insurance companies also require reporting of standardized assessment scores.

Being familiar with the top speech therapy assessments can prepare clinicians for selecting and administering test instruments during evaluations. Here’s a guide to the most common speech therapy assessments and what they’re used for.

Language assessment tools

PLS-5: Preschool Language Scale, 5th Edition

The PLS-5 is a play-based assessment of a child’s language skills across two domains: Auditory Comprehension (receptive language skills) and Expressive Communication.

Age range:

Birth-7 years 11 months


Caregiver interview (some test items allow for caregiver reporting), picture manual and toy manipulatives used to elicit and observe the child’s language skills.

The Preschool Language Scale, 5th Edition can be purchased through Pearson Assessments. This test is available in English and Spanish.

Pearson provides guidance on using the PLS-5 in telepractice. According to the company, the assessment’s Home Communication questionnaire can be administered via parent interview through telepractice.

Portions of the Auditory Comprehension and Expressive Communication subtests can also be administered via telepractice to contribute to the SLPs informed clinical opinion of the child’s current language skills.

REEL-4: Receptive-Expressive Emergent Language Test - Fourth Edition

Available through Pro-Ed, the REEL-4 can help SLPs identify infants and toddlers with language impairments. There are two subtests: Receptive Language and Expressive Language and the Vocabulary Inventory Test.

Age range:

Birth through 36 months.


The results of this assessment are obtained through interviewing the caregiver. This makes the REEL-4 an excellent choice as a language assessment of a child under 3 years old that is being completed over teletherapy.

CELF-5: Clinical Evaluation of Language Fundamentals - Fifth Edition

The Clinical Evaluation of Language Fundamentals is one of the top speech therapy assessments given to assess language skills in school-aged children.

Published by Pearson Assessments, the CELF-5 contains several subtests that examine the client’s expressive and receptive language skills. Scores are yielded in the areas of Core Language, Receptive Language, Expressive Language, Language Structure, and Language Content.

Age range:

5 years through 21 years, 11 months.


The client verbally responds to picture stimuli presented. For telepractice, the CELF-5 picture stimuli is available as a digital product from Pearson Q-global. Using the screen sharing feature on a teleconferencing software like TheraPlatform, Speech Therapists can show their client picture stimulus books in a digital format. Therapists can learn more about telepractice and the CELF-5 on Pearson’s website.

Speech production assessment tools

GFTA-3: Goldman Fristoe Test of Articulation, 3rd Edition

This assessment is frequently administered when there are concerns about a client’s articulation or the presence of phonological patterns in a client’s speech.

Age range:

Children, adolescents, and young adults (ages 2 through 21 years 11 months).


The GFTA-3 can be administered relatively quickly (estimated as up to 15 minutes). This test assesses a client’s production of phonemes across word positions in the Sounds-In-Words subtest. An intelligibility and stimulability section are also included in the test.

The GFTA-3 is administered through obtaining a client’s verbal response to picture stimuli. This assessment can be administered in telepractice by purchasing and downloading the digital format on Peason’s Q-global Product Page.

KSPT Kaufman Speech Praxis Test

The KSPT is a norm-referenced test that can assist SLPs in identifying and treating a client with Childhood Apraxia of Speech.

Age range:

2 years to 5 years 11 months.


This assessment is simple to administer and is estimated to take approximately 5 to 15 minutes.. The client is asked to imitate a series of oral motor movements, isolated sounds, and phonemes within various consonant-vowel combinations that increase in complexity.

The KSPT can be easily administered over teletherapy because it relies solely on the child’s verbal imitation of the therapist. No picture stimuli are required. This Apraxia assessment is available through Northern Speech Services.

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Fluency assessment

SSI-4: Stuttering Severity Instrument - 4th Edition

​​If you’re an SLP evaluating a client who stutters, you may want to consider administering the SSI-4. This norm-referenced assessment measures stuttering severity in children and adults.

The SSI-4 examines various areas of stuttering, including the frequency, duration, physical concomitants, and naturalness of the individual’s speech.

Age range:

2 years 10 months and up.


This test can be purchased through Pro-Ed Inc., and it contains an examiner’s manual, picture plates, and record forms. When assessing a client via teletherapy, you can position your camera to show the picture plates. You can also elicit a speech sample over teletherapy without the use of picture plates, and score it using the SSI-4.

Resources for speech therapy assessments

Knowing the most common speech therapy assessments and what areas of speech and language they examine can help SLPs complete diagnostic evaluations. Looking for more information and guidance on speech therapy assessments? TheraPlatform has amazing resources for speech language pathologists and it can be used to manage several aspects of your practice, from scheduling to notes to finances. Start a 30-day free trial of TheraPlatform today.

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