This section of
the web site presents the steps for a comprehensive assessment of a
child's Word Finding skills. Below is a description of each of these
assessment steps. Obtaining this information is important in planning
an intervention program for a learner with Word Finding difficulties.
Steps for Assessing Word Finding Difficulties and Diagnostic Instruments:
Step 1. Conduct formal
assessment of Word Finding using standardized tests developed specifically
to assess Word Finding.
Step 2. Assess student's word knowledge.
Step 3. Follow up with informal assessment and diagnostic teaching.
Conduct Formal Assessment of Word Finding Using Standardized Tests Developed
Specifically to Assess Word Finding
It is the in-depth
formal diagnostic assessment of Word Finding that provides the specific
information needed to develop an individualized Word Finding intervention
program. Formal assessment of a student's Word Finding difficulties
is implemented by using a norm referenced battery of tests designed
specifically to assess Word Finding. These standardized assessments
should evaluate a student's retrieval skills in both convergent and
divergent retrieval contexts. Assessment of student's convergent retrieval
skills consists of single word naming tasks that assess the student's
ability to retrieve words that satisfy specific semantic constraints
imposed by a context. Assessment of a student's divergent naming skills
is completed through an analysis of a narrative generated in response
to a stimulus. Available normed referenced tests in Word Finding and
their descriptions are described in the next section.
Assessment in Single Word Naming Contexts
normed referenced measures developed to assess a learner's Word Finding
skills in single word naming tasks are the Test of Word Finding-
Second Edition (TWF-2) (German, 2000) and the Test of Adolescent
and Adult Word Finding (TAWF) (German, 1990). These tests require
the learner to retrieve target words in several single word naming contexts,
using accuracy and response time to define Word Finding difficulties.
They provide guidelines for analyzing student response errors, and include
a comprehension assessment of target words that were named incorrectly.
The latter assessment helps examiners differentiate between students
whose naming errors are due to general vocabulary deficits from those
students who have Word Finding problems in the presence of good comprehension
of the target word.
Finding Assessment in Discourse
Word Finding assessment has focused primarily on single word
naming contexts (convergent naming), it is also important to
evaluate student's Word Finding skills in the discourse context.
In an analysis of a student's Word Finding skills in discourse,
examiners focus on the student's language productivity and the
incidence of Word Finding behaviors in their narratives (German,
1987, German & Simon, 1991). The Test of Word finding in
Discourse (German, 1991) assesses children's Word Finding skills
2. Assess Student's Word Knowledge
assessment of a student's Word Finding abilities is primarily
an evaluation of the student's oral language skills. However,
it is critical to differentiate between vocabulary difficulties
that are due to difficulties in learning meanings and building
semantic networks and vocabulary difficulties that are due to
word retrieval problems. Assessing a student's word knowledge
can help in this differential diagnosis. Therefore, a measure
of a student's word knowledge should be part of the evaluation
to identify Word Finding difficulties.
3. Follow Up with Informal Assessment Procedures and Diagnostic
Finally, formal test results are best interpreted when integrated
with informal analysis and observations of a student's Word Finding
skills across the day. With regard to the former, examiners can
follow up standardized assessment with informal diagnostic procedures
to clarify formal test results. For example, the TWF-2 provides
examiners with supplementary analyses focused on analyzing the
three types of Word Finding errors typically produced by students
with Word Finding difficulties. These TWF-2 supplementary analyses include, phonemic cueing on erred target words, delayed response count, imitation of erred multisyllabic words, substitution analyses, and a tally of secondary characteristics present during Word Finding disruptions. These
informal analysis are helpful in formulating hypotheses about
the underlying nature of the student's Word Finding disruptions.
Further, findings from formal tests should be verified through
informal observations of the student's Word Finding skills in
the classroom and at home.