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Review: Kindergarten Language Benchmark Assessment (KLBA)

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Recently I had an opportunity to use the Kindergarten Language Benchmark Assessment published by Speech Language Literacy Lab with a classroom of kindergarten students 5-6 years of age.  The KLBA is the screening and progress monitoring tool which tracks the development of appropriate early language skills and helps support the RTI model.


This tool is comprised of four sections: auditory comprehension, following directions, categories and  narrative language, which are correlated to future reading success and academic competence. It is intended for monolingual and bilingual kindergarten children 5 to 6 years of age. It yields a raw score for each skill area and requires a very short administration time (around 5-7 minutes) .

The kit was created by Naomi R. Konikoff, MS, CCC-SLP and Jennifer Preschern, MA, CCC-SLP. It includes an administration manual, testing book, and 25 protocols.  Each protocol allows for 3 administrations (Winter, Spring, Fall) to monitor language growth in kindergarten students over a period of a school year.

Subtest description:

Auditory Comprehension subtest assesses the students’ ability to respond to -wh-questions based on short stories 3-4 sentences in length

Following Directions subtest assesses the students’ ability to follow 1-2 step directions.

Categories subtest assesses the student’s ability to receptively identify the similarities between 2 out of 3 presented items and then coherently verbalize their connection

Narrative Language subtest assesses the students’s ability to produce simple stories in order to determine their use of relevant story grammar elements.


While there are a number of uses for this tool (RTI, to reduce over-identification of Limited English Proficiency students, evaluation of effectiveness of early language instruction, etc.),  since I’ve had it for a fairly limited time I used it as a screening instrument in order to determine whether a full comprehensive language testing was needed for the kindergarten children who were currently not mandated language services.

To confirm its reliability I also used it with children with known language impairment on my caseload, to determine how sensitive it was to detecting already existing language impairments.

The KLBA had indeed proven to be a reliable screening tool with the children I had tested. It cleared the children with typically developing language abilities (as per teachers reports and personal observations). In contrast when used with language impaired students on my caseload, KLBA had reliably identified their areas of weaknesses.  Children with language impairments were able to do quite well on several KLBA subtests due to the fact that they had already been receiving language therapy services. However, they invariably did poorly on the following subtests: expressive categorization and narrative production, which research has identified as being most sensitive to language impairment.


Given the research behind the KLBA I find it to be another useful tool in my material repertoire. For more information on KLBA check out Speech Language Literacy LabTo purchase KLBA from their site click HERE. 

8 thoughts on “Review: Kindergarten Language Benchmark Assessment (KLBA)

  1. We have limited language tests yet most of my caseload has language impairments.

  2. I would love to have a the KLBA Kit for many reasons. For one, language screening tools are very limited and this is a welcomed resource to add to my assessment inventory. Secondly, I appreciate that the KLBA Kit assesses the child’s ability to receptively identify the similarities between 2 out of 3 presented items and their ability to coherently verbalize the connection. This task will provide a lot of valuable information on a child’s receptive and expressive abilities. Finally, as many SLPs in private practice, my funds are limited and winning a free copy would be amazing!

  3. Have a ton of preschool screenings to complete – would love to use this tool!

  4. I need a tool like this to screen our Kindergarden and preschool children. This will be great to use in monitoring progress through RTI! I love the narrative component.

  5. I am trying, on very limited funds, to begin a private practice. I have parental requests for evals & know I would make good use of this assessment, based on the calls I’ve received.

  6. This would be very useful for screening primary students.

  7. I am a grad student and would love to win this to start building my knowledge of tests. Any little bit helps.

  8. I work at a school that has many children coming in from a special ed preschool, and many children that begin kindergarten with no preschool at all. We don’t currently have anything to look at narrative language and this looks like a great screener overall.

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