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.
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 Lab. To purchase KLBA from their site click HERE.