In my previous state, Missouri, Speech-Language Pathologists could utilize Response to Intervention to address voice, articulation, and fluency. We were not able to utilize the approach for language skills. However, in many states, including my new state of Illinois, you are allowed, and sometimes required, to provide RtI services for students with language concerns. However, one of the most difficult portions of initiating RtI is deciding who would benefit and how to track their progress effectively and does not take a lot of time to administer.
Recently, I had the opportunity to look over a new assessment: Kindergarten Language Benchmark Assessment (KLBA) which can easily be administered in 3 to 4 minutes during universal screenings of Kindergarteners. It can also be used for monitoring growth over the school year.
The KLBA assesses four areas correlated to future reading success and academic skills:
Auditory Comprehension: Student’s ability to ask and answer questions.
Following Directions: Ability to listen and follow directions.
Categories: Vocabulary (expressive and receptive) through category questions.
Narrative Language: Comprehension and Language abilities through narrative prompts.
Overall, I found that this was very easy to administer. I was able to quickly move through the stimulus items and score during testing. After administering, students are compared to peers in their school, not national norms. This makes it a great tool for school-based RtI guidance. It allows you to see which Kindergarteners need additional assistance to catch up with their peers in these skill areas.
For example, if Student A scores within the top 75% of the Kindergarten class, they continue with Tier 1 intervention. If Student B and C score in the bottom 25% they are moved to Tier 2. At the next screening Student B is demonstrating growth so they will stay at Tier 2. However, Student C is not demonstrating growth so they will be moved to Tier 3. For more Check out this great handout.
Overall, I would definitely recommend this to SLPs using the RtI model for Language and who are interested in school-wide and/or district-wide Kindergarten screenings that can be used for progress monitoring as well.
For more information, check out the KLBA site including their blog.
For another great review of this, check out Crazy Speech World‘s thoughts on her blog!
Thank you to Naomi R. Konikoff, M.S., CCC-SLP and Jennifer Preschern, M.A., CCC-SLP for the invitation to review this new assessment.