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  1. Centre for Language Communication Sciences Research
  2. Very Early Processing Skills (VEPS)
  3. VEPS Assessments
School of Health Sciences

VEPS Assessments

The VEPS assessments include the Preschool Repetition Test, targeting early phonological skills, and Early Sociocognitive Battery, targeting social responsiveness, joint attention and symbolic comprehension skills.

Preschool Repetition Test

This assesses children's recognition, recall and production of real words and made-up words. Children are introduced to a puppet and asked to copy what the puppet says. After two practice items, the child is presented with 18 words and 18 phonologically matched nonwords. One point is awarded for each word correctly repeated, with a maximum of 36.

The PSRep Test has been standardised as part of the Early Repetition Battery published by Pearson, which includes the Sentence Imitation Test. For more information about the test and how to purchase it, visit the Pearson website.

Early Sociocognitive Battery

Full protocols for the following 3 tests are available. Click here.

Assessment of Social Responsiveness

In this assessment, the researcher acts out a sequence of scenarios in which she expresses six different feelings, e.g. hurt, surprise. The child's response to the researcher's expression is measured by looks to her face, either fleeting (1 point) or for at least two seconds (2 points), giving a maximum score of 12. This assessment was based on a procedure developed by Sigman, Kasari, Kwon, and Yirmiya (1992).

Assessment of Joint Attention

This assessment takes the form of a game which offers opportunities to engage in joint attention. The game centres on a box of six plastic eggs, brought out one at a time, to reveal a small object such as a tiny bag. Larger versions of these objects are placed to the side, front and back of the child. Children are scored for alternating gaze either between the egg and researcher's face, or between the tiny object and researcher's face (1 point), and for following researcher's direction of gaze (2 points) or finger-point (1 point) at the larger object, yielding a maximum score of 18. This assessment was based on a task developed by our colleague, Rosemary Emanuel.

 Assessment of Symbolic Comprehension

This assessment takes the form of a game in which the researcher asks the child to find an object from a set of six, using a symbolic representation to indicate which object the child should find. The child then rolls the chosen object down a chute. There are three symbolic conditions in this task: gesture, miniature object, and substitute object. One point is awarded for correct selection of the six target objects in each of the three conditions, yielding a maximum score of 18.  This task is based on a procedure developed by Tomasello, Striano, and Rochat (1999).

References

Sigman, M., & Ruskin, E. (1999). Continuity and change in the social competence of children with autism, Down syndrome, and developmental delays. Monographs of the Society for Research in Child Development, 64, Serial no. 256

Tomasello, M., Striano, T., & Rochat, P. (1999). Do young children use objects as symbols? British Journal of Developmental Psychology, 17, 563-84.

School Age Morphosyntactic Battery

This battery comprises two tasks assessing the precision of children's morphosyntactic representations. In the VEPS project, we combined these two tasks with the Past Tense Task PTT-20 (Conti-Ramsden, Durkin, Simkin, Lum, & Marchman, 2010).

School Age Sentence Imitation Test - English 32 (SASIT-E32)

This test was created as part of a Cooperation in Science and Technology (COST) project, ISO084, which was set up to develop new tests in a range of languages for assessment of bilingual children (see http://www.bi-sli.org/). The SASIT-E32 comprises 32 sentences targeting a range of morphosyntactic and syntactic structures including auxiliaries, passives, object wh- questions, sentence complements, temporal and conditional sentence adjuncts, and object relative clauses. The test items are presented in a lively PowerPoint format.

Download test instructions
Download PowerPoint presentation

Grammatical Judgment

This assessment is based on an experimental task developed by McDonald (2008). Materials comprise 16 grammatically correct sentences exemplifying a range of structures, and 16 ill-formed sentences derived from the correct version by omitting a preposition or determiner (e.g. Those boys play same game every day), omitting a plural, tense or aspect marker (e.g. There are four cup on the table), or inverting the main verb rather than auxiliary verb to form a question (e.g. Drives the teacher a fancy car?). The 32 items are divided into two sets, A and B, such that each set contains equal numbers of correct and incorrect items, and only one version (either correct or incorrect) of each item. The task is presented in the form of a game on a touchscreen laptop.

Download test instructions
Download PowerPoint presentation A
Download PowerPoint presentation B

School Age Lexical Battery

This battery comprises two tasks assessing children's phonological representations of familiar words and their delayed recall of new words.

Lexical Judgment

This assessment is based on a lexical decision task developed by Constable, Stackhouse and Wells (1997). Materials comprise 10 real words, and 10 nonwords derived from the real words by transposing two consonants (e.g. helicopter becomes helitopker) or repeating one consonant (e.g. television becomes telilision). The 20 items are divided into two sets, A and B, such that each set contains equal numbers of correct and incorrect items, and only one version (either correct or incorrect) of each item.

Download test instructions
Download PowerPoint presentation A
Download PowerPoint presentation B

Novel Word Learning Task

This assessment comprises two PowerPoint presentations. Each shows a sequence of animal pictures and includes one animal that is expected to be unfamiliar to children: manatee in the first set, capybara in the second. The unfamiliar animal appears on four occasions, separated by the pictures of familiar animals. The child is asked to name each picture. When they come to the first picture of the unfamiliar animal, if the child is unable to name the picture or gives a different name, the tester provides the target name and asks the child to say this. Subsequent presentations of the animal provide three opportunities for the child to recall the name. Children's responses to these three presentations are scored in terms of number of phonemes correct (maximum 6 for manatee and 8 for capybara).

Download test instructions
Download PowerPoint presentation 3
Download PowerPoint presentation 4

References

Constable, A., Stackhouse, J., & Wells, B. (1997). Developmental-word finding difficulties and phonological processing: the case of the missing handcuffs. Applied Psycholinguistics, 18, 507-36.

Conti-Ramsden, G., Durkin, K., Simkin, Z., Lum, J.A.G., & Marchman, V. (2010). The PTT-20: UK normative data for 5- to 11-year-olds on a 20-item past-tense task. International Journal of Language & Communication Disorders, 46, 243-248.

McDonald, J.L. (2008). Grammaticality judgments in children: The role of age, working memory and phonological ability. Journal of Child Language, 35, 247-268.

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