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Language Assessment Scales (LAS) - English





Test Name: Language Assessment Scales (LAS) - English
Publisher: CTB/McGraw Hill
Publication Date: 1990
Test Type: Language Proficiency
Content: 4 Language Skills
Language: English
Target Population: English Language Learner (ELL)
Grade Level: PK,K,1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10,11,12
Administration Time: Untimed/Guidelines
Standardized: Yes
Purpose: Identification; Placement; Proficiency; Program Exit; Progress; Program Evaluation

Abstract:
The Language Assessment Scales - English are made up of two separate batteries. The Language Assessment Scales for Reading and Writing (LAS R/W) is a battery of reading and writing competency tests for students in grades 2-12 whose first language is not English. It is intended for use in placing and reclassifying Limited English Proficient students, and has two forms that may be used as pre- and post-tests from which gain scores may be obtained after program completion. The LAS R/W may be used alone or in combination with the LAS Oral to provide a complete picture of language competency. The test has three levels: Level 1 for grades 2-3; Level 2 for grades 4-6; and Level 3 for grades 7-9 and higher. It is recommended that a new or entering students first be tested at the level below his grade as indicated by age. If he shows mastery at that level, the next higher level is administered. If he does not demonstrate mastery, the next lowest level is given. The test was not designed to identify students who are above grade level and has no discriminability if misused that way. The LAS R/W has six subtests at Level 1: Vocabulary, which contains 10 multiple-choice items that measure ability to match pictures to words; Fluency, which contains 10 multiple-choice items that measure overall language fluency and the ability to infer a missing word based on a knowledge of language usage and semantics; Reading for Information, which contains one story and 10 true/false questions which measure the ability to identify information; Mechanics and Usage, which contains 15 multiple-choice items that measure skills in capitalization, punctuation, and grammar usage; Finishing Sentences, which contains 5 open-ended items that measure the ability to complete a sentence correctly; and What's Happening, which contains 5 graphic prompts designed to elicit one sentence each. A list of Level 2 subtests is not part of the EAC East collection, but Level 3 includes the following: Synonyms, which contains 10 multiple-choice items that measure recognition of same-meaning words; Fluency (same as above); Antonyms, which contains 10 multiple-choice items that measure identification of opposite-meaning words; Mechanics and Usage (same as above); Reading for Information, (same as above); What's Happening (same as above); and Let's Write, which contains graphic prompts to elicit a story-writing sample from each student. Tests are untimed, but usually take no more than an hour and a half. Scoring of objective items may be done by hand or by machine; by the publisher or by the test administrator. Writing samples are scored either by the publisher or locally within the school system, in which case raters should complete the Reliability Exercise and achieve a reliability level of 90%. Overall raw scores are converted to standardized scores which translate into three Reading Competency Levels: 1 - Non-Reader; 2 - Limited Reader; 3- Competent Reader. The "Competent" designation means that the student's reading and writing skills are equivalent to those of mainstream students achieving at or above the 40th percentile on a nationally-normed test. Information about reliability, validity, and test development is not part of the EAC East collection. The Language Assessment Scales - Oral (LAS - O) in English measure the oral language skills necessary to succeed in an American mainstream academic environment for grades 1-12. It may be used as: 1) A diagnostic device which provides identification, placement and reclassification information for language minority students, and 2) An evaluation of progress for both the student and the program. For a comprehensive evaluation of language ability, it should be used with the LAS Reading /Writing instrument. The three resulting classifications are Fluent English Speaker, Limited English Speaker, and Non-English Speaker. Level 1 of the LAS - O is for grades 1-6 and Level 2 is for grades 7-12. Two equivalent forms are available at each level. The Oral Language Component of the test has three parts: 1) Vocabulary, which contains Name That Picture in which students produce labels for concrete nouns commonly found in the public school environment, and Action Words which assesses the ability to produce the -ing form of commonly used verbs; 2) Listening Comprehension which contains one dialogue and 10 yes-no questions; and, 3) Story Retelling in which the student listens to a story which is supported with four cartoon-type drawings and then retells the story in his own words. The Pronunciation Component has two parts: 1) Minimal Sound Pairs, which tests auditory discrimination of minimal-pair items, and 2) Phonemes, in which the student is tested on his ability to pronounce specific phonemes embedded in words, phrases, and short sentences. Scoring of the objective sections of the test is done by the test administrator while the test is in progress, but some parts of the scoring require more deliberation. The Story Retelling section must be scored by proficient, literate speakers of English who have participated in a reliability exercise and have attained a reliability level of 90%. Coefficient alpha reliability estimates for Minimal Pairs, Phonemes, and Vocabulary sections are in the high .80s, while Listening scores range from the .30s to the .90s. The LAS - O was normed on 3,600 students in Texas and California. A Spanish version of the test exists and has undergone a separate study of reliability and validity.


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