Understanding the OWLS-II Assessment (Part 1)

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The second edition of the OWLS (Oral and Written Language Scales) Assessment includes a set of four separate, but related, scales that provide a comprehensive assessment of language for students. The OWLS-II scales include Listening Comprehension (LC), Oral Expression (OE), Reading Comprehension (RC), and Written Expression (WE).

The test enables oral language skills assessments for students ages three to twenty-one and written language skills assessments for ages five to twenty-one. The OWLS-II is a revision of each original oral and written language scale included on the OWLS Assessment. The OWLS-II preserves the strongest aspects of the initial test while incorporating a number of improvements.

Theoretical Background

To provide a better understanding of the knowledge and performance of language, OWLS-II uses a theory that divides language into distinct elements. These processes are what we implement to use language effectively in our daily lives.

This process involves the way we receive information communicated to us either verbally or through the written word. It also attempts to understand how we comprehend the information we hear or read, and how we express ourselves through language.

Another element of the OWLS-II Assessment refers to the linguistic structures that provide the building blocks of language. These include parts of speech like nouns, verbs, conjunctions, etc. These linguistic structures we use every day get divided into categories based on common usage and then are used to score an individual’s abilities to perform in the areas defined by the four scales.

General Description

The OWLS-II aAssessment identifies strengths and weaknesses in language so they can be addressed and improved. While the four scales work to provide a more comprehensive view of a person’s language skills, they can be used separately if needed.

Two sets of identical forms and materials are provided. Form A is for single use assessments and provides a baseline for reference. Form B is for repeat testing of the same subject to mark improvements and demonstrate growth.

The oral language portion of the assessment involves 130 multiple choice questions, presented orally. Measured by the LC scale, the individual responds to these questions by pointing to pictures. The OE scale measures the expressive aspect of oral language with 106 items requiring the examinee to respond orally or through images.

The RC scale measures the written language portion of the assessment. It contains 140 multiple choice questions in which the individual reads a prompt and chooses the appropriate response. The expressive aspect is measured by the WE scale. With a total of fifty items, the examinee decides between fourteen and eighteen items to which they respond in writing.

Components of the OWLS-II

Included in the OWLS-II Assessment are the following

  • Foundations of Language Assessment, Listening Comprehension/Oral Expression, and Reading Comprehension/Written Expression manuals

  • Record forms and response booklet for Form A

  • Test easels with instructions, pictures, items, prompts, and an examiner guide

  • Comprehensive Profile Form

  • Parallel Form B for repeated testing after a short period

For more information about (OWLS™-II) Oral and Written Language Scales™, Second Edition, visit WPS Publish online.

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