Frequently asked questions for parents

(for FAQs for teachers and researchers please see further below)

 

What if my child doesn’t want to do the test?

 

Your child will not be forced to do the test. If your child is initially shy or hesitant, the tester will try to make him/her feel comfortable before beginning the test. However, if your child clearly doesn’t want to continue, testing will be stopped.

 

What if I don’t want to take part in any research?

 

Your participation and your child’s participation in any research are completely voluntary. You may give consent for your child to take the test, but decline to participate in research – just indicate your preference on the consent form.

 

Who will have access to my child’s data?

 

The person testing your child at his/her school (tester) will have access to your child’s data. If you consent to participate in research, the test developer will also have access to your child’s data; however, an identification code will be used, so the data will be anonymous in the research. Only the tester and test developer will be able to link your child’s data to his/her name.

 

What if my child has visual problems?

 

The test uses visual materials (pictures, videos), so the tester will need to check and make sure your child is able to access these materials. There are several “practice items” on the test that can be used to adjust the size of the picture/screen, distance from the screen, etc., before starting the test. If your child is not able to adequately see the materials, the test will not be administered.

 

What if my child cannot complete the test in one sitting?

 

It is possible to take a break during the test. The test would be completed later the same day or the next day.

 

What if my child has other learning difficulties?

 

The tester will make a note of your child’s learning difficulties and monitor attention and distractibility more carefully during testing, but these difficulties should not prevent your child from taking the test. In fact, it is often very helpful to learn more about children’s signed language abilities from their responses to the test to determine the teaching and learning strategies that are most appropriate for them.

 

How often can the test be repeated?

 

Although the test can be repeated every 6 months, it is recommended that children are only tested once per year.

 

What will the test results tell me about my child?

 

The test will tell you if your child can understand signed language at an appropriate level for his/her age. It will also identify some of the grammar structures that are easier and/or harder for your child to understand. You should feel free to discuss the test results with staff from your child’s school.

 

Does the person carrying out the test have to be qualified to use it?

 

Yes, the tester must be a professional (like a teacher, language specialist, or therapist) with experience working with deaf children who use signed language to communicate.  It is not necessary for the tester to be fluent in signed language because the test materials are online, but the tester must have a basic level of communication skills in signed language to carry out the test.

 

What are the consequences of the test results for my child?

 

You and your child’s teachers will know more about your child’s signed language skills. Specifically, you will know how your child understands signed language compared to other children his/her age who are also developing signed language.

 

Your child’s school may use your child’s test results to help the classroom teacher deliver more appropriate programmes for your child, or to obtain additional support/services for your child if needed. There may be a number of reasons why your child’s school has initiated testing – to monitor your child’s progress; to ensure appropriate class/program placement; to guide teaching; to update records/documentation - so you should feel free to discuss this further with staff at your child’s school.

  

If the test results are used for research, there will be no consequences for your child, as his/her identity will not be connected to the test results. However, through research your child’s test results will contribute to developing more knowledge about the acquisition of signed language in deaf children.

 

 

Frequently asked questions for teachers and researchers

Do testers need to be qualified to use the test

 

Yes, all testers are recommended to complete the online tutorial on this website prior to administering any tests.  It is expected that testers are professionals (teachers, language specialists, therapists, etc.) who are familiar with test procedures and have experience working with deaf children who use signed language to communicate. Fluency in signed language is not required, but basic communication skills in the signed language being tested are needed.

 

How often can the test be repeated?

 

Although it can be repeated every 6 months, it is recommended that children are only tested once per year.

 

What if parents don’t want to take part in any research?

 

Parent (and child) participation in research is completely voluntary. Parents may give consent for their child to take the test, but decline for their child to participate in research – if they have indicated this preference on the consent form, then the test data will not be used for this purpose.

 

Who will have access to the stored data?

 

The tester at each school will have access to all the children’s data from that particular school. The test developer (university-based) will have access to all data from children whose parents have consented to participate in research. Any data used for research will be assigned an identification code so the data will be anonymous. Only the school-based testers  and the test developers will be able to link the children’s data to their names. The university-based test administrator will make decisions regarding sharing the anonymous data with other researchers.

 

What if the child looks away from the computer screen and misses the signed sentence?

 

Although repeated viewing of test items is generally not allowed (except for children aged 3 and 4 years), the tester is able to replay an occasional item when a child does not see it the first time. This repetition will be automatically noted on the online system.

 

What if testing is interrupted?

 

Of course this should be avoided as much as possible; however, if the test is interrupted, the online test can be paused or stopped and resumed at a later time (within one week). This pause will be automatically indicated on the online system.  

 

What if the child changes their response?

 

The child is free to change their response and only the final response will be recorded. The online system automatically tracks these changes (or self-corrections).

 

What if the child cannot complete the test in one sitting?

 

It is possible to take a break during the test. The test should be completed later the same day or the next day and definitely within one week.

 

What if the child has visual problems?

 

Prior to beginning the test, the tester will need to document the child’s visual difficulties in the child’s background information section and also check to ensure the child is able to visually access the test materials (pictures, videos). There are several “practice items” on the test that can be used to adjust the size of the picture/screen, distance from the screen, etc., to determine the child’s ability to see the stimuli before starting the test. If the child is not able to adequately see the materials, the test should not be administered.

 

What if the child has other learning difficulties?

 

The tester should document the any learning difficulties in the child’s background information section, and monitor behaviour (attention, distractibility, etc.) carefully during testing, but these difficulties should not prevent the child from taking the test. In fact, it is often very helpful to learn more about children’s signed language abilities to determine the teaching and learning strategies that are most appropriate for them.

 

What if the child has problems indicating their response?

 

If a child has movement difficulties and is unable to point to pictures or push computer keys to indicate his/her response, alternate methods of responding can be established with the tester prior to beginning the test. These may include eye gaze, scanning, using a pointer, or whatever is appropriate for that child. There is no time limit in responding to test items, so the child should not be pressured to indicate his/her response quickly.

 

What will the test results tell me?

 

The test will provide you with a standard score of the child’s receptive skills in signed language, or whether the child can understand signed language at an appropriate level for his/her age (in comparison to a sample of children normally acquiring the same signed language). The test also identifies the pattern of correct and incorrect responses regarding specific grammatical structures, thereby indicating strengths and weaknesses in the child’s comprehension of signed language.

 

When will new norms be available?

 

The development of normative data is dependent on the number of children that are tested and are willing to become part of our database. We anticipate it will take at least one year of collecting data before we have enough information to establish new norms for the online versions of the receptive skills tests.