#136: Assessment 101: Informal Assessments

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This Week’s Episode: Informal Assessments 101

This week, we are continuing to chug along on the assessment train!  We discussed formal assessments last week and we will get to talk about all things informal assessments in today’s episode. I have listed a bunch of different resources that you can use in your therapy.

Let’s get to it!

Informal Assessment Tips and Handouts

✓ Language samples ( we will take more about this next week) Click here for our Free Language Sample Cheat Sheet

✓Parent and teacher feedback is so very valuable! Check out this blog post, Must-Have Handouts and Forms for SLPs for some great handouts.

✓ Classroom observations

✓ Observation checklist (linked in handout post), Must-Have Handouts and Forms for SLPs

✓ Work samples

✓ Dynamic assessments. Check Out these Podcast Episodes:

🍏 #91: A Quick Review of Informal Assessments for Narratives

🍎 #117: How to Use Dynamic Assessment When Evaluating Culturally & Linguistically Diverse Students

✓ Baseline data for goals

Present level assessments are included in the SLP Now Membership and you can access them with our FREE 14-day trial. 

🎧 Stay tuned for future episodes that dive into reviews of specific assessments for specific areas!

Next Up in this Pod Series

9/6/22  Assessment 101: A Checklist
9/13/22  Assessment 101: Formal Assessments
9/20/22 Assessment 101: Informal Assessments
9/27/22  Assessment 101: Language Samples

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Speaker 1: Hello there, and welcome to the SLP Now Podcast, where we share practical therapy tips and ideas for busy speech language pathologists. Grab your favorite beverage and sit back as we dive into this week's episode.

Speaker 1: Hey there SLP, let's continue on the nerd train, nerding out about all things assessment. This week, we are chatting about informal assessments and if you haven't been following the series, we started in Episode 134 talking about just our general checklist for assessments and evaluations and also diving into just some general productivity kind of strategies, ways to work smarter not harder and better manage the workload, and then last week we talked about formal assessments and it was more focused on evaluating the assessments that we're using, also just making sure that we're qualifying students appropriately and interpreting test results with fidelity and making sure that we're not under or over-qualifying students which can have tremendous impact on our workload but also impact our students. And so today, we're just going to do an overview of some different resources that we can use when going through informal assessments.

Speaker 1: It's always important to collect parent feedback, teacher feedback. I'll link to some resources in the show notes at slpnow.com/136 for some handouts, teacher input forms, all of that good stuff to streamline that process. Also observing in the classroom can be another additional great way to collect data. We have a paperwork binder that includes an observation checklist and there's also other resources that I'll link in the show notes for that as well. We can also collect work samples to kind of see what students are producing in the classroom to give us some ideas and then we can collect language samples which are a great way to kind of assess where a student is at, but that gets its very own episode, we'll dive into all of those strategies next week. And then in past episodes, we've talked about dynamic assessment. This is probably my favorite strategy to use for just like a really nice comprehensive informal assessment data set.

Speaker 1: If you want to learn more about that, I would highly, highly, highly recommend Episode 91, where we talk about dynamic assessment in the context of narratives and then Episode 117 talks about dynamic assessment ... Really applies to all students, but Kallie Knight came on to discuss it in the context of culturally and linguistically diverse students and she shares a lot of really great strategies. She is a school-based SLP in the trenches with a massive workload. She's got a lot on her plate and I know it can feel overwhelming and all of that to navigate something like this, but she gave like a really ... Very real and approachable list of strategies and tips that we can use to implement this as school-based SLPs and so she talked about kind of like test-retest procedure and all of that good stuff. Like there are a ton of protocols available online for dynamic assessment and Kallie talks about those in the episode.

Speaker 1: We also have some present level assessments inside SLP Now and they are designed by grade level, referencing Common Core, state standards and all of that good stuff. Also just like what we would expect in terms of norms and all of that. So those assessments also include protocols for dynamic assessment so we can get a really good overview of a student's language skills overall at grade level and then the assessment also walks you through how to dynamically assess that and it really helps scaffold that whole procedure. So I think that is a huge resource that can make a massive difference for SLPs who are trying to navigate this and it is super applicable, like you can easily use that when it comes to writing goals, which spoiler alert, we're going to be doing tons and tons of support around writing goals because we get tons of questions about that as well. But we started with this whole assessment series because we need to be able to get a really solid assessment to help inform our goal writing process. And again, check out the show notes, slp.com/136 for links to the episodes, for links to the materials, and all of that good stuff.

Speaker 1: So that's what we've got in terms of our informal assessment process. I think this is also a really great opportunity, if you identify areas in your formal assessment where you're like, "I think this could be a goal. Like they scored really low on whatever, the words classes portion." So you can do an informal assessment to dive into that a little bit more. I love using the assessments inside SLP Now because they help me dive into a skill in a little bit more detail, like identify exactly how I need to write the goal, and it gives me baseline data that I can use to include in the goal as well, and then by doing that, if the student demonstrates a need for those different skills, then I can also use that for ongoing progress monitoring as well.

Speaker 1: So it's a little bit of work upfront, but it can really set us up for success along the way and in Episode 134, I shared like a little checklist kind of cheat sheet to put notes on all of your observations and the results of the evaluation as you go through and so when you get to the informal assessment part, you can look at that and use that to decide, "Okay, so what is the teacher reporting, what is showing up on the formal assessments? Like what patterns am I seeing and what formal informal assessment could I use to get a little bit more information?" And like I said, it helps us identify which areas actually need support. We can do a little bit of dynamic assessment to tease apart whether it's difference versus disorder when we're doing that as well, and we can use that for our baseline data and also just to decide if it should be a goal and if it is a goal, we can use it for our baseline data. And then we can also use that same assessment for progress monitoring because we want to use that [inaudible 00:07:18].

Speaker 1: So it takes a little bit of organization upfront to identify that, but it makes the goal writing process a lot easier. It also makes it easier to monitor progress and it also helps us make sure that we're qualifying the appropriate students and we're not again under or over-qualifying, which can be detrimental to our workload and also not in the best interest of the students which is what we're all here for at the end of the day anyway. So yeah, that is a recap of some of our informal assessment strategies. Again, head to slpnow.com/136 for the show notes with all of the resources to help you navigate this and we'll see you next week when we dive into language samples.

Speaker 1: Thanks for listening to the SLP Now podcast. If you enjoyed this episode, please share with your SLP friends and don't forget to subscribe to the podcast to get the latest episodes sent directly to you. See you next time.



Hi there! I'm Marisha. I am a school-based SLP who is all about working smarter, not harder. I created the SLP Now Membership and love sharing tips and tricks to help you save time so you can focus on what matters most--your students AND yourself.

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