Student Language Scale (SLS) User's Manual

Authors: Nickola Nelson Ph.D., CCC-SLP, Barbara Howes

Format: Paperback, 8.5 x 11.0
ISBN: 9781681252544
Price: $49.95

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SLS at-a-glance


For use on its own or with the Test of Integrated Language and Literacy Skills (TILLS), the Student Language Scale reliably screens students from ages 6–18 years for language and literacy disorders, including dyslexia. Filled out by parents, teachers, and students in just three minutes or less, the 12-question screener is a quick, cost-effective way to see how students are performing on academic tasks as compared to their same-age peers.

This concise User's Manual shows you how to effectively use the SLS to:
  • Screen for language/literacy disorders by gathering teachers' and parents' ratings of students. When teachers or parents rate more than two areas on items 1–8 less than 5, SLS results indicate the student is at risk and needs further assessment
  • Gather input about a struggling student's strengths and needs from multiple sources—a key requirement of IDEA
  • Enhance home–school communication by gaining new insight into the student's performance and the teacher's, parents', and student's perspectives on it, whether or not everyone agrees and whether or not there are concerns

You'll get reader-friendly guidance on how to administer the SLS with teachers, parents, and students; a complete guide to the technical data supporting the SLS; and three examples that show how the SLS can help you make sound decisions about followup for students who need it.

Whether used with an entire classroom or with individual students, the SLS is the tool you need to quickly gather valuable information about strengths and needs—and plan next steps for students at risk for disorders.

Ideal for use with TILLS! Give the SLS to a whole class—and when results indicate the student is at risk, follow up with TILLS assessment.

Strong sensitivity and specificity! Sensitivity of the SLS to risk of language/literacy disorder is 90% for teachers and 85% for parents, and specificity (correct identification of typical learners) is 90% for teachers and 83% for parents.

To learn more about the SLS, watch this free webinar, How to Screen for Language/Literacy Disorders—Including Dyslexia—with the SLS

Download the SLS brochure

All SLS Products

All TILLS Products


Review by: Sue Ellen Krause, Krause Speech & Language Services
“The SLS is an incisive, elegant screening tool to guide the recommendation for in-depth language and literacy assessment. The straightforward, brief rating scale and comment section offer insight into the student's profile from the perspective of teachers, parents, and the student. Superb case examples are provided in the User's Manual.”
Review by: Beverly Barkon, Carlow University
“As an enthusiastic user of the TILLS, I am very happy to have the SLS as an additional tool in my arsenal. The SLS offers an even stronger view of the student's profile of strengths and needs with a clear and manageable rating scale that can easily be incorporated into assessment with TILLS.”
Review by: Carrie Goodwiler, San Diego State University
“I can't recommend the SLS highly enough—it provides a quick and easy way to obtain qualitative information about a child's speech and language abilities from multiple sources. Unlike many questionnaires, the SLS asks about students' strengths, as well as solicits suggestions from parents, teachers, and children regarding ways to help students succeed. I use the SLS both to screen for language disorders and plan effective therapy; it's an integral part of my assessment toolkit.”

Table of Contents

About the Authors
About the Contributors

1. Overview of the Student Language Scale

  • Three Purposes
    • Purpose 1: Screening
    • Purpose 2: Gathering Input for Evaluation and Planning
    • Purpose 3: School—Home Communication
  • Outline for Realizing the Three Purposes
  • Organization
    • Section 1: Rating Scale
    • Section 2: Ability Checklist
    • Section 3: Priority Question

2. How to Administer the Student Language Scale

  • Using the Student Language Scale with Teachers
  • Using the Student Language Scale with Parents
  • Using the Student Language Scale with Students
    • Section 1: Rating Scale
    • Section 2: Ability Checklist
    • Section 3: Priority Question

3. Using the Student Language Scale for Three Primary Purposes

  • Purpose 1: Screening
  • Purpose 2: Gathering Input for Evaluation and Planning
  • Purpose 3: SchoolHome Communication

4. Reliability and Validity of the Student Language Scale

  • Scientific Methods
    • Theoretical Models and Expert Consultation
    • Data Gathering
    • Identifying Student Participants' Status
      • Criteria for Normal Language Group
      • Criteria for Language Learning Disabilities Group
      • Criteria for Language and Literacy Risk Group
      • Three Additional Groups of Students in Special Populations
  • Construct and Content Validity: Focus Groups and Factor Analysis
    • Focus Groups
    • Factor Analysis
  • Sensitivity and Specificity Evidence Supporting Validity for Screening
  • Evidence Supporting Validity for Gathering Multi-Informant Input
  • Evidence Supporting Reliability
  • Summary of Evidence

5. Student Examples

  • Student Example 1: Screening and Evaluation Input
  • Student Example 2: Early Identification and Individualized Planning
  • Student Example 3: Prioritizing Concerns

Appendix: Scientific, Technical, and Parent Consultants

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