Test of Integrated Language and Literacy Skills (TILLS) Examiner's Manual

Authors: Nickola Nelson Ph.D., CCC-SLP, Elena Plante Ph.D., CCC-SLP, Nancy Helm-Estabrooks Sc.D., CCC-SLP, Gillian Hotz Ph.D., CCC-SLP

Format: Spiral-Bound, 256 pages, 8.5 x 11.0
ISBN: 9781598578294
Price: $99.95

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TILLS at-a-glance


Essential for effective use of the Test of Integrated Language & Literacy Skills (TILLS), this in-depth Examiners Manual walks professionals through administration and scoring of the assessment. With this start-to-finish manual, TILLS examiners will:

  • review the purposes, uses, background, and components of TILLS
  • get comprehensive instructions on administering all 15 TILLS subtests
  • find answers to frequently asked questions about TILLS
  • learn specific considerations for testing students with previously identified special needs
  • get the normative data tables needed to complete TILLS scoring
  • understand how to interpret scores with the help of sample profiles for different types of students

The manual also includes the detailed instructions examiners need to complete the four charts of the Examiner Record Form:

  1. Scoring Chart. Calculate subtest scores and enter corresponding standard scores and percentile ranks, four composites based on subtest standard scores, and the students identification core score.
  2. Identification Chart. Identify when a students score is consistent with a language/literacy disorder.
  3. Profile Chart. Produce a visual display of patterns of relative strengths and weaknesses based on standard scores and graph your selected confidence interval.
  4. Tracking Chart. Document changes in language and literacy skills over time.

Clear and comprehensive, this indispensable guide helps professionals administer and score TILLS accurately and use the results to inform next steps.

For every subtest, TILLS examiners get:

  • explicit, precise instructions on how to orally administer the test
  • guidelines for following start rules, basal rules, ceiling rules, and probe rules
  • detailed directions for recording and scoring student responses
  • a tip box for helping them score the subtest and resolve challenging issues
  • helpful completed examples with explanatory narratives


TEST OF INTEGRATED LANGUAGE AND LITERACY SKILLS (TILLS) is the reliable, valid assessment professionals need to test oral and written language skills in students ages 6–18 years. TILLS is a comprehensive, norm-referenced test that has been standardized for three purposes:

  1. To identify language and literacy disorders
  2. To document patterns of relative strengths and weaknesses
  3. To track changes in language and literacy skills over time

To achieve these purposes, TILLS is constructed to allow you to derive scores for identifying, tracking, and profiling a students strengths and weaknesses and interpreting the results to support decisions about what to do next.

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Table of Contents

Key Project Staff
About the Authors

I. Overview of the Test of Integrated Language and Literacy Skills (TILLS)

The TILLS Model of Language and Literacy Skills
Target Population
Administration Time
Overview of the Subtests
      Subtest 1: Vocabulary Awareness (VA)
      Subtest 2: Phonemic Awareness (PA)
      Subtest 3: Story Retelling (SR)
      Subtest 4: Nonword Repetition (NWRep)
      Subtest 5: Nonword Spelling (NWSpell)
      Subtest 6: Listening Comprehension (LC)
      Subtest 7: Reading Comprehension (RC)
      Subtest 8: Following Directions (FD)
      Subtest 9: Delayed Story Retelling (DSR)
      Subtest 10: Nonword Reading (NWRead)
      Subtest 11: Reading Fluency (RF)
      Subtest 12: Written Expression (WE)
      Subtest 13: Social Communication (SC)
      Subtest 14: Digit Span Forward (DSF)
      Subtest 15: Digit Span Backward (DSB)
The TILLS Conceptual Model
Test Materials
      Examiners Manual
      Technical Manual
      Quick Start Guide
      Stimulus Book
      Digital Audio Files
      Examiner Record Form
      Student Response Form
      Examiners Practice Workbook
      Student Language Scale (SLS)
      Items to be Supplied by the Examiner
Frequently Asked Questions

II. Administering the TILLS Subtests

Individual TILLS Subtests
SUBTEST 1: Vocabulary Awareness (VA)
SUBTEST 2: Phonemic Awareness (PA)
SUBTEST 3: Story Retelling (SR)
SUBTEST 4: Nonword Repetition (NWRep)
SUBTEST 5: Nonword Spelling (NWSpell)
SUBTEST 6: Listening Comprehension (LC)
SUBTEST 7: Reading Comprehension (RC)
SUBTEST 8: Following Directions (FD)
SUBTEST 9: Delayed Story Retelling (DSR)
SUBTEST 10: Nonword Reading (NWRead)
SUBTEST 11: Reading Fluency (RF)
SUBTEST 12: Written Expression (WE)
SUBTEST 13: Social Communication (SC)
SUBTEST 14: Digit Span Forward (DSF)
SUBTEST 15: Digit Span Backward (DSB)
Considerations for Testing Students with Previously Identified Special Needs
      Modifying Start and Stop Rules when Testing Students with Special Needs
      Testing Students with Hearing Loss
      Signs that a Student with Special Needs May Need to Take a Break or to
      Stop Testing
      Frequently Asked Questions

III. Scoring the TILLS and Using the Scores for Its Three Purposes

Steps for Calculating Standard Scores
      Transforming TILLS Subtest Raw Scores to Standard Scores
      Percentile Ranks
      TILLS Identification Core Scores
      TILLS Sound/Word, Sentence/Discourse, Oral, and Written Composite Scores
      TILLS Total Standard Score
      Confidence Intervals
      How to Use TILLS Scores to Achieve the Tests Three Purposes
      Purpose 1: To Identify Language and Literacy Disorders
      Purpose 2: To Document Patterns of Relative Strengths and Weaknesses
      Purpose 3: To Track Changes in Language and Literacy Skills over Time
      Frequently Asked Questions

IV. Considering TILLS Profiles in Relation to Curricular Demands and Student Needs

Students with Primary Language and Literacy Disorders
      Example 1: Dawn
      Example 2: Adam
      Example 3: Calli
      Example 4: Shaquela
      Example 5: Robert
Students Who Are Deaf or Hard of Hearing
      Example 6: Molly
      Example 7: Jason
Students with Autism Spectrum Disorder
      Example 8: Randy
Students with Intellectual Disability
      Example 9: Ruth

Appendix Normative Tables
      Subtest Standard Scores
      Subtest Percentile Ranks
      Standard Scores for the TILLS Total, Composite, and Identification Core Scores
      Percentile Ranks for the TILLS Total, Composite, and Identification Core Scores
      True Change Interval

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