Test of Integrated Language and Literacy Skills (TILLS) Technical 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: Paperback, 56 pages, 8.5 x 11.0
ISBN: 9781598579093
Price: $79.95

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TILLS at-a-glance


This concise manual presents the powerful research and technical data behind the Test of Integrated Language and Literacy Skills (TILLS). Professionals will find clear answers to frequently asked questions about the technical data as they learn the specifics of TILLS development and field testing and the composition of the normative sample.

Full chapters are devoted to the validity of TILLS, the reliability of TILLS, and the evaluation and reduction of test bias. Readers will get valuable information on

  • test development using item response theory (IRT) procedures
  • measurements of validity for each of the three purposes of TILLS
  • evidence of additional aspects of construct validity, including confirmation that TILLS scores reflect age-related change and measure skills at both the sound/word and sentence/discourse levels
  • the documenting of patterns of relative strengths and weaknesses and tracking change over time
  • TILLS sensitivity and specificity levels, broken down into 9 age bands meaningful to the development of language and literacy skills
  • strong reliability evidence for intra-class stability, inter-scorer reliability, and test-retest reliability
  • the assessment process to remove or minimize item-level bias and subtest-level bias
  • when to adjust cut scores for identifying language and literacy disorders

With this comprehensive resource on the unparalleled research behind TILLS, professionals will be confident that their language and literacy assessments will be completed with an extensively tested, psychometrically sound tool.


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:

  • To identify language and literacy disorders
  • To document patterns of relative strengths and weaknesses
  • 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

  1. Normative Sample, Test Development, and Standardization of the TILLS
    • Criteria for Inclusion in the Normative Sample
    • Composition of the Normative Sample
    • Recruitment and Training of Test Administrators During Standardization
    • Test Development
      • Field Test 1
      • Field Test 2
      • Field Test 3
      • Frequently Asked Questions

  2. Validity of the TILLS
    • Validity for Purpose 1: Identifying Language and Literacy Disorders
      • Identification of Language and Literacy Disorders at Different Ages
      • Results for Subgroups of Students with Language Disorders
      • Sensitivity to Students at Risk for but Not Identified as Having Language and Literacy Disorders
    • Validity for Purpose 2: Profiling Strengths and Weaknesses
      • Students with Language and Literacy Disorders versus Typically Developing Peers
      • Patterns of Strengths and Weaknesses for Different Diagnostic Groups
    • Validity for Purpose 3: Tracking Change Over Time
      • Determining True Gains or Losses
    • Other Aspects of Construct Validity
      • Evidence that TILLS Scores Reflect Age-Related Change
      • Evidence that TILLS Measures Skills at the Sound/Word and Sentence/Discourse Levels
    • Concurrent Validity
    • Frequently Asked Questions

  3. Reliability of the TILLS
    • Intraclass Reliability
    • Test-Retest
    • Reliability
    • Interrater Reliability
    • Measuring Students’ Abilities Reliably
    • Frequently Asked Questions

  4. Evaluation and Reduction of Test Bias
    • Statistical Evaluation of Item Bias
      • Assessment of Item-Level Bias
      • Assessment of Subtest-Level Bias
    • Implications of Score Differences for Interpreting TILLS Results
    • Frequently Asked Questions
Appendix: Contributors to TILLS Development and Standardization

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