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Language assessment in deaf learners

Herman, R. ORCID: 0000-0001-5732-9999 (2015). Language assessment in deaf learners. In: Knoors, M. & Marschark, M. (Eds.), Educating Deaf Learners: Creating a Global Evidence Base. (pp. 196-212). Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press. doi: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780190215194.003.0009


Most deaf children are at risk for language delay because their access to speech is compromised or early input from fluent sign language users is lacking. Research has found that some deaf children have language impairments that pose additional barriers to language acquisition. Since language paves the way to later learning, optimal development is critical. This chapter reviews the reasons for assessing language development in preschool and school-age deaf children and focuses on the challenges that face staff when carrying out an assessment, the skills and knowledge needed, appropriate assessment methods, and interpretation of findings. Although standardized tests are used increasingly with oral deaf children, their use and interpretation are problematic. Such tests are inappropriate for signing children, for whom few measures exist. The chapter concludes by considering how language assessment findings relate to the language learning environment of the classroom.

Publication Type: Book Section
Additional Information: This material was originally published in Educating Deaf Learners: Creating a Global Evidence Base edited by Harry Knoors (ed.), Marc Marschark (ed.) and has been reproduced by permission of Oxford University Press For permission to reuse this material, please visit
Publisher Keywords: language assessment, deaf, sign language, language impairment, standardized test, language learning
Subjects: R Medicine > RC Internal medicine
Departments: School of Health & Psychological Sciences > Language & Communication Science
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