Author(s): Beth Lawrence, MA, CCC-SLP / Deena Seifert, MS, CCC-SLP
Qualification Level: B
Use: Receptive Vocabulary / Semantic Reasoning
Ages: 7 through 17
The Test of Semantic Reasoning (TOSR) is a new, standardized vocabulary assessment for children and adolescents ages 7 through 17. Semantic reasoning is the process by which new words are learned and retrieved from one’s lexicon through analysis of multiple images that convey various contexts of the word’s meaning.
The TOSR assesses breadth (the number of lexical entries one has) and depth (the extent of semantic representation for each known word) of vocabulary knowledge without taxing expressive language skills, providing an important new resource for individuals assessing children with possible language and literacy deficits. Breadth and depth are both important for literacy. Breadth is related to early decoding, and depth to later comprehension.
The TOSR assesses three narrow abilities defined in the Cattell-Horn-Carroll (CHC) theory of cognitive abilities:
- Lexical Knowledge (VL): The extent of vocabulary that can be understood in terms of correct word meanings
- Induction (I): The ability to discover the underlying characteristic that governs a problem or a set of materials
- General Sequential Reasoning (RG): The ability to start with stated rules, premises, or conditions, and to engage in one or more steps to reach a solution to a novel problem
The TOSR was developed by two practicing speech-language pathologists and builds on their successful vocabulary instruction app, InferCabulary™.It includes 90 sets of four high-quality color photographs that reflect a vocabulary word in a variety of contexts. The individual must use semantic reasoning to analyze the pictures and then select the single word from a choice of four that best represents the multiple contexts of the word represented by all the images.
Information obtained from this assessment can provide educators, psychologists, and speech-language pathologists with information on children and adolescents’ basic receptive vocabulary knowledge, as well as their higher order thinking and reasoning in the semantic domain.
Administration and Scoring
The TOSR incorporates the easy administration and scoring of traditional one-word-vocabulary assessments. The test is untimed and can generally be administered in about 20 minutes. Age-related starting points and ceilings ensure that only a subset of items will need to be administered. Scoring is straightforward, generally taking less than 5 minutes. Raw scores are reported as standard scores, percentile ranks, and age equivalents.
The TOSR was normed on a nationally representative sample of 1117 individuals ranging from 7 through 17 years of age. The norming sample included individuals with learning disabilities, language impairments, ADHD, and autism.
- TOSR reliability:
- Internal consistency: Cronbach’s alpha from 0.94 to 0.97
- Test-retest: r(86)=0.94, p<0.01
- TOSR validity:
- Correlation between TOSR and ROWPVT-4: r(20)= 0.72, p<0.001
- Matched samples:
- Specific language impairment: t(34.37)=3.28, p=0.002
- Learning disability: t(29.77)=3.34, p=0.002