Clinical Evaluation of Language Fundamentals® - Fourth Edition
(CELF® - 4)
Overview: Quickly and accurately identify and diagnose language disorders
Age Range: 5 through 21 years
RTI Tiers: RTI Levels 2 and 3
Completion Time: 30-60 minutes
Norms: Core Language Score, Receptive Language Score, Expressive Language Scores, Language Structure, Language Content, Language Memory, Working Memory Indexes as Standard Scores, Percentile Ranks, Age Equivalents
Scoring Options: Scoring Assistant or Manual Scoring
Publication Date: 2003
Read about the new CELF-5.
Break New Ground With CELF-4 and Set a New, More Comprehensive Standard for Excellence in Language Assessment
CELF-4 gives you everything that you are looking for when evaluating a student’s language performance. Combine core subtests with supplementary subtests
to get a comprehensive assessment of a student’s language skills.
CELF is based on a four-level process model.
- CELF-4 provides the bridge that helps you understand a child’s need for classroom language modifications, enhancements, or curriculum modifications
- Flexibility of subtest administration allows for shorter testing time while providing highly reliable, accurate results
- Composite scores include Core Language, Receptive Language, Expressive Language, Language Structure, Language Content, Language Memory, and Working Memory Indexes as Standard Scores
- Culturally appropriate contexts and visual stimuli make CELF-4 appropriate and interesting for all students
- Updated norms are based on a diverse standardization sample of 2,650 subjects that reflect the updated 2000 U.S. Census, including children with identified conditions and diagnosed language disorders.
- New subtests include Expressive Vocabulary, Word Definitions, Number Repetition 1 and 2, Phonological Awareness, Pragmatics Profile, and the Observational Rating Scale.
Obtain descriptive indicators of students' language performance in class and at home.
Clinical Evaluation of Language Fundamentals-Fourth Edition (CELF-4)
The New CELF®–4
Moving Assessment to the Next Level
It’s faster, flexible, and more reliable.
The CELF®–4 Assessment Process model ultimately gives you everything you need when evaluating a student’s language performance to meet IDEA mandates.
- Faster administration of norm-referenced core subtests that gives an even more accurate diagnosis of a language disorder.
- Flexibility that lets you guide the assessment of your client to respond to referral questions, assessment needs, and program planning.
- More reliable with updated norms that reflect the 2000 U.S. Census, with 39% of the 2,650 students from minority families and 10% students identified as having a disability.
- Features new subtests including Expressive Vocabulary, Word Definitions, Number Repetition 1 & 2, Familiar Sequences 1& 2, Phonological Awareness, Pragmatics Profile, and Observational Rating Scale.
Accurately and Reliably
Determine a Child’s Language Disorder.
The CELF®–4 assessment process has the flexibility and diagnostic information that you need to design an individualized assessment path for each client.
Level 1 – The four most discriminating subtests enable you to quickly determine whether or not there is a language disorder in one-third less time.
Level 2 – Determine the nature of the disorder and the student’s strengths and weaknesses with two additional subtests to obtain Receptive Language, Expressive Language, Language Structure, Language Content, Language Memory, and Working Memory Index scores.
Level 3 – Decide what clinical skill deficits underlie the disorder with subtests such as Phonological Awareness, Rapid Automatic Naming, Number Repetition, Familiar Sequences, Word Associations, and Working Memory composite.
Level 4 – Explore how the student’s classroom language performance and social interactions are affected. Use the Pragmatics Profile and the Observational Rating Scale to continue your assessment.
Areas of Assessment
CELF-4 Subtest Chart
CELF-4 Scoring Assistant
Score CELF-4 accurately and quickly with new software that calculates the Core Language Score, norm-referenced indexes, criterion-referenced cut scores, and summarizes the authentic assessments.
The Scoring Assistant provides a Summary, a Composite Score Chart, a Scaled Scores Chart, a Narrative, an Item Analysis, a Pragmatics Profile, and an Observational Ratings Scales Report.
CELF®-4 Scoring and Report Assistant
Score CELF®-4 accurately and quickly with new software
- The CELF-4 Scoring and Report Assistant provides interpretive reports and customizable clinical tools to streamline the assessment process and help develop effective IEPs.
- Create the following reports with the click of a mouse: Parent, Interpretive, Summary, and Graphical. You can also create a customized list of therapy activities, classroom interventions, and recommendations, as well as a detailed history for each student.
- CELF-4 Scoring Assistant Sample Report (PDF -91kb)
Alternative Item Analysis
Alternative Item Analysis for Word Classes 1 and 2
Performance in the below-average range on the Word Classes subtest indicates that the student does not associate related words automatically or efficiently. Adequate ability to perceive relationships in the meaning of words and form word associations is essential for classroom listening and reading comprehension. Deficits in recognizing and using word associations influence a student’s ability to make predictions, create meaning, make inferences, and use analogical reasoning for problem solving.
Examining subtest errors and categorizing them according to type will assist in extension testing, as well as in development of intervention strategies. Use of multiple categorizations can be helpful in examining a student’s nonverbal classification strategy. For example, when assessing a student who can identify that words are opposites but cannot explain the difference in the pair further, a therapist may need to examine the conceptual breakdown of the items (e.g., permanent and temporary are antonyms; both refer to temporal states).
The CELF–4 Examiner’s Manual provides Item Analyses for Word Classes 1 and 2, as well as a discussion of the function of Item Analyses, on pages 58–65. Alternative Item Analyses for the CELF–4 Word Classes items are provided below.
Alternative Item Analysis:
CELF-4 Case Studies (PDF - 1544 KB)
CELF-4 Technical Report (PDF - 339kb)
CELF-4 Training CD
Provides in-depth training on each level of the CELF-4 assessment process. CELF-4 Training CD provides a comprehensive review of the Examiner's Manual, record forms, stimulus books, and new subtests. Includes:
- Interactive presentation
- Case studies
- Training handouts
- Frequently asked questions
- Scoring Assistant software demonstration
- Additional printable resources
Answering Tough Questions in CELF-4 Diagnosis and Interpretation.
Presenter: Elisabeth H. Wiig, PhD
CELF-4 uses a comprehensive multi-level process model for evaluating language disorders in school-age children. This seminar provides clinicians the opportunity to ask the tough questions that arise when interpreting test results. Clinicians are encouraged to submit questions about specific cases or about subtests or scores before the session.
Date: Mar 05, 2010
Frequently asked questions follow. Click on a question to see the response.
What’s new with CELF–4?
With the new CELF–4 you can evaluate language and determine whether or not a language disorder is present by administering only four subtests to obtain a Core Language Score. Once you determine that the student has a language disorder you can choose from several paths in order to evaluate
- The nature of the disorder (strengths/needs, affected modalities, content areas, conditions that enable the student to perform well)
- The underlying clinical behaviors (working memory, automaticiity of speech production, phonological awareness)
- How the disorder affects the student’s classroom performance (authentic assessment with the Observational Rating Scale and Pragmatics Profile)
Does CELF–4 have any new subtests?
The following are all new subtests:
- Expressive Vocabulary—The student identifies an object, person, or activities portrayed in pictures.
- Word Definitions—The student defines a word that is named and used in a sentence.
- Phonological Awareness—The student rhymes words and word segments, blends, and identifies sounds and syllables in words.
- Number Repetition—The student repeats numbers forward and backward.
- Familiar Sequences—The student names familiar sequences (days of the week, counting, etc.)
- Pragmatics Profile—The examiner elicits information from a parent or teacher about the student’s social language skills.
Have any CELF subtests changed?
The following subtests from CELF–3 have substantial changes:
- Concepts and Following Directions—now in color
- Word Classes 1 and Word Classes 2—has been split in two subtests, and is administered by age. Word Classes 1 has pictures to support a student’s response choices. Both Word Classes 1 and 2 require that the student tell why the words he or she selected go together.
- Semantic relationships and Sentence Assembly—administration is required for students ages 13 and above, and is to derive the Core Language score.
- Alternative Item Analysis for Word Classes 1 and Word Classes 2—alternative item analysis for Word Classes 1 and Word Classes 2 is available for download.
Is the CELF–4 standardization sample representative of my population?
The CELF–4 norms are based on a standardization sample of 2650 children, adolescents, and young adults ages 5 through 21 years. The sample is representative of the U.S. population (as reported by the U.S. Bureau of the Census, 2000). The sample was stratified by age, sex, race/ethnicity, geographic region, and SES (based on parent education level). The CELF–4 standardization sample includes individuals with the full range of ability. The sample is an approximately equal distribution of low ability and high ability students across all ages, and includes students who are receiving special education services in approximately the same percentages that occur in the U.S. population.
Why does the Record Form for 9–21 years have items that are given to younger children?
Subtests that are in Record Form 1 and Record Form 2 are as similar as possible across both Record Forms for several reasons:
- Items are numbered consistently from one record form to the other;
- It is easier for examiners to become familiar with the layout of the subtest;
- Earlier items can be administered to an older student if necessary only if the items are included in the Record Form.
Can I test kindergarten students with CELF–4?
Yes. One of the goals of the revision of CELF was to set the lower limits of the test to include the evaluation of students at age 5 years and for use at the kindergarten level.
Can CELF–4 be administered to children diagnosed with Intellectual Disability or Autism?
The CELF–4 is sensitive to the language difficulties exhibited by children with intellectual disability or autistic disorder. For more information about the sensitivity of CELF–4 to the language impairments observed in specific clinical groups, refer to pages 273–275 in the CELF–4 Examiner’s Manual.
Can I give CELF–4 to students who speak Spanish and English?
Although the CELF–4 standardization sample included students who were bilingual, English was the primary language of all participants. CELF–4 can be administered to students from non-mainstream cultural or linguistic backgrounds; however, it is important to be sensitive to any issues that may affect the student. When evaluating students from non-mainstream backgrounds, it may be necessary to modify the administration of CELF–4. When testing a student with a modified version of CELF–4 you cannot report normative test scores. Instead you can use a more descriptive approach to reporting the student’s responses and reactions during testing. It is also important to include a description of the modifications and adaptations that you made to test administration.
Do I have to administer all of the subtests for a particular age?
No. The CELF–4 assessment process model was developed to provide you with the flexibility to administer only those subtests that you need in order to respond to your objectives for assessment and evaluation. With CELF–4, you can evaluate a student’s general language ability and determine whether or not a language disorder is present by administering only four subtests to obtain a Core Language score. Once you determine that a student has a language disorder, you can select one or more subtests from any level to use for your evaluation or assessment objective.
In Word Classes 1 and 2, if the student gets part 1 wrong, do I need to give part 2?
Yes, administer and record the response for the second part of the item just as you had done with the items the student responded to correctly.
Why would I want to administer the working memory subtests, i.e., Number Repetition and Familiar Sequences?
The Working Memory index score and Number Repetition and Familiar Sequences subtests are included as an initial step in exploring the possible effect memory skills may have on a student’s language disorder. These measures provide preliminary information to be used in making decisions about the need for referrals to other professionals who can fully evaluate the student’s memory abilities.
When and why would I want to administer the Observational Rating Scales (ORS)?
Descriptive and authentic performance assessment measures are needed to describe classroom language performance and design appropriate instruction. These descriptive and curriculum-relevant measures enable clinicians to focus on the classroom as a communication and language-learning environment and to evaluate how a student uses language for a variety of purposes including literacy learning, organization, and socialization. Use ORS when there is a concern about a student’s language performance within the classroom. You can also use the ORS when there is a need to identify situations or contexts in which reduced language performance occurs.
I tested at the beginning of the year, when can I test again?
The shortest test-retest interval that will not result in significant practice effects on CELF–4 has not been determined; further research is this area is needed to answer this question. A test-retest study used an interval of 1 to 5 weeks between test administrations. The results indicated that composite scores increased by 4 points on average for the overall sample. See chapter 7 in the Examiner’s Manual for a report of this study.
My student earned no points on Semantic Relationships; can I still get a composite score that uses this subtest?
Yes. If a student earns a zero score on any subtest a corresponding scaled is listed in the norms tables in Appendix C. This scaled score can then be used to derive the composite score. Refer to page 92 in the Examiner’s Manual for more information.