Overview: Screen children as young as 3:6 for early auditory and phonological skills—and get fast results to put children on the right track.
Age Range: 3:6—6:11
RTI Tiers: RTI Level 1
Completion Time: Completion Time: About 5 minutes (ages 3:6— 4:11); About 15 minutes (ages 5:0—6:11)
Scores/Interpretation: Overall cut scores
Scoring Options: Manual scoring
Publication Date: 2010
The ASA provides you with a tool for early identification of young children who might be at risk for auditory skill deficits and/or early literacy skill difficulties. Developed by Dr. Donna Geffner and Dr. Ronald Goldman, this screener provides accurate, developmentally based results to help you determine which children may need follow-up, intervention, or further evaluation.
Users & Applications
The ASA is designed for varied uses, including the following:
- Early identification and intervention.
A child identified on the ASA as at risk for auditory skill-related deficits may be a good candidate for an in-depth evaluation and/or possible early intervention.
- Universal screening.
The ASA can be used to screen children ages 3:6–6 :11 as a preliminary assessment of their auditory skills. It is a perfect companion to routine hearing screenings within the given age range.
- Progress monitoring.
Re-administration of the ASA can be used to check a child's progress with auditory skills and to determine if an intervention is working, still required, or if an in-depth assessment of the child's skills is needed.
"Lots of good information. I was always of the camp that we should wait until those brain functions are better developed before we assess, but you have me convinced that we can start younger--just using age appropriate measures and materials. Thanks!"
—Heather Meadows, MS, CCC-SLP
Features & Benefits
The ASA is designed to be a quick, reliable indicator of a young child’s auditory skills and includes the following features:
- Unscored practice items provide opportunity to teach the tasks
- Individual, untimed administration and scoring procedures that are quick, easy, and objective
- No required reading or written responses
- Large, full-color illustrations tested to appeal to young children
- An indicator of performance (high, average, low) by domain to pinpoint further assessment or intervention needs
- Case studies highlighted in the manual for supported use of the ASA
- Researched validity and reliability
The ASA offers the following benefits:
- Assesses auditory skills critical to the development of oral and written language skills
- Offers the youngest age range in a published auditory skills screening and can provide an early warning indicator
- Reflects best practices in behaviorally based auditory screening
- Serves as a low tech, friendly screener for young children, that doesn’t require headphones or an audiometer (a Stimulus CD is used to present stimuli)
- Helps point you in the right direction by providing an indicator of performance across each domain on the ASA, which may indicate a need for further follow-up evaluation, immediate intervention/instruction in auditory skills, or re-screening
Content & Administration
From December 2008 through May 2009, over 600 children were tested at 123 locations throughout the United States to define cut scores that would best discriminate clinical cases from non-clinical cases and to study the final screener’s reliability, validity, and clinical utility. ASA research included:
- Qualitative reviews and empirical analyses to maximize fairness for individuals from different groups (by sex, race/ethnicity, socioeconomic status, and geographic region)
- A standardization sample of children ages 3:6–6:11 whose primary language (most frequently spoken language) was English, who had normal vision with or without corrective aids, and were free of upper respiratory problems or ear infections at the time of testing
- The requirement that all children in the standardization and clinical samples could pass a pure tone hearing screening at 20 db HL at 1000, 2000, and 4000 Hz in both ears within one week prior to ASA testing, to ensure hearing acuity of the participants
- A standardization sample that accurately reflects the U.S. population according to important demographic variables
ASA Publication Summary, including test development information.
ASA Intro: An Introduction to the new Auditory Skills Assessment
This pre-recorded 20-30 minute session allows you to learn at your leisure. All you need is access to the Internet and the sound enabled on your computer. Please keep in mind that the session may take a few minutes to load.
This introductory session will take less than 15 minutes to review. At the conclusion, you will learn what the ASA is, why you might want to use it with children 3-6 to 6-11, when it will be released, and how to obtain additional information on the ASA or any other Pearson speech measure.
Central Auditory Processing: What Age Should We Test?
Presenter: Donna Geffner, PhD, CCC-SLP/A
There is controversy over the age at which a CAPD can be diagnosed in children. The notion that one has to wait until age 7 or 8 is unfounded. Evidence is strong that CAPD can be identified earlier than age 7 for the purposes of treatment and management. This webinar will provide a rationale for early testing and the instruments available to identify youngsters at risk. Case studies will be presented that show that early identification leads to effective intervention and better academic outcomes.
Date: May 10, 2017
AD/HD, (C)APD, or Listening Comprehension Featuring the ASA
Presenter: Donna Geffner, Ph.D.
Overlapping symptoms make it difficult to differentiate AD/HD from (C)APD or deficits in comprehending spoken language. This presentation reviews characteristics of each disorder, examines recent research, and discusses using ASA to distinguish between auditory processing and language comprehension.
Date: May 17, 2016
How Young Can You Test (C)APD? The Auditory Skills Assessment (ASA)
Presenter: Donna Geffner
Our webinars can help you better use assessments and interventions to meet the needs of your clients and students.
Date: May 14, 2013
Frequently Asked Questions for Auditory Skills Assessment
Questions and responses follow. Responses are from the test’s author.
Regarding auditory processing disorders (APD), which discipline should diagnose? In schools, they usually have the psychologist or audiologist make the CAPD diagnosis, even though we have tests as well.
Considering the various professional scopes of practice, the audiologist is best equipped to make the formal diagnosis of APD. However, in some districts there are no audiologists to do the testing and the SLP has the testing instruments to, at least, do screening. Under those circumstances, the SLP should complete an assessment and refer out to an audiologist for detailed testing if the SLP suspects APD. I suggest the SLP evaluate the child's listening comprehension skills, since a deficit in receptive language often looks like an APD. Further, since the SLP is the one who does the therapy, there is more than one role for the SLP, as usual. It is not an uncommon controversy—often I hear, "If the SLP does the therapy, why can't he or she diagnose the problem?" Again, this is a scope of practice and expertise issue. It would be best to work in tandem and have an audiologist consult in the assessment process, at a minimum. That said, I am not in favor of having a psychologist diagnose APD. I am familiar with their typical test instruments which can be used to classify APD, which looks at APD mainly from a processing standpoint of phonological skills. Diagnosing from that perspective alone is not always accurate. Again, working with the audiologist and the SLP will support the diagnostic process best.
Could you use the ASA with students who are English Language Learners (ELLs)—especially Spanish-speaking?
As with any assessment of a student who is learning English as a second language, best practice that you choose a combination of formal and informal measures in the primary language and use a process of gathering data across the settings of the student's life. The ASA could be used informally (i.e., without scores) if appropriate, especially the non-linguistic tasks.
If a child was never taught or exposed to phonological awareness tasks, is it ok to test anyway? Are these skills naturally there or do they have to be taught?
While oral language skills are "hard-wired" in the brain and typically developed through experience and the child's environment, written language skills must be taught. Phonological awareness tasks use oral language skills can be learned through oral language experience and practice. Some children learn sound awareness and manipulation skills easily in conversation and language play with others. However, many children need explicit instruction in phonological awareness as a precursor to written language instruction. In either case, the ASA can be used effectively even before direct instruction is given in phonological awareness.
If I work for a school district, how would the ASA fit—can it be considered a test that would help classify a child?
The ASA is a screening tool, and therefore is not an assessment to be used for eligibility purposes. The goal is early screening—which answers the question of risk status for deficits in auditory/listening skills. Certainly, screening data should be considered in the overall assessment process. The value of the early assessment helps keep the child "on the radar" and potentially benefit from an early intervention process, perhaps as in a Response to Intervention model.
How do you score Mimicry with a student who has very poor articulation?
Page 11 in the ASA manual states, "If you determine that an articulation error affected a response that was otherwise correct, you should score the response as correct; do not penalize a child for articluation errors. If a child has severe articulation errors and is unintelligible, these sections should not be administered. Record a total section raw score of 0 and continue to the next section."
Can an SLP treat a student for phonological tasks rather than the reading teacher?
Of course! Experts in reading and/or language have key training to support the phonological system in the development of reading. Depending on your particular setting and workflow, either or both disciplines may support phonological skill development in a particular child.
How much "noise" is needed for the testing in noise. Would it be done in the back of a classroom or in a hallway?
The background noise for Speech Discriminiation in Noise is provided by the ASA on the Stimulus CD. The examiner should provide a distraction-free environment, in a quiet, well-lit room. The background noise on the Stimulus CD is a conversation-based cafeteria noise with a +6dB signal-to-noise ratio (SNR).
How can I get the school district to use this test for every child enrolled in preschool for the 3 year old and older population?
You might position the use of the ASA as part of your annual vision and hearing screening efforts. The ASA is a perfect companion to the hearing screening process.
It sounds like many parts of this test can be used with older students to obtain clinical information—is that true?
Yes! You could choose to use the tasks from the ASA for older children descriptively. Of course, the normative data only go through 6:11.
Can you administer the ASA to a child who has a known speech and language delay?
You can. Keep in mind that if the delay is around articulation/phonology, you should follow the manual on scoring regarding these types of errors. Overall, children with speech and language delay were excluded from the normative sample because at this young age it would be difficult to discriminate language from auditory difficulties. See pages 11 and 24 in the manual regarding these two thoughts, respectively.
In order to score the ASA does the subject need to complete all subtests?
It depends on the age of the child. Younger children only complete Section 1: Speech Discrimination in Noise and Mimicry. Older children complete all six tasks.
What is a figure-ground listening skill deficit?
A figure-ground deficit is the inability to block out background noise and focus listening to the foreground (i.e., the speaker).
Could the ASA be an appropriate test for a child with cochlear implants?
Yes. If the child's cochlear implants are in good working order and the child passed a hearing acuity screening according to the specifications in the manual, the child may be administered the ASA descriptively.