We already know that the second edition of the OWLS (Oral and Written Language Scales) assessment includes a set of four scales that provide a comprehensive assessment of language for students. It is a revision of each original oral and written language scale included in the original OWLS assessment, preserving the strongest aspects of the initial test while incorporating a number of improvements.
Let’s dive deeper into some of the specific improvements made. While the OWLS-II serves the same purpose as the original OWLS, it contains some changes, additions, and improvements. It preserves many of the same test items, but the new features enhance the value of the test.
The most critical improvement included in the OWLS-II assessment is the reading comprehension portion of the test. Along with the listening comprehension, oral expression, and written expression scales included in the first OWLS assessment, the OWLS-II now contains a reading comprehension scale.
This scale provides the examiner the ability to obtain results that go beyond what most existing reading comprehension tests do. It also measures an individual’s understanding of specific linguistic structures in writing.
Another valuable improvement is the parallel second form, also called Form B, that allows examiners to retest individuals after a short time period. This illustrates and measures progress as a result of specific intervention based on the first test, or Form A.
Along with these significant additions, the OWLS-II also includes some minor revisions to existing test structures. Items were added to measure language in the classroom, giving real-life examples of performance in daily interactions.
Full-color artwork makes the OWLS-II more captivating for young children so they can engage more fully with the assessment. These images reflect modern dress and eliminate outdated cultural references. The OWLS-II also provides alternative correct answers for people who speak different English dialects.
Standardization & Technical Properties
Development of the OWLS-II standardization used a 2,123-person sample of 3- to 21-year-olds representative of the U.S. population in regard to gender, ethnicity, parent education, and geographic region. The test provides age-based and grade-based norms for each of the four scales for use when measuring an individual’s proficiency.
The standardization process included the testing of two validation samples. One sample contains students receiving intervention for speech and language disorders while the other sample comprises students receiving intervention for different types of psychological and behavioral disorders.
These two distinct samples reveal that the OWLS-II scales differentiate widely between individuals who struggle with disorders and those who develop typically. Composite scores that fell between reliable ranges validates the OWLS-II internal consistency. The results prove that the test is stable across forms, within forms, over time, and scored by various clinicians.
Principles of Use
The OWLS-II assessment can be used in a variety of settings like schools, private practices, clinics, hospitals, and intervention programs. The test should be used by professionals with experience in evaluating and interpreting individual assessments with children.
Application of the results of each assessment requires training and experience in child development, speech and language, psychology, or education. It is essential to read and understand the information contained in the OWLS manuals.
Although the OWLS-II provides a complete and integrated picture of oral language skills, it alone should not be used to diagnose or establish treatment for a child. It should be used with other data and information to to benefit the individual being assessed. You can find more about the (OWLS™-II) Oral and Written Language Scales™, Second Edition at WPS online.