OWLS Assessment Revision: Keeping a Strong Foundation & Developing New Enhancements
The OWLS (Oral and Written Language Scales) assessment was developed to create a comprehensive measure of language based on the Integrative Language Theory. Oral and Written Language Scale procedures have been adopted widely among professionals in the field of language assessment.
However, as with anything in the medical field, research reveals new theories and advances in processes and technology. The OWLS assessment revision aims to preserve the most reliable features of the original test while developing and implementing new enhancements.
This OWLS revision, published in 2011 and dubbed OWLS-II, includes a new reading comprehension test as well as new nationally representative norms, updated artwork, and revised scoring software.
Areas of Improvement
The original OWLS assessment contained a strong theoretical foundation and a measure of language that was comprehensive and practical. However, many areas need updating and improvement. For instance, as curriculum standards change over time, the test needs to evolve to align with these standards.
Areas in which the original OWLS was improved with the OWLS-II:
● Updated color artwork
● A guide to comparing Listening Comprehension (LC), Oral Expression (OE), and Written Expression (WE) scores for each student tested
● More descriptive information about the content
● Alternative scoring rules for those with nonstandard English dialects
● More consistent ceiling rules
● A broader age coverage in the normative data for comparative and evaluation purposes
Goals for the Revision
As a team of experts studied the grade-level goals for reading, writing, and oral language, they determined areas in which the test needed to be updated:
● Add a test of Reading Comprehension (RC) alongside the original OWLS scales of LC, OE, and WE
● Ensure the new RC test measures the same linguistic structures as the original scales
● Develop a standard for each of the four scales together to enable comparisons
● Create further improvements on the measurement of LC, OE, and WE
● Provide extended scoring for written language
● Make the test more ecologically valuable by measuring communication in a classroom environment
● Ensure the analysis is fascinating to children by adding color to the pictures
● Remove outdated content or content that did not function as intended
These goals achieved a stronger overall assessment. All OWLS-II scales have been tested and standardized to ensure proper development. Each scale passed through a similar process using the specific guidelines established.
The (OWLS™-II) Oral and Written Language Scales™, Second Edition outlines a complete guide to oral and written language skills across a wide age range with integrated pictures and scoring guides. WPS unlocks each teacher’s potential to evaluate and educate students through research and knowledge.