One of the many things I get asked, is how to test challenging students.
How to do test children who can't give you a verbal answer?
Today's Testing Tuesday is centering around testing the letters of the alphabet.
I printed out 2 copies of the alphabet (the freebie is at the end of the post), cut out one, and Velcroed it on top of the other one. I can keep this in a binder and when I need it, it's ready for me to grab.
If a child is non-verbal and has very little fine motor control (they can't point to a choice), we often use eye gaze to determine answers. Since I often work with beginning users, we start with a choice of 2. The easiest way to do this is to pick two letters and hold one in each hand beside your head. This way, you can easily see where they are looking. I will ask the child "I want to look at the "f ". Where is the "f"? "
I want to make sure that they have looked at each letter. So I move each one forward saying "Is it this one?" (ensuring eye contact).
"Or this one?" (ensuring eye contact). "Which one is the "f"?" Depending on the ability of your student to hold their eye gaze, you may require them to hold their gaze on a choice for a few seconds or you may take the first one they look at. Avoid repeatedly asking "Was it this one? Or this one?" Just take their first answer. Otherwise we are telling them:
1. I didn't understand you.
2. I don't believe your first answer.
3. I'm not listening.
If I have students that are able to point to, or pull off answers but are still non-verbal, I use a board like this. It's just a piece of fiber board with a strip of Velcro through the center. It's perfect for holding up in front of children in wheelchairs so they can reach the answers. Some children prefer to reach for answers even through they can still look at their answers.
Decide how many choices you want to give the child between 2 and 4 and space them out.
Ask the child to point to a certain letter or to pull it off and give it to you.
I've included a recording sheet in the freebie so you can keep track of what the child does. Are they mixing up letters like "b" "p" and "d"? Are they able to get the letters in their name?
For my students with speech disabilities that can handle more letters per pages, I use this sheet. Starting at the top, I point to each letter and ask them to tell me what it is. If they know it, they can highlight it with a highlighter. If they miss more than 3 or 4, I ask them to point and tell me any letter on the page. Again, they highlight the ones they know. I ask them the letters everyday and they highlight them as they get them.
I keep track on my tracking sheet which ones they know. It's easy to see at a glace what we need to work on. It's also easy to grab if admin want data, as it's all on one page, and it's easy to see their progress.
You can grab my Letter Assessment for free by clicking on the picture below.