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Emergent Literacy and Language Evaluation (ELLA)

Elisabeth Wiig, Ph.D

September 21, 2009



What are the advantages of using ELLA for assessing child emergent language and literacy skills?


ELLA allows the SLP to determine whether or not the child shows a delay/deficit in the acquisition of basic skills for reading and literacy. Each of the three sections of ELLA can stand-alone as each provides standard scores (mean 100, SD 15). For the same reason, the section standard scores can be compared to identify areas of strength and weakness. This means that ELLA can identify whether or not there is evidence of a single deficit -in phonological awareness, memory and processing speed, or dealing with written symbols - or a double deficit - in phonological awareness and memory and processing speed - or deficits in all three areas tested.

Section 1, Phonological Awareness, and Section 2, Sign and Symbol Interpretation can be used as comprehensive tests as both provide a total standard score and subtest standard scores (mean 10, SD 3). The statistical characteristics of ELLA compare to the highest standards with high test-retest reliability, specificity and sensitivity and small SEMs and 90% confidence intervals. Last, but not least, the illustrations are kid-friendly.

This Ask the Expert was taken from the course entitled: Emergent Language and Literacy Assessment(ELLA): Foundations and Applications

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Elisabeth H. Wiig, Ph.D., is Professor Emerita, Boston University and President of Knowledge Research Institute, an independent research and consulting firm. She is author/co-author of several language tests, has published over 100 research articles in professional journals, contributed to texts on language disorders and psycho-educational assessment, and presented at national and international conferences.

Elisabeth Wiig, Ph.D