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The Psychometrics Centre

Cambridge Judge Business School Executive Education

Studying at Cambridge


Using Item Response Theory to develop items for Speech Link

The Psychometrics Centre is currently carrying out item analysis and validation of new items for Speech Link Multimedia's developing language test, designed as a screener for speech and language difficulties in primary and secondary school children. Speech Link publish an innovative multi-media package that gives teachers and teaching assistants the ability to screen for developmental speech difficulties and implement speech sound programmes. Schools are empowered to manage straightforward speech delays and to prioritise children who need referral for more specialist support.

The package consists of a computer based speech screening assessment, a website featuring speech sound programmes, a discussion group, a training video and printable picture resources.  The screening instrument itself consists of about 40 engaging easily recognised pictures. The child names the pictures and the adult enters the responses. At the end of the screen the computer recommends age appropriate speech programmes with a suggested order of work. If the child has a complex difficulty, discussion with the speech and language therapy service is recommended.

Speech Link is available over the internet and is currently suitable for children aged between 4 and 14 years. It takes around ten minutes to complete. However, we are currently working with Speech Link Multimedia to produce an instrument that is also applicable to older children. The development and improvement of instruments of this type is an on-going process that involves constant evaluation, re-validation and development, and we greatly enjoy having the opportunity to collaborate with such a forward-looking company.