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Cambridge Step by Step Assessment to Language Dominance (SSALD) - English

Test Name: Cambridge Step by Step Assessment to Language Dominance (SSALD) - English
Publisher: Cambridge Public Schools
Publication Date: 1993
Test Type: Language Proficiency
Content: Reading/Writing in L2
Language: English
Target Population: Native Speaker of English
Grade Level: K, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8
Administration Time: Untimed/guidelines
Standardized: No
Purpose: Diagnosis; Language Dominance; Placement

The Cambridge Step by Step Assessment to Language Dominance (SSALD) is used to determine language dominance for students in grades K-8 whose home language is not English. The results of the test may be used to plan an individual educational program and, subsequently, to determine when students are ready to transfer from a bilingual to a monolingual English classroom. The SSALD has three parts. The Oral Language Interview examines students' receptive, expressive, and functional language skills. It is administered individually and includes elements such as following simple instructions, recalling story details, using context to derive multiple word meanings, giving personal information, and responding appropriately to various situations. A series of illustrations are included in the test materials to facilitate this part of the assessment. Scoring is done during the test session using a score sheet with skills listed in boxes in order of their difficulty. Boxes are shaded yellow when an examinee demonstrates mastery of a skill, and when three consecutive items have been missed, the examiner moves to the next type of question (receptive, expressive, or functional). Totaling the number of yellow blocks shows the level the student has attained. The first missed item is marked with a dark pencil, and for post-testing purposes, the examiner can use the pretest score sheet in order to show which dark-pencilled skills should be retested to indicate language gain. Within each grade-level cluster (K-1, 2-3, 4-8), students are then placed in Levels 1, 2, or 3. A Social/Affective /Cognitive Profile Checklist is included in the SSALD and is completed twice yearly by the teacher based on her observations of the student in class. The Reading Comprehension Section should be used only for newly registered students who seem to have equal proficiency in English and the home language. It uses worksheets with narrative and factual tests to determine student's ability to understand what they read. These same newly registered students, provided that they are in grades 2-12, should also be given the Writing Sample part of the SSALD. In this section, they will write and edit a paragraph on a given topic. No information on administration time, reliability, validity, or test development is available in the SSALD handbook.

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