Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Articulation Test Center {App Review}

Articulation Test Center is an app developed by Little Bee Speech.
Here's a little snip-it on the app straight from Little Bee Speech's website:
Articulation Test Center was created by certified speech-language pathologists as both an informal assessment and a measure to monitor progress in speech development. It was created to be used as a supplemental assessment in conjunction with standardized tests.
When you open the app, you come to this screen. There is an option for an age-based screener or a customizable full test. You can also view student scores from this main page by clicking the "Scores" button in the lower left hand corner.

I'll start with the full test. You can pick to test all options, which include initial, medial, and final sounds, initial blends, vowels, r sounds, and a speech sample. Or, you can pick and choose what you would like to test. After you hit the "Next" button, you will be asked to add in the name and birthday of the student you are testing. 

If you do the complete full test, you get 59 real-life picture cards. What makes this app so unique (and totally awesome!) are the interactive sound tiles. You can see below that the "a" and "pp" are green. That means that those are the sounds being tested on that card. The actual sound that corresponds to the spelling of the word is printed below the green tile. 

If you have your speech room set up like mine, you are often sitting across from the student you are testing. A fabulous feature of this app is the ability to flip the picture upside down so that it is facing a student sitting across from you. How cool is that!? I also like that you are able to record the student's production of the word and play it back.

Now, lets look at the awesome scoring capabilities. Let's say that the student says "abble" instead of "apple". If you click on the "pp" once, it turns red, indicating that the sound was incorrect. If you tap the sound tile again, it becomes yellow, indicating that the sound was an approximation of the target sound. If you mess up, just tap the tile again and it turns back to green. If the sound was deleted, just slide the tile towards the top of the screen and the tile disappears, indicating a deletion. 

Back to my example: After you click that the sound was wrong, click on the arrow to the right of the word and a drop down menu like the one below appears. For my example, the student substituted a /b/ for the /p/ sound. Click and drag the "b" tile up to the "pp" tile and the tile will change to a red "b". 

What makes this feature even better is that you can add phonological processes to the tile as well. You have three choices of pages: 
  • Substitution: backing, fronting, stopping, gliding, deaffrication, affrication, labialization, vowelization, alveolarization, depalatalization 
  • Assimilation: assimilation, denasalization, coalescence, voicing, devoicing, reduplication
  • Syllable Structure: initial consonant deletion, final consonant deletion, weak syllable deletion, cluster reduction, epenthesis
If you aren't sure what a process means, simply click on the process and a definition and example are given. To choose the process, drag and place the process on the corresponding tile. 

Here's what the page will look like with an errored sound and corresponding phonological process. 

What I love most about this app is the ability to record a speech sample after you have completed the test. There are three interactive scenes to choose from: a mountain scene, beach scene, or park scene. 

Once you choose a scene picture, the full scene will appear. Be sure to hit the "Record" button so that your student's speech sample is recorded for future analysis! You have the ability to swipe left and right to view more of the scene. Pictures in the scene contain key sounds that are present in the test. 

If you are having trouble eliciting a sample from your student, just click on any item in the scene and a close-up picture will appear with a prompt. 

When you are done with the speech sample, hit "Done". A screen will ask you to rate the speech sample as "Poor", "Fair", or "Good". You will then be brought to a screen that looks like this. Another informative feature of the app is accessible once you click on the bar indicated by the arrow in the picture below. 

From there, you can view the words tested, errors marked, the speech sample, a sample report, and recommendations.

In the words tested, you will see the target word, what you indicated the student said, what processes you marked while scoring, a recording of the student's production (if you hit the record button) and any additional notes you took about the student's production. 

The "Errors Marked" screen shows the sound errors the student produced and when those sounds should be in that student's repertoire. 

You can view substitutions of errors for sounds in all positions of words.

And, you can view the phonological processes present in the student's speech and what percent of errors involved a certain process. 

If you click on the "Speech Sample" button, you have the ability to listen to the student's speech sample. From here, you can transcribe the speech sample and update the intelligibility rating of the speech sample. 

The app also provides a written report. The report includes the sounds marked in error in each position that the student should have by his/her age, as well as ones that are considered developmentally appropriate based on age. Phonological processes are also reported in this manner. Recommendations are included for target sounds in therapy, as well as sounds that should be monitored as the student ages. You can also type in your own conclusions and recommendations. If you want, you have the option to print the report or email the report to yourself or a parent. 

If you don't need to administer a full test or just want to see how the student produces sounds based on their age, you can choose to administer the screener. Pick the age range of the student. A blurb with the sounds included in that age range appears. Once ready, hit the "Next" button. From here, the screener progresses just like the full test with all the same wonderful features. The only thing you cannot do from the screener is collect a speech sample. 


After you complete the screener, the results will appear like they did after completing the full test. From this screen, you are able to monitor a student's progress over time. 

So, after showing you how the app works, I should probably tell you what I think about it!

What I like:
  • I love, love, love the interactive sound tiles and how easy it is to indicate an incorrect sound, replace it with the sound the student used, and indicate the phonological process used. 
  • Now I know what you're all thinking, I barely have time to give a test, let alone score it while I'm giving it or The two-year-old I'm testing won't sit still while I mark all of his errors and determine what processes he is using. Guess what- you're in luck! The developers of this app have allowed you to go back at a later time and edit the results. This means that you can record the student saying each word on the slide without doing anything with the tiles. Once the test is completed, click the "Edit Results" button in the top right and go back through the test and mark the student's errors at another time. Easy peasy and oh so handy!
  • The pictures are pictures of REAL items that are relevant and up-to-date. And since this is an app, if a picture ever becomes outdated or needs changed for any other reason, the developers can change the picture and with a simple app update, you now have the most up-to-date pictures again. A hard copy assessment can't do that. 
  • If a student can't read or doesn't know what a picture is, simply clicking on the picture will give a verbal prompt. This feature can be turned on and off through the settings menu.
  • The report function of the app is very convenient. I like how it scores the test for you and gives you the results in table and report form. 
  • Like I said above, I think my favorite part of the app (followed closely by the interactive sound tiles) is the speech sample. I used to have to bring in separate pictures to try to elicit a speech sample, and then my students would just name the things or actions in the picture. The interactive picture scenes not only grab my students' attention, but allow for a deeper evaluation of their language skills with the included prompts. I am able to use this speech sample to not only give an intelligibility rating, but analyze a student's MLU, syntax, semantics, pragmatics, and articulation skills in conversation. 
What features I would like to see:
  • While I love the speech sample capabilities, I would love to see the ability to give the speech sample in the Screener mode. 
  • As great as this app is, it is not standardized, so a standardized assessment is still needed to determine eligibility. However, this app would be a perfect way to monitor and track progress! In the future, I would love to see this become a standardized assessment. 
Overall, this is an innovative, invaluable app that every SLP should have in their toolbox. It provides an in-depth look at a student's articulation and phonological skills in a format that is easy to use and understand for both professionals and parents. The ability to edit or score the test at a later time fits perfectly into a busy SLP's lifestyle, and the ease at which one can monitor student progress with a look at the screen allows for quick and painless IEP progress monitoring. This is the perfect informal assessment for articulation skills!

You can find Articulation Test Center on iTunes for $49.99 (at the time of review).  But, it gets better! August 12-14, you can get Articulation Test Center and Articulation Station Pro for 30% off during Little Bee Speech's Back to School Sale. You won't want to miss this, it's their biggest sale of the year!

Disclaimer: A code for this app was provided for my review. No other compensation was received. All opinions expressed are mine. 

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