- Testing Time: 20 to 30 minutes
- Norm-referenced; percentile ranks, standard scores, and age equivalents
- Administration: Individual
- TACL-4 complete kit includes: Examiner’s Manual, Picture Book, and 25 Examiner Record Booklets, all in a sturdy storage box (2014)
- Qualification Level: B
The Test for Auditory Comprehension of Language–Fourth Edition (TACL-4) is the latest revision of this popular, individually administered test. It is a reliable and valid measure of a child’s receptive spoken vocabulary, grammar, and syntax. The test measures children’s ability to understand three language forms:
- Vocabulary: The meanings of nouns, verbs, adjectives, and adverbs, and of words that represent basic precepts and concepts.
- Grammatical Morphemes: The meaning of function words (e.g., prepositions, pronouns, determiners) and inflections (e.g., bound morphemes such as noun number and case, verb number and tense, noun–verb agreement, and derivational suffixes).
- Elaborated Phrases and Sentences: The meaning of syntactically based word relations and elaborated phrase and sentence constructions, including the modalities of single and combined constructions (interrogative sentences, negative sentences, active and passive voice, direct and indirect object), embedded sentences, and partially and completely conjoined sentences.
The TACL-4 was co-normed with and is a companion to the Test of Expressive Language (TEXL; Carrow-Woolfolk & Allen, 2014). While the TACL-4 measures a child’s receptive language ability, the TEXL measures a child’s expressive language ability. Because the tests are co-normed, TACL-4 results can be meaningfully compared to those of the TEXL. Norms for the TACL-4 are based on a nationally representative sample of 1,142 children in the U.S. Percentile ranks, standard scores, and age equivalents are provided.
New Features in the Fourth Edition
- All-new normative data collected in 2012 and 2013.
- Characteristics of the normative sample were stratified by age relative to region, gender, ethnicity, socioeconomic factors, and other critical variables and are the same as those reported for the preschool and school-age population reported in the Statistical Abstract of the United States 2013 (ProQuest, LLC, 2012).
- The age range of the test was extended upward to include ages 10;0 through 12;11.
- Age-related entry points, basals, and ceilings ensure that testing time is kept to a minimum and children are only tested on the items that are optimal for their ability level.
- Floor effects and ceiling effects present in the subtests of the third edition were addressed by the addition of both easy and difficult items to the test. As a result, floor and ceiling effects are minimal in the subtests and nonexistent in the composite, the Receptive Language Index.
- Each item on the test was re-evaluated using both conventional item analyses to choose "good" items, and the new differential analyses to find and eliminate potentially biased items.
- A major effort has been made to demonstrate conclusively that the fourth edition is both reliable and valid. This effort involved providing more studies with larger samples than were offered in support of the third edition. Further, the TACL-4 was subjected to diagnostic accuracy analyses, particularly rigorous techniques involving the computation of the sensitivity index, specificity index, the receiver operating characteristic/area under curve (ROC/AUC).
- A copy of the Critical Reviews and Research Findings for TACL: 1965—2013 is included with the each test kit.
- The TACL-4 was co-normed with the Test of Expressive Language (TEXL; Carrow-Woolfolk & Allen, 2014).
Description of TACL-4
Each item is composed of a word or sentence and a corresponding picture plate that has three full-color drawings. One of the three pictures for each item illustrates the meaning of the word, morpheme, or syntactic structure being tested. The other two pictures illustrate either two semantic or grammatical contrasts to the stimulus, or one contrast and one decoy. The examiner reads the stimulus aloud, and the subject is directed to point to the picture that he or she believes best represents the meaning of the word, phrase, or sentence spoken by the examiner. No oral response is required on the part of the subject.
The TACL-4 test items are ordered according to difficulty within each of the three subtests. Entry points, basal and ceiling rules for scoring are provided for each subtest. The Examiner’s Manual includes a comprehensive discussion of the test's theoretical and research-based foundation, item development, standardization, administration and scoring procedures, norms tables, and guidelines for using and interpreting the test’s results. Reliability and validity studies were conducted out with individuals with normal language abilities and individuals who had previously been diagnosed with learning disabilities, ADHD, deaf/hard of hearing, articulation disorder, language impairment, autism spectrum disorder, intellectual disorder as well as those who have been identified as gifted and talented.
TACL-4 coefficients alpha range between .94 and .96 for the subtests and is .97 for the Receptive Language Index. Average correlations with popular criterion measures of receptive language ability range from .67 to .71. Studies of diagnostic accuracy as it relates to sensitivity (median = .77), specificity (median =.84), classification accuracy (median = .80), and receiver operating characteristic/area under the curve (median = .88) are reported.