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Reliability and Feasibility of Administering a Child Language Assessment via Telehealth.

PURPOSE: Despite the speed with which telehealth use advanced during the COVID-19 pandemic, evidence is needed to support the remote delivery of standardized assessments. This study investigated the reliability and feasibility of administering a standardized language assessment administered in real-world telehealth scenarios compared to in-person administration.

METHOD: A total of 100 children between the ages of 3 and 12 years were administered one of three versions of the Clinical Evaluation of Language Fundamentals (CELF). Children were administered the CELF by the same licensed speech-language pathologists (SLPs) in person and using telehealth, with the order counterbalanced. Means for Core Language standard scores were compared between conditions and among devices. Descriptive statistics summarized the behavior and technology disruptions during administration as well as the results of parent and SLP telehealth perception surveys.

RESULTS: In-person and telehealth mean scores on all three versions of the CELF revealed no systematic differences of one condition under- or overestimating another. The incidence of child behavior disruptions was similar for both test administration conditions. Adaptations compensated for the rare technology disruptions. Despite no significant language score and behavior differences between testing conditions, parents reported they continued to prefer in-person assessments. SLP participants viewed telehealth overall positively but identified conditions in which they continued to prefer in-person delivery.

CONCLUSIONS: This study provides evidence of minimal or no differences in scores and behavioral or technological disruptions between remote and in-person administration of the CELF core language assessments. SLP and parent participants' attitudes toward remote delivery of standardized tests appear to be evolving in a positive direction compared to previous studies.


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