Nov 19, 2012 by


Unless you are a speech pathologist you probably have no idea what the title is referring do. Well it’s all about vocabulary testing. These tests, with the exception of the EVT have been around for years.

The Peabody Picture Vocabulary Test was originally Published in 1959. It is probably the first test most therapists in training learn to give. Do you believe that back when I was in school we were actually able to calculate something that they referred to as an IQ score. Thank goodness for updates. The test was good even back then and really seemed to reflect the true ability of the student.

The Expressive One Word Picture Vocabulary Test came next in 1979. Everyone started using it almost immediately.

This was the vocabulary testing everyone used for many years, even after the Receptive One Word Picture Vocabulary Test was introduced in 1985. Face it back then schools updated their testing even less frequently than they do now.

This is what we had and this is what we used however, there was always a problem. The Expressive One Word almost always scored significantly higher than than the PPVT. So here we would have a student that scored poorly on the PPVT and just about every other test but on the Expressive One Word his scores would fall significantly higher. Granted parents were glad to see this but we all knew the score on that test gave the wrong impression. It got to the point where I didn’t even bother giving the Expressive One Word any more.

In 1997 the Expressive Vocabulary Test was introduced. It was actually exciting. A companion to the PPVT. You could actually compare the scores and draw conclusions. Smart marketing too, selling them in sets.

Fast forward 10 or so years and I begin working at a school that actually had updated copies of the Receptive and Expressive One Word Vocabulary Test-4. A student came along that was previously tested using the Receptive and Expressive One Word tests so I thought what the heck, I’ll give it a try, then I can report a direct comparison. I honestly don’t think that I’ve ever given the Receptive One Word. I don’t think I ever had a copy available.

The tests were easy to give and less time consuming than the PPVT/EVT combo. However, I just didn’t feel they were meaty enough. It’s hard to explain. I wondered if the Receptive and Expressive One Word tests were actually challenging enough. The student tested actually performed in the low average range on both tests with no gap noted. Their current performance was similar to past performance three years earlier. The ideal comparison for me would be to give both tests to students I know and see how the scores compare. I’d love to know if that study has been done. If you have knowledge of that please let me know.

I love using the PPVT/EVT combo. With almost every student I test I start with those two tests. I not only get information from the scores but their manner of performance. I often base the rest of my testing on that first interaction using the PPVT/EVT. After all my years of dealing with inflated scores in the Expressive One Word it is hard to put my trust in that test. However, there have been several updates and perhaps that flaw has been corrected.

Price wise the PPVT/EVT combo is more expensive but there is less than $100 difference in total cost between the test combos.

So which set of vocabulary testing do you like to use?
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  1. Daryl Kwiatkowski

    What are thoughts on a PPVT4 of 131 and EVT2 of 108. Is that a discrepancy when the PPVT is so high?

  2. Teresa Sadowski MA/SLP-ccc

    I believe you meant to say when the EVT is so high. I believe this is where your clinical judgement comes into play. You did not mention what age. When I see a gap that large I immediately think of possible word retrieval issues. I would consider the students manner of performance. During the administration of the EVT were there a lot of hesitations, scattered performance, naming things wrong or did they just hit a ceiling, performaning well until the end? You also have to consider how the student does on other testing to determine if this is an issue or not. If this was the only atypical score I wouldn’t think much about it but if you see other weaknesses you might have to consider it. I probably have a report with wording you could use. If you would like to see that send me an email theschoolspeechtherapist.com. Really smart kids can have language disabilities too. I would be more concerned with an older child presenting with this profile than a younger child.

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