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The Test of Written Language (TOWL-4) Assessment

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Tiffany Berry

on 26 November 2014

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Transcript of The Test of Written Language (TOWL-4) Assessment

Materials Included:
Examiner’s Manual
Large Colored Picture Cards
Student Response Booklets (Form A and Form B)
Record/Story Scoring Forms
Supplemental Practice Scoring Booklet

Obtaining the Story (6. Contextual Conventions 7. Story Composition)

Before the student is asked to write the narrative based on the picture in page 2 of the response booklet, an example is provided.
The student is shown a picture card and is read an example story written by another student.
It is explained to the student that the story had a beginning, middle and end along with a title, and the characters in the story had names and their emotions were described.
The student is also asked to plan his/her story by creating an outline on a scratch sheet of paper.
The student is then given 15 minutes to write the essay and is reminded to use paragraphs, good spelling, and proper punctuation.
The Test of Written Language (TOWL-4) Assessment
General Information
Authors: Donald D. Hammill and Stephen C. Larsen
Publisher: PRO-ED, Inc.
Year: 2009
Age Range: 9;0 through 17;11
Language: English
Testing Time: Approximately 90 minutes to administer the entire test; no set time limit and most students will complete the test in one testing session
Cost: $274.00
Is a norm-referenced, comprehensive diagnostic test of written expression given to school-age students in order to assess their writing abilities
Consists of 7 subtests: Vocabulary, Spelling, Punctuation, Logical Sentences, Sentence Combining, Contextual Conventions, and Story Composition
1. Contrived Writing - Estimates the student's writing ability when combining the first five contrived formatted subtests.
2. Spontaneous Writing - Estimates the student’s writing ability by evaluating their spontaneously composed essays. The results of the last two subtests are combined to determine this composite.
3. Overall Writing - Estimates the student’s writing ability by combining all 7 spontaneous and contrived formatted subtests.
1. Vocabulary
Student is asked to read the list of words on page 4 of the response booklet and write a sentence that includes each word.
Scoring - The student either receives 1 point for a correct item or a 0 for an incorrect item. Problems with grammar are not seen as errors. The word must be used correctly with regard to part of speech and an appropriate meaning must be conveyed.

Normed on a sample of 2,205 students (ages 9 through 17) in 17 states in the U.S.
976 students tested attended schools whose demographic characteristics closely matched the region as a whole
The remainder 1,229 students were randomly tested by professionals who had purchased the exam within the past two years.
Demographics characteristics include geographic region, gender, race, ethnicity, household income, educational level of parents, and disabling condition.
2. Spelling 3. Punctuation
Student is asked to write down the sentences said by the test administrator while paying close attention to spelling, capitalization and punctuation.
Scoring - The student must write the complete sentences precisely as dictated in order to receive credit. The student will earn 1 point for spelling and 1 point for punctuation if there are no errors. If there is a misspelled word but correct punctuation, a 0 is given in spelling and a 1 is given in punctuation and vice versa.
4. Logical Sentences
On page 8 in the response booklet, the student is asked to correct each sentence as each one has an error.
Scoring - The student receives a 1 if the new sentence is grammatically correct.

TOWL-4 evidences a high degree of reliability and has relatively little test error.
Interitem Consistency Reliability:
Composite scores: Contrived writing - .96, .96, Spontaneous writing - .84, .82 and Overall writing - .96, .96
Test-Retest Reliability:
The size of the correlation coefficients between test form A and test form B is essentially the same
5. Sentence Combining
The student is asked to combine the two sentences given on page 10.
Scoring - A 1 is given for a correct response and a 0 for an incorrect item. Spelling, punctuation and capitalization errors are disregarded.

Content-Description Validity
content is satisfactory and most applicable because it focuses on the basic, common skills seen in most school curricula
Criterion-Prediction Validity
was found to be large in both the subtests and composites when compared to 3 other assessments
Construct-Identification Validity
correlation among the subtests are high enough to support the idea that they are measuring the same ability

Entry Points and Ceiling
During the first 5 subtests, testing always begins with item 1 and continues until a ceiling is achieved or until the final item is given
A ceiling occurs when the student misses 3 consecutive items
Anything below the ceiling is scored as incorrect

Strengths and Weaknesses
Addresses writing abilities in the school-age population it was intended to assess
Test is relatively simple to administer, score and interpret
Requires only basic materials
High degree of validity and reliability
Approximately 1.5 hours to administer the entire test
TOWL-4 does not address all important language elements in the content such as the student’s ability to express through metaphors, similes, idioms ect.
Cannot be used for other languages
Expensive - price of the complete kit totals $274.00

By: Tiffany Berry
and Lisa Wauters
November 13, 2014
Full transcript