A language disorder refers to a difficulty or inability in decoding or encoding the set of symbols used in language or an inability to effectively use inner language. Assessment questions focus on the student's expressive language, receptive language, or inner language. While some standardized instruments, such as the Oral and Written Language Scales (Carrow-Woolfolk, 1996), assist in identifying these language areas, educators frequently use classroom-based approaches, such as curriculum-based measurement, to assess, plan, and monitor instruction.
Expressive language refers to the student's ability to use language to communicate information, thoughts, feelings, and ideas with others. Assessing expressive language involves examining the actual production of sound, speech, and language.
Receptive language refers to the student's understanding of the language of others. Assessment of receptive language usually involves having the student listen to words or phrases and then demonstrate understanding. For example, a student might be asked to put the book on top of or under the table or to point to the picture that shows the boy putting on a jacket. Inner language involves the use of language during thinking, planning, and other mental processes. The assessment of inner language skills and abilities is a complex process.
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