Curriculum Based Social Language Assessments for Grades K-5 Aligned with CCSS

Nicole Allison
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Nicole Allison

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Social Language is often so difficult to assess. That's why I created the Social Language Version of my Curriculum-Based Assessments for grades K-5.

The term “curriculum-based assessment” (CBA) simply means measurement that uses "direct observation and recording of a student's performance in the local curriculum as a basis for gathering information to make instructional decisions"(Deno, 1987, p. 41). I would like to specify upfront that no, these do not include cut-off scores or values. Neither are these assessments norm-referenced tests. Because social language is so complex, these tests rely heavily on your clinical judgment as a trained therapist.

Instead, Curriculum-Based Assessments provide a picture of what the child’s strengths and weaknesses based on what they are expected to do in their grade-level. I used the Common Core Standards as a guide for what students are expected to do in each grade level as it relates to social interaction. (for more information, see

The main CCSS you will see addressed in this packet include the following: SL1, SL3, SL6, and L5a.

For grades K-2, each assessment gathers data on the following areas using real-life stock images:

♦eye contact


♦active listening

♦WH questions

♦asking/answering questions

♦maintaining conversation

♦initiating conversation

For grades 3-5, the following areas are assessed, again using real-life stock images:

♦eye contact


♦active listening

♦asking/answering questions

♦literal vs. nonliteral

♦initiating and maintaining conversations

♦speech adaption to various conversation partners

I find these especially helpful during a student's first week in speech/language therapy or prior to writing a student's IEP. They provide a picture of how my students are performing on each standard and what areas to target. On each assessment, the questions are labeled by which standard they address.

My recommendations:

♥Print off the student handouts and laminate them to be used again and again

♥Periodically assess skills to determine growth and to gather data for a student’s IEP.

♥Keep multiple copies of each assessment on hand to quickly pull out when needed.

Looking for ways to teach social skills? Check out my Social Group Curriculum for Elementary School Students and Social Group Curriculum for Middle and High School Students

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About Nicole:

Nicole Allison, is a speech language pathologist who currently works with preschool through high school students. She holds an MA and has presented at local, state, and national conventions on topics related to speech and language pathology. She loves creating engaging resources for students and saving busy SLPs time with data collection and assessment materials. Nicole is the author of the blog Speech Peeps™ where she shares activities and ideas. She lives in Ohio with her husband and 3 little ones.

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