Overview and Advantages of the Pre-IPT–Oral Tests

The Pre-IPT–Oral English and Spanish Tests serve as accurate, age-appropriate, and easy-to-administer assessment tools. Because the tests are intended for 3-, 4-, and 5-year-old students, they have been designed along story lines that provide opportunities for contextualized oral interaction between an examiner and a student. Each test is conducted with the help of a large Story Board and a set of Story Pieces, which are like paper dolls that are placed on the Story Board in various places as the test proceeds. Each test begins with an introduction and a few sample items, which introduce the main Story Pieces to the student and help him or her get used to the test situation and answering the test questions. Most of the test questions have to do with the story and the Story Board characters directly. The student identifies objects, actions and characteristics, moves the Story Pieces, and talks about activities. Some questions extend beyond the Story Board and invite the student to talk about his or her own experiences, preferences, and so on. All students are tested individually. It is important to note that the Pre-IPT–Oral English and Spanish Tests are not translations of each other. They are two different tests.

The Pre-IPTOral Tests assess proficiency in four domains of oral language: vocabulary, grammar, comprehension, and verbal expression. The items are grouped into levels, and the examiner scores the student’s answers as correct or incorrect as each item is administered. At the end of each level, the examiner tallies the number of errors at that level and compares this to a scoring rule that tells the examiner to either stop testing or continue on to the next level. In this way, students advance through the test levels until the test is completed or until they stop at the highest level they can attain based on their language proficiency. Students are then assigned one of the following five score levels: A, B, C, D, or E.

The Pre-IPT–Oral Tests have several important advantages:

  1. Easy to Administer and Score
    The fourth edition of the Pre-IPTOral Tests are administered and scored in the same straightforward way as the previous editions. They are administered individually and provide “instant scoring.” Each test is scored as the student is being tested and there are no complicated formulas to compute. The Pre-IPTOral Tests take an average of 15–20 minutes per student. Testing time depends on the language ability of the student.


  2. Comprehensive
    Test items assess both basic interpersonal communication skills (BICS) and cognitive academic language proficiency (CALP). The Pre-IPT–Oral Tests assess four different areas of language proficiency: vocabulary, grammar, comprehension, and verbal expression, which includes articulation.


  3. Valid and Reliable
    Large numbers of students from across the United States, representing a broad range of ethnic backgrounds, socio-economic statuses, and language abilities, were included in pilot and field tests used to gather normative data. When administration procedures are followed exactly as prescribed, the Pre-IPT–Oral Tests provide a valid and reliable assessment of students’ oral abilities. For more information on test validity and reliability, consult the Technical Manual.


  4. Provides Diagnostic and Program Planning
    The Pre-IPT–Oral Tests provide oral language proficiency testing data, while yielding important diagnostic information about the student. Such information will help determine a student’s Non-, Limited, or Fluent English or Spanish Speaking designation for initial identification, placement, and redesignation.

NOTE: If you are administering this test in Texas, we are pleased to note that we are on the TEA list of approved tests for the assessment of limited English proficient students. Click here to see a copy of the list.

Now that you are more familiar with the advantages of the Pre-IPT–Oral Tests, you have the option of taking a Quick Quiz or moving on to the next section—Test Components and Areas Assessed.