CELF-5 Assessments – here’s what you need to know

Clinical Evaluation of Language Fundamentals Fifth Edition (CELF-5)

What is a CELF-5 and what is the assessment used for? 

The Clinical Evaluation of Language Fundamentals Fifth Edition (CELF-5) is a standardised assessment used by speech pathologists for the identification and diagnosis of language and communication disorders.

A standardised assessment is one where the test has been used on a large number of children before it is published and used.  This helps us understand the range of scores that are high, low, and average.  On the CELF-5, the results for the language subtests and language areas are given as standard scores.   This lets us compare any score to scores of other children of the same age group.

At what age can a child’s language be assessed, using a CELF-5?

The assessment can be administered to children and young adults between the ages of 5-21 years.

How long does a CELF-5 assessment take?

The average time taken to administer the CELF-5 can vary between children, however the expected time is between 90-120 minutes. Further time is required to score, interpret the results and to write a report, which is written by the speech pathologist.

What different areas are assessed?

  • Expressive Language

Expressive language refers to the output of language. The subtests on the CELF-5 will look at your child’s ability to formulate sentences, recall sentences aloud and use appropriate grammar/word structure.

  • Receptive Language

Receptive Language refers to the listening and understanding of language. The subtests on the CELF-5 will look at your child’s ability to follow directions, comprehend and interpret sentences.

  • Pragmatic Language

Pragmatic Language refers to social language skills such as turn-taking in conversation, their use and interpretation of facial expressions and body language, gestures and eye contact.

  • Reading Comprehension

This subtest assesses your child’s ability to sustain attention and focus on reading texts of increasing length and complexity, ability to respond to questions about the content of the information given and the ability to use critical thinking to interpret beyond the given information.

  • Structured Writing

This subtest assesses your child’s ability to use the information given by a story title, an introductory sentence and an incomplete sentence to create a structured narrative.

Overall information given to us

The assessment is designed to provide us with the following information;

  • Information about the student’s language and communication skills in a variety of contexts
  • Presence, severity and nature of language difficulties
  • Determines your child’s language weaknesses and strengths
  • Information about your child’s pragmatic language, receptive language (listening and understanding), expressive language (speaking), structured writing and reading comprehension skills.

The information is then used to direct and plan interventions to best support your child’s overall language development.

NDIS and School Funding

The CELF-5 can be used to support students in receiving NDIS and school funding.

Independent Schools Victoria – State Support Services Funding (SSSF)

The Victorian Government provides State Support Services Funding (SSSF) for the provision of speech pathology services within the school environment. It is a requirement that your child completes the CELF-5 assessment to apply for funding. Children with moderate to severe language difficulties are eligible to receive funding. Speech pathology services provided by SSSF are open to students from Prep to Year 4, for a maximum of three years.

The funding is targeted at your child’s early years of education to maximise the benefits of intervention. Intervention for this age group is likely to have a great impact on long-term educational outcomes for your child. With the funding your child can receive support through the following:

  • Therapy in the form of individual sessions or group sessions
  • Training of the staff/teachers at the school to implement an individual plan and best support your child’s language development and communication within the classroom
  • Consultations with teachers and support staff at their school

National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS)

The National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) is a scheme of the Australian Government that funds cost associated with disability. One aspect of determining your child’s edibility is by providing the appropriate evidence of your child’s impairment/disability to support the National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA) to decide about your child’s eligibility. The CELF-5 is a standardised assessment which can be used to provide evidence for your child’s impairment.