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Assessment of second-language acquisition is done for a variety of reasons: for placement in a particular course or in screening for potential job performance, for admission to a program of study, to provide substantiation for opting out of a minimal requirement, to award a certificate or degree, or in other ways to measure aptitude, proficiency, or achievement, or in progress measurement within a course of study. I have modified a standard neurological test for second-language testing. The Sentence Repetition Test (SRT) is yet another assessment of memory and possible deterioration of cognitive and linguistic function in either children or adults as a result of disease or cerebral injury (Spreen & Benton, 1969). Studies have shown that SR (sentence repetition) is a fairly simple cognitive task. A validation study (Meyers, Volkert and Diep, 2000) of the SRT showed 100% specificity, in that none of the participants in the control group were classified as failing. The clinical utility of the SRT is that it appears to be a specific test of language ability, throughout the age span. SR has been used for many years as a neuropsychological test because of the facility of SR to measure cognitive deficits, quickly and simply. SR is regarded by neurologists as a considerably objective measure of linguistic function. The SRT was developed first in 1988 and re-normed and validated in 1999. The test consists of 22 simple, declarative sentences that begin with two syllables and gradually increase by one or two syllables at a time to a maximum of 26 syllables. Participants are asked to repeat after hearing the sentence once, and continue until all 22 sentences have been attempted, or until five consecutive failures to repeat have occurred. The test has been normed against English-speaking adults from ages 16 through 86 from various racial and educational backgrounds, with a score of 15 sentences repeated correctly being the average. The test has also been given to children between 6 and 14 years of age, with the same average score attained. The vocabulary level of the test is not a barrier to participation by children. Correlation with cognitive ability is also noted by an increased average score with further education: college students average almost 18 sentences correct. (Meyers, Volkert & Diep, 2000). The following assumptions were made about the use of the SRT in testing general language ability: 1. The SRT is a valid predictor of native linguistic function. 2. A person for whom English is a second language would not be able to repeat English sentences with the same facility as a native speaker. 3. It is assumed that if SRT is used with a subject for whom English is a second language, the degree of new cognitive ability in English can be measured by this test. I modified the original SRT in order to make it more applicable and valid for second-language testing. The present SRT has a theoretical top score of 22, but the average score for the general population is only 15, with college students scoring only two points higher on the average. This does seem to indicate that it is a very difficult test at the higher end. Twenty-six syllables is a lot to hold in one's short-term memory. My modified SRT had fewer items, so that most native speakers of English would be able to score 90-100% instead of in the 70-80% range. A number of adjustments were made in order to accomplish the changes in linguistically consistent ways. First, the sentences were connected in context and continuity instead of being unrelated sentences. They formed a story that begins with very short sentences, slowly increasing in length of utterance. The story format embodied a form of linguistic chunking and would thus enhance comprehension and recall (Abney, 1991; Cooper, Fowles & Givener, 1969). Second, the story was illustrated by one central picture that helped scaffold the vocabulary and memory requirements of repetition, since the purpose is to check for comprehension and not short-term memory. These techniques have been shown to be effective in helping at-risk children comprehend better and should work well regardless of age in a second-language context (Lightbown, Spada, Ranta & Rand, 1993; Matluck & Mace-Matluck, 1975). The modifications undertaken to the standard SRT are designed to enhance comprehension and reduce the load on short-term memory through the use of visual scaffolds and use of a story format. The presentation consists of fifteen sentences describing a picture of boys playing lacrosse, with background information concerning lacrosse embedded in the presentation. The fifteen sentences cohere in meaning and build on one another. As with the SRT, there is a gradual increase in the number of syllables and grammatical complexity of the sentences to be repeated. In order to reduce the short-term memory task so that comprehension and repetition can be the principal focus of the test subject, the complete "story" of fifteen sentences is first presented orally with visual cues. The test subject is then asked to repeat each sentence as it is presented orally, one at a time. The subject is scored (1-5) as to how well he or she could repeat (or return the gist of) the sentence. This modified SRT has shown to be effective in measuring second-language ability in English, and the concept can be modified for progress tests as well. Works cited: Abney, S. (1991). Parsing by chunks. In R. Berwick, S. Abney & C. Tenny (Eds.), Principle-based parsing: Computation and psycholinguistics (pp. 257-278). Boston: Kluwer Academic Publishers Cooper, R., Fowles, B., & Givener, A. (1969). Listening comprehension in a bilingual community. Modern Language Journal, 53(4), 235-242. Lightbown, P. M., Spada, N., Ranta, L., & Rand, J. (1993). How languages are learned. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Matluck, J. H., & Mace-Matluck, B. J. (1975). Language and culture in the multi-ethnic community: Spoken-language assessment. Modern Language Journal, 59(5/6), p250, 6p. Meyers, J., Volkert, K. & Diep, A. (2000). Sentence repetition test: Updated norms and clinical utility. Applied Neuropsychology, 7(3), 54-159. Spreen, O. & Benton, A. L. (1969). Sentence repetition test. Victoria, B.C., Canada: Department of Psychology, University of Victoria.