Oral and Written Language Scales - Second Edition (OWLS-II)

Author(s) : Dr. Elizabeth Carrow-Woolfolk

Publisher : WPS, 2011


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Oral and Written Language Scales 2nd ed. (OWLS-II) Comprehensive Hand-scored Kit

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Oral and Written Language Scales 2nd ed. (OWLS-II) Comprehensive Software Kit

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Oral and Written Language Scales 2nd ed. (OWLS-II) Handbook

SKU : 503LX

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Oral and Written Language Scales 2nd ed. (OWLS-II) Listening Comprehension/Oral Expression Handscored Kit

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Purpose: Provide a complete and integrated picture of oral and written language skills

Age: Listening Comprehension and Oral Expression Scales: 3-21 years; Reading Comprehension and Written Expression Scales: 5-21 years

Time: Listening Comprehension: 10-20 minutes; Oral Expression: 10 to 30 minutes; Reading Comprehension: 10 to 30 minutes; Written Expression: 15 to 30 minutes

The Oral and Written Language Scales, Second Edition (OWLS-II) evaluates four language processes on four separate scales:

  1. Listening Comprehension
  2. Oral Expression
  3. Reading Comprehension
  4. Written Expression

Each of these scales assesses four linguistic structures (Lexical/Semantic, Syntactic, Pragmatic,  Supralinguistic).

Because it looks at the same linguistic structures across four distinct language processes, the OWLS-II provides a detailed, coherent, and integrated assessment. Although its four scales can be used separately, together they give you a comprehensive score profile that pinpoints language delays, identifies strengths and weaknesses in all areas, and guides intervention.


Listening Comprehension and Oral Expression Scales – Assess receptive language

Individually administered, both these scales use basals and ceilings to ensure that examinees are given only items that closely approximate their ability levels. Neither scale requires reading on the examinee’s part.

The Listening Comprehension Scale uses an easel to measure receptive language. The examiner reads a stimulus word or phrase aloud, and the student responds by indicating one of four pictures that best depicts the meaning of the word. Correct responses are printed on the examiner’s side of the easel and on the Record Form.

The Oral Expression Scale (with its own easel), measures expressive language, requiring the examinee to answer questions, finish sentences, and generate sentences in response to visual and oral prompts. To simplify scoring, common responses (correct and incorrect) are printed on the Record Form.

Reading Comprehension and Written Expression Scales - Assess written language

The Reading Comprehension Scale measures the receptive aspects of written language. Because it is based on the same theory and structure as the other OWLS-II scales, it is uniquely effective in identifying language factors that may be impairing or facilitating reading comprehension. Items typically require the student to read a prompt and choose one of four response options. Again, correct responses are listed on the Record Form and the examiner’s side of the easel.

The Written Expression Scale, which measures the expressive aspects of written language, uses age-based item sets, rather than basals and ceilings, to ensure that only developmentally appropriate items are administered. Each set includes 14 to 18 items that involve writing tasks similar to those students might encounter in the classroom. Some tasks are open-ended, asking the examinee to complete a story or write a paragraph, for example. Others are structured, requiring the student to fill in blanks or write a dictated sentence. Together, these writing tasks measure the four linguistic structures assessed by the other OWLS-II scales, as well as conventions (spelling, punctuation/capitalisation, letter formation) and text structure (organisation, details, cohesion).


All four scales provide age- and grade-based standard scores, test-age equivalents, grade equivalents, percentile ranks, and descriptive labels (Exceptional, Above Average, Average, Below Average, or Possibly Disordered). Scale scores can be combined to produce five Composites: Oral Language, Written Language, Receptive Language, Expressive Language, and Overall Language. 

The OWLS-II Profile Form—included in the Comprehensive Kits and available as a free download—gives you a clear, graphic representation of the examinee’s performance in each area.

The OWLS-II can be scored by hand, or data from completed Forms can be entered into the software for scoring and report generation.

Sample OWLS-II Software Report

OWLS-II Profile Form

Dr. Elizabeth Carrow-Woolfolk

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