Phonological and Print Awareness Scale (PPA)
Author: Kathleen T. Williams, PhD
- Early Literacy Skills
- Individual Administration
- Ages 3-6 through 8-11
- Qualification Level B
The PPA Scale targets two important literacy skillsphonological awareness and print awarenessthat have proven to predict later success with reading and writing. It is aimed at the age range in which most children acquire phonological and print awareness and is intended for use by speechlanguage pathologists, psychologists, reading specialists, educational diagnosticians, early-childhood specialists, and teachers.
The PPA Scale can be helpful in identifying children who are behind their peers, to identify their strengths and weaknesses, track progress, and research the effectiveness of early-literacy programs. There are three parallel forms. The test uses a receptive-language, multiple-choice format. The examinee only has to point to indicate his or her answer; verbal responses are not needed. This makes the PPA Scale a good choice with children who have difficulty with speech.
There are 69 items, covering six task areas:
- Rhyming: Ability to recognize rhymes, which requires recognition of the sound structure of language
- Knowledge: Ability to recognize important elements of print, including identification of individual uppercase and lowercase letters
- Initial Sound Matching: Ability to isolate and match the first phoneme in a pair of words
- Final Sound Matching: Ability to isolate and match the last phoneme in a pair of words
- Sound Symbol: Ability to isolate the initial or final phoneme and match it to the corresponding grapheme
- Phonemic Awareness: Ability to segment the individual phonemes in a word
The PPA Scale was normed on a nationally representative sample of 1,104 examinees. A validation sample of 162 children with a speech, language, or other clinical diagnosis was also collected. Analyses of these samples show that the PPA differentiates typical children from those with a learning disability, reading disorder, developmental delay, autism spectrum disorder, or intellectual disability. In addition, it has high internal consistency, test-retest, and alternate-form reliability. Further studies provide evidence of the content, construct, convergent, and discriminant validity of the PPA Scale. All stimulus pictures were reviewed for fairness for use with both males and females and of differing ethnic backgrounds.
Administration and Scoring
Administration takes 10-15 minutes. Results are expressed in a standard score, to compare performance to that of typically developing peers of the same age, along with a growth score, which indicates progress along the continuum of phonological and print awareness skills. Percentile rank, descriptive ranges, and age equivalents are also provided.