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Oral and Written Language Scales, 2nd Edition

Elizabeth Carrow-Woolfolk, Ph.D.


A revision of the original OWLS, the OWLS-II provides a complete and integrated picture of oral and written language skills across a wide age range. Developed for individuals 3 through 21 years, the assessment evaluates four language processes on four separate scales: Listening Comprehension, Oral Expression, Reading Comprehension, and Written Expression. Each scale assesses four linguistic structures: lexical/semantics, syntax, pragmatics, and supralinguistics. The OWL-II: 
  • Identifies students with language disorders, learning disabilities, and related difficulties as outlined in IDEA 2004
  • Assists the development of interventions that address potential academic difficulties
  • Monitors progress, using the new alternate form 
  • Gathers longitudinal data for research purposes
Features and Benefits 
  • Updated norms – with all scales standardized on the same population 
  • Parallel forms for retesting 
  • New items measuring language used in the classroom 
  • New items reflecting curricular standards and grade-level language goals 
  • Improved scoring instructions for the Written Expression Scale 
  • Full-color, updated stimulus materials 
  • Alternative correct responses for students who speak African-American English or similar dialect 
  • Expanded interpretive guidelines 
  • Notations indicating the linguistic forms measured by each item 
  • Useful in clinical, school, and research settings 
  • Includes helpful handbook: Foundations of Language AssessmentBack to the top

Scales & Forms

  • Listening Comprehension 
  • Oral Expression
  • Reading Comprehension 
  • Written Expression

Listening Comprehension and Oral Expression Scales

Together, the Listening Comprehension and Oral Expression scales assess receptive and expressive language in individuals ages 3-21 years. Individually administered, both 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, and both scales feature colorful, updated artwork that’s balanced in terms of race, gender, and physical differences.

Reading Comprehension and Written Expression Scales

Written language is assessed using the Reading Comprehension and Written Expression scales, both designed for individuals ages 5 to 21 years. The new Reading Comprehension scale measures the receptive aspects of written language and is effective in identifying language factors that may be impairing or facilitating reading comprehension. The Written Expression Scale, which measures the expressive aspects of written language, includes item additions and revisions, as well as more explicit scoring guidelines.
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Author Elizabeth Carrow-Woolfolk, Ph.D.

Age Range 3 to 21 years

Administration Time 10-30 minutes

Administration TypeIndividually-administered

Qualification Level B