The CAPs is a norm-referenced video-based pragmatic language battery of tests for children and young adults ages 7 through 18 years. It is composed of six subtests, and each of the CAPs subtests is based on a well-defined pragmatic language construct. It is a reliable test that yields valid results on pragmatic judgement and use of social language and nonverbal cues, such as facial expressions, prosody, and gestures. Normative data of this test is based on a nationally representative sample of 914 children and young adults in the United States.
The test is composed of six subtests that measure pragmatic language skills (Table1.1)
Description of CAPs Subtests
Pragmatic Judgement vs Pragmatic Performance
Instrumental Performance Appraisal
(Awareness of Basic Social Routines)
This subtest measures awareness of basic social routines and the ability to judge their appropriateness. This includes the ability to judge appropriateness of introductions, politeness, making requests, requesting help, answering phone calls, asking for permission, identifying rude tone used for requests, identifying polite language, understanding when interruptions are appropriate, and understanding rules of conversational turn-taking.
(Using Social Routine Language)
This construct measures language skills that are necessary to satisfy an individual’s basic needs and express communicative intent that is instrumental in nature. This includes the ability to use social routine language, such as expressing greetings, introductions, politeness, making requests, responding to gratitude, requesting help, requesting information (e.g., directions), and asking for permission.
Social Context Appraisal
(Reading Context Cues)
This subtest measures awareness of social context cues, the ability to understand the intent of others, and the ability to infer what others are thinking (perspective taking). This also includes detecting non-verbal cues, understanding of indirectly implied requests and/or statements (e.g., idioms, expressions), making appropriate inferences (e.g., sarcasm) and making judgements about social context when situational cues change.
This subtest measures the ability to appropriately express higher order pragmatic language that is emotive in nature, such as regret, sorrow, peer support, praise, empathy, gratitude, encouragement, etc.
(Reading Nonverbal Cues)
This construct measures the ability to detect a speaker’s intent by recognizing meanings of various non-verbal cues, such as facial expressions, tone of voice, inflections in prosody, gestures, and overall body language.
(Using Nonverbal Cues)
This subtest measures the ability to use various non-verbal cues, such as facial expressions, tone of voice, inflections in prosody, gestures, and overall body language to express a variety of communicative intents.
The CAPs uses a series of video-based social scenarios. Examinees are presented with a social situation in a video-based format and are asked two types of questions. On the pragmatic judgment (receptive pragmatic) subtests, the examinees are asked to judge the appropriateness of a variety of social situations by answering the following: “Did anything go wrong in this video?” and “What went wrong?” On the pragmatic performance (expressive pragmatic) subtests, the examinees are presented with a social situation and are asked: “What would you say and how?”
Testing time for the entire battery takes approximately 45-50 minutes.
The results of the CAPs test provide comprehensive information on pragmatic language skills and
social language development of children and young adults. It presents with four essential purposes:
To help identify pragmatic language deficits and determine the degree of such deficits (e.g., initial IEP based evaluations);
To help determine strengths and weakness within a variety of pragmatic language domains (e.g., pragmatic judgement versus performance, instrumental communication versus affective communication, comprehension and use of paralinguistic cues);
To help document progress in pragmatic language skills, measure treatment efficacy or re-evaluate overall pragmatic language profiles as part of triennial IEP based reviews;
To help analyze social pragmatic language skills in children and young adults for research purposes
Unique Design of Using Video Based Social Situations
One of the most notable benefit of the CAPs is its unique test design consisting of videos which are true to life interactions. The videos are presented in relevant, life-like content, and the actors in the videos are from a wide variety of ethnic and cultural backgrounds. Verbal dialogue in the videos is easy to attend to and understand. It is presented at a rate that is controlled for speed without being unnaturally slow. Vocabulary used in the videos is appropriate to the testing age range (7-0 through 18-0), and the real-life situations are those which might be expected to occur in environments with which the participants could be expected to be familiar.
Comprehensive Profile and In-Depth Analysis of Pragmatic Language Skills
CAPs evaluates both examinees’ level of pragmatic judgment (meaning their ability to comprehend social situations), and their ability to express themselves in an appropriate manner within various social situations. The pragmatic performance aspect of this test is a crucial feature, which is unique because it allows the examiner an opportunity to elicit the participants’ both verbal and non-verbal responses. Beginning with ‘superficial’ layers of instrumental social situations, this test delves into every level of pragmatics, and assesses ‘intricate’ high-level skills, such as the examinees’ ability to express sadness, gratitude, frustration, support, and surprise, as well as their ability to use nonverbal language such as facial expressions and prosody.
Assessment of Paralinguistic Skills (Reading and Using Nonverbal Language)
A key area which may have been overlooked by traditional testing is the examinees’ use of higher level pragmatic language, specifically the ability to use affective communication and paralinguistic cues. For example, the Paralinguistic Decoding subtest is the most unique standardized measure that assesses the ability to use various non-verbal cues, such as facial expressions, tone of voice, inflections in prosody, gestures, and overall body language to express a variety of communicative intents. The CAPs is an effective means by which speech-language pathologists, as well as other related practitioners, can obtain a greater and comprehensive understanding of their examinees’ pragmatic language needs, such as awareness of basic social routines, the ability to read a variety of dynamic contextual cues and non-verbal language, the ability to use social routine language, and the ability to express higher level language, such as emotions and use nonverbal cues.
Efficient Administration and Scoring
The CAPs test can be administered with relative ease. Scoring has been simplified by the listing of the scoring criteria and rubrics in the Examiner Record forms. A listing of most common correct and incorrect responses is provided in the CAPs manual.