Thursday, August 8, 2013

Smarty Ears' Basic Concepts Skills Screener {An App Review}

Hello Friends!

I'm back today with another app review from one of my favorite App Companies, Smarty Ears! Jonathan contacted me about reviewing a new assessment app: Basic Concepts Skills Screener. This app targets basic concepts such as prepositions, size, emotions, amount, and more in a receptive format, where the student has four choices to choose from.

When you first open the app, you are prompted to choose your preferred language. This can be changed at any time by clicking on the "Settings" tab on the top right.

When you click "Add Student," you enter the students name and date of birth, and the app automatically calculates their chronological age for you (yay!)

As with all Smarty Ears apps, you can click the "Info" tab in the top left corner to find additional information, contact support, watch tutorials, and more!

When you click "New Test," you are asked to choose between a full screening (79 items) or a quick screening (30) items. Because this is a screener, each student is done one at a time.

The student is then presented with four picture choices and a verbal and written prompt. When the student chooses an answer, a box surrounds their choice.

Here is another example of the types of questions presented.

Even though this screener targets a student's receptive abilities, you can add notes during the test to include anecdotal data, observations, or expressive answers as well.
When the test is complete, this screen provides reinforcement for the students. Auditory reinforcement sounds are also provided throughout the test after each answer for motivation!

When the test is complete, a complete report is generated based on the student's results.

A breakdown of each concept is provided as well as exact percentages.

Performance graphics are also provided with a great color-coded system to show the student's abilities in each concept type, as well as a breakdown of the concepts that should be mastered by each age level.

You can pull up the reports at any time, and the reports can be sent via email or pulled up in TRC as well!
There are several things I love about this app:

  • I'm always looking for a quick, painless way to screen students, be it for RtI, language concerns, or baseline data for new students to know where to begin
  • This app is a great way to identify areas where a student is struggling and get ideas for new goals
  • I love that there is a countdown during the test to show you how many questions are left
  • I love that the results can be exported into TRC (Therapy Report Center)
  • The results can be printed or emailed, to keep in students' files, or to show parents
  • The breakdown of each concept in the detailed report is very thorough and provides great information on where the student is and what is expected by their age
  • I like that you click "next" when you are ready to move to the next question instead of it automatically moving on (this gives me extra time to make notes or gives the student time to comment expressively)
  • I love the color-coded percentage graphs in the report, which are easy to explain to parents or other professionals
  • The app uses Smarty Symbols pictures, which my students are already accustomed to. These same symbols can also be used to teach the concepts that the student needs to learn
Suggestions for updates:
  • My only suggestion is that it would be great if you could "pause" a screener and pick it back up in case you run out of time. Though you can always click "done" to exit a screener, if you have not finished all of the questions, you are unable to go back and finish. Sometimes I only have 5 minutes here and there to spend with a student, so to be able to start and stop (especially on the full screener) would be awesome!
As always, Smarty Ears has delivered yet another amazing app to make the lives of SLPs easier! This app is available in iTunes for $11.99!

Have you used this app yet? If so, what do you think? If not, could you see it being a helpful addition to your SLP tools?


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