Language assessment at a distance: The TeleTaalTest-NL (TTT-NL), a Dutch tele-language test for patients with neurological disorders
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Background. Unforeseen situations such as the recent outbreak of COVID-19 negatively impact aphasia assessment and diagnostics in the form of canceled or postponed face-to-face language assessments. A proposed solution is the TeleTaalTest-NL (TTT-NL), a language test that can be administered by telephone, which ensures that patient screening, monitoring, and offering advice still continues at a distance. Methods. Items and subtests of the existing version of the TTT-NL were revised and assessed in a pilot group consisting of 10 healthy BA and MA students. Subsequently, the test version of the TTT-NL was administered in a group of 28 healthy individuals, and correlated to the Diagnostic Instrument for Mild Aphasia (DIMA), an in-person language test. Results. Pilot items with an 80% correctness rate or higher were included for the development of the test version. Healthy control groups from both the pilot and the norm study successfully completed the TTT-NL and an effect of age, education, and hearing was found. Only the semantic selection task significantly correlated with in-person language assessment, which is most likely due to the small sample size. Conclusion. The improvement of the TTT-NL was successful and it is a feasible alternative for face-toface assessment. However, there is no evidence yet that demonstrates the TTT-NL is a reliable replacement for in-person assessment. Hence, further research of a larger sample size into the relationship between tele-testing and in-person assessment is advised.