American Speech-Language-Hearing Association

Speech-Language Pathology Exam Content

Content Categories/Approximate Number of Questions/Approximate Percentage of Examination
Basic Human Communication Processes/20/17%
Phonological and Language Disorders/23/19%
Speech Disorders/15/13%
Neurogenic Disorders/23/19%
Audiology/Hearing/6/5%
Clinical Management/23/19%
Professional Issues/Psychometrics/Research/10/8%

Topics Covered

The following list represents the topics covered on the Speech Language Pathology Exam that is currently being administered. These topics are consistent with standards for clinical certification set by the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association.

Basic Human Communication Processes

  • Language acquisition and learning theory
    • normal development of speech and language
    • developmental norms in phonology, syntax, semantics, and pragmatics
    • theoretical models of learning related to language and cognition
    • behavior management and modification
    • cognitive development
    • developmental, motor, and linguistic processes
  • Language science
    • the structure of language
    • the phonetic and phonological representations of speech sounds
    • phonological theory as it relates to normal development
    • grammatical categories
    • morphology, syntax, semantics, and pragmatics, as these fields relate to normal language processing and production
  • Learning theory
    • theoretical models of learning related to language and the effective treatment of disorders
    • models of behavior management and modification
    • theories of cognitive development
  • Multicultural awareness
    • applications of theoretical models of language in society to a variety of linguistic and cultural groups
    • cultural and socioeconomic factors that influence speech and language
    • communicative differences between speakers of the same language, including idiolectal and dialectal distinctions
    • differentiation between first language/dialect interference and speech/language disorders
    • cultural differences in the use of nonverbal communication
  • Speech science
    • speech perception
    • physiological phonetics
    • acoustic phonetics
    • anatomy and physiology, as related to the production, reception, and processing of speech, language, and hearing
    • neural bases of speech and hearing 

Phonological and Language Disorders Assessment and Treatment

  • Phonological disorders
    • articulation disorders as influenced by anomalous, oral-motor, dental, learning, or behavioral factors
    • phonological process disorders
  • Language disorders
    • developmental, motor, and linguistic processes
    • differentiation of normal, delayed, and disordered language development
    • the nature of expressive and receptive language disorders
    • treatment of language delays and language disorders

Speech Disorders: Identification, Assessment, Treatment, and Prevention

  • Fluency disorders
    • theories of fluency
    • neurological and psychological factors
    • assessment, treatment, and prevention of fluency disorders
  • Resonance disorders
    • resonance, as influenced by congenital anomalies, neuralgic disorders, disease, trauma, and behavioral factors
    • assessment, treatment, and prevention of resonance disorders
  • Voice disorders
    • phonation, as influenced by respiratory, laryngeal, and airway problems resulting from malformations, neuralgia, disease, trauma, and behavioral factors
    • alaryngeal speech
    • assessment, treatment, and prevention of voice disorders 

Neurogenic Disorders

  • Neurological disorders
    • aphasia
    • progressive disorders
    • motor speech disorders
    • traumatic brain injury
    • cognitive communication disorders
  • Dysphagia
    • the process of swallowing
    • causes and effects of swallowing disorders
    • assessment and treatment of swallowing disorders

Audiology/Hearing

  • Hearing science
    • principles of hearing
    • anatomy and physiology of the hearing mechanism
    • congenital and acquired hearing loss in children and adults
  • Audiological assessment
    • hearing screening for clients of all ages
    • interpretation of audiograms and tympanograms
    • referrals to appropriate professionals
  • Auditory habilitation and rehabilitation
    • management of clients with hearing loss
    • issues of intervention relevant to the practice of speech-language pathology

Clinical Management

  • Alternative/augmentative communication
    • assessment and use of alternative/augmentative communication devices
    • determining candidacy for alternative/augmentative devices
  • Counseling
    • communicating assessment and treatment plans, progress, and results to clients and appropriate professionals
    • interpersonal communication and counseling techniques
  • Documentation and monitoring client progress
    • collecting and using information from other agencies
    • communicating to other professionals concerning the client's history
    • data gathering and interpretation
    • determining termination criteria based on prognosis, progress, and motivation
    • procedures for referral and follow-up
    • writing professional reports
  • Efficacy
    • demonstration of results of clinical services in relation to speech, language, and hearing
    • determining and communicating information about the outcomes of assessment and treatment
  • Instrumentation
    • instrumentation used in speech and language analysis
    • the purpose, use, and applications of technological developments with respect to assessment and treatment of speech and language disorders
  • Speech-language assessment
    • establishing clients' past and present status
    • formulating recommendations, including impact of life conditions, type of treatment, and service-delivery models
    • identifying individuals at risk for communication disorders
    • interviewing techniques and interpersonal skills
    • procedures for screening clients of all ages
    • selection and administration of standardized evaluation procedures, such as formal tests
    • selection and administration of non-standardized procedures, such as language samples and behavioral observations
  • Speech-language intervention
    • diagnostic intervention
    • selecting activities appropriate to the client's age, sociocultural membership, and disorder
    • implementing remediation methods and strategies for disorders
  • Syndromes and genetics
    • basic principles of genetics
    • syndromic and nonsyndromic inherited and developmental conditions
    • influence of syndromic and nonsyndromic conditions on hearing, speech and language development, production, and processing

Professional Issues/Psychometrics/Research

  • Ethical practices
    • understanding standards for professional conduct
    • making referrals, obtaining permissions, keeping and using client records
    • ensuring client privacy
    • handling staffing issues in a professional and legally prudent manner
  • Research methodology/psychometrics
    • criteria for selection of test materials
    • determining the reliability of assessment procedures
    • models of research design
    • test construction principles
  • Standards and laws
    • designing appropriate assessment and treatment through knowledge of governmental regulations and professional standards
    • federal laws and regulations impacting delivery of services
    • reporting requirements of governmental agencies

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Find out more information about the Speech-Language Pathology exam at  ETS.

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