Age equivalent

Some standardised assessments (see standardised assessment entry) give an ‘age equivalent’ score. The actual score a client gets on a test is compared to the average score for different age groups. The age group their score matches is given as the ‘age equivalent’. For example a child aged 6 years 4 months scores 31 on a test. 31 is the average score for the age group 5 years 6 months – 5 years 11 months so the child’s age equivalent is 5;6-11. While age equivalents can be useful, you have to be careful when using them. Initially it looks like the child in the example has a mild language delay but in actual fact, 31 is also within the average range of scores for children aged 6 years to 6 years 5 months. In actual fact, their score is within normal limits (see WNL abbreviation). For this reason, speech & language therapist do not often quote age equivalent scores without giving extra information.