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Researchers in education, psychology and speech pathology have collaborated to develop a computerized language screener to help early childhood educators and specialists identify areas where young children are experiencing difficulties mastering language.

Too many children with language issues are not identified until they reach five years of age.

Through funding from the Institute of Education Sciences (IES), University of Delaware researchers Roberta Michnick Golinkoff, Ph.D. and Aquiles Iglesias, Ph.D., collaborated with Kathy Hirsh-Pasek, Ph.D., Temple University, Jill de Villiers, Ph.D., Smith College, and Mary Sweig Wilson, Ph.D., CCC-SLP, formerly of Laureate Learning, to create the Quick Interactive Language Screener™ (QUILS).

QUILS is a one-of-a-kind tool that helps educators evaluate whether children are making language progress appropriate for their age group.

“Whenever I speak to speech-language pathologists I am struck at how frequently children turn up with language issues at late ages,” explained Golinkoff. “This is unacceptable when we know how important it is to intervene early.”

Offered by Brooks Publishing in 2017,

QUILS will help early childhood educators, reading specialists, literacy coaches, speech-language pathologists and psychologists assess a child’s vocabulary, syntax, and language acquisition skills quickly and easily.

Early identification is a crucial step to helping young children with language delays improve their skills. Language proficiency is necessary for reading success as well as for self-regulation, social interaction, and even health outcomes.

The program can be administered by a teacher or an aide on any desktop, laptop, iPad, or Android tablet with touchscreen technology and Internet access and takes only 15-20 minutes.

The format ensures standardized delivery for each child, while automatically generated scores save time —providing cut scores by age level, standard scores, percentile ranks, and reports to share with colleagues and families. And the game-like interactive measure is so much fun, children even ask if they can do it again!

QUILS at a glance

What is the age range?

Ages 3 through 5

QUILS is a helpful addition to kindergarten entry assessments and an ideal tool for use in individual classrooms or centers.

In what settings is it used?

Early childhood settings: public and private preschools, Head Start, child care programs. It can be administered during a school day, in a quiet area of the classroom.

Who completes it?

The child, with minimal supervision from a teacher, paraprofessional, classroom aide, parent, or other classroom volunteer

How is it administered?

On any desktop, laptop, iPad, or Android tablet with touchscreen technology and Internet access

Who uses the results?

Early childhood educators and administrators, reading specialists, literacy coaches, speech-language pathologists, psychologists

How long does the assessment take?

Approximately 15−20 minutes

What is the number of items on the assessment?

48 questions

What is the research base?

Studies in the literature in language development were combed for possible items. Psychometric studies have established the QUILS’ reliability and validity and ensured that all items are culturally and dialectically neutral.

Will it be available in Spanish?

Yes. A bilingual version of the QUILS will be brought out in Spanish by the end of 2017.


QUILS will screen children in 3 key areas

  • Syntax – Can the child understand questions like where, when, and how?
  • Vocabulary – What words does the child already know?
  • Process – How good is the child at learning new language items?


QUILS was featured in the White House’s Better, Fairer, and Faster Tests assessment meeting on December 7, 2016.