The new CELF-5 is a flexible comprehensive assessment reflecting today’s diverse population

The new CELF-5 is a comprehensive battery of tests that provides you with a streamlined, flexible approach to language assessment. It now offers a more robust assessment of pragmatics using observations and interactive activities. Also included are new written language tests, updated norms, and a scoring/reporting platform delivered on Q-global. Available in both traditional and digital editions, CELF-5 provides highly accurate diagnostic information with current normative data, reflecting today’s diverse population.

Features and Benefits

Battery of 16 stand-alone tests

  • Ten to eleven of the 16 tests are administered, depending on the student’s age
  • New normative data based on the March 2010 U.S. Census Update
  • Modifications that reflect the results of multiple research phases and clinician feedback

New features to assess social language skills

  • Report standard scores, percentile ranks, and growth scale values for the Pragmatics Profile
  • Select one of six interactive tasks to rate behaviors observed during authentic communication activities using the Pragmatics Activities Checklist

Targeted assessment of written language

  • Assess Reading Comprehension and Structured Writing
  • Compare skills to oral language performance

New Digital Kit option

  • All manuals (Examiner’s Manual, Technical Manual, and two Stimulus Books) are delivered on a flash drive
  • Includes a full set of paper Record Forms, Reading and Writing Supplements, and Observational Rating Scales

Improved usability

  • Option of traditional or digital delivery on a desktop or laptop
  • All verbal stimuli and item analyses appear in the Record Form

In addition to manual scoring, CELF-5 will be available on Q-global™, Pearson’s web-based scoring and reporting platform.

Q-global offers:

  • 24/7 secure, web-based access
  • Portability: Q-global can be used on mobile devices such as a laptop or tablet
  • On-demand, reliable scoring and comprehensive reporting solutions
  • Pricing on a per-report basis

CELF-5 Score Reports

  • Automatically converts total raw scores to test scaled scores, percentile ranks, age equivalents, and growth scale values
  • Automatically converts sums of scaled scores to composites scores, including the Core Language and numerous index scores
  • Provides an item analysis of performance on individual tests
  • Generates graphical and narrative reports


CELF-5 Q-global™ Sample Report

Related Information

View CELF-5 Flyer

Case Studies

CELF-5 Case Study-Elisa

CELF-5 Case Study-Gracie

CELF-5 Case Study-Lily

CELF-5 Case Study-Marcus


Visit our resource center to download the above information material. 


Frequently asked questions follow.

What is the same?

Age range: 5:0 through 21:11 (exceptions: Reading Comprehension and Writing. Those are for ages 9:0 through 21:11.

Index Scores Core Language, Content, Structure, Language Memory, Receptive Language, Expressive Language (there is no Written Language Index)

Test Items on some tests

What has changed?

Battery of tests: The CELF-5 is a battery of 16 tests (each age group takes 10 tests) Test Changes: Revisions: All of the tests have some revisions to the wording or artwork based on clinician feedback and research data

Major revisions to the CELF-4 subtests include:

  • Splitting the Concepts and Following Directions subtests into two different tests
  • Word Classes: there is no longer an expressive portion of the test
  • Pragmatics Profile now reports scaled scores
  • Expressive Vocabulary, Word Associations, Rapid Automatic Naming, Number Repetition and Familiar Sequences have been deleted from the editions publishing in 2013. These subtests (with the exception of Expressive Vocabulary) may be available on the online platform (Q-interactive) scheduled to be published in 2014.
  • New tests: Reading Comprehension and Writing
  • New Checklist: Pragmatic Activities Checklist (completed based on activity-based interaction with the student; is a deep dive into nonverbal and verbal behaviors that the student exhibits so that you can better plan intervention.
  • Basals, ceilings, raw score/scaled scores based on current research data

Normative data

  • Based on current U.S. Census figures
  • Large minority population

Sentence Comprehension

Is this a new subtest? Is it something other than auditory comprehension at the sentence level rather than the paragraph level?

It is not. The Sentence Structure test was re-named to better describe the construct being tested. It is auditory comprehension at the sentence level.

Following Directions

One reason I stopped using the CELF is that the Concepts and Following Directions subtest was so heavily dependent on a child having adequate attention and memory, it often pulled a score down far below what made sense for a child. Children who have adequate concept knowledge and language skills but poor attention are penalized by this subtest. How does the new FD subtest compare to the old CFD subtest?

The CELF-5 splits Concepts and Following Directions into two different subtests. One focuses on comprehension of concepts; the other is a set of items that requires a child to point to pictures, following directions that are increasingly complex (1, 2, and 3 step commands.) Examples: “Before pointing to the last square, point to the first circle.”

A student with a language disorder may have appropriate concept knowledge for his or her age, but experience difficulty in the classroom when he or she cannot integrate concept knowledge into increasingly long and complex directions typically given by teachers in the classroom. The difficulty may lie in understanding long complex directions and/or attention and memory deficits. You will need to work with the psychologist on your team to better understand the role of memory and attention that contribute to the child’s deficits in comprehending complex directions.

Formulated Sentences

While I understand with the rationale behind this subtest for measuring syntax skills, I have found that children who have poor attention (and therefore memory) score more poorly on this subtest than is indicated by their conversational syntax.

The CELF-5 splits Concepts and Following Directions into two different subtests. One focuses on comprehension of concepts; the other is a set of items that requires a child to point to pictures, following directions that are increasingly complex (1, 2, and 3 step commands.) Examples: “Before pointing to the last square, point to the first circle.”

There are two ways to look at a child’s morphosyntax abilities: Formulated Sentences and Recalling Sentences. Formulated Sentences gives you information about a child’s ability to construct a sentence without auditory cues; Recalling Sentences gives you information about a child’s ability to use his or her knowledge of linguistic rules–to repeat a long sentence, a child has to have mastery of the underlying grammatical structures rather than depend on memory alone. Having both tests enables you to do some differential diagnosis—is a child capable of producing a morphosyntactically complex sentence on his own, but not in a sentence repetition task (then it may be an attention or memory problem) or is the child unable to do either task well? If the latter is the case, memory and attention may not be the issues causing the problem.

Understanding Spoken Paragraphs
Word Definitions
Sentence Assembly
Semantic Relationships
Written Language (Reading Comprehension and Writing)

Is the age range for Reading and Writing the same as the other CELF-5 tests?

9:0 through 21:11

Are the Reading and Writing subtests required to obtain composite scores for certain ages?

They are not.

Core Language Scores

If a Core Language score of 64 is obtained when administering the CELF-4, should the CELF-4 then be administered in entirety to optimally identify strengths and weaknesses and if also being used to classify a student? Is the Core Language Standard Score ever sufficient in and of itself?

The Core Language Score is the most reliable and sensitive indicator of the presence of a language disorder. When the Core Language Score is low, it seems prudent to administer all the standardized subtests of CELF-4 to identify potential patterns of strengths and weaknesses.

Complete Kit:

Includes Examiner’s Manual, Technical Manual, Stimulus Books (2), Record Form 1 (15), Record Form 2 (15), Reading and Writing Supplement 1 (10), Reading and Writing Supplement 2 (10), ORS Forms (50), CELF-5 luggage tag and softcase.

ISBN: 9780158036007