Pragmatic Judgement versus Pragmatic Performance

The CAPs clinical assessment is designed to assess pragmatic language skills in children and young adults ages 7 to 18 through a series of six subtests. This yields reliable results on pragmatic judgement and pragmatic performance. The test is interactive, reliable, valid, easy to administer, and offers a comprehensive profile of skills to move forward with educational support or intervention.


Pragmatic Judgement


Pragmatic judgement refers to an individual’s ability to discern what is accepted social protocol and what is not. An individual who has pragmatic judgement capabilities understands what is appropriate and what is not, but may not have enough awareness to act on that knowledge.


Instrumental Performance Appraisal


The instrumental performance appraisal subtest measures an individual’s awareness in basic social situations like requesting help, answer the phone, asking for permission, or being polite. It measures the ability to judge appropriateness, to understand when interruptions are acceptable, and to understand the rules of taking turns in conversation.


Social Context Appraisal


The social context appraisal measures an individual’s ability to read context cues. It assesses the ability to infer what a speaker is thinking from nonverbal cues like body language, understand how to interpret idioms and other indirectly implied requests, navigate situational changes in social context, and recognize sarcasm.


Paralinguistic Decoding


The paralinguistic decoding subtest measures an individual’s ability to recognize a speaker’s intent and understand their meaning from nonverbal cues like tone of voice, facial expressions, gestures, inflections in prosody, and body language.


Pragmatic Performance


Pragmatic performance refers to an individual’s ability to put their pragmatic judgement into action. Understanding social protocol and being able to respond to it must work in conjunction with each other in order to reach paralinguistic cohesion.


Instrumental Performance


The instrumental performance subtest measures an individual’s ability to use the language skills necessary to satisfy basic needs. Individuals who demonstrate this ability can effectively make introductions, ask for help, respond to gratitude, or ask for permission while effectively navigating express communicative intent.


Affective Expression


The affective expression subtest measures an individual’s ability to understand when emotional responses are necessary and to employ sorrow, regret, praise, empathy, peer support, gratitude, or encouragement when appropriate.


Paralinguistic Signals


The paralinguistic signals subtest measures an individual’s ability to use their understanding of nonverbal cues like tone of voice, gestures, inflections in prosody, facial expressions, and body language to express their communicative intent.


Testing Format


To measure these constructs, students watch a variety of social situations in video format and then must answer two types of questions intended to measure their ability to exercise pragmatic judgement or demonstrate pragmatic performance.


To measure pragmatic judgement, they must be able to judge the appropriateness of the situation by identifying whether anything in the video went wrong and what it was. To measure pragmatic performance, they must also be able to identify what they would say and how in response to the situation.


While many individuals who struggle with a pragmatic impairment may be able to exercise pragmatic judgement and can fulfill their basic language needs, they are often unable to translate that into pragmatic performance or respond to social cues appropriately.

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