University of Edinburgh

Introduction to STASS: assessment of language skills

presented on 19 March 2008

STASS Phrases Level 2

children using stass

STASS is only interested in certain phrase patterns:

DN: the cat a man my hat
Adj N: red car big one nice cat
NN: book cover TV set
Prep N: in box at home
VV: come cry let know
Vpart: fall over ring up
Int X: very hard really sweet

Spot the Level 2 Phrases

turn up
a doggie
computer screen
on TV
extremely quick

turn up VPart
a doggie DN
computer screen NN
on TV PrepN
extremely quick IntX

STASS Phrases Level 3

D Adj N the old man my little dog
Adj Adj N big, old Ben new, red car
Prep D N in the kitchen on the roof
N Adj N top red car
Cop I am six.
Aux She is flying!
Pron she
Prep Adj N in big car

Spot the Level 3 Phrases

He is my brother.
We were cycling.
on black horsie

He is my brother.
Pron Cop

We were cycling.
Pron Aux

on black horsie
Prep Adj N

STASS Phrases Level 4

N Prep NP top of the cupboard
Prep D Adj N in the big box
cX and mummy
XcX Laurie and Ewan
Neg V don't know
Neg X not up
2 Aux has been driving

Spot the Level 4 Phrases

and Ella came
Dad didn't tell me.
Linda's been telling lies!
up the steep stairs

and Ella came cX
Dad didn’t tell me. Neg V
Linda’ s been telling lies! 2 Aux
up the steep stairs PrepDAdjN


You now know about phrase level analysis!

Most STASS responses are predictable so less time needed on phrase level analysis.

child using stass

Word level analysis

Five forms of the verb:

walk fly  
walks flies 3S
walking flying -ing
walked flew -ed
walked flown -en

PL Plural: cars teeth

Gen Genitive: the cat's tail
belonging to

'aux contracted auxiliary: He's been here

-er Comparative: bigger, older

-est Superlative: biggest, oldest

-ly Adverb ending: quickly, loudly

Spot the word level features

The lady's playing football.
He bumped into Jenny's car.
She's the biggest girl.

The lady's playing football. ‘aux 3s

He bumped into mummy's car. Gen

She's the biggest girl. 'cop 3s


My medicine / tastes / yummy.

The Subject is a phrase. It’s a NP.

Teddy / in box.

The Adverbial element is a phrase.
It’s actually a preposition phrase but STASS records it as an adverbial phrase.

That's it!

Clause level eg; SVA
Phrase level eg; DAdjN
Word level eg; -ed
Expansions eg; XY+S:NP

You can now analyse anything!