Protocol - Vocabulary Assessment

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The Peabody Picture Vocabulary Test–Fourth Edition (PPVT™-4) is an interviewer-administered instrument that measures the receptive (hearing) vocabulary of the respondent. For each item, the examiner says a word, and then the respondent selects a picture that illustrates the word's meaning. The items sample words that represent 20 content areas (e.g., actions, vegetables, tools), and parts of speech (e.g., nouns, verbs).

Specific Instructions

The Peabody Picture Vocabulary Test–Fourth Edition (PPVT™-4) is a proprietary protocol and administration requires a licensing agreement from Pearson. Researchers should complete and return an application to pas.licensing@pearson.com. For this assessment to be considered valid, the investigator should make sure that the respondent speaks English as a first language and does not have a preexisting hearing impairment.


Limited Availability


Summary of the Peabody Picture Vocabulary Test–Fourth Edition (PPVT™-4)

The Peabody Picture Vocabulary Test–Fourth Edition (PPVT™-4) is available in two parallel forms (Form A and Form B) that are administered individually. Each form contains training items and 228 test items (not all items are given), each consisting of four full-color pictures as response options on a page. For each item, the examiner says a word, and the examinee responds by selecting the picture that best illustrates that word's meaning. The test content covers a broad range of receptive vocabulary levels, from preschool through adult. The items broadly sample words that represent 20 content areas (e.g., actions, vegetables, tools) and parts of speech (nouns, verbs, or attributes) across all levels of difficulty. The test can be scored by hand or by computer entry, using the PPVT-4 ASSIST™ scoring software.

Peabody Picture Vocabulary Test–Fourth Edition (PPVT-4). Copyright © 2007 Wascana Limited Partnership. Published and distributed exclusively by NCS Pearson, Inc. All rights reserved.

"PPVT" is a trademark of Wascana Limited Partnership.

Personnel and Training Required

The Peabody Picture Vocabulary Test–Fourth Edition (PPVT™-4) can be administered by trained research technicians. Examiners should have formal training in the ethical administration, scoring, and interpretation of clinical assessments. Additionally, investigators are encouraged to have quality control procedures in place to maintain consistency across examiners.

Equipment Needs

The interviewer will need an easel, a copy of the test form (either Form A or Form B), the manual, and either the hand or computer scoring kit.

Requirement CategoryRequired
Major equipment No
Specialized training No
Specialized requirements for biospecimen collection No
Average time of greater than 15 minutes in an unaffected individual No
Mode of Administration

Interviewer-administered questionnaire


Child, Adult


Ages 2 years and 6 months through 90 years

Selection Rationale

The Peabody Picture Vocabulary Test–Fourth Edition (PPVT™-4) was selected because it is a widely used, validated protocol that is easy to administer and includes normed data to assist scoring.


Chinese, English

Logical Observation Identifiers Names and Codes (LOINC) Vocabulary assessment proto 63002-0 LOINC
Human Phenotype Ontology Delayed speech and language development HP:0000750 HPO
Human Phenotype Ontology Expressive language delay HP:0002474 HPO
Human Phenotype Ontology Language impairment HP:0002463 HPO
Derived Variables


Process and Review

The Expert Review Panel #7 (ERP 7) reviewed the measures in the Speech and Hearing domain.

Guidance from ERP 7 includes the following:

  • No significant changes

Protocol Name from Source

The Peabody Picture Vocabulary Test-Fourth Edition (PPVT™-4)


Dunn, L. M., & Dunn, D. M. (2007). Peabody Picture Vocabulary Test–Fourth Edition (PPVT™-4). San Antonio, TX: Pearson Assessments.

Peabody Picture Vocabulary Test–Fourth Edition (PPVT™-4) is a proprietary protocol and can be obtained through:

Attn: Customer Service
P.O. Box 599700
San Antonio, TX 78259
Telephone: 800.627.7271
E-mail: clinicalcustomersupport@pearson.com

General References

Rice, M. L., Buchanan, A. L., Siberry, G. K., Malee, K. M., Zeldow, B. M. S., Frederick, T., Purswani, M. U., Hoffman, H. J., Sirois, P. A., Smith, R., Torre, P., III, Alison, S. M., & Williams, P. L. (2012). Language impairment in children perinatally infected with HIV compared to children who were HIV-exposed and uninfected. Journal of Developmental & Behavioral Pediatrics, 33, 112–123.

Rice, M. L., Russell, J. S., Frederick, T., Purswani, M., Williams, P. L., Siberry, G. K., Redmond, S. M., Hoffman, H. J., & Yao, T. J. (2018). Risk for speech and language impairments in pre-school aged HIV-exposed uninfected children with in utero combination antiretroviral exposure. Pediatric Infectious Disease Journal, 37, 678–685.

Protocol ID


Export Variables
Variable Name Variable IDVariable DescriptiondbGaP Mapping
PX201201000000 Protocol 201201 - proprietary. Check DCW for more
contact. show less
Speech, Language and Hearing
Measure Name

Vocabulary Assessment

Release Date

October 8, 2010


This measure is a test that assesses an individual's understanding of the spoken English language.


This measure is used to test vocabulary acquisition and understanding.


Semantic impairment, Peabody Picture Vocabulary Test, PPVT, speech and hearing

Measure Protocols
Protocol ID Protocol Name
201201 Vocabulary Assessment

Rice, M.L. & Tager-Flusberg, H. (2016) Language Phenotypes. In V. Jagaroo and S.L. Santangelo (eds.) Neurophenotypes, Innovations in Cognitive Neuroscience. Springer. 2016 January; doi: 10.1007/978-1-4614-3846-5_12