Ortiz PVAT Remote Administration Guidelines

Remote Administration Guidelines:
Ortiz Picture Vocabulary Acquisition Test (PVAT)

These guidelines have been developed in consultation with Dr. Sam Ortiz, author of the Ortiz Picture Vocabulary Acquisition Test.


Appropriate for remote administration.

Requires minor modification to standard administration and consideration of limitations.


As screen capture and video/audio recording is prohibited and is a violation of copyright laws, all video/audio recording capabilities of the telehealth platform being used must be disabled to protect test security.

The administrator must advise the parent and child that screen capture and video/audio recording is prohibited; you may wish to include this in your consent documents.


The child is not to have access to a device that would allow them to look up the meaning of words. Administrator should be watching the child via video to ensure they are not looking anywhere other than the screen (not checking a smartphone or other medium for answers).

Although the test manual indicates that “the use of headphones or earphones is not generally recommended for administration of the Ortiz PVAT, as the examiner should be able to hear the target word to monitor progress throughout the test,” in a remote administration we require that the child be wearing headphones or earphones to ensure that the audio is only heard by them and no one else in the child’s setting. The audio will also be able to be heard by the administrator in this instance through their own computer or external speakers. Having the audio played aloud through the computer speakers or any other device on the child’s side would allow for the potential that others are hearing the target word and able to cue the child for the correct response. In addition, use of headphones helps ensure adequate sound quality that might otherwise be degraded via remote administration procedures which may be subject to poor Wi-Fi/internet connections and limited bandwidth.

The internet connection and audio connection need to be tested to ensure the stimuli are seen clearly with no distortion and that the audio is clear.

In a typical administration, the environment should be free from distractions and the test should be done in a quiet environment. This setting is also required for remote administration. All guidelines in the manual regarding administration should be adhered to for remote administration as much as possible.

Please ensure minimum hardware and software requirements from the manual are followed when administering remotely. The child should be using a device with a minimum screen size of 7.9” (equivalent to an iPad Mini). Screen sharing to a mobile phone is not appropriate as it would be exceptionally difficult for the examinee to discern necessary details when differentiating among the pictorial stimuli. If using a tablet device, the screen should be in landscape orientation.


As noted in the test manual, the child should not be chewing gum or have candy in their mouth during testing. In the case of a remote administration, it is particularly important that child not be chewing gum, have candy, or be eating during the administration of the test as this will interfere with the audio (you hear yourself chew when wearing headphones/earphones).

In a standard in-person administration, the child (in most cases) will be able to self-administer the test in the presence of the examiner. This is referred to in the manual as “unassisted administration.” In a remote administration conducted through screen sharing technology, the examinee is not physically interacting with the device but rather viewing it while the examiner is handling it. Thus, the examiner will need to record the examinee’s responses and advance to the next item following the guidelines for remote administration in the manual. The child will need to verbalize their response choice (1-4) and be allowed to request that the audio be replayed as desired for each item, including moving back to previous items and changing responses, if so indicated. The examiner should be careful not to provide any verbal or nonverbal cues to the child regarding which response to select or the correctness of each response provided. While this is the best mode for a remote administration, it may not be the best mode for administration for individuals who are very limited in their English proficiency or who are so young as to not yet be capable of recognizing and verbally articulating the numbers from 1 to 4. Remote administration is therefore recommended ONLY for individuals with the ability to count verbally and easily to ten while also being able to recognize numbers in written form, from 1 to 10.

One factor that makes the Ortiz PVAT very amenable to remote administration is that in a standard in-person administration, the practice portion of the test is the only part that requires the vast majority of the examiner’s involvement. Once the test starts, there is no need for further examiner input, unless the examinee doesn’t respond, tries to skip an item, etc. This means that actual standardized administration of the test is not actually violated through a remote administration since no further instruction or guidance need be provided by examiner beyond the practice items. As long as the examiner stays neutral in the administration, records the response (1-4), advances the screen, and replays audio at request of the child, the results from a remote administration should be as valid as those from a standard in-person administration.

Be sure to record any behavioral observations of the youth during the administration of the test and document the non-standard remote nature of the administration in any subsequent report of the assessment.


  1. Ensure use of headphones/headsets by client so that stimuli are heard privately to reduce interference from third parties.
  2. Use video feed from client to observe them and ensure they are not distracted (e.g., eating, chewing gum, playing on cell phone, etc.) and keep the video feed on your screen at all times.
  3. Begin “sharing” your screen when you come to the practice items so that client sees the test on their screen at that point and use the speaker button to ensure the client can hear the stimuli correctly.
  4. Administer instructions for the first practice item in normal fashion and add wording that the client must verbally state (e.g., say out loud to the examiner) the number that corresponds to the picture that means the same as the word they just heard.
  5. Explain that the client may ask to have the stimulus word repeated and they can go back and change answers if they want to, they only need ask.
  6. Complete the rest of the practice items and if the client is ready, proceed directly to the test via the button provided or administer additional practice items if necessary.
  7. Once the test is completed, all other procedures for scoring and report generation are the same as with any other in-person administration.
Notice for International Customers: We are currently investigating issues with our 416-492-2627 phone number for international customers only. We hope to resolve these issues soon! International customers can contact MHS via email, [email protected]. We thank you for your patience and continued business.