The Russian Aphasia Test: The first comprehensive, quantitative, standardized, and computerized aphasia language battery in Russian
The lack of standardized language assessment tools in Russian impedes clinical work, evidence-based practice, and research in Russian-speaking clinical populations. To address this gap in assessment of neurogenic language disorders, we developed and standardized a new comprehensive assessment instrument–the Russian Aphasia Test (RAT). The principal novelty of the RAT is that each subtest corresponds to a specific level of linguistic processing (phonological, lexical-semantic, syntactic, and discourse) in different domains: auditory comprehension, repetition, and oral production. In designing the test, we took into consideration various (psycho)linguistic factors known to influence language performance, as well as specific properties of Russian. The current paper describes the development of the RAT and reports its psychometric properties. A tablet-based version of the RAT was administered to 85 patients with different types and severity of aphasia and to 106 age-matched neurologically healthy controls. We established cutoff values for each subtest indicating deficit in a given task and cutoff values for aphasia based on the Receiver Operating Characteristic curve analysis of the composite score. The RAT showed very high sensitivity (> .93) and specificity (> .96), substantiating its validity for determining presence of aphasia. The test’s high construct validity was evidenced by strong correlations between subtests measuring similar linguistic processes. The concurrent validity of the test was also strong as demonstrated by a high correlation with an existing aphasia battery. Overall high internal, inter-rater, and test-retest reliability were obtained. The RAT is the first comprehensive aphasia language battery in Russian with properly established psychometric properties. It is sensitive to a wide range of language deficits in aphasia and can reliably characterize individual profiles of language impairments. Notably, the RAT is the first comprehensive aphasia test in any language to be fully automatized for administration on a tablet, maximizing further standardization of presentation and scoring procedures.