This is a test of phonological awareness, involving detection of rhyme (in the case of children aged 4–6 years) and rhyme and alliteration (in the case of children aged 7 years).
The scenario presented to students younger than 7 years old is that the computer will display some pictures which have names. Some of the names rhyme (sound the same at the end). If the student already knows what rhymes are, you can quickly progress to testing. If the student does not know what a rhyme is then the teacher may provide examples of rhymes. The teacher may emphasise the rhyming end sounds during the CoPS demonstration and practice phases. After no more than a few examples, testing should commence, whereupon the student should not be given the benefit of any repetition or emphasis from the teacher.
For students aged 7 years a similar scenario can be used for the first part of this subtest, after modification to ensure it is age appropriate. However, the second half of the subtest for the older students includes items which alliterate rather than rhyme. Instructions should be modified for these different subtest items. Such instructions may be in the form of: ‘Instead of words sounding the same at the end, they will sound the same at the beginning. Listen very carefully’ (see Figure 26).
It is possible that the teacher may feel that the student will not be very successful at this subtest even after they have explained the task personally. Do not worry about this and proceed with testing as normal. This is not a problem since the subtest has been shown to be valid and reliable adhering to these test principles. Simply try to encourage the student to complete the test in the best way they can.
Note that each of the rhyming and alliterative items include a semantic distracter (see Figure 25). This is a picture which has some meaningful link to the ‘to be rhymed with’ item but its name does not rhyme. So, in the example given in the figure the semantic distracter to the ‘boat–coat’ rhyme is ‘boat-river’. If the student cannot rhyme with confidence, then they may tend to select the semantic distracter.
Figure 25. An example of a rhyming test item (boat–coat)
Figure 26. An example of an alliterative item (duck–door)