PEPS-C Research Version and Clinical PEPS-C have both now been replaced by PEPS-C 2015, which combines the user-friendly features of the Clinical version with the facility to collate results that used to be available only in the Research version. PEPS-C 2015 can automatically collate summary and detailed results from multiple testees in a separate Excel workbook. The automated comparison of different ratings for expressive task responses, a feature of the Research version, is not included in PEPS-C 2015, although ratings clearly can be compared by asking multiple judges to listen to the recordings of expressive task responses, and manually noting their responses.
Description: Profiling Elements of Prosody in Speech-Communication (PEPS-C) is a semi-automated test battery for assessing receptive and expressive prosody skills. It has been used in several studies of the speech and understanding of children with high-functioning autism/Asperger's syndrome (see Prosody and autism spectrum conditions). It is intended for use by language teachers, clinicians and researchers in assessing prosody in any conditions in both children and adults.
Tasks: PEPS-C comprises 14 tasks, addressing receptive and expressive skills in parallel. The tasks are at two levels, examining prosodic function and prosodic form respectively. The assessment of skills at two levels helps to determine the level at which a testee has a problem with prosody, thus enabling better targeting of intervention.
Ages: The test is suitable for all ages above 4. Normative data: PEPS-C is not standardised, but a limited amount of normative data is available. Users of PEPS-C are encouraged to return their normative results via the contact form so that eventually a database of normative data can be compiled. Time requirement: The complete test takes 40-60 minutes. Tasks can also be run individually.
Prosodic Functions PEPS-C defines six main linguistic functions conveyed by prosody (independent of syntactic constraints), with a receptive and an expressive task for each: 1. Turn end: indicating whether an utterance (a single word) requires an answer or not (question/statement), as in ‘Carrots?’ and ‘Carrots.’ 2. Affect: indicating mood/emotions/opinions; in this task, a single word denoting a food or a drink, signalling liking or reservation (e.g., ‘Carrots’ sounding happy as opposed to ‘Carrots’ sounding unhappy). 3. Lexical Stress (new in 2015 edition): the stressing of one syllable rather than the other in disyllabic words (e.g. ‘IMprint’ (noun) as opposed to ‘imPRINT’ (verb). 4. Phrase Stress (new in 2015 edition): distinguishing between two simple nouns as opposed to one compound noun, e.g. ‘black bird’ vs ‘blackbird’ within sentences such as ‘A blackbird just flew past’ / ‘A black bird just flew past’. 5. Boundary: prosodic phrase boundaries indicating how speech can be verbally 'chunked', as in the difference between 'fruit, salad and milk' and 'fruit-salad and milk'. 6. Contrastive Stress or Focus: emphasising one word in an utterance to focus attention on it, e.g. 'white COW' (stressing ‘cow’) as opposed to 'WHITE cow' (stressing ‘white’).
Prosodic forms The Research and Clinical versions included 4 form tasks, comprising the prosodic variations that convey different meanings, involving non-cognitive skills. The tasks were:
two auditory discrimination tasks, essentially same/different tasks. Stimuli exemplify those used in the receptive prosodic function tasks. Testees discern differences between the wordless intonation/prosody of words and phrases, in two tasks, respectively as 2-3 syllable (Short-item/Intonation) and 6-7 syllable (Long-item/Prosody).
two imitation tasks requiring the production of the types of prosodic variation needed for completing the expressive function tasks. Testees are invited to imitate the intonation in two tasks, respectively involving 2-3 syllable words (Short-item/Intonation) and 6-7 syllable phrases (Long-item/Prosody).
In PEPS-C 2015, the two discrimination tasks have been amalgamated into one (Discrimination), as have the two imitation tasks (Imitation). Both Discrimination and Imitation include the intonational/prosodic features of the new function tasks.
Procedures: PEPS-C is easy to administer but requires some familiarisation. Using a computer, the tester (clinician/teacher) elicits responses through auditory stimuli and pictures presented on the screen.
Receptive tasks present an auditory stimulus with two pictures as response options on the computer screen: testees click on one half of the computer screen by way of response.
The pictures included in the test are likely to be familiar to all, including young children, but a pre-test vocabulary check is completed so that tester and testee can agree on the words for what is seen in the pictures.
Stimulus items are culturally inoffensive and easy to pronounce.
In expressive function tasks, pictures appear on the screen and testees describe what they see: their utterances are scored by the tester on a separate keypad (see Order form, page 1): this ensures that the tester’s judgment of responses is not biased by seeing the stimuli.
For imitation tasks, testers evaluate utterances as Good, Fair or Poor: a training programme ensures standardisation of judgments.
Confidentiality is ensured in that the testee is assigned an identity code which is all that appears in computer records.
Scoring is automated, ensuring safety from transcription errors and enabling the tester to focus on the testee’s performance. The program includes a scoresheet for each testee that can be printed out, and the means of collating scores of multiple testees. Individual scores can be compared with data obtained from control testees.
Testees’ responses can be replayed by clinking on links in the individual scoresheets.
The test is available in several language versions and runs on a PC. The package uses Microsoft Excel to store and display results.
 As at 1 October 2015: English (Australian English, North American English, General or Southern British English, Edinburgh Scottish English, Irish English), Dutch (Flemish), French, Norwegian, Spanish. The test is not currently available on Apple Mac computers, though the results workbook can be used on a Mac