ALTA certification is a great way to ensure you become a recognized CALT, but you’ll need to study hard for the exam. Here’s how.
ALTA certification is one of the best ways to become a CALT or a language interventionist if you can handle the extensive training program. In the following paragraphs, we’re looking into everything it takes to become an ALTA member and teach structured literacy to learners with learning differences. In addition, we’ve got some tips that will help you prepare for and ace the test.
What is ALTA and how to become a certified CALT member?
The Academic Language Therapy Association (ALTA) is a non-profit professional organization with the goal of providing language therapy and language intervention services for those with learning difficulties such as dyslexia.
The organization also provides necessary resources and professional training for speech and certified academic language therapists (CALT), teachers, and others working who work with students suffering from learning disabilities.
In addition, ALTA seeks to provide certified members with further opportunities for professional development. It gathers language and dyslexia therapists and offers them a network to cooperate.
How to become a CALT?
Becoming a CALTA is, in theory, straightforward. However, preparing for the ALTA competency exam and passing it will require a lot of studying and experience. In short, you’ll need to meet the following requirements:
- You must have a master’s degree (MA) in a relevant field, for example, speech-language pathology.
- You must have at least several hundred hours (usually 30) of experience in special education and language therapy.
- You will have to complete the coursework.
- You must pass the exam itself.
It bears mentioning that being a dyslexia specialist and a qualified instructor means you’ll have to study even after passing the exam. The research is always pushing things forward, so you’ll have to be up-to-date with the latest news in the field of dyslexia and the science of reading.
ALTA’s ultimate mission and goal for helping the dyslexic community learn and thrive
As we’ve alluded to, ALTA’s ultimate mission is to provide high-quality language therapy services to those in need of them. It focuses on multisensory structured language education and evidence-based practicums that teach cumulative language skills and encourages early language development.
For those looking to become speech-language pathologists, CALTs, etc., ALTA provides tons of workshops, conferences, and seminars to help enthusiasts keep up with the latest developments in dyslexia and language disorder studies.
What’s covered in the ALTA exam?
The ALTA exam covers all areas of language studies relevant to dyslexia and related disorders. The reason why the exam is so comprehensive is that it seeks to provide future reading instruction interventionists with all the necessary skills that will aid them in their lessons.
The exam focuses on the following:
- Phonics, i.e., phonological awareness and phonemic awareness
- Word semantics and vocabulary
- Reading comprehension and fluency
- Writing fluency
- Assessment and evaluation skills
- Language intervention skills
- Professional ethics
The exam is a standard multiple-choice question test, although it includes other kinds of questions that will check your knowledge in the areas mentioned above.
Tips and Resources for getting ALTA certified
Preparing for a test as comprehensive as the ALTA certification exam can be tough and time-consuming. If you want to maximize your studying efficiency, make sure to check out our tips below.
Join study groups
It’s safe to say you’re not alone in trying to become a CALTA by passing the ALTA exam. On the contrary, there are tons of candidates you’ll be interacting with on your journey. Luckily, some of them are bound to be super knowledgeable and have master’s or at least bachelor’s degrees in areas related to dyslexia, ADHD, language therapy, and special education classroom remediation. They might even be members of the International Dyslexia Association (IDA).
If you can, you should form study groups with other candidates. You can share your experiences and offer each other feedback to optimize your studying. You can also share learning materials and talk about everyone’s previous experiences with ALTA. If you want, you can also orgnize mock tests and practice informal assessment on each other.
Attend ALTA workshops and seminars
There are many ALTA workshops, seminars, and conferences. If you can, you should participate in as many of them as possible. If you can’t do that, at least attend those focusing on a specific learning disability you’re trying to specialize in. You can find all info by contacting ALTA at [email protected].
Make sure you go through the ALTA guides and study materials
The ALTA learning center has some study materials you can use to practice and prepare for the exam. They focus on all sorts of written-language disorders, phonemics, morphology, language decoding, etc.
Use text to speech to study for your exam
Repetition is key when preparing for any exam. If you don’t have enough time to study, you can use text-to-speech (TTS) programs like Speechify to cover your study materials more quickly and often.
Speechify is a TTS app develop to help those with dyslexia engage with their reading materials. It can turn anything into audio files, even printed text and images, so it’s highly flexible when you need to create personalized study materials.
It also supports not only the English language but Spanish, Italian, Chinese, and many other languages too. In addition, it features customizable voice settings, adjustable reading speeds, and other audio editing and tweaking features, so you can speed-listen to your test guides.
Check out similar courses and study guides
ALTA materials are useful, but they are by no means sufficient. You should rely on other courses and study guides, too. Look for resources online or ask for them in your study group. You can get familiar with some teaching programs, too, to see how things work in practice, for example, Orton-Gillingham.
A perfect learning method is always systematic and structured. You need to create a stable study plan. Come up with a timeline, write down specific goals (both short- and long-term), and come up with a list of all resources you want to cover.
What is the passing score?
The passing score cannot be determined as it depends on the performance of the whole group of candidates.