After 10 years' work in the area of cleft palate, we decided to assess the acceptability of the speech of the children concerned. To ensure objectivity, untrained listeners, who were not aware that they were listening to children with repaired cleft palate, were asked to evaluate the child's spontaneous speech by comparing it with the speech of three of that child's peers. The results suggested that the child spoke less acceptably than his peers. As our aim was to compare the child with his peers, a rank ordering was selected as a means of evaluation rather than absolute judgements, i.e. a rating scale. The tape recordings of the cleft repaired children were also assessed by a speech pathologist experienced in the management of these children. The results of this assessment were comparable with results obtained overseas. In the light of our findings, we suggest that peer group comparison by untrained "naïve" listeners may be a useful adjunct to the traditional assessment by the speech pathologist.