PSYC 3850 Chapter Notes - Chapter 3: Intellectual Disability, Apgar Score, Genetic Counseling

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Chapter 3
Alfred Binet began the serious efforts to measure intelligence in 1904
The influence of development in psychological assessment is evident far beyond the area of intellectual disabilities, and its
methodology has become increasingly complex
Issues and Concepts
Research on measurement of intelligence has a very long history
Efforts have been made to evaluate other areas of functioning
In some cases the development of assessment instruments has been driven by commercial motives rather than the cautious and
systematic investigations of science
Assessment Use
Instrument development has occurred at a very rapid rate, often at the expense of careful and deliberate thought about the
purposes and uses of the tests
There has been a significant proliferation of psycho-educational instruments in the past 30 years
New instrumentation is being developed continually at an accelerating rate
Questions arise about the degree to of technical precision
Many instruments on the market do not give adequate attention to sound measurement practices
Assessment Referencing
Development and articulation of measurement concepts regarding the reference used for data interpretation represents one of
the more important developments in the field of assessment
This refers to what standards or comparisons are used for a child's performance
Most prominent in this work is the distinction between norm- and criterion-referenced evaluation
Using different referents does not necessarily mean that different test items are employed, just that the performance data are
compared with a different standard
Norm Referencing
Early assessment developments focused on how an individual performed, compared to others, particularly in the area of
intelligence
Child's test score was viewed in relation to his/her age mates or some standard norm
Assessment in which the performance of an individual is compared with that of others is known as norm-referenced
evaluation
This is when how well an individual performs is compared or referenced to the scores of others using well established norms
The norm-referenced approach has been predominant for many years
As the science of human behaviour progressed, measurement problems that obviously needed attention developed
Standardized tests provided information that was useful for some purposes but not for others
Norm-referenced assessment information did little to facilitate placement, planning, and programming
The difficulties with norm-referenced assessments described here do not mean that it lacks value
Criterion Referencing
Criterion-referenced evaluation assesses specific skill areas individually, rather than generating a score based on a composite
of skills
It does not compare an individual's performance with that of others
Test items are usually arranged in a sequence of increasing difficulty, and a person's functioning is viewed in terms of
absolute performance lever or the actual number of operations completed
Level of performance may be referenced in one of two ways:
First way involved an evaluator and the teacher (often the same person) asking "is this level of proficiency adequate for this
child at this time"
Second way involves comparison of the individual's performance in one area with their performance in another
Criterion referenced evaluation has been applied in a wide variety of settings, one of the most pertinent being classroom
assessments
Curriculum-based assessment uses the sequential objectives of the student's curriculum as the referent or criterion for
evaluating progress
Curriculum-based also provides a natural and efficient process for screening assessment
Criterion- and norm-referenced assessment studies have shown that neither in isolation results in a totally effective process
Formative and Summative Evaluation
Other conceptual developments look directly to the purposes of evaluation and have led to the articulation of two broad
categories
Formative evaluation is assessment that focuses not on a desired behaviour but on the next step in an instructional program
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Summative evaluation involves assessment of terminal behaviours and evaluates performance at the end of a given period
Assessment Bias
Discriminatory testing is another concern in the assessment field
Questions about discriminatory assessment surface particularly often with respect to the standardized, norm-referenced testing
of minority group children
Assessment bias, whether due to instrumentation or administration, generates inaccurate results that are at least partially due to
cultural background, rather than actual mental abilities or skills
Attempts to construct unbiased instruments have been largely disappointing
Some of the efforts undertaken are beginning to place the assessment of minority children on firmer ground
Evidence continues to indicate that factors such as ethnicity influence a youngster's likelihood of being diagnosed as having a
disability and minority children still represent a disproportionately large segment of the population identified as having
intellectual disabilities
Early Life
Screening Concepts
High-risk situations may trigger assessment and actual intervention aimed at prevention
Genetic counseling may be employed in a wide range of circumstances where developmental abnormalities are probable and
may result in advice that a pregnancy should be avoided or closely monitored if the potential parents decide to proceed
Early identification plays a vital role in terms of planning for the future of the child and the family
Certain problems persist in accomplishing early screening assessments for intellectual disabilities
One serious difficulty in assessing young children is accuracy of prediction
Prediction is not as accurate as we would like, but it is not impossible
Accuracy of prediction is much greater with the infant who has severe disability and exhibits clearer signs of impairment
earlier
Another concern for early screening assessment involves the factors evaluated
Valuable predictive information may be obtained by evaluating environmental factors as well at the child's developmental
status
Some factors are more important than others such as parents' language style, attitudes about achievement, and general
involvement with the young child
Genetics, Other Assessment and Prevention Issues
The early identification of disability or risk conditions is very important and in many cases enhances the probability of a
favourable intervention outcome
Prevention focuses on pregnancies or newborn children who are thought to be at risk
Certain pregnancy situations are at greater risk for developmental accidents or disruption of the normal developmental
processes than others
One negative outcome of early assessment is labelling
Evaluation of minority groups is an even greater concern in early screening as issues of poverty, race and environment play a
large role in early screening access
Early Life Assessment
Prenatal
Early assessments are now considered essential to monitoring fetal status
In cases where problems are detected these assessments may result in very early intervention
High-risk pregnancies are more frequent among women who cannot afford adequate health care or who for some reason do
not have adequate medical resources available to them
Routine, ongoing prenatal assessment is generally adequate as long as a healthy mother and fetus are involved
Certain danger signs prompt more extensive evaluation
There are accurate diagnoses possible for a variety of hereditary disorders
The ability to detect and take action is a major contribution to the field of intellectual disabilities
Even more significant is the ability to prevent personal tragedies resulting from the birth of children with such devastating
disorders and to provide intervention and support for the parents
Significant portions of this kind of extensive prenatal assessment are not yet routine
Newborn
A variety of assessment techniques are used with the newborn
Immediately after birth, several factors are noted and rated on the Apgar score (measures heart rate, respiratory effort, muscle
tone reflex irritability, and colour
Extremely low Apgar scores at the 5-minute measure suggests a potential problem and is considered an indicator for a variety
of developmental difficulties
Other assessment procedures can be conducted during the very early part of a child's life
Some evaluate neurological status and reflex behaviours
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Document Summary

Alfred binet began the serious efforts to measure intelligence in 1904. The influence of development in psychological assessment is evident far beyond the area of intellectual disabilities, and its methodology has become increasingly complex. Research on measurement of intelligence has a very long history. Efforts have been made to evaluate other areas of functioning. In some cases the development of assessment instruments has been driven by commercial motives rather than the cautious and systematic investigations of science. Instrument development has occurred at a very rapid rate, often at the expense of careful and deliberate thought about the purposes and uses of the tests. There has been a significant proliferation of psycho-educational instruments in the past 30 years. New instrumentation is being developed continually at an accelerating rate. Questions arise about the degree to of technical precision. Many instruments on the market do not give adequate attention to sound measurement practices.

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