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Chapter 3

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University of Guelph
PSYC 3850
Carol Anne Hendry

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  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  Others attempt to detect inherited or congenitally present disorders A number of anomalies can be treated   Treatment can prevent or substantially diminish the developmental problem that would result if the condition were unknown or ignored  Certain other abnormalities are detectable from clinical observation at the newborn stage Beyond the Newborn Stage  Certain measurements are difficult to make from birth through the first few years of life Intellectual  A number of instruments and evaluation procedures attempt to assess intellectual functioning in young children  Revised Bayley Scales of Infant Development represent one such instrument  Include test items from 1 to 30 months after birth for children at risk  Rely heavily on the assessment of sensorimotor performance  Bayley scales are reasonably accurate for certain high-risk populations  Instrument that have been employed at this age include the Brazelton Neonatal Behavioural Assessment Scale (3 days to 4 weeks), the Griffiths Scale (birth to 4 years) and the Revised Gesell Scale (birth through 5 years) Language  The assessment of language at this very early age is challenging  Robinson and Robb (2002) note that two broad models are prominent  One model promotes evaluation that is generally naturalistic assessment  This type of information is viewed quite favourably but is costly in terms of time and money to train observers  The alternative method is one where an instrument is employed to assess language development status  One criticism of this approach is it is often directed at the limited scope of evaluation that is imposed Using instruments to assess language status often does not involve as much time for the evaluation as the more lengthy  naturalistic assessment approach  Evaluation of language development is an increasingly im
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