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LECTURE 1

INTRODUCTION TO ASSESSMENT
TECHNIQUES USED WITH CHILDREN
Prepared By:
SHAZIA IQBAL HASHIMI
Questions for consideration
What is assessment
What kinds of assessors conduct psychological and
psycho-educational evaluations?
What kinds of classification systems do evaluators use in
making diagnoses and determinations?
What tests and measures are most frequently
administered?
What questions should advocates consider when
reviewing evaluations?
What remedies are available if test results and/or
conclusions appear inaccurate or misleading?
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Assessment is the process of collecting
data for the purpose of making decisions.
Its main goal is to identify and understand
the individuals symptoms within the
context of his her overall level of
functioning and environment.
assessment .
Is a process
Is a decision making tool
Can apply to an individual or group
Generate products

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Purpose of Psych. Assessment
Goal Driven
Broad Screening versus Focused/Problem-
Specific
Diagnostic
Differential and Comorbid Conditions
Therapy Oriented
Identify target problems
Develop preliminary intervention plan
Progress evaluation
How well are ongoing interventions
working?

Testing vs. Assessment
Both involve
Identifying areas of concern
Collecting data
Psychological Testing
Administering tests
Focuses solely on collection of data
Psychological Assessment
More broad goals
Involves several clinical tools
Uses clinical skill to interpret data and
synthesize results
Psychological Testing
Require standardized procedures for
behavior measurement
Consistency and use of the same
Item content
Administration procedures
Scoring criteria
Designed to reduce personal differences
and biases of examiners and other
external influences on the childs
performance
Psychological Assessment
Main types of assessment
1. Norm-referenced tests
2. Interviews
3. Observations
4. Informal assessment procedures
5. Non-norm referenced tests

Consideration for comprehensive
assessment system
The child is an individual and a group member.

The stakeholders- child , parents, teachers,
administrators, policy board members, and legislators
as participants in the process as well as consumers of
the products.

The program philosophy and the curriculum or
intervention strategy of the program

The purpose of evaluating, measuring, or
documenting progress

Available methods and accuracy, usability, and
meaning of the results.
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ASSESSMENT DOMAIN
Assessment involves the specification
and verification of problems for the
purpose of making different kinds of
decisions.
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Academic Problems. In academic
settings, teachers usually make that
decision on the basis of their
observations of the pupils performance
in core content areas; reading,
mathematics, written language and
communication.
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Behavior Problems. Behavior
problems include failure to get along
with peers, delinquent activities, and
excessive withdrawn, as well as
disruptive and non-compliant behavior.
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Physical problems. Physical problems
include sensory disabilities such as
vision or hearing, problems of physical
structure for example spina-bifida or
cerebral palsy and chronic health
problems such as diabetes and asthma.
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Norm-Referenced Tests
Tests that are standardized on a clearly
defined group
Normative versus clinical reference groups
Goal: quantify the childs functioning
Scores represent a rank within the comparison
group
Examples
Intelligence
Academic skills
Neurocognitive skills
Motor skills
Behavioral and emotional functioning
Norm-Referenced Tests
Psychometric properties
Demographically representative
standardization sample
Reliability
Internal consistency, test-retest stability
Validity
Correlation with other tests measuring same construct
Ecological
Psychological tests are imperfect
Examiner, the child, and the environment
can affect responses and scores
Most attempt to be normally distributed
Standard deviation: Commonly used measure of the
extent to which scores deviate from the mean
In a Normal distribution, 68% of cases fall between 1 SD
above the mean and 1 SD below the mean
The threshold for meeting clinical significance varies
across tests, typically > 1 to 2 SDs above or below mean
Normal or Bell curve
Norm-Referenced Tests
Percentile ranks
Determines childs position relative to the
comparison group
Example: What does it mean when a
child is in the 35th %tile on an Intelligence
test??
Age-Equivalent and Grade-Equivalent
scores
Frequently used on academic
achievement tests
Sometimes questionable validity
Tests are samples of behavior.

Tests do not reveal directly traits and
capacities.

Tests should have adequate reliability
and validity
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Test scores and other test
performances may be adversely
affected by temporary states of fatigue,
anxiety, stress.

Tests results should be interpreted in
light of the childs cultural background,
primary language and any handicapping
conditions.
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Test results are dependent on childs
cooperation and motivation.

Tests purporting to measure the same
ability may produce different scores for
that ability.
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Test results should be interpreted in
relation to other behavioral data and to
case history information, never in
isolated.

Tests and other assessment procedures
are powerful tools, but their
effectiveness will depend on skill and
knowledge.
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TYPES OF TESTS
Informal versus standardized tests
Individual versus group tests
Mastery versus survey tests
Supply versus selection tests
Speed versus power tests
Objective versus subjective tests
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Interviewing
Types of interviews:
Unstructuredallow child/parent to tell
their story
Semi-structuredprovide flexible
guidelines, a starting point
Structuredmost often used to make
diagnoses or in research studies,
standardized
May interfere with rapport
Does not provide info on family interactions or a
functional analysis of behavior
Which types of interview require the most
clinical skill??
Explaining Confidentiality
Parents sign releases of information
Review concept of confidentiality and its limits
early in clinical interaction
Limits to confidentiality:
Specific threat to someone else (homicidal
ideation)
Self-harm is threatened (suicidal plan/intent)
Sexual and physical abuse (history or current)
Insurance requests
Courts
Generally referral source
Interviewing Techniques
Establishing rapport is crucial
Moving from open-ended to closed-ended
questions (general to specific)
Tell me about why youre here today?
What about school is most difficult for you?
Are you failing math because you didnt
hand in your homework.not
studyingdidnt understand the material?
Avoid
Double-barreled questions (and, or)
Long, multiple questions
Leading questions
Psychological jargon
Example Developmental
Interview
A. History of presenting problem
B. Prenatal, perinatal, and early postnatal history
C. Medical history
D. Acquisition of age-related milestones
E. School history
F. Personality, social, emotional, behavioral
history
G. Family history
H. Expectations about assessment visit
Example Developmental
Interview
A. History of presenting problem
Parental description of problem
Childs view of problem
Onset
Duration
Interventions attempted
Prior assessments
Parents sense of effects of problem, and
sense of childs understanding
Example Developmental
Interview
B. Prenatal, perinatal, and early
postnatal history
Pregnancy
Labor and delivery
Birth weight
Apgar scores
Complications post-birth

Example Developmental
Interview
C. Medical history
Across all ages
Accidents & injures
Major illnesses
Ear infections
Neurological conditions
Congenital and genetic conditions
Hearing and eyesight

Example Developmental
Interview
D. Acquisition of age-related milestones
Motor
Language
Toileting
E. School history
Preschool experiences to present
Settings
Achievement, grades, strengths and
weaknesses
Behavioral, emotional, social functioning
IEPs, 504 Plans, accommodations,
modifications
What teachers think
Example Developmental
Interview
F. Personality, social, emotional/mood, behavioral
history across development
Temperament as an infant and toddler
2.5-5 years: Development of play, aggression,
interests
5-11 years: Hobbies, activities, friendships,
family relationships
11 to adolescence: Development of interest in
opposite sex, dating and sex, activities, drug
and alcohol use, family relationships, self-
concept, goals and aspirations
Example Developmental
Interview
G. Family history
Parental history: marriage(s), # children
Demographics, ages, education,
occupation, SES
Siblings: ages, problems, school history
Medical, genetic, developmental,
psychological, abuse problems
H. Expectations about assessment visit
Developmental Considerations
Young children tend to think in concrete
ways, while teens may reflects more on
feelings and motivations
While age is an obvious indicator of
developmental level, language and
cognitive levels may also vary with age
Interview format should be adjusted to the
individual childs level
Open vs. Closed questions
Developmental Considerations
6 year olds might be asked about the
difference between preschool and
kindergarten
Young teens might be asked about the
transition to individualized school
schedules and homework, and peer
pressures.
Older teens might be asked about
college, vocational plans, or separating
from parents
Format of the Interview
Who will be interviewed is often a
question with young patients
e.g., Children under 6 typically are
generally interviewed with parents, then
sometimes parents are seen alone
e.g., Older children and adolescents are
often seen as a family first and then later
may be interviewed alone
Sex abuse may be an exception

Format of the Interview
If the clinicians sees family together it
allows for:
Observation of interactional patterns
Areas of agreement and disagreement
Tell family how their time will be
structured
Allow them to know if they can save
sensitive topics for when they are alone

Closing the Interview
Summarize what has been learned
Make sure you understand what the
interviewee has reported
Helps determine what additional
information might be needed
Ask the child/family if they have
questions
Is there anything else I didnt ask
about that you think it would be
important for me to know?
Behavioral Observations
Psychological assessments always include
observations about the patients behavior
during the assessment
Collected throughout the assessment
Areas assessed/observed:
Orientation (person, place, time)
General appearance and behavior
Gait, posture, dress, personal hygiene, activity level
Speech and thought
Coherence, speed, open vs. guarded

Behavioral Observations
General response style
Mood and affect
Euthymic vs. dysthymic
Labile, blunted, etc.
Reactions to being evaluated
Response to encouragement
Attitude towards self
Unusual habits, mannerisms,
vocalizations
Behavioral Observations
How child relates to parent?
How child relates to examiner?
How child reacts to test materials or
toys?
Is the child age appropriate in
behavior?
How is the childs concentration?

Behavioral Observations
Are tantrums seen?
Does the child cooperate?
What is the extent of childs
responses?
short vs. elaborate
How is the childs speech and
language development?
Informal Assessment
Self-monitoring records
Report cards
Personal documents
Diaries, poems, stories
Role playing

Consideration assessing young
children

Clearly specifying what is to be
assessed has priority in the assessment
process.

An assessment procedure should be
selected because of its relevance to the
characteristics or performance to be
measured
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Comprehensive assessment requires a
variety of procedures.

Proper use of assessment procedures
requires an awareness of their
limitations.

Assessment is a mean to an end and
not end in itself.
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Multimodal Assessment
Obtaining information from several
sources
Integrate information from several sources
Recognize limitations of any one source
Using several assessment methods
Assessing several areas of functioning
Strengths and weaknesses
Child, parents, teachers, previous evals,
school records
Intelligence, memory, academics, mood,
behavior



Interpreting Results
Are test results congruent with other
information obtained?
How can you account for
discrepancies in teacher, parent, child
reports?
Do findings appear to be reliable and
valid?
INTEGRATING results from multiple
sources is a critical clinical skill
Assessment is a process

1. Evaluating and selecting assessment
battery
2. Establishing rapport
3. Scoring the assessment battery
4. Interpreting assessment results
5. Formulating recommendations
6. Communicating the assessment results



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Final Steps in Assessment
Develop intervention strategies and
recommendations
Write a report
Provide feedback
Follow-up
Key Ingredients
Successful assessment requires
knowledge of:
Psychological tests
Psychopathology
Interviewing
Statistics
Development
Hypothesis testing
Your self



THANK YOU

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