Lichtenberger Kristina C. New individually administered tests of achievement have been developed, and older instruments have been revised or renormed. The academic assessment of individuals from preschool to post-high school has increased over the past years due to requirements set forth by states for determining eligibility for services for learning disabilities. Individual achievement tests were once primarily norm-based comparisons with peers but now serve the purpose of analyzing academic strengths and weaknesses via comparisons with conormed or linked individual tests of ability. In addition, the focus of academic assessment has been broadened to include not only reading decoding, spelling, and arithmetic but also reading comprehension, arithmetic reasoning, arithmetic computation, listening comprehension, oral expression, and written expression Smith,
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Lichtenberger Kristina C. New individually administered tests of achievement have been developed, and older instruments have been revised or renormed. The academic assessment of individuals from preschool to post-high school has increased over the past years due to requirements set forth by states for determining eligibility for services for learning disabilities.
Individual achievement tests were once primarily norm-based comparisons with peers but now serve the purpose of analyzing academic strengths and weaknesses via comparisons with conormed or linked individual tests of ability.
In addition, the focus of academic assessment has been broadened to include not only reading decoding, spelling, and arithmetic but also reading comprehension, arithmetic reasoning, arithmetic computation, listening comprehension, oral expression, and written expression Smith, These changes in the field of individual academic assessment have led professionals to search for resources that would help them remain current on the most recent instruments.
Thus, in , Douglas K. Smith published a book in the Essentials series titled Essentials of Individual Achievement Assessment, which devoted chapters to four widely used individually administered tests of achievement.
Because both of these instruments are widely used achievement tests in school psychology and related fields, the third edition of the WIATand the second edition of the KTEA are deserving of a complete up-to-date book devoted to their administration, scoring, interpretation, and clinical applications. Some pertinent applications of these tests are described next. The WIAT-III provides skills analysis capabilities that also yield a detailed quantitative summary of the types of errors a student makes.
Each subtest includes sets of items that measure a specific skill or set of skills. These results can help facilitate decisions regarding appropriate educational placement as well as appropriate accommodations or curricular adjustments. For young adults, the results can help inform decisions regarding appropriate vocational training or general equivalency diploma GED preparation. For example, one or more of the composite scores could demonstrate the effectiveness of a new reading program within a classroom or examine the relative performance levels between classrooms using different math programs.
The two parallel forms of the KTEA-II make it an ideal instrument for longitudinal studies or research on intervention effectiveness using pre- and post-test designs. The KTEA-II Brief Form is also a reliable, valid measure of academic achievement that is ideal for research designs that call for a screening measure of achievement.
The brevity of the KTEA-II Brief Form makes it useful in estimating the educational achievement of large numbers of prisoners, patients in a hospital, military recruits, applicants to industry training programs, or juvenile delinquents awaiting court hearings, where administering long tests may be impractical. The results of the screening may be used to determine the need for follow-up testing.
The test should be reliable, valid, and used only for the purposes for which it was developed. Key components of the Code are outlined in Rapid Reference 1. The first factor to consider in selecting an achievement test is the purpose of the testing. Discern whether a comprehensive measure covering the areas of achievement specified in the Individuals with Disabilities Improvement Act of [Public Law PL ] is needed or whether a less specific screening measure is appropriate.
Another issue is whether an analysis for the identification of a specific learning disability e. Although PL recently removed the requirement of demonstrating an achievement-ability discrepancy from determining eligibility for learning disabilities services, states still have the option to include this discrepancy if they choose.
For this purpose, using achievement tests with conormed or linked ability tests is best. To gather diagnostic information and information about the level of skill development, you should use a test with skills analysis procedures. The second factor to consider in selecting an achievement test is whether a particular test can answer the specific questions asked in the referral concerns.
The specificity of the referral questions will help guide the test selection. The third factor to consider in selecting an achievement test is how familiar an examiner is with a certain test. Familiarity with a test and experience with scoring and interpreting it is necessary to ethically utilize it in an assessment.
If you plan to use a new test in an assessment, you should ensure that you have enough time to get proper training and experience with the instrument before using it. Most recent major tests of academic achievement are well standardized, but you should still review the manual to evaluate the normative group. See if students with disabilities were included in the standardization sample which is important when assessing a student suspected of having a learning disability.
Also see if appropriate stratification variables were used in the standardization sample. The fifth factor to consider in selecting an achievement test is the strength of its psychometric properties.
Additionally, consider the floor and ceiling of a test across age levels. Some tests have poor floors at the youngest age levels for the children with the lowest skills, and other tests have poor ceilings at the oldest age levels for the children with the highest skill levels.
You can judge the adequacy of the floors and ceilings by examining the standard score range of the subtests and composites for the age range of the student you are assessing. We encourage examiners to carefully review the test they select to administer, whether it is the WIAT-III, KTEA-II, or another achievement test, to ensure that it can adequately assess the unique concerns of the student for whom the evaluation is being conducted.
Rapid Reference 1. Standardized testing allows examiners to directly compare the performance of one student to the performance of many other students of the same age who were tested in the same way. Strict adherence to the rules allows examiners to know that the scores obtained from the child they tested are comparable to those obtained from the normative group.
Violating the rules of standardized administration renders norms of limited value. Being completely familiar with the test, its materials, and the administration procedures allows examiners to conduct a valid assessment in a manner that feels natural, comfortable, and personal-not mechanical.
Testing Environment Achievement testing, like most standardized testing, should take place in a quiet room that is free of distractions. The table and chairs that are used during the assessment should be of appropriate size for the student being assessed. That is, if you are assessing a preschooler, then the table and chairs used should ideally be similar to those that you would find in a preschool classroom.
However, if you are assessing an adolescent, adult-size table and chairs are appropriate. The examiner must also be able to write responses and scores discretely on the record form out of plain view of the examinee.
Many examiners find the best seating arrangement is to be at a right angle from the examinee, but others prefer to sit directly across from the examinee. Most importantly, you should sit wherever is most comfortable for you and allows you easy access to all of the components of the assessment instrument. Establishing Rapport In order to ensure that the most valid results are yielded from a testing, you need to create the best possible environment for the examinee. Perhaps more important than the previously discussed physical aspects of the testing environment is the relationship between the examiner and the student.
In many cases, the examiner will be a virtual stranger to the student being assessed. Thus, the process of establishing rapport is a key component in setting the stage for an optimal assessment. Rapport can be defined as a relationship of mutual trust or emotional affinity. Such a relationship typically takes time to develop. To foster the development of positive rapport, you need to plan on a few minutes of relaxed time with the student before diving into the assessment procedures.
Some individuals are slow to warm up to new acquaintances, whereas others are friendly and comfortable with new people from the get-go. Assume that most students you meet will need time before being able to comfortably relate to you.
You can help a student feel more comfortable through your style of speech and your topics of conversation. Use a friendly tone of voice, and show genuine personal interest and responsiveness.
For shy children, rather than opening up immediately with conversation, try an ice-breaking activity such as drawing a picture or playing with an age-appropriate toy. This quiet interaction with concrete materials may provide an opening to elicit conversation about them. In most instances, it is best not to have a parent, teacher, or other person present during the assessment, as it can affect the test results in unknown ways.
Excerpted by permission. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher. Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc.
Essentials of WIAT-III and KTEA-III Assessment
Essentials of WIAT-III and KTEA-II Assessment
Essentials of WIAT-II and KTEA-II Assessment