Are you using the right assessment instrument for the right child?

Cognitive Measures

Stanford Binet Intelligence Scale, Fourth Edition : The Stamford Binet is one of the oldest cognitive measures and is widely used because it taps a broad range of skills. The SB assesses mental abilities in four areas: Verbal reasoning, Abstract Visual Reasoning, Quantitative Comprehension and Short-term Memory. It is used for individuals from age to through adulthood. Publisher: Riverside Publishing Co.

Wechsler Preschool and Primary Scales of Intelligence, Revised: The WPPSI- R is a downward extension of the widely used Wechsler Scales for older children and adults. It can be difficult to administer to young children, and is used only for children between the ages of 3 and 7. Like the other Wechsler Scales, it yields verbal and performance scores. Publisher: Psychological Corporation

Differential Abilities Scale: The DAS measures conceptual and reasoning abilities in children aged 30 months to 17 years. It includes a preschool level and a school age level. This is a relatively new measure with good psychometric properties, which is used increasingly with preschool aged children. Publisher: Psychological Corporation

Woodcock-Johnson Psychoeducational Battery: This is a battery of tests which includes cognitive and achievement measures for use with individuals from age 3 through adulthood. Only a portion of those are applicable to preschoolers. The cognitive portion of the battery likely underestimates cognitive ability, especially in children with language delays. The tests of achievement appear to be of greater use in measuring achievement. Publisher: DLM Teaching Resources

Kaufman Assessment Battery for Children: The K-ABC has several subscales and can be used with children aged 30 months to 12 years, 5 months. The K-ABC does not include the verbal comprehension or reasoning items In the Mental Processing Composite. It also relies heavily on short term memory and attention skills. It samples a limited set of skills in very young children, and it has a low ceiling. These and other limitations suggest that the K-ABC may not be the best choice for a primary instrument for assessing intellectual ability. Publisher: American Guidance Service

McCarthy Scales of Children’s Abilities: The McCarthy Scales can be administered to children aged 20 months to 8.5 yrs. They yield a general cognitive index, as well as five subscale scores. The tests are useful in their specification of strengths and weaknesses, and they are appealing to children, but the validity of some scores has been questioned. The norms are also out dated. Publisher: Psychological Corporation

Merrill-Palmer Scale of Mental Tests: This is an old test which measures primarily non-verbal skills in children aged 18 months to four years. It has non-verbal items not found elsewhere, and is attractive to children. It is occasionally used for those reasons despite the fact that its norms are outdated and result in inflated scores. There is an extended version of the Merrill-Palmer, which includes some of the items from the original scale, and may be of limited use. It lacks adequate psychometric properties at present. Publisher: Stoeltling Co.

Leiter International Performance Scale- Revised: This is a revision of a non-verbal intelligence scale, originally developed for use with deaf children. The current model can be used with children aged 2 to 20 years, but is used infrequently because it is difficult to administer, score and interpret. Publisher: Stoeltling Co.

Developmental Measures

Bayley Scales of Infant Development II: The BSID II is designed to identify cognitive delays in children aged 1 month to 42 months. It yields a Mental Development Index, and a Motor Development Index. It is the most widely used and well respected, norm referenced measure of development for very young children. Publisher: Psychological Corporation.

Battelle Developmental Inventory: The Battelle evaluates the development of children from infancy to primary levels. It assesses developmental skills in five areas: Personal-Social, Adaptive, Motor, Communication and Cognition. Information is obtained from a combination of structured interaction, observation and caregiver report. Publisher: DLM Teaching Resources

Mullen Scales of Early Learning: The Mullen measures learning abilities and learning patterns in children aged 1 to 69 months. It is used to identify learning disabilities, mental retardation and learning styles. The Mullen provides scores in four areas: Visual Receptive Organization, Visual Expressive Organization, Language Receptive Organization and Language Expressive Organization. Publisher: T.O.T.A.L. Child.

Adaptive Behavior Measures

Vineland Adaptive Behavior Scales: This is a series of scales based upon parental report which provide an estimate of adaptive functioning in the areas of Socialization, Communication, Daily Living Skills and Motor Skills. It can be used with individuals from birth through adulthood, and is the most widely used of the adaptive behavior measures. Publisher: American Guidance Service

Scales of Independent Behavior: This scale assesses skills in areas similar to those used on the Vineland. It can be used for individuals from birth through adulthood. Although less research has been done with this tool, it appears to be suitable for use with preschool children. Publisher: DLM Teaching Resources

Behavior Rating Scales

Behavior Assessment Scale for Children: The BASC system provides a comprehensive rating scale which yields scores on internalizing behaviors, externalizing behaviors, learning problems and adaptive skills, as well as a behavior problems index. It includes rating forms for parents and teachers, a structured observation schedule and a guide for history taking. The scale is suitable for use with children aged 2 through 18. Publisher: Psychological Corporation

The Child Behavior Checklist: The CBCL is a rating scale completed by parents or teachers. There is one form for children aged 2-3 and a separate form for children four and older. The scale yields scores on internalizing and externalizing behaviors. Publisher: University of Vermont

Adapted from Sattler (1992); Bracken, (2000) & Culbertson & Willis, (1993)

Selected Bibliography of Assessment Resources

Bagnato, Stephen, Neisworth, John, & Munson, Susan. 1997. Linking Assessment and Early Intervention: An authentic curriculum based approach. Baltimore: Brookes

Bracken, Bruce. 2000. The Psychoeducational Assessment of Preschool Children, 3rd Ed. Needham Hgts., MA: Allyn & Bacon.

Culbertson, Jan & Willis, Diane. (Eds.). (1993). Testing Young Children: A reference guide for developmental, psychoeducational, and psychosocial assessments. Austin, TX: Pro-Ed.

Devereaux Foundation, Lebuffe, P.A., Naglieri, J.A., Korelak, D. & Vacca, M.M. (1999). Devereaux Early Childhood Assessment Program: Enhancing Social and Emotional Development. Lewisville, NC: Kaplan Press.

Gredler, G.R. (2000). Early childhood education - assessment and intervention: What the future holds. Psychology in the Schools, 37, 73-79.

Gridley, B.E., Mucha, L., & Hatfield, B.B. (1995). Preschool screening. In A Thomas & T. Grimes (Eds.) Best practices in school psychology. Washington, D.C.: National Association of School Psychologists.

Lerner, J.W., Lowenthal, B & Egan, R. (1998). Preschool Children with Special Needs. Boston: Allyn & Bacon

Linder, T.W. (1993). Transdisciplinary Play-based Assessment: A functional approach to working with young children. Baltimore: Paul H. Brookes.

McConnell, S., Priest, J. Davis, S. & McEvoy, M. (2000). Best Practices in Measuring growth and Development in Preschool Children. www.nasponline.org/pdf

McLean, M., Bailey, D.B. & Wollery, M. (Eds.). (1996). Assessing Infants and Preschoolers with Special Needs. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall.

Meisels, Samuel & Fenichel, Emily. (Eds.). (1996). New Visions for the Developmental Assessment of Infants and Young Children. Washington, D.C.: ZERO TO THREE.

Sattler, J. (1992). Assessment of Children, 3rd Edition. San Diego: Jerome Sattler.

Spodek, Bernard & Saracho, Olivia. (Eds.). (1997). Issues in Early Childhood Educational Assessment and Evaluation. NY: Teachers College Press.