Cognitive and Adaptive Functioning Assessment for Kids and Adults
Child Cognitive Assessment
The WISC-V is the brand new gold standard assessment tool designed to measure a child's intellectual ability. It is the latest edition to replace the existing WISC-IV assessment tool. It has more interpretive power, is more efficient and a more user-friendly version of the Wechsler test and has updated psychometric properties.
The Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children Australian and New Zealand Standardised, Fifth Edition (WISC-VA&NZ) is an individually administered comprehensive clinical instrument for assessing the cognitive ability/intelligence of children aged 6 years 0 months through to 16 years 11 months (6:0 - 16:11).
The WISC-V provides subtest and composite scores that represent intellectual functioning in specific cognitive domains, as well as a composite score that represents the general intellectual ability. The WISC-V is composed of 16 subtests; Subtests can be grouped into two general categories: primary or secondary.
Administration of the 10 primary subtests is recommended for a comprehensive description of intellectual ability. The 6 secondary subtests can be administered in addition to the primary subtests to provide a broader sampling of intellectual functioning and to yield more information for clinical decision making. The 10 primary subtests are used in certain combinations to derive the FSIQ, the five primary index scores and three of the five ancillary index scores. Seven of the ten primary subtests are used to derive the FSIQ.
This assessment provides the following scores:
- A Composite Score that represents a child's overall intellectual ability (FSIQ)
- Primary Index Scores that measure the following areas of cognitive functioning: Verbal Comprehension Index (VCI), Visual Spatial Index (VSI), Fluid Reasoning Index (FRI), Working Memory Index (WMI), and the Processing Speed Index (PSI).
- Ancillary Index Scores are also provided: The Quantitative Reasoning Index (QRI) ; Auditory Working Memory Index (AWMI); Nonverbal Index (NVI); General Ability Index (GAI); and the Cognitive Proficiency Index (CPI).
Some other benefits of the WISC-V include:
- Updated items and stimuli
- Added interpretative information useful in assisting the diagnosis of reading disorders, language disorders, ADHD, nonverbal difficulties, visual vs auditory memory deficits, executive function difficulties and visual perception issues.
Intellectual abilities could change over the course of childhood. Additionally, a child's scores on the WISC-V can be influenced by motivation, attention, interests, and opportunities for learning. For these reasons, some scores might be slightly higher or lower if a child was tested again at another time. It is therefore important to view test scores as a snapshot of a child's current level of intellectual functioning. When these scores are used as part of a comprehensive evaluation, they contribute to an understanding of a child's current strengths and any needs that can be addressed.
Adult Cognitive Assessment
The WAIS-IV is the “gold standard” in cognitive assessment and claims to measure intellectual performance. The importance of conceptualising intelligence as a performance variable is that it does not really matter how much intelligence an individual has, to adapt to the environment. What really matters is how well they use their intelligence. Since intellectual capacity cannot be seen nor concretely verified, it cannot be reliably measured. However, intellectual performance can be measured and thus, should be the focus of testing.
The WAIS-IV measures intellectual performance as a multidimensional construct. The test contains numerous scales (Indices) assessing qualitatively different types of intellectual functioning. Current intelligence tests view intelligence not as specific abilities emanating from a “general” intellectual capacity, but as different types of intelligence, each being of equal importance.
Apart from providing IQ scores, the WAIS-IV integrates current conceptualisations and recent research to provide the most essential information about a testee’s strengths and areas of difficulty. The WAIS-IV contains 10 core subtests and 5 additional optional subtests. These are summed to four indexes:
- Verbal Comprehension Index,
- Perceptual Reasoning Index,
- Working Memory Index, and
- Processing Speed Index.
One Full-Scale IQ (FSIQ) is also calculated. These scores range from the lowest (40) to the highest (160) points. The age range for the WAIS-IV is 16 years to 90 years and 11 months.
Adaptive Functioning Assessment (Adult and Child)
The Adaptive Behaviour Assessment System, Third Edition (ABAS-III) is a multidimensional and standardised assessment tool used to assess the functional skills necessary for daily living of individuals between 0 to 89 years of age. ABAS-III assess the following skill areas:
The ABAS-III includes five rating forms to be completed by a Parent/Primary Caregiver (ages 0-5), Parent Form (ages 5-21), Teacher/Daycare Provider Form (ages 2-5), Teacher Form (ages 5-21), and Adult Form (ages 16-89). Information obtained from the ABAS-III is used by psychologists to aid with the diagnosis of disabilities and disorders, identify strengths and weaknesses, and document and monitor an individual’s progress over time.
Frequently Asked Questions
Psychologists often undertake psychological testing of individuals, groups or organisations that can provide valuable information about their perception, thoughts and feelings, or their cognitive functioning such as memory and learning.
Below are some frequently asked questions that will help explain the process of psychological testing, as well as enable better preparation for those who are due to undertake testing.
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