Understanding the Principles of Level B Testing

I spent the better part of this last week attending a Professional Development opportunity,learning about many of the fundamentals of testing. The tests that were being discussed were, but not inclusive to; Stanford-Binet, Wechsler, Alpha-Beta, Vineland, SIB-R and the WIAT – II. Specifically, what the session was designed to do was to allow for a better understanding as to how the tests are developed, administered, scored and interpreted. So here is the question most of you are probably asking. How does this relate to teaching and the classroom?

Well, before I go into the full explaination and details of the sessions, here is the answer. Most of us in the teaching profession have, at some point come across a summary or a report of a psycho-educational assessment that has scored a students abilities in a number of categories and subtests. What I have found is that many of us have a basic understanding of these results, but what we sometimes miss is that these tests are meant to guide us, as professionals in the planning and development of a childs academic programming. So what I aim to do in a shorter and simplified version is to clarify some of the misunderstandinds that we experience.

We all have to assessments, whether they are summative or formative, and our students are often formally assessed. (in Alberta, grades 3, 6, 9 and 12), but many of us question if these assessments are appropriate an valid. What was reiterated and confirmed over the course of the sessions was that group test, such as PAT’s are specifically designed as reading tests and that, the best group test is only as good as the worst individualized test. This being stated, I understand that it is very difficult and time consuming to individually test all of the students within a school and division, but I am confident that many of us, are able to recognize and request testing for students that we know need the testing. We rarely would test a student that we think is averaege or above average.

So where do we as teachers, and assessors go from here? Well the last two sections will highlight what test we should preform or have preformed with a brief reasoning. As well as, what key questions we as teachers and assessors should ask our selves in relation to assessments.

Some of the most common Level B assesssment are:

Peabody either a or b, excellent test – low threat, good for ESL students, good for receptive language information not for expressive language issues, good for students that can’t or struggle with reading, but do not use the 3rd edition. For age 2 to 80. Extremely valid test.
Key Math – diagnostic math test only one. Takes about an 1.5 hour. Re-standardized for Canada and normed. Valid test.
Woodcock WJBA or WIAT. First gives more subtests but WIAT is easier to score and test – don’t give the written expression.
KTEA Kaufmen test of educational achievement – new version
CAT4/CTBS /Gates– quick dirty tests for group tests – not very valid
Canada Quiet is an individual test – but it is old.

As promised the following list is the questions that one should ask themselves when ever preforming or understanding the results of assessments conducted:

Are the questions, issues, concerns that prompted the referral valid?
Have possible “organic etiologies” have been considered – most especially have hearing and visual acuity actually been measured and if necessary ameliorated?
What is the child’s current level of social adjustment in school? Is behavior or maladaption a problem?
Is the child’s behavior (academic and social) variable across domains and time?
Have the results of the assessments been shared as appropriate with other involved professionals? Are people talking and sharing?
Is there any compelling need for further assessment of any kind?
If the child is to be labeled in any way – will the pragmatically improve their chances of success?
Are the assessment results going to contribute to a meaningful and measurable IPP?
Will the IPP seek to address the problem of “generalizability” of any gains and are Goals and Objectives clearly stated and measurable.
Are Goals and Objectives only being measured by standardized tests? If so that is a problem… beware of regression effects and the inherent lack of accuracy in Level B tests.
Is there appropriate consideration for further Level B and Level C assessment later? This is especially true where Level C results have resulted in a child being “classified”. When will this classification be revisited? Can things change? Could we be wrong? What are the implications of not thoroughly reviewing classifications?
There is a significant amount of information that should be added to this however, the above is a significant amount to process at the moment. Future posts will provide more information in regards to other issues, concerns and understandings of Level B testing.


2 thoughts on “Understanding the Principles of Level B Testing

  1. Pingback: It Box @ All Around the World News

  2. Pingback: Why do I Blog ? « Learning to Lead, Inspiring to Change

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