Friday, August 16, 2013

Clinical Skills Confidence: Norm Referenced Assessments

Next up in the Clinical Skills Confidence lineup: Norm Referenced Assessments

We all use them! In general, they are our "go-to" methods in order to formally assess our clients. What are they? They are tests that compare your client's performance to that of a norming group. You generally are provided with a standard score that falls somewhere on the bell curve. From these scores, you are able to derive a descriptive rating such as "mild, average, severe, etc."

I'm sure we all have our preferred tests for language, fluency, articulation, social skills, etc. This post will focus on what I do when you're not as familiar with a specific test. There are always new editions of tests coming out with slightly different guidelines and/or stimuli, so it's important that we stay up-to-date on the differences!

1. Read the manual: Things to look for - basal/ceiling (if they are used), entry points for different ages, if and when you can repeat, where to look for percentile ratings and standard scores.

2. Grab a test form and write yourself notes/add post-its: I always use pencil when I'm testing. It makes me feel better to be able to erase if I need to. If necessary, I can go back over it with pen later. I highlight or add a post-it to the subtests I plan to give. This makes it easier for me during the actual testing process.

3. Practice administering the test: Sometimes if it's a new test, I will practice saying the directions out loud, along with the first few stimuli.

4. Plan for the unexpected: That doesn't seem to make sense, right? Testing doesn't always go as planned. There can be a fire drill, your student may be inattentive, you run out of time, etc. It's ok. Usually, you are able to administer a test over several testing sessions. If attention is an issue, check out this post for tips related to how to improve a student's attention. 

What do I have for you? A FREE "quick look" sheet for tests. Print off several copies and make yourself a quick reference folder! You can then grab it for a "refresher" prior to giving the test if it's not one you use all the time. Click the picture below to get your copy!
Of course, these types of tests are not the only tests that we used to assess client performance, but we'll save those for another post!

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