When to Administer Brief Tests

As J. Kaufman and A. Kaufman (in press) emphasize, we are proposing the use of the three new brief tests to replace short forms. We are not saying or implying that the new brief tests should be used to replace comprehensive IQ tests. In most clinical situations, clinicians should administer a comprehensive IQ test to achieve a competent evaluation, often including the IQ test as part of a larger neuropsychological, clinical, or psycho-educational battery.

When assessing adolescents and adults, clinicians sometimes have legitimate reasons to spend a half hour or less on an intellectual evaluation. Perhaps the individual was referred for a psychiatric disturbance, and only a global estimate of IQ is needed in the context of a complete personality evaluation. Or the person was given a thorough clinical or neuropsychological evaluation within the past several years, and a quick check of current intellectual status is desired. Perhaps large groups of individuals need to be screened for potential educational or neurologi cal impairment to determine which areas need a thorough follow-up. Or the time spent with a client is limited by practical constraints, and intelligence is but one of several areas (vocational interests, educational achievement, adaptive behavior, special abilities, personality development) requiring evaluation. Or any similar circumstances in which the clinicians' goals are not: (1) to categorize the individual's intelligence into a specific level of functioning such as retarded, gifted, or (in the case of learning-disabilities assessment) "normal"; (2) to make neuropsycho-logical or clinical inferences about the person's ability profile; or (3) to diagnose cognitive disorders. Brief tests are also ideal for use in research investigations, when an individual's precise score is less important than group performance. But King and King (1982) far overstate the case, in our opinion, when they argue that "perhaps the most valuable and only justifiable use of short forms is for research purposes" (p. 436).

And, in all of the circumstances that might dictate reduced time for assessing IQ, we suggest that the diversity of short forms that have been developed and studied—almost always based on data obtained with the complete battery—be set aside. Use one of the new brief tests that were specifically developed as brief tests, normed as brief tests, and validated as brief tests.

That is our professional opinion. Other professionals will continue to endorse short forms (Ryan & Ward, 1999) or pan them (Smith, McCarthy, & Anderson, 2000). Still others believe that brief IQ tests can be used instead of comprehensive IQ tests for virtually any testing purpose. A case in point is Joe Glutting, the first author of the WRIT, who wrote in an E-mail that "although the WRIT clearly is a short test, we do not believe it is a 'brief' measure of intelligence ...and all that implies in the field of individual intelligence testing. Rather, we believe it is just as good diagnostically as any other IQ test" (Glutting, personal communication, March 1, 2000). We disagree with that statement, but do agree that the WRIT is a good instrument for brief assessment.

Three Well-Normed Recent Brief Tests of Verbal and Nonverbal Intelligence

In this section of the chapter, we discuss the three recent, well-normed brief tests of verbal and nonverbal intelligence that have already been discussed to some extent: the WASI (Psychological Corporation, 1999), K-BIT (Kaufman & Kaufman, 1990), and WRIT (Glutting et al., 2000). These three tests share in common that they (1) provide a valid measure of intelligence for children, adolescents, adults, and the elderly; (2) yield measures of global verbal (crystallized) and nonverbal (fluid) abilities; (3) have exceptional normative samples and strong psychometric properties.

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