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Definition of assessment

a systematic process of arriving at an understanding of the individual's strengths and limitations in order to make informed decisions about the individual


APA Ethics Code and its relation to assessment:


- use of Instruments
- informed Consent
-Release of test data
-Interpretation of results
-Explanation of results


Use of Intstruments

-Psychologists should use assessment techniques that are deemed appropriate in the body of research for the population being tested
-Measures should hold adequate psychometric properties (eg validity and reliability) that have been supported in the body of research, if not evaluator needs to describe the strengths and limitations


Informed consent

-Use reasonably understandable language
-When court ordered, should clarify procedures and limits to confidentiality
-If not legally capable, guardian or legal representative


Release of test data

-You may refrain from releasing raw test data
-You must get release of information before you release data, unless relationship precludes it
-You don’t have to get a release of info when mandated by law


Interpretation of results

-When interpreting findings, take into account the purpose of the assessment and personal characteristics of the individual (language, culture, test taking ability)


Explanation of results

must provide feedback, unless nature of relationship precludes it


Preparing the assessment:


-Clarify purpose and expectation of assessment
-obtain Assent from the client
Include elements of informed consent, competence, therapist’s rights and responsibilities (i.e., right to discontinue the evaluation at any time)
-state Role as evaluator
-describe the assessment Process
initial meeting, assessment session numbers, and feedback meeting
-obtain Informed consent (from legal guardian if child)
-determine specific Goal of the assessment and identify where (if any) results are to be sent
Only the results that are germane to the referral question are to be sent to the institution. That is to avoid stigma, bias, or misrepresentation of the results.


Conducting the Assessment::


- Develop a Referral question: a working hypothesis based on referral question (emotional, cognitive, neurological, physiological issues, behavioral)

-Develop the Knowledge to address the referral question: use empirical findings to make clinical judgments, not your own clinical experience

-Gather Data: four Pillars

- Interpret the results/findings:
conduct feedback, explain findings in understandable terms, and integrate all findings to answer referral question, use confidence intervals and descriptive categories to explain
The end product of assessment should be a description of the patient’s present level of functioning. Clinicians must make inferences from their test data which support or refute their hypothesis. Given the testing’s goal of gathering a sample of behavior to accurately generalize to a larger body of behavior outside of the testing situation, the examiner should do everything possible to promote accuracy through thorough preparation


Gather Data: Four Pillars of assessment (Sattler, 1992/2001)


-Behavioral observations
-Outside sources
-using Norm-referenced tests that have been standardized with solid psychometric properties
-clinical Interview


Behavioral observations

-observations begin in waitin room and continue throughout one's interactions with the patient


important components to behavioral observations

-Motor functioning
-Reaction to testing
-Distress level
-Frustration tolerance
-capacity for sustained Attention and concentration
-Thought processes
-temporary States


Other sources of gathering data

-report cards
-previous assessment, standardized testing, psychiatric evaluations


Components to psychosocial history during interview


-Developmental milestones
-Relationships with others
-Early childhood behavior
-functioning Across different settings
-Mental/medical history
-Substance use history


Components to the clinical interview

-Psychosocial history
-separate interview with child (if applicable)
assess understanding of why being assessed and ask about various areas of life
-assess for recent changes, disruptions, major losses in life
-assess parents' understanding and developmentally appropriate behaviors, their expectations (too demanding, too late)
-if child, if parents divorced, make separate appointments