Psychology 432

Theory and Practice of Cognitive Assessment

Fall 2016 Syllabus

Instructor: W. Joel Schneider
Office: DeGarmo 456
Phone: (309) 438‒8410
Office hours: Mondays 2–3pm
Tuesdays 12pm–1pm
and by appointment

NASP Standards addressed

Course Topics

  1. Theories of intelligence
  2. Theories and statistics of measurement
  3. Multi-cultural & ESL issues in assessment
  4. Assessment of Severe & Profound/Low incidence students
  5. Administration, scoring, and interpretation of the WJ IV Cognitive, WISC–V, SB5, & KABC–II, as well as exposure to other tests.
  6. Obtaining data from interviews, record review, learning environments, and observations
  7. Ethical/legal issues regarding cognitive assessment
  8. Writing cognitive assessment reports
  9. Developing an assessment plan based on referral
  10. Making treatment recommendations based on data
  11. Integrating data from multiple sources
  12. Collaborative problem-solving with other professionals
  13. Special education process and paperwork
  14. Future directions in assessment
  15. Psychometric and statistical principles associated with the assessment of individuals.

Required Materials:

Media for video storage (e.g., USB drive) and a stopwatch


Note: All books and book chapters are available at Milner Library as e-books.

Flanagan, D. & Harrison, P. (2012). Contemporary intellectual assessment: Theories, tests, and issues (3rd ed., pp. 99-144). New York: Guilford.

Flanagan, D., Ortiz, S., & Alfonso, V. (2013). Essentials of cross-battery assessment (3rd ed.). Hoboken, NJ: Wiley.

Kaufman, A. S. (2009). IQ Testing 101. New York: Springer.

Kranzler, J. H. & Floyd, R. G. (2013). Assessing intelligence in children and adolescents: A practical guide. New York: Guilford.

Mather, N., & Jaffe, L. E. (2010). Comprehensive evaluations: case reports for psychologists, diagnosticians, and special educators. Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons.

Miller, D. C. (Ed.). (2010). Best practices in school neuropsychology. Hoboken, NJ: Wiley.


Note: All articles are available as .pdf files via Milner Library or via links provided on this syllabus.

Cronbach L. J. & Meehl, P.E. (1955). Construct validity in psychological tests, Psychological Bulletin, 52, 281–302.

Deary, I. J., Penke, L., & Johnson, W. (2010). The neuroscience of human intelligence differences. Nature Reviews Neuroscience, 11, 201–211.

Donders, J. (1999). Pediatric Neuropsychological Reports: Do They Really Have To Be So Long?. Child Neuropsychology, 5(1), 70-78.

Goldstein, S., & Naglieri, J. A. (2008). The school neuropsychology of ADHD: Theory, assessment, and intervention. Psychology in the Schools, 45(9), 859-874.

Gottfredson, L. (1997). Why g matters: The complexity of everyday life. Intelligence, 24, 79–132.

Gottfredson, L. & Saklofske, D. (2009). Intelligence: Foundations and issues in assessment. Canadian Psychology, 50, 13–195.

Grove, W. M. & Meehl, P. E. (1996). Comparative Efficiency of Informal (Subjective, Impressionistic) and Formal (Mechanical, Algorithmic) Prediction Procedures: The Clinical–Statistical Controversy. Psychology, Public Policy, and Law, 2, 293–323.

Koziol, L. F., & Stevens, M. C. (2012). Neuropsychological assessment and the paradox of ADHD. Applied Neuropsychology: Child, 1(2), 79-89.

Lohman, D. F. (2006). Beliefs about differences between ability and accomplishment: From folk theories to cognitive science. Roeper Review, 29, 32–40.

McGill, R. J., Styck, K. M., Palomares, R. S., & Hass, M. R. (2016). Critical issues in specific learning disability identification: What we need to know about the PSW Model. Learning Disability Quarterly, 39(3), 159–170.

McKenzie R. G. (2009). Obscuring vital distinctions: The oversimplification of learning disabilities within RTI. Learning Disability Quarterly, 24, 203–215.

Nisbett, R. E., Aronson, J., Blair, C., Dickens, W., Flynn, J., Halpern, D. F., & Turkheimer, E. (2012). Intelligence: new findings and theoretical developments. American psychologist, 67(2), 130–159.

Reis, S. M. & Renzulli, J. S. (2011). Intellectual giftedness. In R. J. Sternberg & S. B. Kaufman (Eds.), Cambridge handbook of intelligence (pp.235–252). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Schneider, W. J. (2016). Why Are WJ IV Cluster Scores More Extreme Than the Average of Their Parts? A Gentle Explanation of the Composite Score Extremity Effect  (Woodcock-Johnson IV Assessment Service Bulletin No. 7). Itasca, IL: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.

Schneider, W. J., Mayer, J. D., & Newman, D. A. (2016). Integrating Hot and Cool Intelligences: Thinking Broadly about Broad Abilities. Journal of Intelligence, 4(1), 1:1–25.

Schneider, W. J. & McGrew, K. S. (2013). Cognitive performance models: Individual differences in the ability to process information. In S. Ortiz & D. Flanagan (Sec. Eds.), Section 9: Assessment Theory, in B. Irby, G. Brown, & R. Laro-Alecio & S. Jackson (Vol Eds.), Handbook of educational theories (pp. 767–782). Charlotte, NC: Information Age Publishing.

Swets, J. A., Dawes, R. M., & Monahan, J. (2000). Psychological science can improve diagnostic decisions. Psychological science in the public interest, 1(1), 1–26.


Class Participation

You are expected to attend every lecture. You must make arrangements to make up for any excused absences. Excessive absences may result in a failure to complete the course. More than 2 absences is excessive.

You are expected to practice assessment skills in role-playing exercises. If necessary, you are expected to consult with me to overcome any obstacles such as shyness and performance anxiety that might prevent you from participating fully.


All university courses should be challenging and exciting. Class discussions should be relevant, spirited, and intellectually serious. At the graduate level, much of the responsibility for making the class discussions lively and interesting shifts from the instructor to the participants. For graduate students, the expectations for academic rigor during discussions are also higher than they are for undergraduates. For example, graduate students are expected to base their arguments on theory and empirical data rather than solely on intuition and personal experience. Unfortunately, many students cannot engage in informed discussions very often because they have not completed their assigned readings. The following policies and procedures were developed to promote an atmosphere of intellectual rigor, competence, and enthusiasm in the course:

Throughout the course you will be assigned readings/videos. You are expected to have read/watched the assignments prior to the class period.

Reaction Papers

Write up a short reaction to each of the assigned readings/videos. Your reaction should include the main point(s) of the readings/videos, useful knowledge you extracted from the reading/videos, and a critical appraisal of the readings/videos.

Class Discussion of Readings

In each class period, the assigned readings/videos will be discussed and the instructor will present new material. The intent of these discussions is to integrate new concepts with your current understanding. You are expected to come prepared to demonstrate a basic understanding of the main ideas of each assignment.

During discussion, you are encouraged to use the readings and your notes but you must be able to make your points succinctly and without excessive delay. If, for whatever reason, you have not completed the reading, you are expected to say so when called upon. Please note that excessive memorization of the readings is not necessary to answer the types of questions that are likely to be asked. I simply wish to ensure that you grasp the main ideas and have thought about the topics with sufficient depth.

Assessment Skills

There are certain skills that assessment professionals should have. You will find that if you have these skills, life will be easier for you and you will stand out as especially competent among other practitioners. There are a number of skills that I have identified as important. In order to pass the class, you will need to demonstrate on at least two occasions that you can perform these skills flawlessly. This list may grow as the semester progresses.


A professional has to be able to distinguish between information that must be mastered and committed to memory and information that, while perhaps interesting, can be looked up again when needed. From time to time, I will notify you in class or by email which aspects of previous lectures and readings you are expected to remember without the aid of your notes. At any time during the semester, I will ask you to demonstrate your knowledge in a quiz. To prevent unnecessary anxiety, the types of information you will need to know will be given to you in advance.

After you have been notified that I expect you to know something, you can be quizzed on it at any time.

Test Administration & Scoring

Practice administrations with peers

You will be assigned different partners with whom to practice administering various tests. It is important to keep in mind that you are not evaluating each other’s cognitive abilities. Thus, when being given a test, you are encouraged to pretend to be a well-behaved child or low-functioning adult, depending on the test (i.e., do not try to get all the questions correct). You are also encouraged to give your partner answers that are neither extremely difficult nor extremely easy to score. Be courteous, professional and reliable in all your dealings with your assigned partners. You are required to practice giving 1 full protocol of each of the following tests: WJ IV cognitive, WISC–V, SB5, and the KABC–II. Completing these 4 practice administrations will require a large time commitment. Do not procrastinate. You should score all practice protocols and submit them to be graded. All tests will be graded on a pass/fail basis.You must receive a passing grade (<20 error points) on all 4 tests in order to pass the course.

Live administration of the the WISC–V with the GAs.

You must give a perfect admininstration of each subtest in a role play with the GAs. Once a subtest has been passed, it does not need to be repeated.

Video administration a with real child

You will demonstrate competency in the administration of the WISC–V with a child or adolescent. The administration must be recorded by video. The GAs will review your video for adminstration accuracy. If you do not display mastery on the administrations, you will be required to resubmit another video administration. You are strongly encouraged to view and critique your video performance before turning it in to be evaluated. Detailed checklists are available to guide your critique. If you catch your own mistakes, you will only lose half as much credit. You will complete a protocol for each of these administrations. The protocols will be graded by the GAs. Each protocol will be evaluated for the accuracy of scoring judgments as well as clerical calculations. Errors on any of the following will result in deduction of points:

Each minor error will be worth 1 to 4 points Each major error will be worth 5 to 20 points You must pass at least with no more than 10 error points. It usually takes people 2 to 3 attempts so plan ahead. It is your responsibility to find participants for your administrations. You will not be sharing official test results with the volunteers you test unless granted permission from the instructor. Do not offer feedback as an incentive for volunteering. The criterion for success is to be able to complete an administration from start to finish with minimal errors. Thus, your videos should be one continuous take. You may not restart the assessment process once you have begun with a child. You may not edit your video in any way to make it appear that you made fewer mistakes than you made.

Note on administrations

For the practice administrations, live administrations, and the video administrations, you must meet with the instructor if you fail to pass an assignment twice in a row. No assignment may be submitted more than 6 times. Failure to pass after the 6th attempt will result in having to repeat the course. Before the 6th and final attempt, you must meet with the instructor.

Test Interpretation and Report Writing

  1. Teams of 3–4 students will be given a hypothetical case history of a person referred to you. You must decide which tests you would give to answer the referral questions. You will email your initial list of tests that you would give. I will send back some hypothetical scores. You will then email me back which tests you would give, if any, to follow up on any new questions you might want to answer. We will exchange back and forth until you believe that you have a good case conceptualization. You will submit a brief (1 page or less) conceptualization. After the conceptualization is deemed satisfactory, you will make an appointment for a 2-hour meeting with me to write up the report together. The team will present the report in class for discussion. This assignment will be graded on a pass/fail basis.
  2. Individually, you will be given a hypothetical case. We will email tests and scores back and forth as described above until you believe that you can write up the report (to be completed independently). The reports will be graded on the soundness of your reasoning and the quality (clarity, grammar, etc.) of your writing. The reports will be graded during a 1 hour appointment you will make with me.

Grading Procedure

All pass/fail assignments must be passed to receive a grade in the course. With instructor permission, failed assignments may be attempted again.
Assignment Points Criteria
Practice administrations with peers Pass/Fail Must pass all with ≤ 20 points to pass the course
Live administration of the WJ IV with the GAs Pass/Fail Must administer each subtest without error
Videotaped administration a with real child Pass/Fail Must pass with ≤ 10 points to pass the course
Team Report Pass/Fail Must give good faith effort to participate fully in one's group
Reaction Papers Pass/Fail Must complete and pass all reaction papers.
Assessment Skills Pass/Fail Must pass all skills
Class Discussion 100 points If you do not talk all semester, it will be impossible for you to get an A.
Individual Report 400 points Must earn B or better to pass the course
Quizzes 300 points
Final Exam 200 points

Therefore 1000 points are possible. However, all Pass/Fail assignments must be passed to receive a B or better.

Performance Grade
900–1000 A
800–899 B
700–799 C
600–699 D
000–599 F

Special Accommodations

Any student needing to arrange a reasonable accommodation for a documented disability should contact Student Access & Accommodation Services at 350 Fell Hall, 438‒5853 (voice), 438‒8620 (TTY).

Academic Integrity

Plagiarizing and cheating on exams and other assignments are not tolerated. Any student exhibiting academic dishonesty will receive an F in the course and will be referred for disciplinary action.


I have an Open-Door Policiy. If you see that my office door is open, feel free to ask a question.

Another way to reach me is by email or in person, before or after class. I do not check my office telephone messages nearly as often as I check my email. I may, from time to time, email you about various matters.

Additional information

Tentative Course Schedule

AssessingPsyche William Stern (1871–1938): The Individual Behind the Intelligence Quotient
Cronbach & Meehl (1955) Construct validity in psychological tests
Kaufman (2009) IQ Testing 101: Chapters 1–3
Schneider (2014) What do IQ tests test?
AssessingPsyche Variables and Measurement Scales
AssessingPsyche Frequency Distributions
Kaufman (2009) IQ Testing 101: Chapters 4–6
AssessingPsyche Probability Density Functions
AssessingPsyche Expected Value: What Does the Mean Mean?
Kaufman (2009) IQ Testing 101: Chapters 7–10
AssessingPsyche Expected Value and Variance: Take a Moment or Two to Find Out How the Mean and Variance Are Alike
AssessingPsyche Skewness: Lopsided Variability
Grove & Meehl (1996) Comparative Efficiency of Informal (Subjective, Impressionistic) and Formal (Mechanical, Algorithmic) Prediction Procedures: The Clinical–Statistical Controversy
Swets, Dawes, & Monahan (2000) Psychological science can improve diagnostic decisions
AssessingPsyche The Normal Distribution and the Central Limit Theorem: Sum of the Many Reasons Variables Are Normally Normal
Gottfredson (1997) Why g matters: The complexity of everyday life
AssessingPsyche “Strawman Spearman” vs. Charles Spearman
AssessingPsyche Cattell’s thoughts about Spearman
AssessingPsyche Charles Spearman Reading Recommendations
AssessingPsyche Is g an ability?
AssessingPsyche The rise and fall of g and the end of bigotry
AssessingPsyche Two Kinds of Hierarchies in Cognitive Ability Models
Nisbett et al. (2012) Intelligence: New Findings and Theoretical Developments
Gottfredson & Saklofske (2009) Intelligence: Foundations and issues in assessment
AssessingPsyche Kurtosis: Beyond Peakedness
AssessingPsyche The impractical, intangible, invaluable consolations of studying old, outmoded theories
Contemporary Intellectual Assessment 1. A History of Intelligence Assessment: The Unfinished Tapestry, John D. Wasserman
Contemporary Intellectual Assessment 2. A History of Intelligence Test Interpretation, Randy W. Kamphaus, Anne Pierce Winsor, Ellen W. Rowe, and Sangwon Kim
AssessingPsyche Our debt to Francis Galton is great…and embarrassing
AssessingPsyche Galton’s “ridiculous” intelligence tests
AssessingPsyche Francis Galton Reading Recommendations
AssessingPsyche Leta Stetter Hollingworth (1886–1939) and sex differences in cognitive variability
AssessingPsyche Standard Scores and Why We Need Them
AssessingPsyche A Gentle, Non-Technical Introduction to Factor Analysis
AssessingPsyche Cronbach: Factor analysis is more like photography than chemistry
AssessingPsyche Fun quote from Raymond Cattell on the importance of taxonomies
Contemporary Intellectual Assessment 3. Foundations for Better Understanding of Cognitive Abilities, John L. Horn and Nayena Blankson
AssessingPsyche Extended Gf-Gc Theory, Visualized
AssessingPsyche Fluid and crystallized intelligence in the classroom and on the job
AssessingPsyche After money, comfort, and love, Raymond Cattell had to make one more sacrifice…
Contemporary Intellectual Assessment Appendix. The Three-Stratum Theory of Cognitive Abilities, John B. Carroll
AssessingPsyche Carroll’s Three Stratum Theory of Cognitive Abilities, Re-Visualized
AssessingPsyche Covariance
Contemporary Intellectual Assessment 4. The Cattell–Horn–Carroll (CHC) Model of Intelligence, W. Joel Schneider and Kevin S. McGrew
Schneider & McGrew, (2013) Individual Differences in the Ability to Process Information
AssessingPsyche CHC Theory Slides
AssessingPsyche Cattell-Horn-Carroll (CHC) Theory of Cognitive Abilities in 3D?
Schneider (2013) Principles of Assessment of Aptitude and Achievement
Lohman (2006) Beliefs about differences between ability and accomplishment: From folk theories to cognitive science
AssessingPsyche A Taxonomy of Influences on Ability Tests
Essentials of Cross-Battery Assessment Chapters 1 & 2
AssessingPsyche Within-Composite Differences: Why Measures of the Same Ability Differ
Essentials of Cross-Battery Assessment Chapters 3 & 4
Schneider (2016) Why Are WJ IV Cluster Scores More Extreme Than the Average of Their Parts? A Gentle Explanation of the Composite Score Extremity Effect
AssessingPsyche Do Large Subtest Differences Invalidate Composite Scores?
Kranzler & Floyd (2013) Chapter 4: The Assessment Process with Children and Adolescents
Canivez (2013) Psychometric Versus Actuarial Interpretation of Intelligence and Related Aptitude Batteries
McGill, Styck, Palomares, & Hass (2016) Critical Issues in Specific Learning Disability Identification: What We Need to Know About the PSW Model
AssessingPsyche Why Specific Cognitive Processing Weaknesses Are Typically Only Partial Explanations for Academic Deficits
Kranzler & Floyd (2013) Chapter 3: Ethics in Assessment
Michaels (2006) Ethical considerations in writing psychological assessment reports.
AssessingPsyche Cognitive Profiles are Rarely Flat.
Contemporary Intellectual Assessment 22. Testing with Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Populations: Moving beyond the Verbal–Performance Dichotomy into Evidence-Based Practice, Samuel O. Ortiz, Salvador Hector Ochoa, and Agnieszka M. Dynda
Essentials of Cross-Battery Assessment Chapter 5
AssessingPsyche Misunderstanding Regression to the Mean
Contemporary Intellectual Assessment 23. Linking Cognitive Abilities to Academic Interventions for Students with Specific Learning Disabilities (SLD), Nancy Mather and Barbara J. Wendling
Best practices in school neuropsychology Chapter 19: Assessing and Intervening with Children with Reading Disorders
AssessingPsyche Conditional normal distributions provide useful information in psychological assessment.
Best practices in school neuropsychology Chapter 20: Assessing and Intervening with Children with Written Language Disorders
Best practices in school neuropsychology Chapter 21: Assessing and Intervening with Children with Math Disorders
AssessingPsyche What if We Took Our Models Seriously? Estimating Latent Scores in Individuals
Best practices in school neuropsychology Chapter 22: Assessing and Intervening with Children with Speech and Language Disorders
Best practices in school neuropsychology Chapter 23: Assessing and Intervening with Children with Nonverbal Learning Disabilities
Best practices in school neuropsychology Chapter 25: Assessing and Intervening with Children with Memory and Learning Disorders
Best practices in school neuropsychology Chapter 26: Assessing and Intervening with Children with Sensory-Motor Impairment
Contemporary Intellectual Assessment 7. Planning, Attention, Simultaneous, Successive (PASS): A Cognitive Processing–Based Theory of Intelligence, Jack A. Naglieri, J. P. Das, and Sam Goldstein
AssessingPsyche Do CAS Planning Subtests Measure Planning or Processing Speed?
Koziel & Stevens (2012) Neuropsychological Assessment and The Paradox of ADHD
AssessingPsyche What role should cognitive tests of attention play in ADHD diagnosis?
AssessingPsyche Attention Tests and ADHD: A modest proposal
Goldstein, S., & Naglieri, J. A. (2008) The school neuropsychology of ADHD: Theory, assessment, and intervention
Contemporary Intellectual Assessment 30. Use of Intelligence Tests in the Identification of Children with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities, Kathleen Armstrong, Jason Hangauer, & Joshua Nadeau
Contemporary Intellectual Assessment 24. Cognitive Assessment in Early Childhood: Theoretical and Practical Perspectives, Laurie Ford, Michelle L. Kozey, and Juliana Negreiros
Donders (1999) Pediatric Neuropsychological Reports: Do They Really Have To Be So Long?
AssessingPsyche Advice for psychological evaluation reports: Make every sentence worth reading.
AssessingPsyche My Template for Psychological Evaluation Reports
AssessingPsyche TableMaker: A program for making tables in psychological reports
Comprehensive Evaluations Foreward by Willis (2011)
Comprehensive Evaluations Case 5
Comprehensive Evaluations Case 6
Comprehensive Evaluations Case 7
Comprehensive Evaluations Case 8
McKenzie (2009) Obscuring vital distinctions: The oversimplification of learning disabilities within RTI.
AssessingPsyche Communicate with percentile ranks…but think and reason with standard scores
Comprehensive Evaluations Case 9
Comprehensive Evaluations Case 10
Comprehensive Evaluations Case 12
Comprehensive Evaluations Case 13
Comprehensive Evaluations Case 14
Reis & Renzulli (2011) Intellectual giftedness
Comprehensive Evaluations Case 16
Comprehensive Evaluations Case 17
Comprehensive Evaluations Case 21
Comprehensive Evaluations Case 22
Comprehensive Evaluations Case 23
Contemporary Intellectual Assessment 36. Intellectual, Cognitive, and Neuropsychological Assessment in Three-Tier Service Delivery Practices in Schools, George McCloskey, James Whitaker, Ryan Murphy, and Jane Rogers
Comprehensive Evaluations Case 24
Comprehensive Evaluations Case 27
Comprehensive Evaluations Case 29
Comprehensive Evaluations Case 30
Comprehensive Evaluations Case 33
Contemporary Intellectual Assessment 5. Assessment of Intellectual Profile: A Perspective from Multiple-Intelligences Theory, Jie-Qi Chen and Howard Gardner
AssessingPsyche Where does Emotional Intelligence fit into CHC Theory?
Comprehensive Evaluations Case 35
Comprehensive Evaluations Case 37
Comprehensive Evaluations Case 38
Comprehensive Evaluations Case 42
Comprehensive Evaluations Case 44
Contemporary Intellectual Assessment 6. The Triarchic Theory of Successful Intelligence, Robert J. Sternberg
Comprehensive Evaluations Case 45
Comprehensive Evaluations Case 46
Comprehensive Evaluations Case 53
Comprehensive Evaluations Case 55
Comprehensive Evaluations Case 58

Final Exam: TBA in DEG 404