The phrase ?test user qualifications? refers to ?the combination of knowledge, skills, abilities, training, experience, and, where appropriate, practice credentials that the APA (2000) considers desirable for the responsible use of psychological tests? (Turner at al., 2001, p.1099). Test users can include at least two broad groups: (1) individuals with sufficient training to administer and score assessments accurately and reliably with supervision and (2) individuals who interpret and report results of psychological tests. The latter group should have a greater level of training and supervised experience. The APA test user qualifications include two broad categories: (1) generic knowledge and skills and (2) qualifications in specific contexts, such as early childhood education, employment testing, education, career counseling, and healthcare settings.
Preschool, kindergarten, and primary school teachers, special educators, and infant intervention providers are the primary user groups for the BDI-2. Related service providers, such as speech-language pathologists, adaptive physical education specialists, psychologists, and diagnosticians also are likely to use the BDI-2 to measure the functional abilities of young children. Educational aides who have considerable experience working with the children being assessed may appropriately use the BDI-2 or parts of it if they have received comprehensive training in its administration and demonstrated proficiency in its use through supervised practice with the instrument.
Because the BDI-2 has multiple uses and groups of users, the training, experience, and skills, will vary. Typically, BDI-2 test users are assumed to have college-level training in general measurement and statistical concepts essential for interpreting test results for different audiences, (i.e., parents, colleagues, with expertise in related services, administrators, patrons, and others) as appropriate. In addition to general training in testing and measurement, BDI-2 users must have a thorough understanding of the purposes of the instrument, the characteristics of the child to be assessed relative to the normative sample used in the standardization, the administration procedures, and scoring. If the BDI-2 is administered using the Electronic Record Form, users should be proficient in its operation.
In addition to an understanding of testing and measurement, all BDI-2 users should be familiar with child development. It is imperative that examiners have appropriate training and experience working with children of the age they will assess as well as a comfort level that allows easy interaction with them. Professionals who use the scores in determining eligibility for services must be cognizant of federal, state, and local eligibility criteria for early childhood services. Persons who use BDI-2 results for program planning purposes need to be knowledgeable of the relationship between assessment and curriculum and how to design instruction or interventions in collaboration with other team members, so that the child?s progress will be optimized. Program evaluators must be skillful in summarizing overall results obtained from the BDI-2 as well as the other child-based measures and relating them to program goals, analyzing data to detect the contribution of various child or project factors, drawing conclusions supported by data drawn from the assessment of children and project factors, and reporting the findings to patrons and funding sources.
Recognizing Professional Limitations
In education, as in other fields serving infants and young children, professionals are expected to restrict their work to areas in which they have received training through college-level course work or professional development opportunities coupled with supervised practice. Although it may be possible to administer the BDI-2 after completing a measurement course and supervised training, certain subtleties remain regarding establishment of rapport, observing the child, knowing when the child is fatigued and administration should be discontinued, using examiner judgment when scoring items, and other situations. Similarly, interpreting scores within the context of making placement decisions or designing instruction requires specific skills. It is important that the BDI-2 be administered and interpreted by persons who have appropriate training and competence to prevent misuse of the test. If the potential BDI-2 user recognizes his or her limitations in specific skills or knowledge areas that appear to be relevant to the assessment, he or she should find a colleague or other resource that can assist in developing the necessary skills or an understanding of the relevant technical information.
Administration of the BVAT by a bilingual primary examiner who is fluent in the subject?s languages is the best procedure. It may, however, be necessary to use a primary and ancillary examiner team approach when qualified bilingual examiners are unavailable. An ancillary examiner is a professional and paraprofessional fluent in the target language who has been trained to assist in the administration of the BVAT . Even when using the primary and ancillary examiner to become proficient in all aspects of the administration, scoring, and interpretation.
The Standards for Educational and Psychological Testing (APA, 1985) were developed to facilitate proper test use and to provide a basis for evaluating the quality of testing practices.
The Primary and Ancillary Examiner Team
The ancillary examiner is preferably a native speaker of the target language trained to administer the BVAT . The major responsibility of the ancillary examiner is the precise administration of test items in the target language and the observation of test behavior. The ancillary examiner does not interpret test results. The primary examiner is responsible for the English testing, the inputting of scores in the computer, and interpreting test results.
The administration and scoring of each component of the DWNB is relatively easy to learn. The Examiner?s Manual provides guidelines for administering, scoring, and interpreting the DWSNB, the Structured Neuropsychological Interview, and the Emotional Status Examination .
The DWNB is a specialized diagnostic aid that was designed to be administered and scored easily by a wide range of examiners. However, the battery should be administered only by properly trained examiners. To administer the components of the DWNB, examiners should have formal, professional training and experience in administering and scoring standardized psychological assessment tests. To prepare to administer the DWSMB, an examiner should be familiar with the test materials and procedures. New examiners, whatever their backgrounds, should become acquainted with and practice using all components of the DWNB to assure mastery of administration, scoring, and interpretation before using the battery in a clinical setting. New examiners should also practice testing and should review their results with an experienced professional.
The qualifications for administering and interpreting the DWSMB, Structured Neuropsychological Interview, and Emotional Status Examination and integrating the data from these measures with other measures requires professional training that meets the guidelines outlined in the Standards for Educational and Psychological Testing (American Educational Research Association [AERA], American Psychological Association [APA], & National Council on Measurement in Education [NCME], 1999).
Examiner Qualifications for Interpretation
The DWSMB, Structured Neuropsychological Interview, and Emotional Status Examination were designed to be interpreted on at least two different levels: 1) the descriptive level or 2) the neuropsychological level. The level of interpretation used depends on the subject?s individual needs, the examiner?s training, and the final use of the test results.
The first level of interpretation, as Boll (1987) and others have pointed out, measures the subject?s sensory and motor functioning and emotional status at a functional processing or descriptive level without further neurological inferences (e.g., impaired fine-motor control). Interpretation at this level also evaluates a subject?s patterns of strengths and weaknesses in relation to the results of other tests.
The qualifications to interpret the battery at the descriptive level include experience administering psychological tests. This qualification allows a professional to provide a limited, descriptive interpretation and to refer an individual to a neuropsychologist or neurologist for further evaluation. Psychologists who use the DWSMB tests at the descriptive level for the screening purposes must be familiar with the administration and scoring procedures outlined in this manual.
The second level of interpretation evaluates and diagnoses neurological, neuropsychological, and/or psychiatric aspects of a subject?s performance. When using the test for this purpose, the primary goal is to test specific functions in combination with or in isolation of other functions to make neurological inferences based on a subject?s pattern of performance.
To provide a neuropsychological interpretation, a professional must have specialized training and experience in neuropsychology. Psychologists who synthesize the results from these interviews with other sources of data for diagnostic purposes require advanced training in neuropsychology and experience in interpreting psychological tests. This is usually indicated by an advanced degree and supervised internship.
For example, most examiners with some experience in administering psychological tests can use the tests of visual and auditory acuity as screeners and interpret them at the descriptive level prior to administering more rigorous psychometric tests in the DWNB or DWNAS . When using these tests as screeners, simply determining whether the subject is within normal limits or impaired is sufficient. But an examiner who wants to administer and interpret the profiles of right and left differences and offer a diagnosis beyond the descriptive level, for example to provide a lateralized interpretation of nervous system impairment, must have training and experience in neuropsychology and nervous system disorders.
Professionals in some settings may find the descriptive approach meets their needs, while professionals in other setting may have a greater need for diagnosis. Regardless, the level of interpretation an examiner can provide should be commensurate with his or her training and experience. As with any clinical measure, the validity and utility of the results depend on the training and experience of the professional who administers and interprets the test. It is the examiner?s responsibility to use the test within his or her range of competency.
Any person administering the Brief Battery must have a thorough knowledge of the exact administration and scoring procedures, as well as an understanding of the importance of adhering to the standardized procedures detailed in this manual. To become proficient in administering the Brief Battery, examiners should study the administration and scoring procedures carefully and follow the procedures precisely. Chapter 3 of the Examiner's Manual provides general administration and scoring instructions. Chapter 4 includes a suggested procedure for learning to administer the Brief Battery tests and specific instructions for administering and scoring each of the tests.
With appropriate training and supervision, classroom teachers or aides ? under the supervision of a qualified and experienced WJ III ACH or Brief Battery examiner ? could administer some or all of these tests. Chapter 6 of the manual contains examiner training information and practice exercises that may be useful for training additional examiners.
Interpretation of the Brief Battery requires a higher degree of knowledge and experience than is required for administering and scoring the tests. Graduate-level training in educational assessment and a background in diagnostic decision making are recommended for test interpretation. Only trained and knowledgeable professionals who are sensitive to the conditions that may compromise, or even invalidate, standardized test results should interpret results and formulate diagnostic conclusions.
Examiners who administer the WMLS-R need to know the exact administration and scoring procedures and understand the importance of adhering to these standardized procedures. To become proficient in administering the WMLS-R, examiners need to study the administration and scoring procedures carefully and follow them precisely. The Comprehensive Manual provides guidelines for examiner training and includes specific instructions for administering and scoring each WMLS-R test. Examiners who administer the WMLS-R English Form need to be fluent and literate in English, just as those who administer the WMLS-R Spanish Form need to be fluent and literate in Spanish.
Interpreting the WMLS-R requires a higher degree of knowledge and experience than simply administering and scoring the test. Only trained and knowledgeable professionals who are sensitive to the conditions that may compromise, or even invalidate, standardized test results should make interpretations and decisions. Examiners who interpret the WMLS-R test results should have graduate-level training in language assessment and a background in a diagnostic decision-making. The joint professional standards (AERA, APA, & NCME, 1999) suggest that each school district is responsible for maintaining and ensuring examiner credentials and subsequently determining who is qualified to administer and interpret the WMLS-R .
Full use of the WMLS-R requires training and background in test administration and interpretation. However, a wide range of personnel can learn the actual procedures for administering the tests. As with other clinical diagnostic procedures, appropriate use of the WMLS-R with subjects who have special problems requires a higher level of skill and training, as well as a greater sensitivity to the dynamics of testing. Such special problems may include disability, immaturity, hyperactivity, lack of motivation, or speech defects.