PARiConnect saves you time and money

PARiConnect, our online assessment platform, takes the work out of paperwork. You can easily administer, quickly score, and safely save and store assessment files online from any computer or device. Handling files and paperwork are no longer necessary.

There are even more advantages:

•When you purchase assessment products through PARiConnect, you pay no shipping and handling fees. That’s additional savings for you on top of no subscription or licensing fees.
•PARiConnect gives you immediate access to your assessment products. No more waiting for materials to arrive—you can start using your products right away!

Now available on PARiConnect: The Academic Achievement Battery™ (AAB™)

Now it’s even easier to measure basic reading, math, spelling, and reading comprehension skills quickly and reliably. The AAB is now available for scoring via PARiConnect, our online portal.

The new AAB is ideal for use in educational, research, or clinical settings to confidently evaluate achievement in just 15 to 30 minutes to get an accurate overview of an individual’s educational skills. After entering scores from a paper-and-pencil assessment, PARiConnect produces a Score Report that provides scale and composite scores, including percentiles, stanines, and confidence intervals. Score discrepancies between subtests and the Total Academic Achievement Battery are provided, along with significance levels. A qualitative analysis and a skills analysis summary are also provided in the report.

A Reliable Change Report can be generated if you have administered the AAB to the same individual more than one time.

Developed using academic standards set by the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics, the National Council of Teachers of English, Common Core, and Reading First, the AAB is the newest member of this family of products. A Comprehensive Form, which offers a complete evaluation of academic skills, and a Screening Form, which offers a fundamental evaluation of reading, math, spelling, and writing skills, are also available.

For value and simplicity, you can’t beat the AAB on PARiConnect!

 

The online experience of the Self-Directed Search (SDS) is now in line with the recently updated and revised StandardSDS and StudentSDS print materials.

The new SDS Web site, which launched this week, features a look and feel that brings a contemporary touch to the gold-standard instrument for career assessment. It features interactive graphics, intuitive navigation, and a more user-friendly experience.

Since it was released in 1971, the SDS has helped millions of people find jobs that match their personality. The SDS is based on Dr. John Holland’s theory, known as the RIASEC theory, that both people and working environments can be classified according to six basic types: Realistic, Investigative, Artistic, Social, Enterprising, and Conventional.

The theory is based on the idea that if your personality type (SDS Summary Code) matches your work environment type (Holland Occupational Code), you are more likely to find job fulfillment and career satisfaction. So if you are looking for a job, want a career change, or are searching for a program of study, knowing more about what types of potential careers fit your personality will greatly improve your search.

After completing the 20-minute online assessment, users will receive one of three reports based on their demographics and job history: The StandardSDS, StudentSDS, or VeteranSDS. All feature the user’s Summary Code along with a list of occupations and programs of study based on that code, a list of occupations based on the user’s daydream occupations, an overview of salary data, and links to resources to assist with educational and career planning.

The new reports allow users to sort and filter their occupational and educational results, providing a more customized user experience. Visit http://www.self-directed-search.com/ to learn more!

Put the I back in IEP with the FAR Interpretive Report

The Feifer Assessment of Reading (FAR) is a comprehensive reading assessment that uses a neurological approach to determine if a student is at risk for specific subtypes of dyslexia. It is useful for educators, reading specialists, and school psychologists not only because it identifies a possible cause of reading difficulties—but also because it offers intervention recommendations based on the student’s specific type of reading difficulty.  It truly helps put the individual back in an Individualized Education Program.

The new FAR Interpretive Report takes this individualized approach a step further, using scores from all 16 FAR tasks as well as index scores and index discrepancy scores to provide targeted reading considerations and strategies based on research from more than 200 current reading programs. Don’t spend hours researching reading strategies and intervention tools–we’ve done the work for you! With the click of your mouse, you have the information you need to help your students succeed.

Save even more time by copying and pasting report recommendations directly from the FAR Interpretive Report into other documents.

The FAR Interpretive Report is available only on PARiConnect, our online assessment platform. Not yet connected? Sign up now and get your first three administrations and reports for free!

Learn more about the FAR.

The new SDS is here!

The next generation of John Holland’s Self-Directed Search is here! Based on data collected for the SDS Form R, 5th Edition (2013), the gold standard in career personality assessment has been rebranded, repackaged, and refreshed!

A bold new look and a cleaner, more user-friendly interface means clients can easily learn more about their personality and find a career that fits.

Self-administered, self-scored, and self-interpreted, the SDS is based on the theory that both people and working environments can be classified according to six basic types: Realistic, Investigative, Artistic, Social, Enterprising, and Conventional. Known as RIASEC theory, it is based on the idea that if your personality type matches your work environment type, you are more likely to find job fulfillment and career satisfaction.

So if you are looking for a job, want a career change, or are searching for a program of study, knowing more about what types of potential careers fit your personality will greatly improve your search.

DBR Connect is a Web-based behavioral progress monitoring tool that tracks three core behaviors: Academically Engaged, Disruptive, and Respectful. It can be used to screen at-risk students and monitor their behavior before, during, and after an intervention has been implemented. Now we’ve added a recorded Webinar on DBR Connect to our on-demand course offerings on the PAR Training Portal. Log on to view DBR Connect: Using Technology to Facilitate Behavior Screening and Progress Monitoring presented by Sandra M. Chafouleas, PhD, University of Connecticut, coauthor of DBR Connect. During this three-part recorded Webinar, you will:
  • Increase knowledge about the evidence supporting the use of direct behavior ratings in school-based assessment practices involving screening and progress monitoring.
  • Learn the benefits of electronic data systems that facilitate decisions about behavior supports.
  • Focus on how to use DBR Connect to collect, store, interpret, and communicate information with regard to an individual or group of students.
  • Gain insight on how to use DBR Connect in multi-tiered assessment frameworks, including use in combination with other assessment practices.
Training courses, recorded Webinars, and supplemental materials are available 24/7 on the Vocabulary Assessment Scales™ (VAS™), the Test of General Reasoning Ability™ (TOGRA™), the Reynolds Adaptable Intelligence Test™ (RAIT™), the Academic Achievement Battery™ (AAB™), the Child and Adolescent Memory Profile™ (ChAMP™), the Feifer Assessment of Reading™ (FAR™), and many more! There’s so much more to learn on the Training Portal! To access the Training Portal, use your parinc.com username and password to log in. Don’t have a free account? Register now.
Last week, we presented the first part of a two-part series on unraveling the ED/SM dilemma. This week, we talk to the experts on how to use various assessments to evaluate emotional disturbance and social maladjustment. Catch up on last week's blog here. School staff members often have difficulties when it comes to assessing a student who may have emotional disturbance (ED), and getting hard data to back up the decision can be just as difficult. PAR spoke with experts in the field about the use of various instruments that have proven to be useful in gathering the hard data needed in order to make an informed decision about ED eligibility. Behavior Rating Inventory of Executive Function, Second Edition (BRIEF2) Peter K. Isquith, PhD, is a practicing developmental school neuropsychologist and instructor in psychiatry at Harvard Medical School. He’s the coauthor of the BRIEF2, the new BRIEF2 Interpretive Guide, and the Tasks of Executive Control (TEC). PAR: Why would it be helpful to include a measure of executive functioning in the assessment of a student being evaluated for an ED eligibility? PI: In general, the purpose of including the BRIEF2 when asking about ED is to know whether or not the child actually has an emotional disturbance or if his or her self-regulation gives that appearance. So, if a child is referred who has frequent severe tantrums, we want to know if this is an emotional disturbance or if it is part of a broader self-regulatory deficit. That is, is the child melting down because he or she truly experiences emotional distress? Or is he or she doing so because of poor global self-regulation? To answer this, I would want to look at two things: Is there evidence of an actual emotional concern? Does the child exhibit mood problems, anxiety, or other emotional issues? And does the child's self-regulation have an impact on other domains, including attention, language, and behavior? That is, is he or she physically, motorically, attentionally, and/or verbally impulsive or poorly regulated? If the first answer is yes, then there is likely an emotional disturbance. But if it is no, then there may be a self-regulatory issue that is more broad. By using the BRIEF2, clinicians can quickly learn if a student is impulsive or poorly regulated in other domains, not just emotionally. A BRIEF2 profile with high Inhibit and Emotional Control scales suggests that the child is more globally disinhibited. If it is primarily the Emotional Control scale that’s elevated, and there is an emotional concern like mood problems, then it may be more of an emotional disturbance. Pediatric Behavior Rating Scale (PBRS) Richard Marshall, EdD, PhD, is an associate professor in the Department of Educational and Psychological Studies in the College of Education at the University of South Florida. He is also an adjunct associate professor in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Neurosciences at the USF College of Medicine. In addition to the PBRS, published in 2008, he is the author of 2011’s The Middle School Mind: Growing Pains in Early Adolescent Brains. PAR: How does the PBRS fit into the diagnosis of ED? RM: Two gaps in practice prompted us to develop the PBRS. The first was that the assessment instrument available at the time had few if any items about rage attacks, irritability, assaultive aggression, and other symptoms associated with early onset bipolar disorder. Hence, despite significantly abnormal behaviors, results of assessments were often within normal limits because they failed to capture symptoms of interest. So, our first goal was to include these new behaviors into parent and teacher ratings. A second problem was that symptom overlap between ADHD and early onset bipolar disorder made it difficult to differentiate ADHD and bipolar disorder. The problem is that the standard treatment for ADHD, stimulant medication, induces mania in individuals with bipolar disorder. Thus, diagnosis accuracy is paramount. What we learned during the PBRS norming sample was that students with ADHD and bipolar disorder produce a similar pattern of scores, but students with bipolar disorder produce a higher level of scores. That is, both groups have similar symptoms, but individuals with bipolar disorder have more serious symptoms. Thus, the PBRS can assist clinicians in differentiating individuals with mood disorders from those with ADHD. PAR: Decades of research in cognitive neuroscience, combined with changes in our understanding and classification of mental illness in children, impels us to continually reevaluate theory and practice. Formulated more than a half-century ago, the idea of social maladjustment is one of those policies in desperate need of revision. In 1957, the idea of being able to identify students who were socially maladjusted may have seemed reasonable. RM: There are two problems with this idea. First, the government has never defined social maladjustment, and states (and practitioners) have been left without clear ways of differentiating students who are or are not socially maladjusted. Second, without a clear definition, the concept of social maladjustment has created what Frank Gresham refers to as a “false dichotomy” that is used to exclude students from receiving interventions that would help them and to which they are entitled. Emotional Disturbance Decision Tree (EDDT) Bryan Euler, PhD, author of the EDDT as well as the EDDT Parent Form and the new EDDT Self-Report Form, has a background in clinical and counseling psychology, special education, and rehabilitation counseling. He has 27 years of experience as a school psychologist working in urban and rural settings with multicultural student populations. PAR: Can you describe the overall benefits of the EDDT system and what makes it unique from other instruments? BE: The EDDT series was designed to map directly onto the IDEA criteria for emotional disturbance, which are different from and broader than constructs such as depression or conduct. The federal criteria are, some might say, unfortunately wide and “fuzzy,” rather than clean-cut. The EDDT scales are written to address these broad domains thoroughly and help school psychologists apply the unwieldy criteria. The EDDT also includes a social maladjustment scale (SM). Since students who are only SM are not ED eligible, the EDDT is useful in ruling out these students and in identifying those for whom both conditions may be present. This can be helpful with program decisions, so children or adolescents who are primarily “fragile” are not placed in classrooms with those who have both depression/anxiety and severe aggression. The EDDT also has an Educational Impact scale, which helps to document that the student’s social-emotional and behavioral issues are having educational effects, which IDEA requires for eligibility. All of the EDDT forms include a Severity scale, which helps to gauge this and guide service design. The EDDT Parent and Self-Report forms also include Resiliency and Motivation scales, which help to identify a student’s strengths and determine what may most effectively modify his or her behavior. The presence of all these factors in the EDDT scales is intended to facilitate the actual practice of school psychology with ED and related problems. PAR: Why is it important to have multiple informants as part of an evaluation? BE: Having multiple informants is, in effect, one way of having multiple data sources. Multiple data sources add incremental validity, or accuracy, to evaluations as well as breadth of perspective. A rough analogy might be to lab tests, which are often done in panels, or multiples, rather than in singles, to help with insight, efficiency, and decisions. PAR: What are the benefits of having the student perspective as part of an evaluation with multiple informants? BE: Having a student’s perspective on his or her behavior and social-emotional adjustment is a critical but sometimes overlooked component of assessment, especially for ED and ADHD evaluations. If only teacher anecdotal reports, teacher-completed ratings, and behavior observations are used, this vastly increases the chance that the evaluation will be skewed toward externalized behavior like aggression and rule-breaking. Internal factors such as depression or anxiety, which may be causing the behavior, will be deemphasized, if noted at all. Research corroborates that if teachers rate a student, and ratings are also obtained from the parent and the child, the teacher results tend to highlight difficult, disruptive behavior, while other ratings may result in other insights. Relatedly, in children and adolescents, depression is often primarily manifest in irritability or anger rather than sadness. If there is no observable sadness and only problem behavior, teacher ratings may understandably focus on what stands out to them and complicates classroom management. Even if students minimize their depression, anxiety, or social problems, they do sometimes rate one or more of these as “at risk.” This can provide a window into subjective emotional pain that may otherwise be obscured. Finally, gathering student-derived data enhances school psychology professional practice. Psychologists who complete child custody or juvenile corrections evaluations gather data directly from the child to facilitate insight, which can also aid in school psychology. Adolescent Anger Rating Scale (AARS) Darla DeCarlo, Psy S, has been a clinical assessment consultant with PAR for nine years. She is a licensed mental health counselor and certified school psychologist in the state of Florida. PAR: Can you speak about your use of the AARS in ED evaluations? DD: Within the context of assessing those students referred for behavior-related evaluations, I found the AARS to be a great compliment to the various other instruments I used during the evaluation process. Making an ED determination is a sensitive issue, and I wanted as much hard data as possible to help me make a well-informed decision. The AARS allowed me to assess a student’s level of anger and his or her response to anger through a self-report. Limited instruments are able to give clinicians information that can help them look at the ED/SM issue. The AARS helped me identify students who were at risk for diagnoses of conduct disorder, oppositional defiant disorder, or ADHD. Combine these results with results on the EDDT and other instruments, and I was able to get a good picture (not to mention some hard data) on whether SM factored into the student’s issues. PAR: What about interventions? Does the AARS help with that in any way? DD: Anger control, as defined by the AARS, “is a proactive cognitive behavioral method used to respond to reactive and/or instrumental provocations. Adolescents who display high levels of anger control utilize the cognitive processes and skills necessary to manage anger related behaviors.” What I liked about the instrument is that it qualifies the type of anger the student is displaying and then gives the clinician information about whether or not the student displays anger control or even has the capacity for anger control. As a school psychologist, I needed to know if the student already had the skills to follow through with some of the possible interventions we might put in place or if we needed to teach him or her some skills before attempting the intervention. For example, something as simple as telling a student to count to 10 or walk away when he or she feels anger escalating may seem like an easy task, but not all students recognize the physiological symptoms associated with their outbursts. Therefore, asking them to recognize the symptoms and then act by calming themselves is pointless. I have seen this mistake many times, and have made the mistake myself by suggesting what I thought was a useful and effective intervention, only to find out later that the intervention failed simply because the student did not possess the skills to perform the task. The AARS gave me information that helped guard against making this type mistake. As with every evaluation, the instruments we choose in our assessments are important, but even the best instrument is useless without the keen skills of well-trained school staff to properly administer and interpret results with accuracy and precision.
vas_erSometimes, measuring a client’s or student’s overall intellectual ability isn’t as simple as administering the RIAS-2 , the TOGRA, or the RAIT. Sometimes, very young children; those who speak English as a second language; and those with communication or speech disorders, attention disorders, autism spectrum disorders, traumatic brain injury, and other conditions have difficulty on traditional tests of IQ—and they may be underserved simply because they can’t be tested accurately. The Vocabulary Assessment Scales (VAS) offer an alternate way to assess overall intellectual ability by measuring expressive and receptive vocabulary ability. Research has shown that vocabulary ability correlates strongly with cognitive ability, so professionals can confidently use data from the VAS to estimate general intelligence in individuals ages 2 years, 6 months to 95 years. The VAS correlates strongly with the Reynolds Intellectual Assessment Scales (RIAS), a trusted measure of general intelligence. Help uncover your client’s intellectual abilities and get them the help they need to succeed. With very little motor skill required, and no reading or writing necessary, the test is suited for those who have difficulties taking traditional IQ tests. The VAS uses modern, engaging photographs (not outdated line drawings, like other picture vocabulary tests) to gauge expressive and receptive language ability. It offers digital stimuli (available on an iPad) to engage younger clients, and scoring is available on PARiConnect, our digital assessment platform. The VAS-Expressive asks test-takers to look at a picture and answer, “What is this?” Items were generated so the number of possible one-word answers was limited. The VAS-Receptive asks test-takers to respond to questions like, “point to the frog” when presented with an array of four possible answers. There are few overlapping items between the receptive and expressive versions, which helps reduce practice effects. In addition, each test includes two equivalent forms (A and B) with no overlapping items and reliable change scores, making it a useful tool for measuring response to intervention (RTI) in school-based reading programs, medical settings, or after injury or illness. The VAS is the only picture vocabulary test that provides a composite score and a reliable change score. It also features less complicated basal and ceiling rules, so it’s easier to administer and score than similar measures. Each test only takes about 15 minutes to administer, and normative data are provided for 28 different age groups and for Grades K-12 (spring and fall). For more information about the VAS, visit www.parinc.com or call 1.800.331.8378.
March is brain injury awareness month. Concussions are sometimes described as a mild brain injury because they are not usually life-threatening, but the effects of concussions can be incredibly serious. PAR offers two apps that can be used by individuals who are concerned with treating and diagnosing concussions. The Concussion Recognition & Response™ (CRR) app helps coaches and parents recognize whether an individual is exhibiting and/or reporting the signs of a concussion. In fewer than 5 minutes, a parent or coach can complete a checklist of signs and symptoms to help determine whether to seek medical attention. The app allows users to record pertinent information regarding the child with a suspected concussion, allowing them to easily share that information with health-care providers. Post-injury, it guides parents through follow-up treatment. The Concussion Assessment & Response™: Sport Version (CARE) app is a tool for athletic trainers, team physicians, and other qualified health care professionals to assess the likelihood of a concussion and respond quickly and appropriately. The CRR app is available free of charge. The CARE app costs just $4.99. Both apps are available for download through the Apple® App StoreSM and Google Play for use on your iPhone®, iPad®, iPod® Touch,  Android™ device, or tablet!  
[embed]https://youtu.be/gXWtY9aZHpM[/embed] The concept of direct behavior rating (DBR) began in the late 1960s with school psychologist Calvin Edlund. He posited a program whereby teachers first explained to students what acceptable behavior was and then rated them at the end of each lesson. Unlike rating scale assessments, which ask teachers and parents to recall a child’s behavior during a 30-day period or so, direct behavior rating relies on real-time observation.  DBR combines the strength of a rating scale and the benefit of direct observation. Using this system, teachers can not only identify specific behaviors in real time, but they can also rate those behaviors.   From this idea, DBR Connect was created. PAR recently spoke with DBR Connect coauthors Sandra M. Chafouleaus, PhD, and T. Chris Riley-Tillman, PhD, to learn more about how this product can help students and teachers to succeed. Q: Direct behavior rating has been around for quite some time. Historically, what changes have taken place to get us to where we are today? Drs. Chafouleas and Riley-Tillman: Yes, direct behavior ratings were developed from daily behavior report cards, home–school notes, and other tools that educators and parents have used for decades as a way to communicate information about child behavior. We took that rich history of use and worked to standardize the instrumentation and procedures. This allowed for comprehensive evaluation of the psychometric evidence for use in screening and progress monitoring purposes. DBR Connect is the result of all of that research and development, overall supporting that DBR Connect can provide data that are reliable, valid, and sensitive to change.  Q: How does DBR tie into positive behavioral support and/or multitiered models of delivery of services? Multitiered models of service delivery and positive behavioral support are founded in prevention—that is, early identification and remediation of difficulties. These frameworks require use of ongoing data to inform decisions about continuing, modifying, or terminating supports, and DBR Connect functions as an ideal prevention-oriented method for progress monitoring assessment.  Q: You have described DBR Connect as a hybrid tool. What do you mean by that? DBR Connect offers strengths of both traditional rating scales and systematic direct observation. That is, like systematic direct observation, a predefined observation period is selected with repeated assessment to allow for comparison of data across assessment periods, required in progress monitoring. The instrumentation and procedures are highly efficient like rating scales because only a brief rating of the defined targets is needed to record data.  Q: You mention in your book that one of the roles of DBR is communication. Can you talk a bit about that? Yes, DBR has a rich history in use for communication purposes, whether teacher–teacher, teacher–parent, teacher–student, or parent–student. It is easy to understand at all levels and provides a simple format for discussing behavior expectations.   Q: What guided your decision to focus on the three core behavioral competencies that you chose for DBR Connect? Our research started with a broad review of the literature on school-based behavior expectations in schools—including consideration of indicators of student success and those areas most concerning to educators. We narrowed the literature to items that could be defined both in broad and narrow terms, and then conducted a series of research studies to identify those target behaviors that resulted in the strongest evidence for use. In the end, the core school-based behavioral competencies—that is, those behaviors that every student should display in order to fully access instruction and participate in the school environment—are academically engaged, disruptive, and respectful. That said, we also acknowledge that some situations may call for additional targets; thus, we maintain the flexibility by supporting use for any behavior of relevance to a particular context.   Q: Who is the target audience for DBR Connect? Teachers are the primary users of DBR Connect, meaning they serve as the primary raters and producers of data summaries for decision making. However, all educators (e.g., administrators, school psychologists) can benefit from data reports to inform decision making, and there may be some situations in which other users may serve as appropriate raters (e.g., monitoring of behavior progress during counseling sessions). Remember, an important strength of a DBR data stream is the capacity to share with students and parents to communicate information about behavior.    For more information on DBR Connect or to take a tour, visit http://www.mydbrconnect.com/.