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Advice on teleassessment
November 23, 2020

Earlier this year, PAR welcomed A. Jordan Wright, PhD, for a webinar concerning best practices in teleassessment. Dr. Wright is the Director of the Center for Counseling and Community Wellbeing at New York University's Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development, where he also coordinates the psychological assessment curriculum in the Counseling Psychology program. He is the author of the upcoming Essentials of Psychological Tele-Assessment. As teleassessment has become an increasingly important part of many clinician’s lives, we are republishing selected questions posed by webinar attendees looking for ways to incorporate teleassessment into their practices. For a full list of the questions asked of Dr. Wright and his responses, click here.  

 

Q: What are your thoughts about using personal protective equipment (PPE) during assessments? If we use PPE, is it okay to change the order in which subtests are administered?  

A: Currently, we have absolutely no research into the potential impact of using PPE on the data that emerge during an assessment. Remember, the more you veer off from standardized administration, the greater the threat to validity. So, changing the order of subtests adds one large variable that changes standardized administration procedures. PPE adds another (and in a way that is likely to be quite significant).  

 

Q:    My school district is asking us to only report confidence intervals due to breaking standardization with PPE during in-person testing. What are your thoughts on only reporting confidence intervals?  

A:    Because we know there are not systematic effects of teleassessment, confidence intervals are helpful (they can remind us and readers that scores are imperfect). However, with PPE, we don’t have research studies to confirm where children's scores would likely fall, so even confidence intervals can be misleading.  

 

Q:    Is there a disclaimer about teleassessment that could be used in reports? Is there specific language that should be used to make it more legally defensible when doing teleassessment?  

A:    Mine is evolving. Here's the gist of the language I include: 1. It should be noted that the evaluation was conducted using teleassessment (remote) procedures. 2. It is known that administering tests in this way may have some effects on the validity of the data that emerge from the tests. 3. However, the teleassessment was conducted in alignment with the best and most current research evidence to elicit data that constitute a valid representation of the client's functioning.  

 

Q:    In your experience, how are teleassessment reports received by schools, testing boards like ETS, etc.?  

A:    Many school districts have developed their own rules. Check with your school district and the state psychological associations in your state.  Advocacy is a role that we as psychologists need to take on so kids can get resources they need. If a school district or company has a blanket statement that they will not accept teleassessments, work toward educating them about the evidence base of conducting teleassessments.  

 

Q:    What information can we share with parents, families, and schools about equivalence and validity?  

A:    We have reviewed the current state of equivalence/validity research across all tests for the Essentials of Psychological Tele-Assessment book. It is of course fair and ethical to discuss the limitations of the evidence base with the interested parties. But you can also summarize the current state of support (for the most part, across IQ and achievement tests, research has shown very little, if any, impact of conducting testing remotely on scores that emerge).  

 

Q:    What’s your best advice when remote testing ELL students with chaotic settings at home (lots of siblings, distractions, limited ability from parent to support)?  

A:    This is really tough, and it's a social justice issue. Obviously, we cannot only provide services to those with “perfect” home environments. A remote, in-office setup is one way that we can balance the safety of tele-assessment with better controlling the environment. If you set up an office with a laptop, any manipulatives and response booklets, etc., and have students come into that office to do their remote assessment, this provides a much more controlled environment. This is also the solution when students/clients do not have access to the necessary technology (e.g., a stable internet connection).  

 

Want help with remote and teleassessment? We can help here!  

Want to view the entire webinar? Visit the PAR Training Portal!