Tag Archives: intelligence

Use the VAS to uncover your client’s intellectual ability

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The VAS uses modern, engaging photographs (not outdated line drawings, like other picture vocabulary tests) to gauge expressive and receptive language ability.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.

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Five Things to Know About the RAIT

You may know that the Reynolds Adaptable Intelligence Test™ (RAIT™) is a rapid, reliable, and valid intelligence test. Here are five things you may not know.

  1. The RAIT is composed of seven subtests that assess crystallized intelligence, fluid intelligence, and quantitative aptitude or intelligence.
  2. The RAIT is flexible. The test can be administered by paper and pencil or via PARiConnect, our online assessment platform. The digital version allows you to administer the full battery (i.e., all seven subtests) or an abbreviated battery (i.e., crystallized and fluid subtests only). Because print and digital versions are statistically equivalent, you can confidently assess groups or individuals.
  3. This flexibility makes the RAIT a viable option for use in schools, juvenile and adult justice systems, clinical settings, and human resource and related industrial settings.
  4. The RAIT provides multiple types of scores, including z scores, normal curve equivalents, stanines, percentiles, and, for the younger ages, age equivalents.
  5. The soon-to-be-released Reynold Adaptable Intelligence Test™–Nonverbal (RAIT™-NV) was created from the RAIT to be a rapid, reliable, and valid power test of nonverbal intelligence.

For more information on the RAIT or RAIT-NV, visit their individual product pages.

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The RIAS-2 is Now Available on the Training Portal!

Interested in learning more about the new Reynolds Intellectual Assessment Scales, Second Edition (RIAS-2)? Now you can enroll in a free training course on the RIAS-2 through PAR’s Training Portal. Whether you have already purchased the RIAS-2 and want to learn more about it or are looking for more information to help you make your purchase decision, this training course will give you a quick overview of the product, explain what changes were made in this edition, and provide insight into scoring and administration. And, best of all, the Training Portal is always available, so you can get training on your schedule.

The RIAS-2 can be used to assess intelligence and its major components in individuals 3 to 94 years.

To access the Training Portal, use your parinc.com username and password to log in. Don’t have a free account? Register now. Training courses are also available on the Vocabulary Assessment Scales™ (VAS™), the Test of General Reasoning Ability™ (TOGRA™), the Reynolds Adaptable Intelligence Test™ (RAIT™), the Academic Achievement Battery™ (AAB™), and more!

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Assessing Gifted Students: An Interview with Cecil R. Reynolds (Part 2)

Cecil R. Reynolds, co-author of the Reynolds Intellectual Assessment Scales (RIAS) and recently revised RIAS-2, is one of the leaders in the field of gifted assessment. The following is part two of a two-part interview conducted with Dr. Reynolds concerning the use of assessments in gifted and talented programs. Did you miss part one of this series? Click here.

Q: What originally prompted you to design an assessment for gifted identification?

CR: To reduce the confounds present in most traditional measures of intelligence. We wanted to have better instrumentation for identifying the intellectually gifted using methods that are less influenced by culture than most tests—the RIAS is not “culture-free,” nor do such psychological tests exist, and the desirability of a culture-free test is questionable conceptually as well. We live in societies, not in isolation. That said, confounds such as motor coordination, especially fine motor coordination and speed, interpretation of directions that have cultural salience, and even short-term memory can all adversely influence scores on intelligence tests, and these variables are not associated strongly with general intelligence. For programs that seek to identify intellectually gifted individuals, the RIAS and now RIAS-2 are strong choices.

Q: The RIAS (and now RIAS-2) has been one of the most popular and widely used assessment instruments for gifted testing. Is the instrument useful for other types of assessments?

CR: The RIAS-2 is useful any time an examiner needs a comprehensive assessment of intelligence, especially one that is not confounded by motor speed, memory, and certain cultural issues. When understanding general intelligence, as well as crystallized and fluid intellectual functions, are important to answering referral questions, the RIAS-2 is entirely appropriate.

Q: What makes the RIAS-2 unique from the previous version?

The unique feature of the RIAS-2 is the addition of a co-normed Speeded Processing Index (SPI). It is greatly motor-reduced from similar attempts to measure processing speed on other more traditional, lengthy intelligence batteries. In keeping with the original philosophy of the RIAS, we do not recommend, but do allow, examiners to use this SPI as a component of the Intelligence Indexes, and we worked very hard to reduce the motor-confounds that typically plague attempts to assess processing speed.

Q: Originally there were no processing speed subtests on the RIAS. Why is that?

CR: Processing speed represents a set of very simple tasks that by definition anyone should be able to perform with 100% correctness if given sufficient time. This conflicts with our view of intelligence as the ability to think and solve problems. Processing speed correlates with few variables of great interest as well—it is a poor predictor of academic achievement, and tells us little to nothing about academic or intellectual potential. It is useful in screening for attentional issues, performance of simple tasks under time pressures, and coordination of simple brain systems, and as such can be useful especially in screening for neuropsychological issues that might require follow up assessment, but processing speed tasks remain poor estimates of intelligence.

Many RIAS users asked us to undertake the development of a motor-reduced set of processing speed tasks. Students who ask for extended time as an accommodation on tests are often required by the determining agency to have scores form some timed measures as well, and we felt we could derive a more relevant way of providing this information without the motor issues being as salient as a confound. The ability to contrast such performance with measured intelligence is important to this decision-making process.

Q: What advice do you have for psychologists and diagnosticians when it comes to assessing a student for giftedness?

CR: When choosing assessments to qualify students for a GT program, be sure you understand the goals of the program and the characteristics of the students who are most likely to be successful in that program. Then, choose your assessments to measure those characteristics so you have the best possible match between the students and the goals and purposes of the GT program.

 

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Assessing Gifted Students: An Interview with Cecil R. Reynolds (Part 1)

Cecil R. Reynolds, co-author of the Reynolds Intellectual Assessment Scales (RIAS) and recently revised RIAS-2, is one of the leaders in the field of gifted assessment. The following is part one of a two-part interview conducted with Dr. Reynolds concerning the use of assessments in gifted and talented programs.

Q: Theoretically speaking, what do you believe would be the most effective way to identify a gifted student?

Cecil Reynolds: I am often asked what tests or other processes should be used to identify children for participation in a gifted and talented program in the schools. My answer is almost always something along the lines of “What are the goals of the program itself?” and “What are the characteristics of the children you wish to identify?” The most important thing we can do is match the children to the program so they have the highest likelihood of success. So, for example, if the program is intended to promote academic achievement among the most academically able students in the school, I would recommend a very different selection process and different tests than if the program was intended to take the most intellectually talented students in the school and provide them with a challenging, engaging curriculum that would enrich their school experience, motivate them to achieve, and allow them to fall in love with something and pursue it with passion. While the students in these programs would overlap, the two groups would not be identical and certainly the academic outcomes would not be the same. But, the point is that we must know what characteristics we need to assess to identify and to place students in programs where they will be successful, and that requires us to first know what it is our program is intended to do.

Q: What are some of the challenges that psychologists and diagnosticians face when attempting to identify a gifted student accurately?

CR: Regardless of the program and its goals for students, the tremendous diversity in the American schools is our greatest challenge. We have an obligation to be fair, and just, and to promote the best in all children, and that is our intention. However, no schools in any country serve the range of backgrounds and abilities such as are served in our schools. The demands upon school staff to be culturally competent in so many areas, and to devise methods of teaching and accurate measures of intelligence, academic outcomes, behavioral outcomes, and school success generally, and to understand and to motivate such a wide array of eager young minds, are just incredible and require a commitment from the school board on down to the teacher aides. Maintaining this commitment and acquiring these competencies are undoubtedly staunch challenges to us all. These challenges can be magnified in the domain of gifted education because how “giftedness” is defined and valued may vary tremendously from one cultural group to another. The biggest concerns I hear from practitioners and diagnosticians center around the lack of proportionate representation of some ethnic minority groups in GT programs and how it can change assessment practices to overcome these issues. The RIAS and RIAS-2 are well suited to assist in identifying more minority students for GT programs since the minority-white differences on mean scores on the RIAS and now RIAS-2 are smaller by about half the differences seen on most traditional intelligence batteries.

Q: A lot has been written about the idea that just because a student has been identified as academically gifted, it does not mean he or she will be successful. Identifying them is simply step one. What things do you find tend to hinder their progress in our schools?

CR: Often it is the mismatch between the program and the student. It is hard to overemphasize the importance of the match between the program goals and methods of achieving them and the students in the program and their characteristics. We simply have to get the right students into the right programs. We also have to attend to students’ motivation to achieve academically as well as focus on study skills, time management, organization skills, listening skills, and other non-intellective factors that go into academic learning. IQ generally only accounts for less than 50% of the variance on academic achievement, and that is one of the many reasons we also developed the School Motivation and Learning Strategies Inventory (SMALSI). Just because a student is bright does not mean he or she knows how to study and learn, has good test-taking skills, or is motivated to engage in school learning—we should assess these variables as well and intervene accordingly.

Come back next week for the second part of this interview!

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Now available! The RIAS-2!

RIAS2We are pleased to announce the release of the Reynolds Intellectual Assessment Scales™, Second Edition (RIAS™-2) by Cecil R. Reynolds, PhD, and Randy W. Kamphaus, PhD. The RIAS-2 retains all the features that made the original instrument so popular and gives practitioners even more reason to trust this instrument.

The revised assessment, which was developed by the original authors using feedback from clinicians around the country, remains true to the original test. It’s still fast, cost effective, and simple to administer and can be used across the developmental continuum to assess intelligence and its major components from ages 3 to 94 years.

 The RIAS-2:

  • Assesses both verbal and nonverbal intelligence. Verbal intelligence is assessed by measuring verbal problem solving and verbal reasoning, which uses acquired knowledge and skills. Nonverbal intelligence is assessed by measuring reasoning and spatial ability using novel situations and stimuli.
  • Optional memory subtests available. Verbal and nonverbal memory is assessed via the Composite Memory Index, useful when a broad estimate of memory is desired.
  • Yields a General Reasoning Index (GRI). A highly reliable score, the GRI reflects overall measurement of the general factor of reasoning and problem-solving skill.
  • Informs decisions in classification, selection, and educational placement. The RIAS-2 is ideal as a stand-alone intellectual assessment or as part of a clinical battery, when a standardized assessment of intellectual functioning is needed to diagnose specific disorders such as intellectual disabilities or learning disabilities, and for educational placement.

New in the RIAS-2

  • New speeded processing subtests and index. Two supplemental subtests (one verbal, one nonverbal) combine to create the Speeded Processing Index (SPI). Both the Speeded Naming Task and Speeded Picture Search subtests require far less motor skill than competitive measures.
  • Greater data for interpretation. Reliable change scores and ability–achievement discrepancies with the AAB are provided.
  • Revised basal/ceiling rules. Now all basal and ceiling rules for the subtests are consistent with one another and allow for more accurate assessment at the lowest and highest ability level.
  • Revised/new item content. Items throughout the test have been updated to eliminate confusing or outdated content. Guess What, Odd-Item Out, Verbal Reasoning, What’s Missing, Verbal Memory, and Nonverbal Memory subtests appear in this update, retaining the structure and familiarity of the original measure.
  • Wider range of T scores. For most grade levels, T score ranges of at least 25 to 75 are available.

Technical product information and more details on what is new with this revision are available on our Web site.

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Introducing Two New Assessments From Cecil R. Reynolds

PAR is pleased to announce the release of two new tests of intelligence and reasoning ability by Cecil R. Reynolds, PhD — the Reynolds Adaptable Intelligence Test™ (RAIT™) and the Test of General Reasoning Ability™ (TOGRA™).

The RAIT is a rapid, reliable, and valid intelligence test designed for group or individual administration.RAIT

  • Composed of seven subtests that assess crystallized intelligence, fluid intelligence, and quantitative aptitude or intelligence.
  • Designed to provide continuity of measurement across a wide age span.
  • Can be used to help users determine a child’s educational placement and diagnose various forms of childhood psychopathology; as a measure of intelligence in general clinical and neuropsychological evaluations; as part of evaluations for the diagnosis of specific disorders; in disability determinations under various state and federal programs; and as a measure of aptitude in human resources/employment settings.

Composed of items from the RAIT, the TOGRA is a speeded measure of reasoning ability and problem-solving skills.TOGRA

  • Offers a wider variety of item content and greater test score stability than competing measures.
  • Requires only 16 minutes for administration and 2-3 minutes for scoring.
  • Appropriate in many settings whenever a speeded measure of reasoning ability and problem solving under pressure is considered useful, including in the evaluation of students for giftedness, athletes, managerial and executive-level staff, and public safety officer candidates.
  • Two equivalent alternate forms (Blue and Green) enable users to retest and monitor progress without concern for practice effects.
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PAR Staff Arrive at NASP 2014

Get ready, Washington, DC! PAR staff have arrived in our nation’s capital for the National Association of School Psychologists (NASP) Annual Convention. If you are attending NASP, be sure to stop by the PAR booth to learn about some of our new products, including the Working Styles Assessment™ (WSA™) and the Self-Directed Search®, 5th Edition.

Cecil R. Reynolds, PhD, author of the Reynolds Adaptable Intelligence Test™ (RAIT™) and the Test of General Reasoning Ability™ (TOGRA™) will be presenting tomorrow, from 8:30 a.m. to 10:20 a.m. His session, titled “Two New Adaptable Reliable Intelligence Measures for Busy Practitioners,” will cover the development, application, and research involved in creating these two new assessments.

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Meetings: Brainstorm or Brain Drain?

Meetings are a regular part of working life, an opportunity to collaborate, solve a problem, or accomplish a goal. Many of us assume that meetings, while sometimes tedious or dull, are still the best way to bring good ideas to the table. New research led by scientists at the Virginia Tech Carilion Research Institute, however, suggests quite the opposite—meetings may, in fact, make us dumber.

The study’s authors assert that the social dynamic that occurs in meetings can have a detrimental effect on our ability to think clearly. “You may joke about how committee meetings make you feel brain dead, but our findings suggest that they may make you act brain dead as well,” said co-author Read Montague, in a recent interview with msnbc.com author Linda Carroll.

In the study, researchers used functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to look at the brains of college-student volunteers as they took an IQ test. Next, the students were divided into groups with similar IQs and given a second test. Each time they answered a question during the second round of testing, they were given feedback about their performance compared to others in the group. Although the volunteers were well matched in terms of initial IQ scores, scores dropped dramatically when students were receiving constant feedback about their performance relative to others in their group.

According to lead author Kenneth Kishida, constant reminders of status were stimulating parts of the brain involving fear, anxiety, and emotional response—and this was causing the students to perform poorly on the test. In the context of a meeting, such negative feelings can be triggered by a sense that others in the group are smarter or better prepared—even when they aren’t. According to Kishida, the perception alone can stifle our best thinking.

What do you think? Do meetings help or hinder intelligence and creativity? Leave a comment and join the conversation!

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