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The Cattell-Horn-Carroll Theory of Cognitive Development: Justification for the continued use of cognitive instrumentation in psychological assessment. John M. Garruto, MS, NCSP School Psychologist Frederick Leighton Elementary School Oswego City School District Oswego, NY ©2005.
The Cattell-Horn-Carroll Theory of Cognitive Development: Justification for the continued use of cognitive instrumentation in psychological assessment.
John M. Garruto, MS, NCSPSchool PsychologistFrederick Leighton Elementary SchoolOswego City School DistrictOswego, NY
It is the age of controversy between the cognitive processing factions, the RTI factions, and the traditional assessment factions. After a silent cold war between all theorists, the federal government has come out with a law that clearly favors the RTI faction. The traditional factions and the cognitive processing factions have been silently accepting, yet planning how their paradigms can be pushed through, despite discouragement from these paradigms by the federal law.
Meanwhile, there are a few rebel school psychologists who believe that best practice can be instituted by combining both the RTI paradigm and the cognitive processing paradigm. Can these few school psychologists stand tall against overwhelming odds to provide best practice for their clients?
Try to picture the previous text boxes leaving the screen through the top.
Historically, eligibility for learning disabilities was determined by use of a discrepancy model. Although how this was determined varied from practitioner to practitioner, although one of these methods were often used:
Allowed practitioner to find a 50% discrepancy between cognitive and achievement.
Easy method to use (divide NCE of cognitive score by two-scored below NCE on achievement measure considered discrepant.)
Assumes a 1:1 relationship between cognitive and achievement measures.
Easier to identify lower functioning students, harder to identify higher functioning students (cognitively).
See Mark PenaltyUse of Normal Curve Equivalents
Established statistics for determining statistical significance.
Easy to use (subtract cognitive from achievement and find corresponding alpha level.)
Does not take into account natural regression to the mean.
Alpha levels are misunderstood-they indicate the likelihood that the difference is not due to chance, not how prevalent the difference is in the population.
See Mark PenaltyUse of the simple-difference method:
The Mark Penalty:“**Mark 4:25: "For he that hath, to him shall be given: and he that hath not, from him shall be taken even that which he hath." The Mark Penalty is incurred when a student's disability (e.g., visual impairment, hearing loss, or learning disability basic process disorder) is allowed to depress not only measures of academic achievement, but also estimates of the student's intelligence so that the misguided examiner or benighted team concludes that there is no significant difference between the student's academic achievement and the level of achievement that would be predicted from the student's score on the intelligence test. The same disability is depressing both the student's actual achievement and the erroneous estimate of the student's intellectual ability.”
Taken from the webpage-Dumont-Willishttp://http://alpha.fdu.edu/psychology/FLOW_CHART.htm
As can be seen in the quote below from IDEA-1997, such a practice is NOT LEGAL.
Taken from 34 C.F. R. § 300.532. Evaluation procedures:
Tests are selected and administered so as best to ensure that if a test is administered to a child with impaired sensory, manual, or speaking skills, the test results accurately reflect the child’s aptitude or achievement level or whatever other factors the tst purporst to measure, rather than reflecting the child’s impaired sensory, manual, or speaking skills (unless those skills are the factors the test purports to measure).
Taken from http://framework.esc18.net/documents/34CFR300/500/300.532.htm
In addition to the preceding factors, the traditional approach does not necessarily link assessment to intervention. It is primarily focused on eligibility. Such a conceptualization can be problematic because it focuses on scores, not necessarily on processes. A discrepancy itself does not highlight a disorder in one or more of the basic psychological processes.
The Response to Intervention model has been indicated as an option by the 2005 Reauthorization of Individuals with Disabilities Education Act to circumvent the problems identified with the traditional approach.
The theme of this approach is that special education should be the last area that is visited-that the student cannot receive a Free and Appropriate Public Education without special educations upports.
The multi-tiered model advocates a comprehensive implementation of the problem solving model. However, few writings on utilizing a response to intervention framework give suggestions about alternatives to the “referral” stage. Specific theoretical models are not endorsed. There are problems with this framework.
This is why a solid theoretical approach is endorsed. An approach that fits this model is…
The Cattell-Horn-Carroll Theory of cognitive development is a synthesis of the models by Raymond Cattell, John Horn, and John Carroll.
Cattell postulated that there were two overall abilities people have: Crystallized intelligence and fluid intelligence. Crystallized intelligence reflected abilities that were relatively static (such as learned information) while fluid intelligence was more related to novel problem solving.
John Horn expanded this model by adding seven to nine (depending on your theoretical orientation) broad abilities. They include:
After analyzing past years of data, John Carroll came up with his own set of broad abilities. He also offered a three-stratum theory of cognitive development.
John Horn and John Carroll agreed to synthesize their theories (Carroll’s three stratum theory with Horn’s broad abilities). The result is the CHC theory of cognitive development.
Following the evolution of CHC theory, cross battery assessment emerged as a way to assess students. The principle is to select tests from varied batteries which best match the referral concern.
The examiner then puts the scores into a cross-battery template, where the stratum II and I levels are aggregated (the subtests were matched with their stratum I and II counterparts by an expert consensus study.) Those scores are then averaged.
Although combining subtests and averaging may not seem like best practice, it has been noted to be an empirically defensible practice (See the FAQ section in http://www.crossbattery.com)
Why bother with this theory of assessment if the problem solving literature is not strongly linking assessment with intervention? (Part Deux)
In addition to the preceding justifications for cognitive assessment, consider this quote by Hale and Fiorello (2004) on aptitude-treatment interactions:
Because most ATI research occurred when investigators had poor assessment instruments and a limited understanding of brain functions, early AT research failures have been attributed to a variety of reasons. Many cognitive constructs were poorly defined or poorly measured (Ysseldyke & Salvia, 1974). Often, heterogeneous groups were simply divided at the median to define “high” and “low” groups. Treatments were poorly defined or implemented without integrity checks (Reynolds, 1988). (p. 40)
Hale and Fiorello then go on to say:
As Branden and Kratochwill (1997) have noted, however the fact that ATIs weren’t established in the past doesn’t mean that they can’t be established in the future, especially at the single-subject level of analysis. Changing the focus from the content of test items (e.g., auditory, visual) to the underlying psychological processes (Reynolds, Kamphaus, Rosenthal, & Hiemenz, 1997) may be key to understanding the true nature of brain-behavior relationships for individual children. (p. 40)
In a case study noted in Hale and Fiorello (2005), they reflect on a child who was identified as learning disabled in the second grade. Only anecdotal reports were used at reevaluation and he was subsequently brought in for a private evaluation. The clinician noticed a decline in overall functioning and that his profile had been markedly different. After a subsequent referral to a neurologist, it was found out that the child had a brain tumor. (p.21)
Two days before presenting this PowerPoint, I had discovered that someone did a very similar presentation at NASP. Jim Hanson (2005) of Portland public schools spoke of synthesizing the two models. Here is something from his presentation that is noteworthy:
Thank you for coming, participating, and putting up with my pop-culture addiction!
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