Administration Methods with Assessment-Level Tools

Use of Parent Report/Interview
Assessment-level tools are less expensive than diagnostic measures because they often rely on parent-report (or parent-interview). Parent-report is known to be as accurate as hands-on professional administration if test items are clearly written at a reading level of 4th – 5th grade or less. Because parents observe their children in familiar surroundings where newly emerging skills are more apparent, tools perform best when items have at least three multiple-choice response options (e.g., “Rarely”, “Just Beginning To”, “Always”). Tools adhering to the above tenets enable quality measurement to be conducted briefly and inexpensively, and without the need for a multi-disciplinary team (e.g. in mail-out programs, at home-visits, when children are tired (or even asleep), in waiting/exam rooms prior to an encounter, etc.).

Nevertheless, when asking parents to read and answer questions, a literacy/language probe is essential. Options include: asking parents whether they would like to complete a measure on their own or have someone go through it with them; asking which language they prefer to use; or in the case of mail-out initiatives, adding a note as to whether they can find someone to help them complete the form if needed.
Hands-on Measurement with Assessment Level Tools

Some assessment-level tools also offer a direct-elicitation administration method. Such an approach is useful:

  1. If the primary caretaker is not present
  2. Does not read well
  3. Does not read or speak the language in which translations are available,
  4. Appropriate translators are unavailable
  5. When the caretaker is unfamiliar with the child (e.g., new foster parent),
  6. If research funding demands a hands-on approach to measurement
  7. Or if caretaker report is suspect (e.g., due to patent mental health problems)
  8. If training young professionals (to give them an opportunity to build rapport, manage child and parent behavior during testing, build knowledge of child development and behavior, build clinical acumen, etc.)