Testing Children: A Practitioner's Guide to the Assessment of Mental Development in Infants and Young Children

Testing Children: A Practitioner's Guide to the Assessment of Mental Development in Infants and Young Children

By: Phyllis Preston (author)Hardback

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This book is written by an experienced psychologist specialising in the development of infants and young adults and aims to help practitioners to achieve accurate results and reach conclusions best suited to the particular needs of the child under assessment.The book is divided into 3 sections, with the first being an exploration of the nature of mental development. It discusses different theoretical perspectives of mental measurement, including the history of mental measurement, concept of the mind and psychology of communication. Key theoretical issues that are prerequisites for an effective assessment are highlighted. Useful examples based on day-to-day practice are quoted, e.g. reasons that should be considered when a child is uncooperative during tests.The second section is a guide to psychometrics. It includes the explanation of the essential statistics required to interpret test scores, specific information regarding the nature and function of measurements, the normal distribution curve and its relation to IQ values. There is also a chapter specifically introducing and comparing different tests of mental development. The last section focuses on the skills needed by practitioners for effective assessment of young children. The author explains how the very presence of the assessor has an impact on the assessment process both in terms of perceptual idiosyncrasies and in terms of the effectiveness with which the interpersonal dynamics between child, carer and assessor are managed.'I found the last section of the book the most relevant and useful for professionals working with children. During assessment, all measurements are liable to errors and when these involve infants and children, errors are almost unavoidable. This is because their skills are not established and their attempts to display them are often of experimental nature. In the individual testing situation, both assessor and child are in a learning situation and liable to trial-and-error strategies. In this section common real-life examples depicted common pitfalls faced by inexperienced and even experienced practitioners, including the physical setting of interview, inadequate social skills to engage clients, parental influence on the child's behaviour during interview, and faulty recording of observations.The author gives useful suggestions on how to properly engage the young child without being overly solicitous or enthusiastic by effectively using particular words and phrases. The author also gives clear instructions when illustrating the proper Griffith Mental Development Scales, the Bayley Scales of Infant Development, and the Weschler Pre-school and Primary Scale of Intelligence etc. At the end of the chapter, the key points for maintaining the flow of the test session are succinctly presented, including tips on what to do with an inattentive child. Her advice on how to be sensitive to the affective state of the child and to create a positive mood during the test is a very timely reminder during this era of duty overloading and lengthy work-hours.We often try to finish testing as if we are fast forwarding a video, which makes our clients uneasy and therefore more likely to produce errors. At the beginning of the book the author tries to offer an overview of the complex nature of human mental development, including the evolutionary view on the concept of the mind, the soul and thought and the two 'faces' of psychology. Although what she has discussed is very interesting, it seems rather irrelevant to the rest of the book. This philosophical approach also makes it hard for readers to grasp the key messages the author is trying to convey.In the last 2 chapters the important issues in observation are mentioned especially to enable practitioners to avoid common pitfalls during assessment and provide the techniques needed for improving observation skills. Unfortunately, this advice is too general for professionals: the author often uses poems and examples from literature to illustrate the key areas of development, e.g. language, memory, mobility, speech, touch, and the child as a whole. Although this approach does make it more interesting to read, it also makes it too abstract to be understood.I particularly appreciate the real-case vignettes cited at the end of the book. They show us how the interaction between the child, the caregiver and the assessor can influence the assessment process and also add a personal touch to the book. I recommend this book to professionals working in the testing field, particularly the beginners. It offers a general and holistic guide to skilled observation, accurate interpretation and effective reporting, which equips the reader with the tools to derive accurate conclusions in the best interests of the child under assessment' - Dr Flora YM Mo, Medical Officer, Department of Psychiatry, New Territories East Cluster, Hong Kong, China.


Introduction; Section One: Theoretical Perspectives on Mental Measurement; 1 The Challenge of Evaluation,; Making sense of information; A brief history of mental measurement; What test scores do not measure; Points for reflection; 2 The Concept of the Mind; An evolutionary view; The mental legacy; Soul mind and thought; Body and mind; 3 The Psychological Route; Issues in communication; Two different faces of psychology; Gateways to the mental domain; Underlying processes in the mental domain; The structure of thinking; Section Two: A Guide to Psychometrics; 4 About Numerical Values of Mental Ability; The meaning of numbers; Norm-referenced testing; What do we need to know?; The concept of mental age; Understanding the nature of psychometric tests; More about the process of standardisation; IQ in relation to the normal distribution curve; Some important points to bear in mind; Why the need for precision?; 5 About individual Tests of Mental Development; Introduction; Test content; Structure; Packaging; Section Three: Issues in Application; 6 Common Errors During the Assessment interview; Introduction; The assessment setting; The social skills of engagement; Parental preparation; Test administration; Scoring; The care of test materials; Some practical suggestions for maintaining the flow of the test session; 7 The Task of Observation; Introduction; Issues in observation; How to improve observation skills; 8 How Skilled Observation Assists Evaluation; Introduction; The area of language; The area of vision; In the area of touch; 9 Facilitators and Promoters in the Development Process; Introduction; The child with emergent skills; The child as a whole; The quality of parenting; 10 Communicating Findings: How to Write a Report; Introduction; The contents of the report; 11 Some Memorable Moments During Assessment; Introduction; Motherly love; Shaken and stirred; Finally satisfied; Epilogue; Beyond the Finishing Line: A wide Angle Glance; Appendices; 1 How We Make Sense of Information Received; 2 Nature and Function of Measurement; 3 The Gaussian Curve and Equivalent Values; 4 Table of IQ ranges and their SD points and descriptive levels; 5 Notes on Play; 6 Language Development; 7 The Hand; 8 Facial expressions; References.

Product Details

  • ISBN13: 9780889372962
  • Format: Hardback
  • Number Of Pages: 144
  • ID: 9780889372962
  • ISBN10: 0889372969

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  • Saver Delivery: Yes
  • 1st Class Delivery: Yes
  • Courier Delivery: Yes
  • Store Delivery: Yes

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