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Decision Making Should Be Empirically Driven,
Dear Pete & Pam,
I've taken a thorough look at your web page. I think it's outstanding, especially the court cases. I'm a special ed director who is constantly trying to improve our special education services via good, sound empirically-driven practices. That's the KEY.
Educaton Should Use Empirically-Driven Practices
Letter to Bobbie about Discipline is excellent, especially the reference
to animal training.
We can train Shamu but we can't train a kid to be compliant or read?? Give me a break!!
for Tests & Measurements Article
I know you want parents to have the best information available, so I really think you should make the following changes so your page will be highly credible, or at least read some of the more empirically based literature that I've suggested in previous emails. (Note from Wrightslaw: The changes recommended by Bill were made)
In your section on Composite Scores (the example with John), the percentiles were arithmetically manipulated (found a mean)--this can't be done mathematically. Percentiles are ordinal scales which can't be averaged.
Using Age and
Grade Equivalent Scores - May be Inaccurate
Using Subtest Scatter
The use of subtest scatter analysis - this is a common practice, and may be okay if one only looks at the variation in performance as a hypothesis-generator for more in-depth investigation.
Even then, the psychometric validity/reliability of the specific subtests must be considered on their own merit before deciding to put any real value on the subtest score. To do so in the absence of sound psychometric evidence is at the very least unethical.
The use of subtest scatter (e.g., WISC-III) in the attempt to "differentially" diagnose a disability/problem is not supported by the empirical literature, even though it has some intuitive appeal and "testimonials" from clinicians abound.
I refer you to Howard Knoff's chapter on Personality Assessment in NASP's Best Practices-III for a thorough treatment of the personality assessment issue.
Tests That are Psychometrically Sound
For example, my psychologists are not allowed to use many tests - projective included - simply because they don't have the necessary reliability (.85 test-retest or higher), validity, or standardization characteristics. This constraint - a good one - is a quality control issue. Private practitioners are not bound by this. They have access to an array of tests that may have a lot of "face validity", but no real empirical support.
Warn Parents About Evaluations That Do Not Use Sound Psychometrics
must be cautioned against seeking a private evaluation that only serves
to support their position in the absence of good sound psychometrics.
Advocating for Kids with Emotional Disorders
would love to be an advocate for parents in SED cases where "appropriate"
treatment is being determined. Here in CA that means a one hour session
where a verbally based form of insight therapy is used, typically with
an elementary aged, low SES, conduct disorder/oppositional behavior type.
If you want to do some good advocacy work, come out here and help the CA Dept. of Mental Health set up such parameters for the mental health treatment of special ed kids. I'd love it. Kids have a right to effective treatment, and traditional therapy is not where its at with these conduct disorder kids.
Really enjoy your web page -