Dehn, Milton 01

Assessment of Psychological Processes
Milton J. Dehn, Ed.D., NCSP
Schoolhouse Educational Services
Fall 2013
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Workshop Information Sources
Essentials of Processing Assessment, 2nd Ed.
Children’s Psychological Processes Scale (CPPS)
Psychological Processing Analyzer (PPA)
Bibliography in handout
Presenter Contact: [email protected]
Workshop Topics
Processes to assess
Processes and academic skills
PSW Models
Selective, cross-battery testing
Identifying processing deficits with the PPA
Identifying processing deficits with the CPPS
The Need for Processing Assessment
1. Part of a neuropsychological approach
2. Not just for SLD but Autism, ADHD, TBI, etc.
3. Neuroscience has increased understanding of
brain-learning relationships
4. A deficit in a “psychological process” is part
of federal and states’ SLD definitions
5. Identification of processing deficits leads to
more appropriate & effective interventions
What are Psychological Processes?
Include “cognitive” processes
Brain processes, operations, functions
Any time mental contents are operated on
When information is perceived, transformed,
manipulated, stored, retrieved, expressed
Whenever we think, reason, problem-solve
Basic and higher level processes
Doesn’t include knowledge or achievement
Learning and performance depend on these processes;
they underlie academic skills
Human Processing Limitations
1. Human limitations
2. Which processes does the chimp excel at?
Processes for SLD Assessment
1. Attention
2. Auditory Processing
3. Executive Functions
4. Fine Motor
5. Fluid Reasoning
6. Long-Term Recall
7. Oral Language
8. Phonological Processing
9. Processing Speed
10.Visual-Spatial Processing
11.Working Memory (WM)
Processes and Academic Learning
1. Psychological processes are like “aptitudes”
2. Relations established through research
1. Flanagan et al., & McGrew
2. Swanson, Geary, and others
3. The influence of processes varies by age
4. For SLD look for academic area and related
psychological processes to both be low
5. See Table
Processing Clusters: Memory Example
Executive Functions
Fluid Reasoning
Long-Term Recall
Processing Speed
Working Memory
See Link for other clusters
Developmental Groupings
Mature early after gradual development:
• Auditory Processing
• Fine Motor Processing
• Long-Term Recall
• Phonological Processing
• Visual-Spatial Processing
• See link for other groupings
PSW Principles Regarding SLD
Neurologically-based deficits underlie SLD
There’s no SLD if there’s no processing deficit
Some processes highly related with academic skills
Processing deficits related to academic deficits
SLD have average or near average cognitive ability
Weakness should be normative & intra-individual
Weakness: statistically significant and unusual
PSW doesn’t mean there is a learning disability.
Concordance-Discordance Model
1. From James Brad Hale
2. Similar to Naglieri’s model
3. Processing areas not significantly related to
the academic area should be discordant:
Processing strengths should be significantly
higher than the academic weakness
CHC Model
1. A process related to the academic deficiency
is weak or deficient
2. Unexpected underachievement: Process and
academic deficit exist with otherwise normal
3. Regarding strengths, at least some processes
should be in the average range
Dehn’s PSW Model
Normative weakness + intra-individual weakness
= deficit (3 reasons for deficit emphasis)
At least one process is a deficit
Intra-individual weakness is statistically
Subtest scores must be unitary for a deficit
At least one processes is in average range (a
The deficit is related to deficient academic skill
Consistency between low process score(s) and
the related low academic skill score
Processing Assessment Challenges
Connecting to academic concerns
Interrelated processes
Not all are found in one convenient battery
Doing it efficiently
Linking with interventions
Dehn’s Cross-Battery Processing
Assessment Model
1. Not limited to CHC factors
2. “Narrow” abilities/processes included
3. Includes processing factors that are
important for learning of academic skills
4. Includes rating scales
5. Subtests classified through task analysis
6. Analyze scores at the composite (twosubtest) level whenever possible
Cross-Battery, Selective Testing
1. Test all processes important for academics
With most attention to an in-depth
assessment of hypothesized weaknesses
2. Pick composites first
3. Categorized by factor and task analysis
4. See selective testing table Link
5. See comprehensive list link from Essentials
of Processing Assessment, 2nd Edition
Task Analysis/Classification
of Subtests
1. Consider definition of the process
2. Consider factor analytic information
3. What is the primary process being measured
by the subtest? (not just input or output)
4. Which primary process allows the examinee
to successfully complete the task
5. What the task is typically used to measure
6. No such thing as “pure” subtest measure
Planning Processing Assessment
1. Assess most major processes, especially
those hypothesized to be deficits
2. Identify academic deficiencies
3. Generate processing deficit hypotheses
based on relations with academics
4. Decide on method; some informal okay
5. Select tests and subtests, not entire batteries
Hypothesis Testing Approach
1. Given academic deficiency, what are the
most likely process deficits
2. It’s “why” the child has a learning problem
3. Include non-processes
4. Must collect assessment data to “test”
5. Try to avoid “confirmatory bias”
6. We all have weaknesses
Planning a Processing Assessment
1. Complete the processing assessment planner
2. Completed example
Processing Analysis
Composite scores from test manual when possible
Convert all scores to standard scores
Compute clinical scores by averaging
Compute processing or memory mean or use IQ
Calculate discrepancies
Determine weaknesses and deficits
Both kinds of weaknesses = a deficit
Do pairwise comparisons
Opposites and those closely related
9. Completed Example
Guidelines for Weaknesses & Deficits
1. Scores below 90 are normative weaknesses
1. Below 85 if not using deficit approach
2. Intra-individual strengths & weaknesses use
12 points
1. Assumes composites/subtests have hi reliability
2. Use 15 points if not using deficit approach
3. Deficit = both normative and intra-individual
weakness (deficit is a “strong” weakness)
Pairwise Comparisons
1. For intervention planning, not diagnosis
2. Pay most attention to:
1. Opposites
2. Those that are closely related
3. A greater discrepancy is required for
4. Significant when confidence intervals do not
Using Dehn’s Automated Analysis
Worksheet to Determine PSW
1. Automated worksheet from Essentials of
Processing, 2nd Edition
Psychological Processing Analyzer 2.0
1. Available at
2. Identifies statistically significant strengths,
weaknesses, deficits, and assets
3. Can use composite or subtest scores
4. 11 psychological processes
5. Takes scores (almost 400 to choose from)
from 41 different scales: cognitive,
achievement, rating, and processing
Psychological Processing Analyzer
1. Normally use the mean of the process scores
as predicted score
1. Predicted score for each process based on mean
of other 10
2. But IQ or cognitive composite is an option
when not many processes assessed or only
weak processes assessed
3. Differences greater than critical values are
intra-individual weaknesses
Psychological Processing Analyzer
1. Composite and subtests are limited to those
that are fairly direct measures
2. Some are re-classified based on the primary
demands of the task
3. Difference formulas based on reliability
coefficients of composites/subtests
4. Regression toward the mean
5. .01 or .05 level of significance
Psychological Processing Analyzer
1. It converts all scores (except raw scores) to
standard scores
2. Non-unitary process scores are flagged
3. Deficits are both types of weaknesses
4. Pairwise comparisons also provided
5. Graph and brief narrative
6. See demo with Case Study Data
Rating Scales
1. Processing deficits are manifested through
2. Behavior ratings can be used to measure
processing abilities
3. Examples: BRIEF and other Executive
Function Scales
4. Also, the new CPPS
Children’s Psychological Processes
Scale (CPPS) Overview
Standardized teacher rating scale
Ages 5-0-0 to 12-11-30
121 items across 11 subscales
Entirely online, internet-web based
Online administration time of 15 minutes
Online scoring and report
Author: Milton Dehn; published by Schoolhouse
Educational Services, 2012
8. Measurement Consultant: Kevin McGrew
Uses of the CPPS
1. Learning Disability Evaluations
1. Identify psych processing deficits
2. Pattern of strengths and weaknesses
3. One method of evaluating processing
2. Screening
1. Identifies need for intervention
2. Predicts academic skills development
3. Planning cognitive/neuropsychological testing
3. Measure progress during interventions
1. Through the use of change-sensitive W-scores
CPPS Standardization
1,121 students rated by 278 teachers
128 communities in 30 states
All data collected online
Demographics match U.S. Census well
Norms: 4 age groups (5-6; 7-8; 9-10; 11-12)
Included children with disabilities
Demographics details Link
CPPS Processes
1. Attention
2. Auditory Processing
3. Executive Functions
4. Fine Motor
5. Fluid Reasoning
6. Long-Term Recall
7. Oral Language
8. Phonological Processing
9. Processing Speed
10.Visual-Spatial Processing
11.Working Memory (WM)
CPPS General Processing Ability (GPA)
1. Based on average of all process scores
2. Emerges from factor analysis; similar to
concept of general intelligence
3. Processes function in an inter-related fashion
4. Most processes contribute to any given
behavior, task
5. On CPPS defined as “the underlying
efficiency of processing”
CPPS Items
• Grouped by subscale Link
• In developmental (ability) order from
lowest item to highest item
• Example of scoring in developmental
sequence Link
CPPS Administration
1. Online teacher rating scale 12-15 minutes
1. Can print free paper copy and enter later
2. Must answer all items (but can save incomplete)
2. Never, Sometimes, Often, Almost Always
3. Rating scale saved until report generated
How The Online CPPS Works
1. A psychologist’s side and a teacher’s side
2. Psychologist fills in teacher information and
email sent
3. Teacher completes ratings
4. Psych receives email stating ratings complete
5. Psych generates report
6. See screen shots
CPPS Report
Brief narrative, graph, and a table of scores
Change-sensitive W-scores
T-scores; percentiles; confidence intervals
Intra-individual strengths and weakness
discrepancy table
5. T-score to standard score converter
6. Example
CPPS Discrepancy Analysis
1. Use discrepancy table to determine pattern of
strengths and weaknesses
2. Predicted score based on mean of other 10
3. Regression toward the mean included
4. +/- 1.00 to 2.00 SD of SEE discrepancy options
5. Strengths and Weakness labeling is opposite of
discrepancy, e.g. “-” value = a strength
6. Link
T-Score Conversion Table
1. Optional
2. Purpose: To see how consistent CPPS scores
are with achievement and cognitive scores
3. T-score x 1.5 + 25 and then reverse distance
from mean
4. Example: T-score of 60 x 1.5 = 90 + 25 = 115
5. Then subtract 15 from 100 = 85 Example
Diagnosing LD with the CPPS
1. Look for pattern of strengths and weaknesses
(discrepancy table)
2. Weaknesses should also be normative
weaknesses (T-scores above 60)
3. Weaknesses should link to evidence-based
achievement relations
4. Same criteria as PSW model
Diagnostic Accuracy for LD
1. 37 LD subjects with broad demographics
2. Compared to matched controls, LD subjects
had significantly higher means on all
subscales Link
3. The CPPS had high classification accuracy in
regards to LD
1. Using CPPS GPA cutoff of 60 had a 92%
classification accuracy across 74 subjects
Frequently Asked CPPS Questions
Is there a paper form?
Can I print individual item ratings?
Students 13 and older?
Parent form?
Reviewer #1 Comments
“The technical documentation and delivery
package of the CPPS is quite impressive for an
assessment measure at its price point. Its
coverage of the full spectrum of processing
abilities through rating scale technology is a
welcome addition to the cognitive assessment
Ryan J. McGill, Journal of Psychoeducational
Assessment, 2013, 31:423
Reviewer #2 Comments
“The CPPS provides an innovative, easily
administered and scored, and potentially
useful instrument……Evidence of
convergent and discriminant validity is
impressive for such a new scale.”
Madle, R. A. (2013; in press) Review in
Mental Measurements Yearbook, Volume

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