Essentials of Processing Assessment

How to Identify Neuropsychological
Processing Deficits in Children with SLD
Milton J. Dehn, Ed.D., NCSP
Schoolhouse Educational Services
June 2014
Notice of Copyright 2014
This PowerPoint presentation and
accompanying materials are copyrighted by
Milton J. Dehn and Schoolhouse Educational
Services, LLC. They are not to be reprinted,
copied, or electronically disseminated without
written permission. To obtain permission,
email [email protected]
Workshop Information Sources
Essentials of Processing Assessment, 2nd Ed.
Children’s Psychological Processes Scale (CPPS)
Psychological Processing Analyzer (PPA)
Numerous references and articles on
processing assessment and interventions
• Presenter Contact: [email protected]
What are Neuropsychological
1. Brain processes, operations, functions
2. Include “cognitive” processes
3. When information is perceived, transformed,
manipulated, stored, retrieved, expressed
4. Whenever we think, reason, problem-solve
5. Both basic and higher level processes
6. For SLD assessment, focus on broad
processes related to academics
Neuropsychological Processes are Not
1. Not IQ, but they contribute to IQ
2. Not “abilities”, but are more the specific
brain processes that underlie abilities
3. More like aptitudes than abilities; aptitudes
are more specific, abilities are more general
4. Not skills; skills and knowledge are the
product of processes
5. Dehn: not include sensory, motor, socialemotional when conducting SLD assessment
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
Processes and Scores Allowed
in Dehn’s Assessment Model
1. The list of 11 processes
2. Rating scales
3. Composite scores preferred over subtest
4. Achievement-like scores such as verbal,
crystallized intelligence, vocabulary are
5. Some subtests are re-classified
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
Selective & Cross-Battery Testing
Start with batteries you have
Try to limit number of supplemental batteries
Avoid redundancies
Tests should be normed about the same time
Only selected subtests administered
Two subtests or composites are ideal
May include rating scales
Use cross-battery analysis procedures
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. See selective testing table Link
4. See comprehensive list link from Essentials
of Processing Assessment, 2nd Edition
Dehn’s PSW Requirements
Intra-individual weaknesses are statistically
At least one process is a deficit (see definition)
The deficit is related to the deficient academic
Subtest scores must be unitary for a deficit
There is at least one strength (a processes that
is in average range)
Consistency between low process score(s) and
the related low academic skill score
Guidelines for Weaknesses & Deficits
1. Scores below 90 are normative weaknesses
2. Intra-individual strengths & weaknesses use
12 points
1. Assumes composites/subtests have hi reliability
3. Deficit = both normative and intra-individual
Dehn’s Definition of Deficit
1. 3 reasons for deficit emphasis
1. Both weaknesses together is
statistically rare
2. A deficit indicates an underlying
neurological impairment
3. Students with both kinds of
weaknesses really need special ed.
When to Use IQ Instead of CrossBattery Mean
1. Okay to use IQ as predictor because it has
high correlations with most processes
2. Is technically more appropriate because it
has known reliability and SEM
3. Use when only weak processes tested
4. Use when only a few processes tested
5. Use when a legal challenge is anticipated
Processing Analysis Worksheet
Composite scores from test manual when possible
Convert all scores to standard scores
Compute clinical scores by averaging
Compute processing 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
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
Non-Unitary Scores
1. When standard score difference is greater
than 22 points (or 15 points)
2. Something different is being measured or
something is different about the subtest task
3. Investigate further with more testing if
cannot be explained
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 enter composite and/or subtest scores
4. 11 psychological processes
5. Takes scores (almost 400 to choose from)
from more than 40 different scales: cognitive,
achievement, rating, and processing
Psychological Processing Analyzer
1. Some subtests are re-classified based on the
primary demands of the task
2. Options: Use the mean of the process scores
or IQ as predicted score
3. Differences greater than critical values are
intra-individual weaknesses
PPA Equations
1. Converts all scores to mean of 100; SD of 15
2. .01 or .05 level of significance
3. Difference formulas based on reliability
coefficients of composites/subtests
4. Regression toward the mean
5. Predicted score based on mean of other 10
6. Non-unitary scores are flagged
PPA Demo and Report
See demo
See sample report
Report has table, graph, and narrative
Pairwise comparisons also provided
Identifies academic areas associated with the
identified deficits
Using a Rating Scale to
Assess Processes
1. Processing deficits are manifested through
2. Behavior ratings by teachers can be used to
measure processing abilities
3. Examples: BRIEF and other Executive
Function Scales
4. Also, the new CPPS
5. Use the CPPS for processes not directly
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
Main Purpose of the CPPS
1. To identify psychological (cognitive)
processing weaknesses in children referred
for a learning disability evaluation
1. An additional source of data for diagnostic
2. Can be used as a Pattern of Strengths and
Weaknesses (PSW) analysis
3. Covers processes not directly tested
The CPPS Identifies Children with SLD
1. LD subjects had significantly higher means on
all subscales; about 1.5 SD difference Link
2. The CPPS has high classification accuracy in
regards to LD
1. 37 LD subjects compared with matched controls
2. Using CPPS GPA cutoff of 60 had 92%
classification accuracy across 74 subjects
CPPS Standardization
1,121 students rated by 278 teachers
128 communities in 30 states in U.S.
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
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”
Additional CPPS Factors
1. Second factor is Attention, EF, and WM: SelfRegulatory Processes (SRP)
2. Third factor is Fine Motor and Visual-Spatial:
Visual-Motor processes
3. Clusters: Memory, Language
4. WM loads higher on GPA than SRP: WM is
both a cognitive and an executive process
because it includes STM and WM
How the Web-Based CPPS Works
A psychologist side and a teacher side
Psychologist manages & has student records
Teachers can only access blank rating forms
Once teacher has completed ratings,
completed form goes to psychologist’s side
and teacher can no longer access
Completing Teacher Rating Form
1. Takes approximately 15 minutes
2. Responses: Never, Sometimes, Often, Almost
3. Must respond to all items
4. Incomplete ratings will save and can be
completed later
5. Free paper copies can be printed.
Psychologist then fills in ratings online.
CPPS Items
1. What the teacher rater sees Link
2. Regrouped by subscale after rating
3. In developmental order (ability)
from lowest to highest item
4. Example of scoring in
developmental sequence Link
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. Look at Table to identify “deficits”
4. Weaknesses should link to evidence-based
achievement relations
5. Same criteria as PSW model
CPPS Reliability
1. Internal consistency subscale reliability
ranges from .88 to .98
2. .99 on Total Score
3. Inter-rater reliability
1. Range of .21 to .90
2. Median coefficient of 76.5
Correlations with Achievement
1. High correlations with WJ III Achievement
Test scores Link
1. The broader the achievement score, the higher
the correlations
Correlations with WJ III COG
1. Fewer correlations than achievement Link
2. All CPPS processes have significant
correlations with Cognitive Fluency (ability to
quickly and fluently perform cognitive tasks)
3. Most CPPS scales expected to link with WJ III
COG tests do, except attention, processing
speed, and WM (but does relate with STM)
4. Also, discriminant evidence
CPPS Correlations with BRIEF
1. CPPS Attention, Executive Functions, and
Working Memory (SRP Factor) have the
highest correlations with all BRIEF scales
2. CPPS Attention and EF mostly are >.70
indicating they measure same domains as
3. Other CPPS scales correlate with BRIEF
metacognitive scales but not behavioral

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