Psychology 371 Child and Adolescent Psychological Assessment

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              Psychology 371: Child and Adolescent Psychological Assessment
                                  Syllabus – Spring 2005

Class Time:                    Monday 9:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.
Meeting Place:
Instructor:                    Timothy Stickle, Ph.D.
Office:                        John Dewey Hall, Room 232
Contact Information:           email:, phone: 656-3842
Office Hours:                  Monday 2-3 p.m. or by appointment
T.A.                           Amit Bernstein
Contact Information:           email:

Course Objectives

This course is designed for graduate students in clinical psychology to (1) provide didactic
material necessary for understanding psychological testing of children and adolescents, and (2)
provide practical experience in conducting psychological evaluations of children and adolescents
from a developmental perspective. Accordingly, in addition to teaching practical skills in
intellectual and behavioral assessment, the course will present a general model of assessment.
The relationship of theory in development and psychopathology to assessment practices will be
discussed. The importance of psychometric properties (reliability, validity, normative data,
generalizability) of assessment instruments and techniques will also be discussed. A goal of this
course is for students to become competent in the critical evaluation of assessment instruments
and procedures based on a variety of criteria. Therefore, the course will emphasize both how to
assess child and adolescent problems and disorders, and why particular methods or measures are
especially well-suited to specific tasks in assessment. The noted objectives will be met through
lecture, discussion, and practical instruction in designing, administering, interpreting, and writing
comprehensive psychological evaluations for youth.

Course Requirements

   1. Attendance to all class meetings is required and students are required to have read all
      assigned readings PRIOR to the class period during which the topic will be discussed.
   2. Each student is required to complete two supervised comprehensive evaluations of
      children or adolescents and make formal case presentations of both cases. (Additional
      information on this requirement is provided below.)
   3. Students are required to turn in an 8-10 page critique of an assessment instrument used to
      test children’s and/or adolescents’ emotions, behavior, personality, intelligence, or
      achievement (Additional information on this requirement is provided below.)


Course grades will be based on:
(a) 2 evaluations – 50% (see attached description for more specificity)
(b) Class participation, including evidence of completion of readings and other
    assignments, answers to study questions and sample problems – 25%
(d) Critique of assessment instrument/procedure – 25%

Required Material

Kamphaus, R., & Frick, P.J. (2002) Clinical assessment of child and adolescent personality and
behavior, 2nd Edition. Boston: Allyn & Bacon.

Sattler, J.M. & Dumont, R. (2004). Assessment of Children: WISC-IV and WPPSI-III
Supplement: La Mesa, CA: Jerome M. Sattler, Publisher, Inc.

Additional required readings are available for copying.

Recommended Supplementary Readings

Garb, H. (1998). Studying the clinician: Judgment research and psychological assessment.
Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.

American Educational Research Association (1999). Standards for educational and psychological
testing. Washington, D.C. American Psychological Association.

American Psychiatric Association (2000). Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders,
4th edition – test revision. Washington, DC: Author.

Date            Topic                                Readings
1/24            Introduction I: A scientific         Dawes, R.M., Faust, D. & Meehl, P.E.
                approach to clinical assessment      (1989). Clinical versus actuarial judgment.
                                                     Science, 243, 1668-1674.

1/31            Introduction II: Development and     Kamphaus & Frick: Chapter 3
                Psychopathology: Implications for
                Introduction III: Legal, Ethical,    Kamphaus & Frick: Chapter 4
                and Cultural Issues                  Kamphaus: Chapter 6

2/7             Introduction IV: Basic               Kamphaus & Frick: Chapter 2
                Psychometric Considerations          Kamphaus: Chapter 5
                                                     Forer, B.R. (1949). The fallacy of personal
                                                     validation: A classroom demonstration of
                                                     gullibility. Journal of Abnormal and social
                                                     Psychology, 44, 118-123.
                                                     Chapman, L.J., Chapman, J.P. (1969).
                                                     Illusory correlation as an obstacle to the
                                                     use of valid psychodiagnostic signs.
                                                     Journal of Abnormal Psychology, 74, 271-

2/14   President’s Day Holiday – No

2/21   Introduction V: Rapport Building
       with Children, Adolescents, &        Kamphaus & Frick: Chapter 5
                                            Kamphaus & Frick: Chapters 12 & 14

       Clinical Interviews I: Overview of   Reiger, D.A., Kaelber, C.T., Rae, D.S.,
       Structured and Unstructured          Farmer, M.E., Knauper, B., Kessler, R.C., &
       Interviews                           Norquist, G.S. (1998). Limitations of
                                            diagnostic criteria and assessment instruments
                                            for mental disorders. Archives of General
                                            Psychiatry, 55, 109-115. Read also the two
                                            commentaries attached (Allen Frances, and
                                            then Robert Spitzer).

2/28   DSM Diagnosis                        Clark, L.A., Watson, D., & Reynolds, S.
                                            (1995). Diagnosis and classification of
       Clinical Interviews II: The ADIS     psychopathology: Challenges to the current
                                            system and future directions. Annual Review
                                            of Psychology, 46, 121-153.
                                            ADIS Manual
                                            Administer Practice ADIS

3/7    Assessment of Children’s Mental      Go over WISC-IV Manual
       Abilities: The Wechsler              Sattler & Dumont: Chapters 1 & 2
       Intelligence Scale for Children-     Kamphaus: Chapters 2 & 3 (available
       Fourth Edition (WISC-IV)             from TS)
                                            Administer Practice WISC – unobserved
3/14   WISC-IV Scoring, Interpretation,     Sattler & Dumont: Chapters 3 & 4
       Report Writing                       Kamphaus: Chapter 4
       Assessment of Children’s Mental      Administer Practice WISC – observed
       Abilities – Achievement Testing
                                            Turkheimer, E., Haley, A., Waldron, M.,
                                            D’Onofrio, B., & Gottesman. I.I. (2003).
                                            Socioeconomic status modifies heritability
                                            of IQ in young children. Psychological
                                            Science, 14, 623-628.

3/21   Spring Break: No Class

3/28   Behavior Rating Scales               Kamphaus & Frick: Chapters 7 & 8
       The CBCL
       Connor’s Rating Scales
       Behavioral Observation               Kamphaus & Frick: Chapter 9

4/4    More on Clinical Judgment and        Garb: Chapters 1-3

4/11   Case Presentations

4/18   Assessment of Family context         Kamphaus & Frick: Chapters 13 &18

       Assessment of disruptive behavior
       disorders: Conduct Disorder and
       Oppositional Defiant Disorder,
4/25   Assessment of Internalizing          Kamphaus & Frick: Chapter 19
       Problems: Depression and Anxiety

       Issues in Assessment                 Lilienfeld, S.O., Wood, J.M., & Garb,
                                            H.N. (2000). The scientific status of
                                            projective techniques. Psychological
                                            Science in the Public Interest, 1, 27-66.

5/2    Open for catch-up and special        Paper Due
       topics. Possible topics: (1)
       Developmental Disorders &
       Mental Retardation; (2) More on
       interpretation and report writing;
       (3) combining information from
       different sources; (4) behavioral

5/10   Case Presentations

Comprehensive Evaluations

General Requirements: Each student is required to conduct comprehensive psychological
evaluations of two children or adolescents and to provide feedback to the child and parent(s)
with recommendations for treatment, under the supervision of the instructor or teaching assistant.
This aspect of the course is designed to provide practical experience in conduction psychological
evaluations, with a particular emphasis on integrating information from a number of areas of
function into a clear report with feasible recommendations for treatment that are based on this
information. The student must also present the case in a formal case presentation during class.

Each evaluation must be planned with the instructor or teaching assistant using the following

   1. All evaluations must be comprehensive, which means they must include a thorough
      history, a psycho-educational assessment, a behavioral/emotional assessment, assessment
      of family context, and assessment of peer functioning.
   2. Across the two evaluations, each major type of assessment instrument covered in this
      class must be used at least once (e.g., rating scales, behavioral observation, diagnostic
      interview, with IQ and achievement tests being used for both).
   3. The instructor and teaching assistant will attempt to assign cases to match with each
      student’s particular interests. Variety (e.g., age of youth, type of problem) in cases is
      encouraged, however.

Grading. Performance on these evaluations will be graded based on the following criteria:

   1. Preparation for the evaluation                        20%

   2. Proficiency in administration                         15%

   3. Professionalism (e.g.,                                20%
      punctuality, respect for client,
      timeliness in completing
      evaluation, maintenance of

   4. Accuracy and readability of the                       15%

   5. Interpretive Interview                                15%

   6. Case Presentation                                     15%

                                Critique of Assessment Instrument
                                      (additional information)

A major goal of this course is to help students learn to critically evaluate assessment instruments
for children and adolescents, such that students can use existing instruments appropriately, and
can confidently and accurately evaluate new instruments as they become available. To aid in
accomplishing these goals, each student is required to select a specific assessment instrument and
critique it. This critique should be designed to guide a practicing psychologist in determining the
most appropriate use(s) of the instrument, especially focusing on developmental issues in its use.
The critique should be comprehensive but concise (no more than 10 typed, double-spaced pages
including references). The instrument must be pre-approved by the instructor and completed by
May 2nd. The following is a guide for the critique.

   I.      Overview and Description
              (e.g., theoretical rationale for the test and test items, test format, number and
              description of items and scales, appropriate age range

   II.     Administration and Scoring
             (e.g., qualification of users, ease of administration and scoring, adequacy of

   III.    Psychometric Properties
              (reliability, validity, norms, generalizability)

   IV.     Summary and Recommendations for Appropriate Use