A Systematic Examination of the Linguistic Demand of Cognitive Test

D.C. Cormier, O. Bulut, D. Singh, K.E. Kennedy, K. Wang, A. Heudes, A.J. Lekwa (2018)

A Systematic Examination of the Linguistic Demand of Cognitive Test Directions Administered to School-Age Populations

Journal of Psychoeducational Assessment
2018, Vol. 36(4) 337–353
DOI: 10.1177/0734282916678336


The selection and interpretation of individually administered norm-referenced cognitive tests that are administered to culturally and linguistically diverse (CLD) students continue to be an important consideration within the psychoeducational assessment process. Understanding test directions during the assessment of cognitive abilities is important, considering the high-stakes nature of these assessments. Therefore, the linguistic demand of spoken test directions from the following commonly used cognitive test batteries was examined and compared: Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children, Fifth Edition (WISC-V), Woodcock–Johnson IV Tests of Cognitive Abilities (WJ IV COG), Cognitive Assessment System, Second Edition (CAS2), and Kaufman Assessment Battery for Children, Second Edition (KABC-II). On average, the linguistic demand of the standard test directions was greater than the linguistic demand of the supplementary test directions. When examining individual test characteristics, very few individual tests were identified as outliers with respect to the linguistic demand of their test directions. This finding differs from previous research and suggests that the linguistic demand of the required directions for most tests included in commonly used cognitive batteries is similar. Implications for future research and test development are discussed.

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