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Milton J. Dehn, Ed.D., NCSP Schoolhouse Educational Services May, 2013

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1 Milton J. Dehn, Ed.D., NCSP Schoolhouse Educational Services May, 2013
Identifying a Pattern of Strengths and Weaknesses when Assessing Cognitive Processes Milton J. Dehn, Ed.D., NCSP Schoolhouse Educational Services May, 2013

2 Notice of Copyright 2013 This PowerPoint presentation and accompanying materials are copyrighted by Schoolhouse Educational Services, LLC and Milton J. Dehn. They are not to be reprinted, copied, or electronically disseminated without written permission. To obtain permission,

3 Workshop Information Sources
Essentials of Processing Assessment, 2nd Ed. Children’s Psychological Processes Scale Bibliography in handout Other cited references

4 Workshop Topics Processes to assess Processes and academic skills
Neuroanatomy of processes Selective, cross-battery testing Identifying strengths and weaknesses SLD identification using a pattern of strengths and weaknesses Overview of processing interventions

5 What are Psychological Processes?
Includes “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 academic skills Learning depends on these processes; they underlie academic skills

6 The Need for Processing Assessment
Part of a neuropsychological approach Not just for SLD but Autism, ADHD, TBI, etc. Neuroscience has increased understanding of brain-learning relationships A deficit in a “psychological process” is part of federal and states’ SLD definitions Identification leads to more appropriate interventions

7 Federal & State SLD Criteria
SLD is…… “a disorder in one or more of the basic psychological processes” IDEIA 2004 allows alternative research-based procedures (the third method) Been interpreted as allowing use of a pattern of strengths and weaknesses (PSW) in SLD diagnosis In achievement, cognitive abilities, or psychological processes

8 Processing Assessment Advantages
Benefits the learner: better understanding Identifying a processing deficit differentiates SLD & slow learning Identifying processing deficits provides direction for academic interventions

9 Processing and RTI Processing model consistent with problem-solving and early intervention There are evidence-based processing interventions Different processing “causes” of SLD Why do “blind” academic interventions Processing & academic interventions compatible---why they work

10 Characteristics of Psychological Processes to Assess
Brain-based Interrelated Necessary for academic learning Both broad and narrow processes Manifestations of processing problems are observable in classroom

11 Processes for SLD Assessment
Attention Auditory Processing Executive Functions Fine Motor Fluid Reasoning Long-Term Recall Oral Language Phonological Processing Processing Speed Visual-Spatial Processing Working Memory (WM)

12 Human Processing Limitations
Human limitations Which processes does the chimp excel at?

13 Attention Necessary for learning and memory
Attention deficits part of LD Not necessarily ADHD ADHD is more hyperactive/impulsive Inattentive type is more cognitive/learning problems Types: Selective, focused, divided, sustained Problem: attentional control & inhibition Related to Executive Functions and Working Memory

14 Auditory Processing Ability to perceive, analyze, synthesize, and discriminate auditory stimuli, mainly speech Perceiving and comprehending instruction; being able to understand words with background noise

15 Executive Functions Management of cognitive functions and psychological processes Effectiveness depends on self-monitoring, self-regulation, and metacognition Has a longer course of development More to do with classroom performance than learning of academic skills

16 Fluid Reasoning Deductive, inductive reasoning, especially with novel materials Has a longer course of development More important for applied academics

17 Long-Term Recall Close connection with other processes and with academic learning in general Includes encoding, consolidation, storage, and retrieval Rapid automatic naming is part of

18 Oral Language Not the content (vocabulary) or receptive language but the oral expression processes

19 Phonological Processing
Processing of phonemes, e.g. blending Phonemic awareness is part of

20 Processing Speed How quickly information flows through the processing system; a matter of efficiency Too slow: info. lost, process not completed

21 Visual-Spatial Processing
The ability to perceive, analyze, synthesize, manipulate and think with visual patterns A strength in most LD cases Weak relations with all academics; more of a “threshold” process

22 Working Memory Processing while retaining information
Includes short-term memory Both verbal and visual An executive component

23 Processes and Academic Learning
Psychological processes are like “aptitudes” Relations established through research Flanagan et al., & McGrew Swanson, Geary, and others The influence of processes varies by age For SLD look for academic area and related psychological processes to both be low See Table

24 Research: SLD by Processing Subtypes
Visual-Spatial Deficits: Math calculation and math problem solving Processing Speed Deficits: Reading comprehension, written expression Working Memory Deficit: Math calculation, Written expression Attention: Written expression Source: Hain, Hale, Kendorski

25 Dehn’s Processing Theory
“For each academic skill there is an optimal set of psychological processes that function as aptitudes. For successful learning of a specific academic skill, the combined set of specific aptitudes must attain a sufficient threshold of development.” Link

26 Processing Clusters: Memory Example
Attention Executive Functions Fluid Reasoning Long-Term Recall Processing Speed Working Memory See Link for other clusters

27 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

28 Neuroanatomy of Processes

29 Neuroanatomy of Processes
Most in more than one brain lobe Illustrates the interconnectivity of processes Most have specific structures within a lobe Processing speed is a function of interconnectivity; does not have a specific structure

30 Occipital Lobe Dedicated to vision and visual-spatial processing
Receives sensory data from the thalamus Visual and spatial processing are separate Dorsal stream (upper) sends spatial information to parietal lobe Ventral stream (lower) sends visual information to temporal lobe

31 Temporal Lobe Auditory processing
Long-term memory processing in the hippocampus Some visual processing Semantic memory storage

32 Parietal Lobe Integrates sensory information Language processing
Phonological processing

33 Frontal Lobe The “output” lobe; others are input
Executive functions---prefrontal cortex Working memory---prefrontal cortex Attentional control---prefrontal cortex Fluid reasoning Fine motor Oral expression No storage of long-term memories

34 Processing Assessment Challenges
Connecting to academic concerns Interrelated processes Not all are found in one convenient battery Doing it efficiently Linking with interventions

35 Processing Assessment Principles
Should be multimethod, multisource, and multisetting Informal, qualitative not enough Should include standardized testing Should be hypothesis driven Selective, cross-battery testing Integrate data during interpretation

36 Records Review Any medical or health conditions Age of onset
Developmental delays Look for reported behaviors that indicate processing problems Difficulty memorizing arithmetic facts: WM Difficulty blending: Phonological processing Low fluency: Processing speed

37 Interviews Ask directly about processes but also ask about behaviors that are manifestations of processing weaknesses Teachers: Ask about their hypotheses Parents: Home environment examples Students: Middle school and older Suggested teacher and parent interview items will be in revised book

38 Observations An observed behavior is due to more than one process
Look for several problematic behaviors that go with a specific process See link

39 Dehn’s Approach to Cross Battery
Not limited to CHC factors “Narrow” abilities/processes included Includes processing factors that are important for learning of academic skills Includes rating scales Subtests classified through task analysis Analyze scores at the composite (two-subtest) level whenever possible

40 Cross-Battery Testing
Assessment driven by hypotheses Mix scales/batteries to cover all the areas Try to limit the number of scales Should be normed about the same time Avoid redundancies when testing Ideally, 2 subtests per process Analyze results together and use a cross-battery mean to determine discrepancies

41 Selective Testing Test all processes important for academics With most attention to an in-depth assessment of hypothesized weaknesses Apply a cross-battery approach Pick composites first Categorized by factor and task analysis See selective testing tables Link See comprehensive list link from book

42 Hypothesis Testing Approach
Given academic deficiency, what are the most likely process deficits It’s “why” the child has a learning problem Include non-processes Must collect assessment data to “test” hypotheses Try to avoid “confirmatory bias” We all have weaknesses

43 Planning a Processing Assessment
Complete the processing assessment planner Template Completed example See case study

44 Six-Year Old Case Study Concerns
Learning colors, letters, and numbers Inconsistent performance Recognizing and generating rhyming words Reading learning difficulties Doesn’t remember directions Difficulty getting started on a task Word retrieval problems Math learning difficulties

45 Processing Analysis Worksheet
Composite scores from test manual when possible Convert all scores to standard scores Exclude non-processing factors and subtests Compute clinical process scores by averaging Compute processing mean Calculate discrepancies Determine weaknesses and deficits Do pairwise comparisons Completed Example Opposites and those closely related Complete worksheet and interpret

46 Using Dehn’s Processing Analysis Worksheet to Determine PSW
Deficit = both normative and intra-individual weakness (deficit is a “strong” weakness) Scores below 90 are normative weaknesses Below 85 if not using deficit approach Intra-individual strengths and weaknesses use 12 point discrepancy Assumes composites/subtests have hi reliability Use 15 points if not using deficit approach Automated worksheet

47 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.


49 Concordance-Discordance Model
From James Brad Hale Link Similar to Naglieri’s model Processing areas not significantly related to the academic area should be discordant: Processing strengths should be significantly higher than the academic weakness

50 CHC Model A process related to the academic deficiency is weak or deficient Unexpected underachievement: Process and academic deficit exist with otherwise normal ability Regarding strengths, at least some processes should be in the average range

51 Dehn’s PSW Model Normative weakness + intra-individual weakness = deficit At least one process is a deficit Intra-individual weakness is statistically significant Subtest scores must be unitary for a deficit At least one processes is in average range (strength) The deficit is related to deficient academic skill Consistency between process score(s) and the related academic skill score Link

52 Determining Weaknesses & Deficits
Intra-individual strengths and weaknesses Should be at least a 12-point discrepancy 15 points if not using deficit rule Normative weakness when score below 90 Deficits are rare statistically, have a neurological basis, and impair learning Most states require only a weakness (typically an intra-individual weakness) but not a deficit, and also require strengths

53 Support for Strengths and Weaknesses
Informal data supports test scores and results of score analysis Corroboration especially needed when scores differences are less than one standard deviation (12-14 points) Integrate and label data when writing report Weaknesses match with specific academic areas they are highly related with

54 Psychological Processing Analyzer
Available at Identifies strengths, weaknesses, deficits Conducts cross-battery analysis using composites and/or subtest standard scores 11 psychological processes From 22+ different scales: cognitive, achieve., rating, and processing link

55 Psychological Processing Analyzer
Composite and subtests are limited to those that are fairly direct measures Some are re-classified based on the primary demands of the task Difference formulas based on reliability coefficients of composites/subtests Regression toward the mean .01 or .05 level of significance

56 Psychological Processing Analyzer
All scores converted to standard scores Non-unitary process scores are flagged Predicted score for each process based on mean of other 10 Differences greater than critical values are intra-individual weaknesses Deficits are both types of weaknesses Pairwise comparisons are optional Link

57 Other Options for Determining PSW
Cross-battery software based on CHC taxonomy Only shows one process weakness at a time Use simple difference (SED) formula Uses reliability coefficients Advanced formula can be used when correlation between measures is known Checking for confidence interval overlap

58 Rating Scales Processing deficits are manifested through behaviors
Behavior ratings can be used to measure processing abilities Examples: BRIEF and other Executive Function Scales Also, the new CPPS

59 Children’s Psychological Processes Scale (CPPS) Overview
Standardized teacher rating scale Ages to 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 Measurement Consultant: Kevin McGrew

60 The Purposes of the CPPS
SLD Evaluations Identify psych processing deficits Pattern of strengths and weaknesses Data for SLD diagnosis Screening Identifies need for intervention Predicts academic skills development Useful in planning comprehensive assessment Planning interventions Measure progress during interventions Through the use of change-sensitive W-scores

61 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

62 How The Online CPPS Works
A psychologist’s side and a teacher’s side Psychologist fills in teacher information and sent Teacher: student info and completes ratings Psych receives stating ratings complete Psych generates report See screen shots

63 CPPS Administration Online rating scale minutes for teachers to complete Can print free paper copy and enter later Must answer all items (but can save incomplete) Never, Sometimes, Often, Almost Always Rating scale saved until report generated

64 CPPS Items Grouped by subscale
In developmental (ability) order from lowest item to highest item Link Example of scoring in developmental sequence Link

65 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 T-score to standard score converter Can be re-run with different options (without extra charge) Example

66 Discrepancy Analysis Use discrepancy table to determine pattern of strengths and weaknesses (reversed) Predicted score based on mean of other 10 Regression toward the mean included +/ to 2.00 SD of SEE discrepancy options Strengths and Weakness labeling is opposite of discrepancy, e.g. “-” value = a strength Non LD also have a pattern Link

67 T-Score Conversion Table
Optional Purpose: To see how consistent CPPS scores are with achievement and cognitive scores T-score x and then reverse distance from mean Example: T-score of 60 x 1.5 = = 115 Then subtract 15 from 100 = 85 Example

68 CPPS General Processing Ability (GPA)
Based on average of all process scores Emerges from factor analysis; similar to concept of general intelligence Processes function in an inter-related fashion Most processes contribute to any given behavior, task On CPPS defined as “the underlying efficiency of processing”

69 Diagnostic Accuracy for LD
37 LD subjects with broad demographics Compared to matched controls, LD subjects had significantly higher means on all subscales Link The CPPS had high classification accuracy in regards to LD Using CPPS GPA cutoff of 60 had a 92% classification accuracy across 74 subjects

70 Diagnosing LD with the CPPS
Look for pattern of strengths and weaknesses (discrepancy table) Weaknesses should also be normative weaknesses (T-scores above 60) Weaknesses should link to evidence-based achievement relations Same criteria as PSW model

71 Discussion How will you do processing assessment differently?
How will you determine weaknesses, strengths, deficits?

72 Using Assessment Results to Plan an Intervention
Select deficits and intra-individual weaknesses for intervention Consider related processing weaknesses Consider executive and WM limitations Individualize

73 Interventions for Processing Weaknesses & Deficits
Strengthen weakness if possible And utilize the strong areas more Modifications that reduce the need to use the weak processes Use methods that involve other processes, more of the brain

74 Attention: Self-Monitoring
Teacher, or device carried by student, cues student at variable intervals, such as 5 minutes When cued, student marks monitoring sheet regarding behavior when cue occurred: 2-Completely on task; 1-Partially on task; 0-Completely off task When teacher is cueing, she also provides her rating alongside student’s; student receives bonus point when ratings match Set a points goal that student is working for, easy at first, then keep adjusting upward Link

75 Auditory Processing Same as interventions for CAPD
Recoding auditory into visual information Visual representations should accompany verbal presentations Quiet environment Improve acoustics Fast ForWord Auditory trainers (individual sound systems)

76 Executive Function Increase metacognitive awareness Teach planning
Work completion: set goal and time

77 Planning Developing planning improves math performance
Discuss benefits of plans Develop plans Verbalize them Implement them and evaluate

78 Fine Motor Occupational therapy Handwriting practice

79 Fluid Reasoning Problem solving Categorizing
Similarities and differences Games that require reasoning and recognizing relationships

80 Long-Term Recall Dual encoding Elaboration Testing Visual mnemonics
Retrieval Distributed practice Context cues

81 Oral Language Closure procedures Categorizing words
Create a variety of sentences using same words Synonyms and antonyms Paraphrasing Language therapy

82 Phonological Processing
Phonemic awareness interventions very effective .86 effect size (the earlier the better) Oral at first, then with written material Rhyming; isolating phonemes; identifying phonemes; deleting phonemes; categorizing common phonemes; segmenting phonemes that comprise words; and blending phonemes into words

83 Processing Speed Video Games

84 Visual-Spatial Processing
None recommended

85 WM: Reducing Cognitive Load
Brief, consistent verbalizations One process at a time Allow time for rehearsal and processing Quiet learning environment Organized presentations One step at time Worked examples Partially completed problems

86 WM: Teach Rehearsal Most have by age 10; 1st graders can learn
Serial and cumulative repetitive process Repeat first word until next delivered then add next word to the repetition First aloud, then subvocal Good maintenance if overlearned Increase length of list More effective than elaborate strategies?

87 WM Accommodations Extended testing time Repeating information
Repeating information in a simplified manner Providing written checklists and reminders of step-by-step procedures One task at a time Slow down presentation Preferential seating to reduce distraction Provide prompts and cues

88 N-Back Task (Exec. WM) Challenging task but easily administered
Shown to improve WM capacity Remember stimulus n-items back Do it repetitively Deck of cards ideal; prevents practice effects Parents and children can practice at home n-back task What strategy would you teach the child for succeeding at this?

89 N-Back Procedures Display cards one at a time for 1-2 seconds
Start over after 1st error Should get 10 consecutive correct 3 times before going to next N 10-15 minutes of daily practice for 4 weeks More challenging: A double n-back Establish baseline Encourage strategy use

90 Using Math to Build WM Complete calculations
Remember the answers in sequence 4 + 3 = 7 9 – 3 = 6 Response: 7, 6

91 Discussion How will you attempt to incorporate processing interventions into IEP or other intervention programs?

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