Psychological and educational assessments such as those used to diagnose conditions like sensory processing disorder, autism, and speech and language disorders, do more than help clinicians evaluate and diagnose patients. They guide therapy, contribute to future research, and ultimately, better the lives of test-takers. However, for assessments to effectively do these tasks and more, their content must be carefully curated and organized in a way that makes sense for all end-users — from test-takers to parents and clinicians. They must also undergo routine revision to ensure they contain the most up-to-date data and reflect the most current cultural norms and expectations.
Why Assessments Need Revision
While it is always a good rule of thumb to revise written works, there are several reasons why test creators should review and amend their assessments every few years that extend beyond best practices. First and foremost, both the data and content used in assessments creation change and become outdated over time. Today’s tests must reflect current data. For example, the original version of the CASL referred to a payphone– an item children would now be unfamiliar with or consider a relic. To amend this, the CASL-2 mentions a cell phone instead.
Additionally, updated work is more likely to contain diverse and inclusive imagery and language. As recent as 20 years ago, tests failed to include children of different cultural backgrounds or varying capabilities. Today, however, a black child in a wheelchair is just as likely to see herself in test imagery as a caucasian boy who plays football.
Finally, editors can ensure that tests reflect the societal changes that influence today’s kids’ emotional and behavioral experiences. A major societal source of anxiety for adolescents today is social media. Updated tests such as the RCMAS-2, which measures anxiety, and the Piers-Harris 3, which measures self-esteem, address this as a new trigger and remove outdated ones.
The Frequency with Which Clinicians Should Adopt New Tests
New research is being done to improve the evaluation, diagnosis, and treatment of psychological and learning disorders on a daily basis. Though test makers endeavor to keep their assessments as relevant as possible, it is not practical to expect the production of revised tests every time new data is issued or cultural norms shift. That said, when creators do publish new tests, clinicians should prepare to adopt them as soon as possible.
Though the speed with which clinicians should adopt new tests is up for debate, test publishers recommend evaluators purchase revisions within a year of the publication. The Association of Psychology Postdoctoral and Internship Centers, however, recommends clinicians purchase new tests within six months to two years of the publication date, offering more leeway. These recommendations are in place to prevent educators and psychologists from basing diagnoses and recommendations on obsolete measures.
WPS Publish has a long-standing reputation for producing top-of-the-line assessments and testing measures for clinicians, psychologists, and educators worldwide. With over 70 years of experience, it has developed processes and best practices that have become industry standards for test creation. When you are in the market for new and up-to-date assessments, look no further than WPS.