Chapter 3 General Testing Considerations

General Testing Considerations  back

Basic Principles for Using the DWEEEB

The basic principles to be utilized when administering the DWEEEB should follow the tenets of NONSENSE. (Cisco and Eggbert,1992) This is a way of testing that uses a simple, time honored, and clinically unheard of approach. Following are the eight rules of NONSENSE:

  1. Number of tests: “The more the merrier” would be applicable except that we are trying to save time while making big bucks. Don’t choose a few well normed, statistically valid and reliable tests for your battery. Whole tests are time consuming. Instead give as few tests, or preferably subtests of tests, as you can in the time allotted for evaluation. The fewer you give the better. Although the more tests given would generally make it easier to find the problem and to be the expert—you are the expert. You don’t need as much as the next guy or gal.
  2. Opinion: This is extremely valuable and refers only to your opinion. What you think is probably true so use it to your advantage. Don’t ever call it opinion though. Dress it up and call it “clinical judgment.” Your clinical judgment is better than any test, and better yet, who can challenge it?
  3. Norming samples: They don’t really matter. Tests are published and therefore they are good. The DWEEEB is a classic example. A publisher surely wouldn’t sell a test if it weren’t doing what it says it is and if it weren’t a good test. If the number of children in the norming sample happens to be low or non existent, that’s okay. Parents don’t need to know that the judgment being made about their 3rd grade child’s ability is based on only 5 3rd graders. No one in a team meeting will ever dare to challenge you anyway. You’re the expert. (Remember rule #8 and if you follow rule #5, no one will ever be able to challenge you.) Let the child you test be the norm sample. If you’re especially lucky, his name will be Norm!
  4. Standardization procedure: Digress from standard practice all you want. That is one of the beautiful things about the DWEEEB: there is no standardized procedure to digress from. Really how much can that effect a score anyway? You know best how to evaluate. Raise or lower scores when necessary by careful probing. It won’t matter that the manual says not to (and this one doesn’t), you’re the boss and you have a job to do. Remember rule #2. Prove what you set out to prove. Precognition increases your ability to be the big E: Expert.
  5. Esoterica: Using many unknown or little used tests is always best. And how many have heard of this little beauty? Test like the DWEEEB are hard to challenge and have a strong tendency to show what you know to be true. It will be difficult for anyone to prove your judgment wrong when no one can dispute the tests you’ve used. Subrule 5a: Never provide the norms to others. You spent valuable time finding the norms you use. If you had to find them, so shouldn’t everyone else!
  6. Nothing wrong?: This is impossible. If you evaluated properly, you will find the offensive problem, and if that didn’t work, evaluate improperly. Remember, you’re an expert. If you don’t find it, someone smarter and with more experience or better clinical judgment will surely find it. When in doubt, return to rule #1. Give more. Keep looking. You’ll find it.
  7. Statistics are not important: If challenged, remember and use Mark Twain’s remark about lies: “There are three kinds of lies: Big lies, little lies, and damned statistics.” Disregard the statement of Johnson: “Beautiful ideas are often destroyed by ugly facts.” No one will remember that one anyway. Quoting Mark Twain increases your stature and reinforces rule #8.
  8. Expert: That’s you. Don’t forget it. Act like it. That’s why you are paid so much.

Applicable Age Ranges

The DWEEEB was designed for use with children aged 6 years to 16 years 11 months. The test items, materials, and administration procedures were supposed to be designed for their suitability for these age groups. Be that as it may, use the test any way you wish. Think of it as a womb to tomb test.

Standard Procedure

The purpose of the DWEEEB is to assess a child’s performance under a fixed set of conditions. In order to obtain results that are interpretable according to the national norms, you might want to adhere carefully to the administration directions given in Chapter 4 but if you don’t, that’s okay. You can decide what a ‘fixed set of conditions” is. Changes in the phrasing or presentation of the test items, modifications of the time limits, or other deviations from the standard subtest directions are encouraged. Someone might tell you that this would reduce the validity of the test results, to which you should coolly reply “Prove it.”

Administration Time

Administration of the regular battery of 7 subtests should be done at 9:00 AM EST.

Physical Conditions

The physical setting – whether in a clinic, school, office, bar, nightclub, storage closet, boiler room, or private home – can affect the child’s performance. To maximize potential distractions or interference, conduct the test in a crowded, noisy, ill-lit, stuffy, smelly room. As a rule, the more people in the room the better.

Seating arrangements may be important. I’m not sure why or how, but the publisher wanted me to say so. “SO.” Figure 3.1 illustrates the suggested seating arrangements. This suggested arrangement ensures that you can easily reach and handle all administration and scoring material.

Figure 3.1 Suggested Seating and Materials Arrangement

Table 3.1. Materials Included in the DWEEEB

Manual Record Form (also available on CD or Tape)
Silly Put Together Puzzle Handy Dandy Carrying Case

Establishing and Maintaining Rapport

A cooperative relationship between the child and the examiner must be avoided at all costs. As in all interaction with children, a loud, threatening, punitive tone will promote acquiescence. Do not attempt to put the child at ease. They are there because there is something wrong with them, otherwise why are they being tested? Do not engage in informal conversation about the child’s activities or interests. You really don’t care. Why waste the time? Stick to the test. If the child is shy or fearful, all the better. Any time devoted to building rapport is time poorly spent. However, if you are paid on a per hour contractual basis, disregard all you just read. Slow down. Take you time. Keep track of the hourly rate. Certainly do not give the DWEEEB. Give the Dumont-Willis Extra Easy Evaluation Battery-Very Very Long Form (DWEEEB-VVLF). This is used to ensure many billable contact hours. (That’s another story.)

Figure 3.2. Rapport being established by the psychologist before administering the DWEEEB.

Teaching Items

None of the DWEEEB subtests provide any form of teaching or correction. The purpose is to ensure that the child who is low functioning, or who you want to be, does not understand the task. To provide additional instruction to the child who has failed one of the items would only confound the results.

Teaching after failure on an item would be silly, since on the DWEEEB, there are no chances after the first. Consider this a ‘power test.’ Teaching simply serves to frustrate the child and to take more time. Don’t bother.

Below is a fine example of two psychologists (Cisco and Eggbert) “team teaching” a student the rudiments of the DWEEEB. Note the cooperative way the two noted psychologists “assist” the student on this particular teaching item.

Repetition of Items and Probing of Responses

Except where specifically allowed in the directions you may never repeat the directions or the questions if the child requests repetition or appears not to understand the task. Think of the questioning as a clinically important sign. The child is being obstinate and willfully not listening, or is trying to ‘pull your chain.’ Don’t feed into this. Hold your ground, its your test!

Sometimes a child will respond with “I don’t know” to an item. If you believe that the child knows the answer to the question, fail them on the item anyway. Do not give credit if the child responds correctly after they have given an incorrect answer.

If a child refuses to respond to an item by saying “I can’t do it” or stops working on an item before the time limit expires, harshly reprimand the child to proceed. Use statements such as What are you, a baby? Try it! or We’ll stay here until hell freezes over or you get this correct! When needed repeat this command often and increase the threat from each.

All incomplete or ambiguous responses to Verbal subtest items must be queried. The item instructions for the Likeables, Name This and I Know What To Do subtests include a number of sample responses followed by a (Q). This (Q) indicates that the response or any equivalent response must be a queer verbalization and will need to be interpreted as part of a Serious Emotional Disturbance evaluation. Sometimes it can be fun to use a threatening tone and forceful statements such as What the heck does that mean? or Are you kidding. Give me a break. or finally Tell me more about your mother.