Update on Next DAS Revision (November 21, 2017) *

“Pearson views the DAS as one of its flagship assessments and is absolutely committed to continuing Colin’s legacy by investing in an updated edition.  Such a project will take a number of years.  We are now in the process of determining when some of our top Research Directors will complete their current projects and be able to embark on a DAS revision in the near future.”

Dr. Larry Weiss, Vice president, Global Research & Development at Pearson Clinical Assessment


John Willis and I are sad to announce the death of our colleague and friend, Colin D. Elliott, Ph.D.  John and I had the extraordinary privilege of working with Colin, assisting him on several projects involving the DAS and DAS-II, and collaborating with him on a book and on a chapter in Sattler’s Assessment of Children on the DAS-II.  Colin was always an inspirational and generous collaborator, a wealth of knowledge and humor, and a true gentleman, and we will miss him, as will his beloved family and his friends, students, and colleagues. 

Colin was for 20 years the tutor and director of the course for professional educational psychologists at Manchester University (UK). Since 1973, he was involved, as the author or coauthor, in research and development on the British Ability Scales, the Differential Ability Scales (the U.S. version of the BAS), the BAS 2, the BAS 3, and the DAS-II. His other research and many publications have focused on individual differences in children’s temperament and personality and specific learning colin elliottdifficulties. He moved to the United States in 1992 and was Adjunct Professor at the Gevirtz Graduate School of Education at University of California, Santa Barbara.  Colin was a fellow of the American Psychological Association (APA) and British Psychological Society. He was also an active member of the National Association of School Psychologists (NASP). 

His family sent us the following announcement information: 

COLIN DAVID ELLIOTT died peacefully at home in California on 17th April, aged 78. 

Beloved husband of Marian; father of Heather, Julia and Jonathan; Loved by his 9 grandchildren and 4 great grandchildren. 

Having gained his doctorate at Manchester University, Colin was director of their educational psychology course for 20 years. Since 1973, he developed the British Ability Scales and Differential Ability Scales. (USA) 

He will be sadly missed. A great man of God whose light will shine on.  

There will be a memorial service at West Street Christian Fellowship, Crewe, Cheshire on Sunday 1st May at 3.30pm. 

In lieu of flowers donations may be made to Cancer Research. www.justgiving.com/ColinDElliott

Ron Dumont  4/26/2016


Willis, Sattler, Elliott, Dumont



ERIC Test Review *

Test Review: C. D. Elliott “Differential Ability Scales-Second Edition.” San Antonio, TX–Harcourt Assessment, 2007
Marshall, Stephanie; McGoey, Kara E.; Moschos, Susan
Journal of Psychoeducational Assessment, v29 n1 p89-93 Feb 2011
This article presents a review of the Differential Ability Scales-Second Edition (DAS-II), an individually administered cognitive test battery, designed to evaluate children ages 2 years 6 months to 17 years 11 months. It purports to measure a hierarchy of cognitive abilities, including broad abilities contributing to a single cognitive factor (g), clusters of skills (i.e. verbal, nonverbal reasoning, and spatial), and a variety of homogeneous diagnostic subtests. Designed for both classification and to identify within-person strengths and needs, the DAS-II is theoretically based on a hierarchical view of mental abilities, representing a range of cognitive theories but with clear reference to the Cattell-Horn-Carroll theory. The DAS-II measures a range of types of ability, as opposed to one specific theory of human cognition. The test is designed to measure an individual’s general conceptual and reasoning ability, along with specific and diverse abilities, to determine strengths and weaknesses of cognitive functioning. The DAS-II assesses the populations intended by the authors and has been extended to include younger and older children (based on ability), and children who have speech/language impairments, or are deaf or hard-of-hearing. The DAS-II allows for quick administration and engaging materials that make it especially appealing to young children. Examiners may find the scoring procedures to be tedious; however, the computerized scoring assistant may help with this issue. Overall, the DAS-II may provide a user friendly, time efficient measure of general cognitive ability that proves useful in the context of a full psychoeducational battery of assessment measures.

Psych in the Schools

Psychology in the Schools Review


Abstract (See link above for complete article)

Concerns about the ability-achievement discrepancy method for specific learning disability (SLD) determination led to alternative research-based methods, such as failure to respond to intervention. Neither of these regulatory methods address the statutory SLD definition, which explicitly includes a deficit in basic psychological processes. Examining neuropsychological processing differences among typical children and children with math SLD, commonality analyses revealed that Differential Ability Scales – Second Edition (DAS-II) predictors accounted for more achievement variance in typical children (46% to 58%) than in children with math SLD (33% to 50%), with substantial loss of predictive validity when General Conceptual Ability was used instead of subcomponent scores. Results suggest that differences in typical predictor-outcome relationships may provide a foundation for developing specific cognitive and academic interventions for children with math SLD. C 2008 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.


PubMed Review 

Concurrent validity of the differential ability scales, second edition, with the Mullen Scales of Early Learning in young children with and without neurodevelopmental disorders. *


Estimates of intelligence in young children with neurodevelopmental disorders are critical for making diagnoses, in characterizing symptoms of disorders, and in predicting future outcomes. The limitations of standardized testing for children with developmental delay or cognitive impairment are well known: Tests do not exist that provide developmentally appropriate material along with norms that extend to the lower reaches of ability. Two commonly used and interchanged instruments are the Mullen Scales of Early Learning (MSEL), a test of developmental level, and the Differential Ability Scales, second edition (DAS-II), a more traditional cognitive test. We evaluated the correspondence of contemporaneous MSEL and the DAS-II scores in a mixed sample of children aged 2-10 years with autism spectrum disorder (ASD), non-ASD developmental delays, and typically developing children across the full spectrum of cognitive ability. Consistent with published data on the original DAS and the MSEL, scores on the DAS-II and MSEL were highly correlated. However, curve estimation revealed large mean differences that varied as a function of the child’s cognitive ability level. We conclude that interchanging MSEL and DAS-II scores without regard to the discrepancy in scores may produce misleading results in both cross-sectional and longitudinal studies of children with and without ASD, and, thus, this practice should be implemented with caution.

psych assess

Factor Structure of the DAS II by Gary Canivez and Ryan McGill (14 pages) *

Abstract (link to complete article above)

The present study examined the factor structure of the Differential Ability Scales–Second Edition (DAS–II; Elliott, 2007a) standardization sample using exploratory factor analyses, multiple factor extraction criteria, and hierarchical exploratory factor analyses (Schmid & Leiman, 1957) not included in the DAS–II Introductory and Technical Handbook (Elliott, 2007b). Exploratory factor analyses with multiple factor extraction criteria and hierarchical analyses with the Schmid and Leiman (1957) procedure were conducted with the 3 DAS–II standardization samples (Lower Early Years [Ages 2:6 –3:5], Upper Early Years [Ages 3:6 – 6:11], School-Age [Ages 7:0 –17:11]). All factor extraction criteria suggested 1 factor despite the author and publisher recommended and promoted 2 (Ages 2:6 –3:5) or 3 (Ages 3:6 – 6:11, Ages 7:0 –17:11) factors. Results indicated that most DAS–II subtests were properly associated with the theoretically proposed first-order factors. Hierarchical exploratory analyses with the Schmid and Leiman procedure, however, found that the hierarchical g factor accounted for large portions of total and common variance, while the 2 or 3 first-order factors accounted for small portions of total and common variance. It was concluded that the DAS–II provides strong measurement of general intelligence but clinical interpretation should be primarily at that level.


Differential Ability Scales II Layout by Ron Dumont and John Willis *

An outline of the DAS II Scales in Word format that can be easily copied and pasted into a report or paper is available at   Differential Ability Scales Layout

 das II

Pearsons’ Description of the DAS II   (Excerpts from Publishers’s web page) *

Age Range: 2:6 – 17:11 years

Qualifications Required:  C.   QUALIFICATION LEVEL C:     Tests with a C qualification require a high level of expertise in test interpretation, and can be purchased by individuals with:

    • A doctorate degree in psychology, education, or closely related field with formal training in the ethical administration, scoring, and interpretation of clinical assessments related to the intended use of the assessment.  OR
    • Licensure or certification to practice in your state in a field related to the purchase.  OR
  • Certification by or full active membership in a professional organization (such as APA, NASP, NAN, INS) that requires training and experience in the relevant area of assessment.

Ordering Information: *

The DAS II is published by Pearson from which professionals may obtain Pricing Information.

pricing information

The design of Differential Ability Scales–Second Edition (DAS-II) comes out of a vision to provide the psychologist with insight into how a child processes information to devise appropriate interventions and/or recommendations for the classroom and at home.

The DAS–II is a comprehensive, individually administered, clinical instrument for assessing the cognitive abilities that are important to learning. The test may be administered to children ages 2 years 6 months (2:6) through 17 years 11 months (17:11) across a broad range of developmental levels.

The diagnostic subtests measure a variety of cognitive abilities including verbal and visual working memory, immediate and delayed recall, visual recognition and matching, processing and naming speed, phonological processing, and understanding of basic number concepts. Some of these subtests can be used with children ages 2:6–17:11, while others have specific age ranges.

“DAS-II helps you find out why a child isn’t learning, and targets the specific nature of the problem, so that appropriate intervention strategies can be identified. It’s a well-rounded assessment of a child’s strengths and ability that also enables measuring change over time, in order to monitor progress.”
Dr. Colin Elliott, DAS-II author

Features & Benefits *

The Differential Ability Scales ® –Second Edition (DAS–II) continues the tradition of providing an in-depth analysis of children’s learning abilities. Using profile analysis, you can identify the child’s strengths and weaknesses so the appropriate IEP goals, intervention strategies, and progress monitoring can be developed. The DAS-II is appropriate for diverse populations as it can predict achievement on the basis of ability equally well for African American, Asian, Hispanic, and White/Non-Hispanic children. More information about the cultural fairness of DAS-II is available in the Technical Manual.

The DAS-II covers all ability levels for ages 2:6 – 17:11 split into two battery levels. For ages 5:0 – 8:11, both levels of the battery are fully co-normed, allowing the examiner to use subtests from either level of the battery, depending upon the child’s performance on the age-appropriate subtest. Additionally, the examiner can compare performance on the subtests tapping similar constructs from each battery to test hypotheses about the reasons for high or low scores. With DAS-II’s age range of 2:6-17:11 years, you can complete comparisons of test performance across time – even when normative scores cannot be obtained for a child of a given age, ability scores can be compared across time.

DAS-II is Theoretically Driven

  • All major CHC broad abilities are represented in the DAS-II subtests and composites.
  • Subtests map onto neuropsychological constructs, and reflect recent research in working memory and reading acquisition. Each subtest measures a homogeneous, reliable, and distinct set of cognitive abilities allowing clinicians the flexibility to use the test piecemeal with confidence.
  • DAS-II uses state-of–the-art psychometric techniques that make the instrument time-efficient, yet produce the highest reliable subtest specificity of any cognitive battery. The result is effective profile analysis of an individual’s strengths and weaknesses in cognitive processing.
  • Rasch modeling was applied to the construction of item sets to ensure ability levels were appropriate within each battery, resulting in only having to administer the items necessary to achieve a sufficient work sample, on a reliable subset of items. This efficiency helps children from experiencing boredom or fatigue by items that are either too easy or hard to reliably discriminate among age mates.

DAS-II is Child-Friendly

  • Increased floor for all subtests allows all children to find success on at least a few items, providing clinicians an understanding of what a child can do while preserving the rapport with the child.
  • Contains an abundance of teaching items to ensure a child does not fail because the instructions were not understood clearly.
  • Presents a wide range of engaging, child-appropriate activities to elicit optimal performance and create a positive view of testing in general.
  • Offers administration flexibility through out of level testing options with extended General Conceptual Ability (GCA) and cluster scores available for children experiencing cognitive delays.childfriendly_icon
  • Offers Spanish translation and American Sign Language translation of the nonverbal subtest administration instructions.
  • Tailored testing procedures reduce overall administration time, make maximum use of the child’s energy, and facilitate rapport.

What’s New with DAS-II

The original DAS has provided the strong cognitive foundations for the DAS-II. The revision has gone even further in translating cognitive development and cognitive process research findings into easily administered and interpreted subtests. The 20 cognitive subtests of the DAS-II include 17 subtests from the original DAS. The subtests are divided into two batteries based on age and are further subdivided into core and diagnostic subtests. Here are some of the new features:

  • Updated normative sample representative of the general U.S. population
  • New items and four new subtests—Recall of Sequential Order, Rapid Naming, Phonological Processing and Recall of Digits–Backward
  • Block Building subtest is combined with the Pattern Construction subtestlook what's new
  • Matrices subtest now contains a set of items for young children
  • Expanded clinical samples of children with a variety of special classifications (i.e., developmental risk; reading, writing, and math learning disabilities; attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorders; specific language impairment; limited English proficiency; mild to moderate intellectual disability; and gifted and talented)
  • More engaging and contemporary artwork
  • Modified the administration and scoring procedures to enhance the user-friendliness of the scale
  • Spanish language translation of the nonverbal subtests
  • CD with examiner instructions to assist with administration of the phonological processing subtest, and signed nonverbal subtest administration directions (signed sentences)
  • Linked to WIAT-III to tap into all areas of disability, as specified in IDEA 2004

    Test Structure *

    The diverse nature and individual reliability of the core and diagnostic subtests make the DAS–II a useful tool for profiling a child’s strengths and weaknesses. All 20 subtests involve activities that are appropriate to the developmental level of every child. The subtests are grouped into the Early Years and School-Age cognitive batteries with subtests that are common to both batteries and those that are unique to each battery. These batteries provide the General Conceptual Ability score (GCA), which is a composite score focusing on reasoning and conceptual abilities.

    Early Years Cognitive Battery

    The Early Years core battery includes verbal, nonverbal, and spatial reasoning subtests appropriate for ages 2:6 through 6:11. The battery is divided into two levels: children ages 2:6–3:5 and 3:6–6:11. The younger children are administered four core subtests to obtain the GCA composite score and children ages 3:6–6:11 take six core subtests which contribute to the GCA composite score. Although these subtests focus on ages 2:6-6:11, it can also be used to assess children ages 7:0–8:11 who are suspected of having cognitive delay.

    There are eleven optional diagnostic subtests for this age group. There are also three optional diagnostic clusters: Working Memory, Processing Speed, and School Readiness.

    School-Age Cognitive Battery

    The School-Age core battery contains subtests that can reliably be used to assess children ages 7:0 through 17:11. These subtests measure verbal, nonverbal reasoning, and spatial reasoning abilities. The subtests can also be used to assess children ages 5:0–6:11 who may be cognitively gifted. In addition there are up to nine diagnostic subtests for this age group that feed into three possible diagnostic cluster scores: working memory, processing speed and, for the youngest ages, school readiness.

    Out of Level Testing for those children at the extremes of ability ranges *

    As the clinician there are times when you might not know exactly who you are going to be testing on a given day, in a given school. The DAS-II offers you flexibility in being able to tailor the test based on the empirical observations you make about the child—from children with very low ability to children with giftedness. You can feel confident in your decision even when the test is tallied as the child will still be compared to a reference group of age mates – because all of these subtests were normed for his or her age mates.

    The Early Years and School-Age batteries were normed for overlapping age ranges, and both were standardized with children ages 5:0–8:11. This overlap permits out-of-level testing and insures that bright, younger children and less able older children can be given subtests appropriate for their abilities. Gifted children have the opportunity to show just how much they can do, by taking subtests typically administered to older children. Children of very low abilityalso have the opportunity to demonstrate what they can do, through administering the appropriate DAS-II subtests.

    In analyzing the normative information, two decisions were made to simplify the normative data tables. For all remaining ages outside the age range of 5:0-8:11 years, all subtests have sufficient floors and ceilings, except where explicitly indicated (by shading in the norms manuals). When a subtest is not reliable for a particular age, it is because the ability being measured is developmentally inappropriate for almost all children of that age. The subtest and cluster/composite standard scales were extending to four standard deviations on either side of the mean for each age band. This means the GCA goes down to 30, up to 170; and subtests go from T=10 to T=90.

    There may be instances were you have a child of age 9 years or older who is unable to provide a sufficient work sample for the School Age battery. The DAS-II offers extended GCA, SNC and all cluster scores via backchannel. These extended norms will not provide much of a downward extension in terms of standard scores (only down to 25 as opposed to 30); however, they will allow a child of this ability to be tested using subtests on which they will find some success, and still be compared against the projected performance of their actual age-mates.

    Offering this combination of scores makes the DAS–II useful for classifications and placement decisions that require an index of intellectual ability, for diagnostic testing that may contribute to understanding a child’s weaknesses and strengths, and for designing tailored interventions.

    Assessment *

    The DAS-II still recognizes and defers to the judgment of the expert clinician, and provides the psychometric basis for allowing this kind of flexibility. The psychologist is encouraged to use his or her information about the child in the room to select a battery, subtests, and item sets that are appropriate to the ability of that child.

    DAS-II Subtests Chart (PDF – 30kb)

    Special Population Application *

    The DAS–II can be used as a psychoeducational tool to obtain an assessment of cognitive abilities. It is also useful as part of a comprehensive educational or neuropsychological assessment to identify cognitive strengths and weaknesses, intellectual giftedness, or intellectual disability. Results are intended to inform treatment planning and placement decisions in clinical and educational settings, anspecial populationsd can provide useful clinical information for neuropsychological evaluation and research purposes.

  • With the DAS-II you can identify learning disabilities and intellectual disability and properly evaluate Spanish-speaking or deaf or hard of hearing children or giftedness.

    Determination of Learning Disabilities *

    Tests of cognitive ability are used extensively in school settings to evaluate the specific cognitive deficits that may contribute to low academic achievement and to predict future academic achievement. To facilitate the assessment of learning disabilities, the DAS–II was linked with WIAT–III to provide information on both cognitive abilities and academic achievement in children from ages 6:0-17:11. Used in conjunction, the DAS-II and WIAT–III provide valuable information for both eligibility and educational intervention purposes.

    With the new Phonological Processing Rapid Naming subtests, the DAS-II provides diagnostic subtests that measure cognitive abilities implicated in the dual-deficit hypothesis of developmental dyslexia. This is one of the differences that make a difference, in terms of differential treatment response (e.g., you don’t intervene with phonics when speed of lexical access is the sole deficit).sld2

    The DAS–II diagnostic subtests can be used in combination with other instruments specialized for the assessment of cognitive deficits underlying particular learning problems. For instance, poor performance on the Phonological Processing and Rapid Naming subtests may signal problems with the development of fundamental reading skills. In such cases, the Early Reading Success Indicator (ERSI) or the Process Assessment of the Learner: Test Battery for Reading and Writing (PAL) may be used with the DAS–II to enhance the clinical utility of each measure.

    Pairing the DAS–II with the ERSI or the PAL provides corroborative information on processes and skills predictive of early reading ability, difficulties, or failure, while parsing out effects from other developmental conditions (e.g., attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder or a central auditory processing disorder). Additionally, the PAL provides means of tracking a child’s progress in early intervention and prevention programs. Using DAS–II results in conjunction with the ERSI or PAL allows the examiner to go beyond the traditional use of ability-achievement discrepancies to determine eligibility for services, and helps school districts to more effectively respond to IDEA 2004.

    The DAS-II includes measures of working memory and processing speed, two types of deficits that can underlie diminished performance across academic domains. This is another one of the differences that make a difference, in terms of differential treatment response (e.g., WM deficits are treated with WM interventions – teach encoding strategies, instead of drilling academic content for improvements across academic domains).

    Determination of Intellectual Disability *

    The DSM-5 and American Association on Intellectual Disabilities have defined diagnosing intellectual disability as significantly low performance on general cognitive ability with limited adaptive behavior ability.

    The design structure of the DAS–II facilitates the assessment of children of very low ability. However, the most accurate diagnosis derives from multiple data sources, including intellectual disabilityassessment of the individual’s functioning at home, at school, and in the community. The Adaptive Behavior Assessment System–Second Edition (ABAS–II) may be used with the DAS–II to enhance the clinical utility of both measures. This pairing provides information on cognitive and adaptive functioning, both of which are required for the proper diagnosis of intellectual disability. In addition, assessment of cognitive functioning provides useful information for placement and training decisions.

    Testing Children who are not proficient in spoken English *

    Not only was DAS-II standardized using Spanish directions for the administration of the nonverbal subtests—Copying, Matching Letter-Like Forms, Matrices, Pattern Construction, Picture Similarities, Recall of Designs, Recognition of Pictures, Sequential and Quantitative Reasoning, and Speed of Information Processing, it also

    • Offers an expert Spanish translation of nonverbal subtest directions (i.e., blind back translation, expert panel review)
    • Provides the SNC, which is useful for testing all children who are not proficient in spoken English
    • Gives you the means for a number of other subtractive methods that allow for specific hypothesis testing (e.g., Is limited English proficiency diminishing Word Definitions Scores for this 7-year-old?) Administeresl Naming Vocabulary, which has a reduced expressive language component, but still taps word knowledge

    Best practice suggests that clinicians be well versed in the professional practice issues and ethical considerations of assessing children whose primary language is other than English. Spanish speakers may share a primary language with dialectical variations. However, these children will likely be diverse in many other respects. Examiners should familiarize themselves with the specific cultural and linguistic conditions of each child’s background when administering the DAS–II Spanish subtests and interpreting performance.

    Testing Children who are hard of hearing *

    The DAS–II provides the option to evaluate a client with a hearing impairment. Signed standard administration directions are Included on a CD for Copying, Matching Letter-Like Forms, Matrices, Pattern Construction, Picture Similarities, Recall of Designs, Recognition of Pictures, Sequential and Quantitative Reasoning, and Speed of Information Processing.

    A child may use one or any combination of aural/oral or visual modes when communicating. Therefore, the communication method used to administer the DAS–II to a given child maydeafness differ across different languages and modalities (e.g., between manually signed American Sign Language and spoken English) with gradations, combinations, and systems in between. Items on the DAS–II may be conveyed differently depending upon the signs and sign language(s) used. The DAS-II provides general guidelines and caveats for administration of DAS–II subtests to children who are Deaf or hard of hearing.

    Identifying Children for Giftedness *

    Children ages 5:0-6:11 years can be administered the school-age battery. The DAS-II has better ceilings and the normative score range is wider than the previous edition. Subtest scores now run from 10 to 90 (that is, the mean plus and minus 4 SDs) and composite scores now run from 30 to 170 (that is, the mean plus and minus 4.67 SDs). A Gifted sample is also included in the validity studies.gifted

    It is appropriate to use the Special Nonverbal Composite (SNC) for identifying giftedness in children in non-White populations when the verbal scores are lower due to cultural or environmental influences. The DAS-II GCA score is unbiased in predicting achievement scores of African-American and Hispanic children and in some instances, over-predicts their achievement scores.

    DAS-II as Part of a Neuropsychological Evaluation *

    Children referred for assessment in clinical and educational settings frequently show indications of complex problems requiring thorough assessment of cognitive, functional, and neuropsychological functioning. These evaluations identify individuals who may have underlying neurobehavioral problems or are employed to provide an in-depth examination of the neurocognitive abilities of children with known neurological insults.

    Neuropsychological evaluations are also used for differential diagnosis of neurological and psychiatric disorders. The psychometric properties of the DAS–II subtests allow for each to be interpreted in isolation, making all DAS–II subtests suitable for inclusion in customized, construct-based assessment batteries.neuropsychological

    To incorporate information on memory functioning, the DAS–II can be used with the Children’s Memory Scale (CMS) or the NEPSY, both of which include a comprehensive measure of learning and memory functioning in children. These pairings enhance the clinical utility of the DAS–II by providing comprehensive information on children’s memory function, among other neuropsychological processes and also provides additional means of assessing the neuropsychological status of children with congenital or acquired brain dysfunction, damage, or disease.

Using DAS-II for Research Purposes *

The comprehensive age range of the DAS–II makes it especially useful in longitudinal studies because the need to switch instruments as the children age is significantly reduced. The psychometric properties of the DAS have been maintained in the DAS–II; in some areas the technical characteristics have exceeded that of DAS, allowing for continued confidence in the DAS–II as a viable research instrument.research

The DAS–II can be used to examine the performance of children in a particular diagnostic group or to track the effects of intervention on children’s cognitive development. For example, researchers can use the DAS–II to determine the effects of traumatic brain injury on cognitive functioning or to examine whether the effectiveness of school-based interventions varies with specific cognitive abilities. The latter use has special implications for research into the changes in cognitive mechanisms that predict differential response to interventions.


DAS-II Quick Commentary *

I have given about 10 DAS-II by now and every time I give one I think of Gene Autry singing “Back in the saddle again.” I gave it to a 4 year old who was very bright and after about 45 minutes of testing I told her we were all done. She said “Cant we play some more?” She has been back (she is a neighbor’s child) and every time she has been back she asks if we can do the “games” again. I love that the kids taking the test enjoy themselves. I have given several school age levels, and they flow wonderfully – as they did with the DAS.

Ron and John

I am not yet comfortable with the Phonological subtest because I don’t get phonology well myself. I always thought that cat had two sounds “kah” and “t”. I have always had a problem with phonological tests, so I was pleased as punch (or was it judy) that Colin has included a training CD that has the subtest words correctly sounded out. The CD also gives demonstration movies of administering the test using American Sign Language, and the manual provides instructions for administering the nonverbal subtests in Spanish.

There is a computer scoring program, but I would advise against reliance on it. It is important that DAS users understand how to get the results on their own, and the program itself – at least in my opinion, is quirky and a pain. Having to click through the item sets (even when for some subtests there is only one possible choice – couldn’t it be set as a default?), and then entering the raw score, seems like a waste of time. You can do that easily yourself on the record form. Use the computer program to check your work and maybe to import the results into your word processor – but don’t use it to score the test. I have always thought that that is the responsibility of the examiner. It is nice to have the computer look up the T scores etc, but the printout is a bit quirky too. It reports significance differently in different areas of the printout and it reports subtests in an odd sequence. Everything that the computer can do, you can do, so don’t rely on it alone. Be sure you can find every number that the computer spits out so you can explain them yourself.

If you have given a DAS, learning the DAS-II will be very easy. If you haven’t given a DAS, you will need to take the time to learn it well. It is very different (better?) from most cognitive tests. Most people who I have spoken to say that once they learn the DAS (and the same will probably be true for the DAS-II) they wonder why they ever give some of the other tests.

The DAS-II now offers a working memory composite, a processing speed composite, and for younger ages, a school readiness composite. Some of the interpretation procedures at first seem daunting (e.g., comparing ability score SEMs to determine significant differences) but once you have done it once, the procedures turn out to be very simple. Interpretation seems very simple if one knows and understands Gf-Gc theory. The test now has Gc (Verbal), Gf (Nonverbal reasoning), Gv (Spatial), Glr (Recall of Objects immediate and delayed), Gsm (Recall of Digits Forward and backward), Gs (Speed of info processing and Rapid naming), and Ga (Phonological processing). It has a new school readiness composite made up of early number concepts, matching letter-like forms, and phonological processing. The test dropped the 3 achievement screening tests, but is co-normed with the WIAT-II and the manual offers evidence for a comparison between the DAS-II and the WJ III.

The DAS-II kit may be heavy (sold in a suitcase with wheels), but imagine how heavy it would be to carry a WPPSI-II, WISC-IV, and WAIS-III at the same time. The DAS-II covers ages 2:6 to 17:11, so it effectively covers the 3 Wechsler’s. If you know the age of the child to be tested, you don’t need the entire suitcase. A school aged child can be tested with 4 blocks, a manual, two booklets, and a recall card.

One must be careful when scoring the test because the transfer of raw score to ability score to T score can seem cumbersome. Sometimes the subtest order doesn’t match the manual (Recall of Objects is embedded within the core sequence) and sometime the subtest listing on the profile page of the record form don’t match the sequence where you have entered the ability and T scores (this was done, I think, to keep subtests grouped with their composites). As with the old DAS, one can sometimes administer several item sets (blocks) and you have to read the manual carefully to understand what to do (page 39 explains it well). Be aware that if you are a new DAS user, don’t get confused by figure 2.11 on page 43. It is an error and does not depict the basal and ceiling rule it is meant to explain.

Scoring of Copying and Recall of Designs takes time to do correctly until you have learned the rules. The explanations in the manual help, but a few are mislabeled. Don’t let that stop you. Once you get the hang of it the scoring goes very quickly and easily.

I have given one workshop so far (with the invitation of a wonderful Psych Corp rep -Sherry Eyers) and I think it went well. Folks seem eager to learn about the new test. Hopefully the test will pick up where it left off and people will start trying the test and using it regularly.

John and I have scheduled one workshop in NH and will hopefully be doing more. We will be updating our web site soon to include the DAS-II. We are working on an interpretive template that we will also be posting on our web site in the near future.

John Willis, Colin Elliott, and I will also (hopefully when negotiations are formalized) be writing the Essential DAS-II for Dr. Kaufman’s Wiley Essential series.


I have given the DAS-II “for real” once. Like Carol, I found that the core and some of the old diagnostic subtests were not dramatically different. It is, of course, essential to be alert to small changes to avoid negative transfer of training on details (e.g., first trial on picture recall is now 45 rather than 60 seconds), but the fundamental structure and the basics are the same.

I very much liked the addition of digits backwards (both forward and backward are 2 digits per second) and rapid naming (RAN). I certainly like the idea of the phonology tests. I am not quite sure how much I like some of the items. I need to study them some more. The scoring for the phonology and RAN looks terribly complicated at first glance, but I figured it out all by myself and I am way down the far side of the Gf developmental slope.

John Willis, SAIF

dumont willis

Ron on Decision Points *


“For Recall of Designs, the decision point instructions state, “If only 1 or 2 items earn less than maximum scores:  Continue to next decision point.” Does that mean the for each item set, a student has to have 3 Failures (score of 0) and 3 items with MAXIMUM score to STOP? If not, please clarify this for me. “


YES and NO (no depending upon what you meant by “for each item set”)


For Pattern Construction, the decision point instructions for Sets B and C state, “Fewer than3 items with less than maximum scores: Continue to next decision point, Fewer than 3 first trial passes: Go back to previous start point.” Does that mean for each item set that the child has to have three items with less than perfect scores (not necessarily Failed) and three items with perfect scores (i.e. completing item correctly in the shortest time limit)?


NO and NO (no – depending upon what you meant by “for each item set”)

As with most DAS-II subtests, this one uses what I call the “3 by 3 rule.”  One should pass 3 items and one should “fail” 3 items in a block of items (an item set).  The rationale is that if a child has passed 3 items (any 3) within a block of items, then you can feel confident that you have measured the skill and you don’t need to go back to earlier items.  The child has been able to demonstrate enough of the required skill for you to feel confident in the resulting score. If a child has failed 3 items (any 3 items) in a block, you can feel confident that you have assessed the child’s ability and don’t need to go to more “difficult” items.

Now what if that doesn’t happen – what if the child passes only 2 items? In that case, you would need to administer an earlier (“easier”) block of items because the child has not been able to demonstrate his or her ability on the tasks presented.  The tasks presented were “too difficult”for the child.  On the other extreme, the child fails only 1 or 2 items.  Here we would administer another block of items because the block administered already was “too easy” for the child.  We didn’t tap into the child’s true abilities because the item set was too easy.

Since almost all items on all subtests except PC, RDes, and Copying are scored dichotomously (1 or 0), there is typically no problem.  However, those three subtests can have item scores with more then just 1 and 0 (e.g., 0-1-2-3).

For Recall of Designs, Copying, and Pattern Construction, when applying the 3 by 3 rule, “failure” is not a 0 (zero) score – but a “less than perfect” score.  The record form and the manual use the term “less than maximum” for Pattern Construction and “apparently less than maximum” for Recall of Designs and Copying. So for those 3 subtests, a child does not need to actually fail an item (get a 0), they need only get “less then perfect” scores, and these “less them perfect” scores are looked at to determine if one needs to continue or go back.

For Recall of Designs and Copying, because one cannot spend the time to score the drawings after each is done, the record form has P/F on it.  The P/F is used to tentatively decide to stop, continue, or administer another item set.  You typically look to see if the individual item is a maximum pass (P+ , usually 2 points but sometimes 3), a less than perfect pass (P, usually 1 point),  or a fail (F, 0 points) and you mark the record form as P+, P, or F. In the block administered, as long as you have 3 passed items (P+ OR P) AND 3 items with P or F, you can stop and do not need to administer any more item sets.  A child could in fact pass every item with less than maximum score (1 point each) and you could still stop (No “failure” needed). If you have only P+ (except 1 or 2 P or F’s), you must administer the next block of items, and at the next decision point reassess Ps and Fs. If you have fewer then 3 P (P+ or P), you go back a block.

Example 1, for Recall of Design (3 pass, 3 “fail”  – no further testing)

Item   Scored

4      p

5      p +

6      p

7      f

8      f

9      p+

10      p

11      f

12      p

In the example above, a child was administered block 4 – 12.  Since the tentative scoring showed at least 3 passes (P+ OR P), we know that the skill has been measured and we don’t need to go back to an earlier item. We also see that not all were P+ (except 1 or 2 P or F’s),

so we know that we don’t have to go forward another block.

Example 2, for Recall of Design (3 pass, 3 “fail”  –  no further testing)

4      p+

5      p+

6      p+

7      p+

8      f

9      p+

10      p+

11      f

12      p

In the example above, a child was administered block 4 – 12.  Since the tentative scoring showed at least 3 passes (P+ OR P), we know that the skill has been measured and we don’t need to go back to an earlier item. We also see that not all were P+ (except 1 or 2 P or F’s),

so we know that we don’t have to go forward another block.

Example 3, for Recall of Design (2 pass, 3 “fail”  – test earlier block)

4       f

5       f

6       p+

7       f

8       p

9       f

10      f

11      f

12      f

In the example above, a child was administered block 4 – 12.  Since the tentative scoring showed only 2 passes (P+ OR P), we know that the skill has not been measured and we need to go back to an earlier item. We also see that not all were P+ (except 1 or 2 P or F’s), so we know that we don’t have to go forward another block.

Example 4, for Recall of Design (all P+ but two, 2 “fail”  – test more)

4      p+

5      p+

6      p+

7      p+

8      p

9      f

10      p+

11      p+

12      p+

In the example above, a child was administered block 4 – 12.  Since the tentative scoring showed at least 3 passes (P+ OR P), we know that the skill has been measured and we don’t need to go back to an earlier item. We also see that most were P+ (except 1 or 2 P or F’s), so> we know that we have to go forward another block.

Because PC can be scored as you go, it is much easier.  I can put the score right into the column and decide at decision points very easily.  I do place a big minus sign next to each item that is “less than perfect” and when I come to a decision point, I can look to see if I have 3 minus signs.  If I do, I know I don’t need to test on.  If I see only 1 or 2 scores above 0, I know I need to go back to an earlier block.

One last issue – if you do go on to administer another item set (either an earlier one or a later one) the same rule applies to the ENTIRE item set.  In other words, if you administer item set 4-12, your first decision will be for those items.  If you need to keep going and administer items 13-16, the total pass and fails decision is made for the entire item set (4-16). You don’t restart the decision based only on the new item set.

                                                                   Ron Dumont, Ed.D., NCSP

                                                                   Director, School Psychology Programs


pattern construction

Errata sheet for Pattern Construction

It looks like the directions from the old DAS apply here but were omitted. Please note that the directions below were actually included in the standardization of the DAS-II, so the omission in the manual is an oversight and I believe that DAS-II users can, in fact, use the following directions.  Dr. Elliott will hopefully confirm this.

To emphasize:  this is for those who start Pattern Construction at Sample D (the typical 13:0 – 17:11 start point):

Those missing directions stated:

“If starting here, go to the directions in the shaded box. Otherwise, follow the unshaded directions.”

The shaded directions (missing from the DAS-II manual) stated:

Place four blocks in front of the child and say:

      “Look at these blocks. They have different sides.”

Turn the blocks to show the various faces and say:

      “Look at the different sides of your blocks.”

Make sure the child examines his or her blocks. Open Booklet 1 to Sample D and say:

      “We can put them together so that the tops of them make this pattern. Watch me put them together.”

Continue with the non-shaded Item D instructions. Below is a mock-up of what the page should look like:


Essentials of DAS-II Assessment (Essentials of Psychological Assessment) [Kindle Edition] *

Ron Dumont (Author), John O. Willis (Author), Colin D. Elliott (Author)


Click on following link to purchase from: Amazon.com Essentials of DAS II.

admin checklist

Administratative Checklist for the DAS II *


  1. Label each sheet of paper in a consistent location
  2. If the examinee rotates the paper, write the word “top” after the child has finished drawing
  3. Present each paper with the longer edge as base
  4. Allow the examinee the erase
  5. Allow spontaneous second attempt on a new paper

Early Number Concepts

  1. Provide the specific teaching statement on all failed teaching items
  2. Give second trial on item 3 if performance is less-than-perfect on first trial

Matching Letter-Like Forms

  1. Administer Sample A to all ages


  1. Provide the specific teaching statement on all failed teaching items
  2. Provide the specific teaching statement on sample D regardless of whether examinee passes or fails the item

Naming Vocabulary

  1. Provide the specific teaching statement on all failed teaching items
  2. Question appropriately

Pattern Construction—Set A

  1. Builds model in front of examinee
  2. Leaves model for examinee, except on items 1 & 2
  3. Give second trial and teaching directions if first trial is failed
  4. Sketch incorrect responses on protocol

Pattern Construction—Sets B and C

  1. Provide model, picture, and demonstration as appropriate
  2. Begin and stop timing correctly
  3. Provide correct teaching on all two-trial items
  4. Sketch incorrect responses in area provided on protocol
  5. Decide between standard and alternative-procedures before ending test
  6. Discontinue correctly

Phonological Processing

  1. Administer all four tasks to all examinees
  2. Administer the Sample Item of each task to all examinees
  3. Pronounces words and sounds clearly
  4. For Task 1 record all responses verbatim, for Tasks 2-4 record incorrect responses only
  5. Establishe ceilings correctly
  6. Do not repeat scored items

Picture Similarities

  1. Provide the specific teaching statement on all failed teaching items
  2. Clarify ambiguous placements

Rapid Naming

  1. Administer Sample items to all examinees
  2. If either Item 1 or 2 is not administered due to failure of the sample item, does not administer Sample 3/Item 3.
  3. Provide the specific teaching statement to all failed Sample Items
  4. Give and record appropriate time for each item
  5. Coverts raw score to converted raw score and converted raw score to ability scores correctly
  6. Makes appropriate calculation of statistical difference between ability scores and calculation of rapid naming score

Recall of Designs (RDes)

  1. Begin
  2.  with samples A, B, and C
  3. Administer samples correctly with feedback
  4. Correctly label each sheet of paper
  5. Present paper with longer edge as base
  6. Refrain from helping or coaching
  7. Do not allow examinee to compare drawings to original drawings
  8. Allow spontaneous second attempt

Recall of Digits Forward

  1. Pronounces digits clearly
  2. Read digits at proper rate—two digits per second
  3. Do not repeat the number sequences
  4. Establish basal and ceiling correctly
  5. Record responses

Recall of Digits Backward

  1. Administer Sample A to all examinees
  2. Begin at appropriate start point
  3. Pronounces digits clearly
  4. Read digits at proper rate—two digits per second
  5. Do not repeat the number sequences
  6. Establish basal and ceiling correctly
  7. Record responses

Recall of Objects-Immediate

  1. Allow for proper exposure time for each trial
  2. Give correct amount of time for recall.
  3. Provide directions and name each item during the exposure time
  4. Pronounce items clearly
  5. Do not tell examinee about delayed recall subtest
  6. Record time subtest ended

Recall of Objects—Delayed

  1. Administer subtest after 10- to 30-minute delay after RObI
  2. Record time subtest starts
  3. Place Recall of Objects card face down in front of examinee

Recall of Sequential Order

  1. Give correct sample items
  2. Provide the specific teaching statement on all failed teaching items

Recognition of Pictures (RPic)

  1. Administer Samples A and B to all examinees
  2. Provide the specific teaching statement on all failed teaching items
  3. Do not name the objects in any picture
  4. Keep stopwatch running
  5. Expose pictures for correct amount of time
  6. Model the desired behavior of looking at the page for the full 5 seconds by looking at page during the exposure time
  7. If examinee points to one object when two or more are required, ask question, “Are there any more that were in the other picture?” only once per item

Sequential and Quantitative Reasoning

  1. Provide the specific teaching statement on all failed teaching items
  2. Acknowledge correct response on teaching items

Speed of Information Processing

  1. Give correct sample items based on age
  2. Provide the specific teaching statement on all failed teaching items
  3. Acknowledges correct response on teaching items
  4. Encourage examinee to work quickly throughout the subtest
  5. Change to lower level if necessary
  6. Check accuracy of each trial in an obvious manner
  7. Time items correctly

Verbal Comprehension

  1. Repeat items only once if asked
  2. Make sure examinee is paying attention before presenting each item
  3. Hold out hand for instructions that include “Give me _______”
  4. Line up the toys but does not name them
  5. Perform the Chips Pretest: Has examinee demonstrate knowledge of both colors and shapes

Verbal Similarities

  1. Provide the specific teaching statement on all failed teaching items
  2. Repeat items up to three times if asked or if examinee mishears word
  3. Acknowledge correct response on teaching items
  4. Pronounce words clearly
  5. Query appropriately

Word Definitions

  1. Provide the specific teaching statement on all failed teaching items
  2. Repeat items if asked or if examinee mishears word
  3. Acknowledge correct response on teaching items
  4. Pronounce words clearly
  5. Vary form of question to avoid stilted presentation
  6. Query appropriately

Other Aspects of Test Administration and Scoring

  1. Begin at appropriate suggested start point based on age
  2. Read directions verbatim but naturally
  3. Discontinue correctly
  4. Add points correctly
  5. Acknowledge correct response on teaching items
  6. Record all responses verbatim
  7. Establish rapport
  8. Introduce test appropriately
  9. Be well organized and prepared (e.g. has necessary materials, including paper, pencils, and stopwatch)
  10. Have only materials necessary for the current test visible
  11. Administer subtests in appropriate order
  12. Transitions well from subtest to subtest
  13. Score items at an efficient pace
  14. Attend to examinee appropriately
  15. Give praise appropriately
  16. Make the test a positive experience
  17. Complete identifying information on Summary Page of Record Form correctly
  18. Record behavioral observations on back page of Record Form
  19. Calculate examinee’s age correctly on Summary Page of Record Form
  20. Convert raw scores to ability scores correctly
  21. Calculate T scores correctly
  22. Calculate cluster scores correctly
  23. Calculate GCA & SNC correctly
  24. Record Standard Scores, Percentiles, and Confidence Intervals correctly
  25. Complete profile correctly on Normative Scores Profiles Page of Record Form
  26. Record scores for diagnostic subtests correctly on Summary Page of Record Form

Ron Dumont, Ed.D., NCSP

Director, School Psychology Programs

Fairleigh Dickinson University