Essentials of KABC-II Assessment / Edition 1

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Quickly acquire the knowledge and skills you need to confidently administer, score, and interpret the KABC-II

Now designed for children aged three to eighteen, the KABC-II is among the top tier of children's tests of cognitive ability. Alan and Nadeen Kaufman, authors of the KABC-II, joined forces with Elizabeth Lichtenberger and Elaine Fletcher-Janzen to produce Essentials of KABC-II Assessment.

The best source of information on the new edition of the K-ABC, Essentials of KABC-II Assessment provides students and practitioners with an unparalleled resource for learning and application, including expert assessment of the test's relative strengths and weaknesses, valuable advice on its clinical applications, and illuminating case reports.

Like all the volumes in the Essentials of Psychological Assessment series, this book is designed to help busy mental health professionals quickly acquire the knowledge and skills they need to make optimal use of a major psychological assessment instrument. Each concise chapter features numerous callout boxes highlighting key concepts, bulleted points, and extensive illustrative material, as well as test questions that help you gauge and reinforce your grasp of the information covered.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780471667339
  • Publisher: Wiley
  • Publication date: 1/17/2005
  • Series: Essentials of Psychological Assessment Series , #95
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 416
  • Sales rank: 573,092
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.50 (h) x 0.93 (d)

Meet the Author

ALAN S. KAUFMAN, PhD, and NADEEN L. KAUFMAN, EdD, are on the faculty at Yale University School of Medicine. They are series editors of the Essentials of Psychological Assessment series and authors of numerous books on psychological assessment as well as psychological assessment instruments. Their tests include the new KABC-II as well as the second editions of the Kaufman Test of Educational Achievement (KTEA-II) and the Kaufman Brief Intelligence Test (KBIT-2).

ELIZABETH O. LICHTENBERGER, PhD, is a psychologist at the Salk Institute in La Jolla, California, and the author of several Essentials books.

ELAINE FLETCHER-JANZEN, EdD, NCSP, is a school psychologist who teaches at the University of Northern Colorado, consults for area school districts, and works as a trainer for AGS, the publisher of the KABC-II.

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Read an Excerpt

Essentials of KABC-II Assessment

By Alan S. Kaufman

John Wiley & Sons

ISBN: 0-471-66733-1

Chapter One


At the time of its development, the original Kaufman Assessment Battery for Children (K-ABC; Kaufman & Kaufman, 1983a, 1983b) was innovative as a theory-based, empirically grounded clinical instrument. However, since the K-ABC's inception, many other tests have entered the field to provide clinicians with a plethora of tests that are theory based and empirically sound (e.g., Woodcock-Johnson III [WJ III; Woodcock, McGrew, and Mather 2001]; Cognitive Assessment System [CAS; Naglieri & Das, 1997]). The Kaufman Assessment Battery for Children-Second Edition (KABC-II; Kaufman & Kaufman, 2004a) takes assessment to a new level by basing the test on a dual theoretical model and allowing clinicians to select the model for each child that is best suited to that particular child's background and reasons for referral. The KABC-II also focuses more on specific, rather than global, constructs that provide useful insights into children's learning abilities and problem-solving strategies. The KABC-II represents a substantial revision of the K-ABC, with only 8 of the original 16 K-ABC subtests retained for the KABC-II, and with 10 new subtests joining the revised battery.

This book was developed for those who test children within the 3- to 18-yearold age range and wish to learn the essentials of the KABC-II in a direct, nononsense, systematic manner. The main topics coveredhere are administration, scoring, interpretation, and clinical use of the instrument. Important points are highlighted throughout the book in "Rapid Reference" boxes, "Caution" boxes, and "Don't Forget" boxes. Each chapter contains questions that are intended to help you consolidate what you have read. After reading this book, you will have at your fingertips in-depth information to help you become a competent KABCII examiner and clinician.

This chapter reviews the history of the K-ABC, the development of the KABCII and the theoretical foundations of the test, and provides a thorough description of the test, its reliability, and its validity. In addition, we highlight changes from the K-ABC to the KABC-II as well as noting general uses for the test. However, before delving into these details of the KABC-II, we feel it is important to emphasize some important facts about the test. The KABC-II is founded in two theoretical models: Luria's (1966, 1970, 1973) neuropsychological model, featuring three blocks, and the Cattell-Horn-Carroll (CHC) approach to categorizing specific cognitive abilities (Carroll, 1997; Flanagan, McGrew, & Ortiz, 2000). The KABC-II yields a separate global score for each of these two theoretical models: The global score measuring general mental processing ability from the Luria perspective is the Mental Processing Index (MPI), and global score measuring general cognitive ability from the CHC perspective is the Fluid-Crystallized Index (FCI). The key difference between these two global scores is that the MPI (Luria's theory) excludes measures of acquired knowledge, whereas the FCI (CHC theory) includes measures of acquired knowledge. Only one of these two global scores is computed for any examinee. Prior to testing a client, examiners choose the interpretive system (i.e., Luria or CHC) that best fits with both their personal orientation and the reason for referral. Deciding which interpretive system to use will dictate which global score is reported and also whether measures of acquired knowledge are included from the core battery (see Rapid Reference 1.1).

The authors of the KABC-II clearly state in the manual (Kaufman & Kaufman, 2004a, p. 4-5) that "the CHC model should generally be the model of choice, except in cases where the examiner believes that including measures of acquired knowledge/crystallized ability would compromise the validity of the Fluid-Crystallized Index." In those cases, the Luria global score (MPI) is preferred. The first Don't Forget box reviews when it is advisable to administer the FCI and MPI.


The K-ABC was developed in the late 1970s and early 1980s and was published in 1983, during a time when IQ was largely a Wechsler-Binet monopoly; anti-IQ sentiments were rampant, with racial inequities at the forefront of most discussions; and the gap between theories of intelligence and measures of intelligence was a chasm. The Binet tradition was empirical and practical in contrast to the clinical tradition spawned by Wechsler the man and Wechsler the test developer. Neither orientation paid more than lip service to the burst of theories in cognitive psychology, neuropsychology, intelligence, and learning. Even the original Woodcock-Johnson Psycho-Educational Battery (WJ; Woodcock & Johnson, 1977), whose subsequent revisions became the quintessential application of intelligence theory to practice, was developed from a decidedly practical, nontheoretical foundation. And when old tests were revised (Wechsler, 1974, 1981) or new tests were developed (McCarthy, 1972), there were precious few novel tasks to supplement the traditional tasks developed during the early 1900s. The 1978 WJ was indeed replete with novel subtests, but for years the cognitive portion of this instrument was primarily a test used by special educators, not psychologists.

Although more than a half-century's worth of brain-related and thinking-related theories were obviously related to the measurement of intelligence, they did not invade the domain of IQ assessment until the 1980s with the advent of the K-ABC in 1983. The K-ABC broke from tradition, as it was rooted in neuropsychological theory-Sperry's (1968) cerebral specialization approach and the Luria-Das successive-simultaneous processing dichotomy. Both the Sperry and the Luria-Das models are characterized by a dual-processing approach that has been well supported by a large body of cognitive and neuropsychological research (Das et al., 1979; Neisser, 1967).

Shortly after the publication of the K-ABC, other tests were developed with theoretical underpinnings, such as the Stanford-Binet IV (Thorndike, Hagen, & Sattler, 1986) and the Woodcock-Johnson-Revised (WJ-R; Woodcock & Johnson, 1989). In the 1990s and early 2000s, further clinical tests with strong empirically grounded theoretical foundations were developed: the Kaufman Adolescent and Adult Intelligence Test (KAIT; Kaufman & Kaufman, 1993), the WJ III, and the CAS.

In addition to the K-ABC's theoretical underpinnings, its fairness in assessing children from diverse minority groups made it stand out above other tests, such as those developed from the Binet-Wechsler tradition. The size of group differences on tests of cognitive ability between white children and minority children is thought to reflect, in part, the cultural fairness of a test. Tests such as the Wechsler scales have typically yielded differences of about 15-16 points in favor of white children versus African-American children, but the K-ABC cut those differences in half (Kaufman & Kaufman, 1983b). Numerous research studies have shown that Latino or Latina children and Native American children also tended to score higher on the K-ABC than on conventional measures, resulting in reduced differences between white and minority children (e.g., Campbell, Bell, & Keith, 2001; Davidson, 1992; Fourqurean, 1987; Valencia, Rankin, & Livingston, 1995; Vincent, 1991; Whitworth & Chrisman, 1987).

The innovative features of the K-ABC did not shelter it from controversy, with many psychologists and educators expressing strong positive and negative comments about the test. Voicing the diverse and varied responses among professionals was a special issue of the Journal of Special Education that was devoted to the K-ABC (Miller & Reynolds, 1984). Kamphaus (1993, 2003) has reviewed and summarized the various perspectives on the K-ABC. The K-ABC's psychometric qualities were recognized as a clear strength, as well as its use of teaching items and the implementation of several novel subtests (Kamphaus, 2003). In contrast, the limited floor and insufficient ceiling on some subtests were noted as negative aspects of the K-ABC. Additionally, some professionals questioned whether the K-ABC's scales measured their intended mental processes (sequential and simultaneous) as opposed to measuring other abilities, such as semantic memory and nonverbal reasoning (Keith & Dunbar, 1984).

In revising the K-ABC and developing the KABC-II, the Kaufmans considered several factors: the perspectives of psychologists and educators on the original K-ABC, the enormous amount of research on the test, and the current needs of clinicians as dictated by political, social, economic, and educational concerns. The second chapter of the KABC-II Manual (Kaufman & Kaufman, 2004a) details the goals for the test's revision. As we review in Rapid Reference 1.2, the goals for the KABC's revision included strengthening the theoretical foundations, increasing the number of constructs measured, enhancing the test's clinical utility, developing a test that fairly assesses children from minority groups, and enhancing fair assessment of preschoolers. In Rapid Reference 1.2 we also describe how each of these goals was achieved. Each of the subtests that was retained from the K-ABC, or newly developed for the KABC-II, was included to help meet the goals of the second edition (the Don't Forget box lists the inspiration for each KABC-II subtest).


The following sections describe the theoretical traditions that contributed to the development of the KABC-II.

Luria's Neuropsychological Theory

Luria (1970) believed that three main blocks or functional systems represented the brain's basic functions. These three blocks are responsible for arousal and attention (block 1); the use of one's senses to analyze, code, and store information (block 2); and the application of executive functions for formulating plans and programming behavior (block 3). Rapid Reference 1.3 explains how these blocks map to particular areas of the brain. Empirical research strongly supports Luria's clinical documentation of the three functional units (see, for example, Das, Naglieri, & Kirby, 1994; Naglieri, 1999; Naglieri & Das, 1997).

In his theory, Luria emphasized that the integration and interdependence of these blocks into functional systems is necessary in order to be capable of complex behavior; this integration is a key feature of Luria's approach to brain functioning (Naglieri, 1999; Reitan, 1988). The joint operation of several brain systems is crucial for children to learn new material efficiently. The Kaufmans focused on the integrative aspects of Luria's theory, rather than on each block's specific functions, in the construction of the KABC-II.

Indeed, the KABC-II was designed primarily to measure high-level, complex, intelligent behavior. Conceptually, the integration of Luria's blocks captures that complexity. Luria's theory emphasizes the integration of the incoming stimuli and the responsibility of block 2 to make connections with block 3. Thus, the KABC-II includes subtests that require synthesis of auditory and visual stimuli (e.g., Word Order, Atlantis, Rebus Learning, and Rover). To capture the linkage between blocks 2 and 3, the KABC-II includes measures of simultaneous processing that not only require the analysis, coding, and storage of incoming stimuli but also demand executive functioning and problem solving for success (e.g., Rover, Conceptual Thinking).

Cattell-Horn-Carroll (CHC) Theory

Whereas Luria's theory was driven by his own clinical and neuropsychological research and his respect for the work of others, the CHC model is a psychometric theory that rests on a large body of research. Thus, CHC theory represents a datadriven theory, in contrast to the distinctly clinical origins of Luria's model (although Luria's theory has also been empirically validated).

As explained by Kaufman and Kaufman (2004a), two theories were merged into a single model in the late 1990s to create CHC theory: (1) Raymond Cattell's (1941) original two-pronged Gf-Gc theory, which was expanded and refined by John Horn (1965, 1989) to include an array of abilities (not just Gf and Gc); and (2) John Carroll's (1943, 1993) half-century of rigorous pursuit to satisfy "the field's need for a thoroughgoing survey and critique of the voluminous results in the factor-analytic literature on cognitive abilities" (Carroll, 1993, p. vii).

Both the Cattell-Horn and Carroll models essentially started from Spearman's (1904) g-factor theory, and ended up with consistent conclusions about the spectrum of broad cognitive abilities. Horn and Carroll ultimately merged their separate but overlapping models into a unified theory called Cattell-Horn-Carroll (CHC) theory. The details of CHC theory have been articulated by Dawn Flanagan, Kevin McGrew, and Samuel Ortiz (2000; Flanagan & Ortiz, 2001; McGrew, Woodcock, & Ford, 2002).

Cattell's (1963) system revolved around the concept of general intelligence (g), as he posited two types of g abilities, not just one: Fluid intelligence (Gf), the ability to solve novel problems by using reasoning, which Cattell considered to be largely a function of biological and neurological factors and to be vulnerable to the effects of aging; and crystallized intelligence (Gc), a knowledge-based ability believed to be highly dependent on education and acculturation and resistant to the impact of aging.

Horn collaborated with Cattell on a series of studies to enrich and validate the two aspects of g (Cattell & Horn, 1978; Horn & Cattell, 1966, 1967). However, Horn believed that the psychometric data, as well as neurocognitive and developmental data, were suggesting more than just these two general abilities. Early in his collaboration with Cattell, Horn (1965, 1968) identified four additional abilities-Short-Term Acquisition and Retrieval (Gsm), Long-Term Storage and Retrieval (Glr), Visual Processing (Gv), and Speed of Processing (Gs). Horn subsequently refined the definition and measurement of these factors and added additional factors, so that by the late 1980s to mid-1990s his model included 9 to 10 Broad Abilities (Horn, 1989; Horn & Hofer, 1992; Horn & Noll, 1997). Although the theory continued to be called Gf-Gc theory, the multiple Broad Abilities were treated as equals, not as part of any hierarchy.

Based on his in-depth survey of factor-analytic studies, Carroll (1993, 1997 ) developed a hierarchical theory composed of three levels or strata of abilities, which are detailed in Rapid Reference 1.4. Horn's Gf-Gc theory always focused on the Broad Abilities, and he discussed the more specific or narrow abilities as well, but the g construct had no place in his Gf-Gc theory. Otherwise, the Carroll and Cattell-Horn theories were similar enough to warrant their merger into the new CHC theory. Differences between the theories have been spelled out elsewhere (Flanagan et al., 2000; Flanagan & Ortiz, 2001; McGrew et al., 2002).

When CHC theory is applied to the KABC-II, the g level is not intended as a theoretical construct but as a practical one to provide a summary score. There are five CHC Stratum II abilities (corresponding to five KABC-II scales) that are measured by the KABC-II (Glr, Gsm, Gv, Gf, and Gc). An additional sixth Broad Ability, Quantitative Knowledge (Gq), is also tapped by the KABC-II because the Narrow Ability of Mathematical Achievement is measured by two subtests as a secondary ability (Rover and Block Counting both require the child to count). Four Broad Abilities and their respective Narrow Abilities are excluded from the KABC-II: Reading and Writing (Grw), Auditory Processing (Ga), Processing Speed (Gs), and Decision/Reaction Time/Speed (Gt).

Separate measures of Gq or Grw were not included on the KABC-II because the authors view reading, writing, and mathematics as more appropriate for tests of academic achievement than for tests of cognitive ability (these abilities are measured by both the Brief and Comprehensive Forms of the Kaufman Test of Educational Achievement-Second Edition (KTEA-II; Kaufman & Kaufman, 2004b). Auditory Processing (Ga), Processing Speed (Gs), and Decision/Reaction Time/Speed (Gt) were also not included on the KABC-II because they lacked the requisite complexity for inclusion in the Kaufmans' test battery. When the KABC-II is administered alongside the KTEA-II Comprehensive Form, then the number of Broad Abilities measured by the combined set of subtests increases from five to eight, and the number of CHC Narrow Abilities measured more than doubles (see the section in Chapter 6 on integrating the KABC-II and KTEA-II).


Excerpted from Essentials of KABC-II Assessment by Alan S. Kaufman Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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Table of Contents

Series Preface.

One: Overview.

Two: How to Administer and Score the KABC-II.

Three: How to Interpret the KABC-II: Step by Step.

Four: How to Interpret the KABC-II: Qualitative Indicators.

Five: Strengths and Weaknesses of the KABC-II.

Six: Clinical Applications of the KABC-II.

Seven: Illustrative Case Reports.

Appendix A: KABC-II Interpretive Worksheet.

Appendix B: Standard Scores Corresponding to Sums of Subtest Scaled Scores for Planned Comparison Clusters: Delayed Recall, Verbal Ability, Meaningful Stimuli, and Abstract Stimuli.

Appendix C: Standard Scores Corresponding to Sums of Subtest Scaled Scores for Planned Comparison Clusters: Problem-Solving and Memory and Learning.

Appendix D: Standard Scores Corresponding to Sums of Subtest Scaled Scores for Planned Comparison Clusters: Verbal Response, Pointing Response, Little Motor, and Gross Motor.

Appendix E: SES Norms: Converting the KABC-II Global Score of Children Ages 3–6 Years to a Percentile Rank Based on Their Socioeconomic Status.

Appendix F: SES Norms: Converting the KABC-II Global Score of Children Ages 7–18 Years to a Percentile Rank Based on Their Socioeconomic Status.


Annotated Bibliography.


About the Authors.

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