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PREFACE

ASSESSMENT OF CHILDREN:
COGNITIVE FOUNDATIONS

Fifth Edition
and
RESOURCE GUIDE TO ACCOMPANY ASSESSMENT OF CHILDREN:
COGNITIVE FOUNDATIONS
Fifth Edition

Jerome M. Sattler
Copyright 2008, 1100 pages
Illustrated, hardbound and softbound, 8.5 x 11
ISBN (set) 978-0-9702671-6-0
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Writing a book is an adventure; to begin with it is a toy and an amusement, then it becomes a master, and then it becomes a tyrant; and the last phase is just as you are about to be reconciled to your servitude—you kill the monster and fling him ... to the public.—Sir Winston Churchill, British Prime Minister (1874–1965)

My two outstanding editors, Quica Ostrander and Sally Lifland, along with an eminent group of psychologists (see Acknowledgments), have guided me in writing this new edition. I have listened carefully to their advice, but I will let you, the reader, judge how well I listened.

Like the former editions, Assessment of Children: Cognitive Foundations, Fifth Edition, along with the Resource Guide to Accompany Assessment of Children: Cognitive Foundations, Fifth Edition, is designed as both a teaching text and a reference source for students and professionals. It is a major revision. Every chapter has been rewritten to make the text more comprehensive, relevant, readable, up to date, and informative. The text contains new material on issues related to intelligence, ethical guidelines related to assessment, laws pertaining to children with disabilities, the Stanford-Binet Intelligence Scales–Fifth Edition (SB5), the Differential Ability Scales–Second Edition (DAS–II), and brief intelligence tests. It also incorporates all of the chapters contained in Assessment of Children: WISC–IV and WPPSI–III Supplement.

New to the Fifth Edition is the Resource Guide to Accompany Assessment of Children, Cognitive Foundations, Fifth Edition. The Resource Guide provides extensive tables to help in interpreting the Wechsler tests, SB5, and DAS–II; detailed coverage of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act of 2004 (IDEA 2004); new glossaries covering acronyms, measurement terms used in psychology and education, and legal terms and concepts related to testifying as an expert witness; and additional assessment resources.

This edition contains several useful learning aids. These include

  •  
A list of major headings, together with goals and objectives, at the beginning of each chapter
  •  
A “Thinking Through the Issues” section; a summary of each major topic; a list of key terms, concepts, and names, each linked to the page on which it appears; and a series of study questions at the end of each chapter
  •  
Detailed guidelines and checklists for administering the major tests covered in the text
  •  
Exercises on report writing
  •  
Detailed analyses of two model psychological reports
  •  
Report writing principles

The text also includes an extensive collection of cartoons touching on assessment, psychology, and education. The cartoons provide humor and relief and serve as a teaching and learning tool.

The assessment process does not begin and end with administering and interpreting tests. Effective assessors need to know not only about assessment instruments, but also about (a) children who are normal, as well as those with special needs, (b) the ethical and legal guidelines of the profession, (c) the institutions in which they work, (d) how to communicate both orally and in writing with children, their parents, their teachers, and other interested parties, (e) how culture and ethnicity relate to the children assessed, and (f) how to help children.

The field of assessment is not free of controversy. Some question the entire assessment enterprise, claiming that assessment is not related to how children learn and that assessment fails to provide intervention guidelines. Many of these critics maintain that current assessment practices should be abandoned. Certainly current assessment practices do not provide all that we might want or need, but assessments are useful. They provide information helpful to children, their parents, their teachers, and other interested parties. When you have completed your study of Assessment of Children: Cognitive Foundation, Fifth Edition, you will be in a better position to understand the controversies surrounding assessment and to form your own opinion about the merits of assessment.

As psychologists, we must be mindful of the prominent place that litigation occupies in American society. Assessment results, and the decisions reached on the basis of assessment results, may be questioned by others, who may seek legal recourse to change a diagnosis or recommendation. Therefore, I strongly urge you to assume that everything you do has potential legal consequences. The best strategy is to be prepared. You can do this by following standard assessment procedures scrupulously, maintaining accurate and complete records, following the ethical standards of your profession, and keeping up with relevant research and clinical literature.

Underlying all assessments are a respect for children and their families and a desire to help children. A thorough assessment should teach us something about the child that we could not learn from simply talking to others about the child, observing the child, or reviewing the child’s records. Assessment makes a difference in the lives of children and their families, as well as in the lives of the professionals, including educators, who work with children and their families.

Early in my career as a psychologist, I learned that clinicians must have a “tolerance for ambiguity.” We need that tolerance today just as we did when the fields of school and clinical psychology were just beginning.  Much remains to be learned about the nature of intelligence and how best to nurture and assess it, and much remains to be learned about children with disabilities.

A companion text, Assessment of Children: Behavioral, Social, and Clinical Foundations, Fifth Edition, is available that covers different aspects of the assessment process. These include interviewing, observation, functional behavioral assessment, and a review of major personality and adaptive behavior scales. Our Web site, www.sattlerpublisher.com, contains a full table of contents and reviews of the companion text.

Note to instructors: An Instructor’s Manual, written by Edward K. Schultz, Sherrie Foster, and Jerome M. Sattler, accompanies Assessment of Children: Cognitive Foundations, Fifth Edition. For each chapter, the Instructor’s Manual contains multiple-choice questions useful for objective examinations, an overview of instructional methods, suggestions for assignments, and reflection/study questions. PowerPoint™ presentations highlighting the main points of each chapter are also available.

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