17 Assessment Terms and What They Mean

17 Assessment Terms and What They Mean

By Kristin Ferrell, PhD

The COVID-19 pandemic has changed both how we work and the language we use. For many practitioners, telepractice has introduced new concepts to the traditional methods of evaluation. In an effort to promote consistency, here’s a list of industry terms and what they mean to professionals in relation to WPS assessments.

Clinical Interview — One-on-one discussion with the client where the clinician asks specific questions and/or open-ended questions in order to assess the client’s behaviors, feelings, and thoughts. The structure and formality of the interview may differ, and not all questions may be the same for each client. There is some flexibility in the follow-up questions the clinician asks and in the language used during the interview based on the client’s responses.

Device — Electronic physical hardware equipment that serves as the screen used to display and/or access digital testing materials.

Digital Record Form — An electronic version of the Record Form (or Test Protocol) that has all or some combination of the following functionality: administer test items, record examinee’s responses, calculate scores, and create test reports using the WPS Online Evaluation System (OES). Depending on the design of the test in OES, this might provide all the information needed to administer test items or might be used in conjunction with a Digital Administration Guide (see Test Easel). This may also be used to record responses or used in conjunction with a PDF Response Sheet.

In-Person Administration — A test administration that is conducted face-to-face where the examiner and the examinee are in the same room.

Observational Assessment — An assessment type where the examiner measures the examinee’s behaviors, thoughts, feelings, and/or skills by observing the examinee in specific situations and/or environments. Observations may be formal or informal across different settings (e.g., play at home vs. school; with parents vs. friends, etc.)

Onsite Facilitator — For remote administrations, the onsite facilitator is the person who assists with conducting the assessment at the examinee’s location. They are responsible for bringing and setting up any equipment needed during the administration, and coordinating sending any testing forms used by the examinee to the examiner after the testing. This is usually a paraprofessional who is trained in the assessment administration procedures.

PDF Response Sheet — An electronic document available for download for specific OES products that can be printed and used during an assessment administration instead of using the Digital Record Form. For rating scales, the examinee may fill out their responses to the test items listed on the PDF Response Sheet and the examiner will enter their responses into the OES after the assessment. For performance tests, the examiner may use the PDF Response Sheet to write down the examinee’s responses and then enter item scores for the OES online scoring after the assessment. The amount of test content included can vary (e.g., items with response options listed for each; no item content but includes response options; no item content and blanks for write-in responses).

Performance Test — A direct assessment conducted by the examiner asking specific questions or having specific tasks for the examinee to complete in order to assess the examinee’s skill in a specific area.

Rating Scale — An assessment type that lists questions and/or statements about the examinee’s behaviors, thoughts, and feelings with ratings of how the respondent endorses each question/statement. The examinee may respond directly to these questions/statements (e.g., self-report) or another person may report on their experience with the examinee (e.g., parent or teacher report). Rating endorsements may indicate how frequently a behavior occurs, how much the respondent agrees with the statement, and/or on the prevalence of specific behaviors over a range of time frames (e.g., the past 6 weeks vs. the span of several years/lifetime).

Remote Administration — A test administration that is conducted where the examiner is in a different geographical location than the examinee. This may be done using a telephone, audio/video teleconferencing platform, or other technology that virtually connects the examiner and examinee and ideally is designed specifically for telehealth practice. This can also be referred to as Tele-assessment. The OES does not have remote administration capability in this sense as a telehealth platform, but it does provide the ability to conduct some rating scale assessments without adapting any standardized procedures (Note: check the website for our current OES offerings of rating scales that can be administered as-is even with social distancing restrictions).

Response Booklet — A consumable print form that is given to the examinee during an assessment in order to perform a task (e.g., writing samples, drawing, etc.). This is collected by the examiner and scored as part of the assessment (e.g., OWLS-II WE Response Booklet).

Teleconferencing Platform — Virtual meeting technology with audio/video capability that allows users to communicate with each other in real time when they are in separate locations. Basic teleconferencing platforms include Skype, Zoom, and similar platforms where at least two people can connect to see and hear each other. Some platforms also include features such as enhanced privacy settings, screen-sharing, screen notations, and shared control of tools (e.g., using the mouse to move the pointer on the screen). Tele-assessment is ideally conducted using a secure platform designed for telehealth (i.e., one that follows recommended security requirements and is built specifically to present all of the facets of assessment materials in a digital interface that is user-friendly and upholds the validity and integrity of testing materials and the assessment process). WPS has partnered with PresenceLearning to provide this service for several of our performance tests. 

Test Easel — A test stimulus book that is a double-sided, self-standing book with one side for the examinee and one side for the examiner. This design allows for the examinee to view the images associated with test items while the examiner views the test item instructions, prompts, and any scoring information needed without the examinee seeing them (i.e., the examiner arranges the book so that the examinee can’t see the side facing the examiner, only the side with the images).  

  •          Digital Stimulus Images — An electronic version of the test item stimulus pictures included in a print test stimulus book/easel (the digital equivalent of the examinee-facing pages). These are display only; the examinee views a screen while the examiner controls the advancement of items through the test. No digital capture of responses is provided.
  •          Digital Administration Guide — An electronic version of the test item instructions, prompts, and any scoring information included in a print test stimulus book/easel (the digital equivalent of the examiner-facing pages). These are display only; the examiner views a screen in order read any instructions needed to administer items and perform any simultaneous scoring on a paper Record Form or Digital Record Form. 
  •          Digital Easel — An interactive display of test stimulus images that links to the examiner’s information needed to administer the assessment (i.e., instructions, prompts, scoring information). As the items progress forward/backward, the screens for both examiner and examinee are linked without the examiner having to do extra steps. There may be digital capture of responses as well (e.g., touch-screen options for multiple-choice answers).

Kristin Ferrell, PhD, is a senior project director at WPS.


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