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Importance of Test Norms

 

When we administer tests to children suspected of having learning disabilities, we must have some concern about who makes up the norming sample of the tests we use. Just because a test is published and known, those facts by themselves do not necessarily mean that the comparison groups were well thought out. On example is given below:

The original norms for the Halstead-Reitan tests are not well founded. Halstead's "normal" population consisted of 29 subjects (8 women) and 30 sets of scores. Ten of these subjects were servicemen who became available for Halstead's study because the were under care for 'minor' psychiatric disturbances. One was awaiting sentencing for a capital crime (in the state at that time it could have been either life imprisonment or execution. Halstead notes that the subject appeared "anxious"). Four were awaiting lobotomies because of behavior threatening their own life and/or that of others. Two sets of scores were made by one subject, a young man, since he was still waiting at the hospital after two months and so took the test again. This is the group whose test performance defined the unimpaired range for the cutting scores in general use with the Halstead tests. (Bolls 1981)