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Differential Ability Scales (DAS)


DAS Subtests and the Degree of Cultural Content and Linguistic Demand

The subtests of the DAS have been categorized by McGrew, Flanagan, & Ortiz (1998, pp. 427-438), and further elaborated on by Flanagan, McGrew, & Ortiz (2000, pp. 305-310), according to both their presumed cultural loading and degree of linguistic demand. Regarding cultural content, it was reasoned that subtests that are typically less influenced by U.S. culture, contain abstract or novel stimuli, and require simple, less culturally bound communicative responding (e.g., pointing) might yield scores that are less affected by an individualís level of exposure to mainstream U.S. culture. Cultural content was evaluated and classified as high, moderate, or low. Linguistic demands were classified according to the extent to which the examiner was required to use expressive and receptive language to administer the tasks, and the level of language proficiency needed by the examinee in order to understand and appropriately respond to the task directions. Linguistic demands were classified as high, moderate, and low. Table-21 shows the DAS subtests and their levels of cultural and linguistic demand, according to the analysis by McGrew, Flanagan, & Ortiz (1998).

Table-21

DAS Subtests Cultural Loading and Linguistic Demands

Degree of Linguistic Demands

Low

Moderate

High

Level of Cultural Loading

Low

Matrices
Sequential & Quantitative Reasoning
Pattern Construction
Block Building
Matching Letter-Like Forms
Recall of Designs
Copying
Recall of Digits
Speed of Information Processing

Moderate

Picture Similarities
Recognition of Pictures
Recall of Objects
Early Number Concepts

High

Verbal Comprehension
Naming Vocabulary
Similarities
Word Definitions

Adapted from Kevin McGrew & Dawn Flanaganís The Intelligence Test Desk Reference (ITDR): Gf-Gc Cross-Battery Assessment (Allyn & Bacon, 1998) Table 14-4 and from Dawn Flanagan, Kevin McGrew, and Samuel Ortiz's The Wechsler Intelligence Scales and Gf-Gc Theory: A Contemporary Approach to Interpretation (Allyn & Bacon, 2000 Table 8.2.

For the 17 DAS subtests, 10 were assessed by McGrew, Flanagan, & Ortiz (1998) as having low Linguistic Demands while 9 had low Cultural Demands. Only 4 subtests were deemed to be high in either Cultural or Linguistic demand and only two (Word Definitions and Similarities) were high in both demands. Seven subtests were found to be low in both areas and of these, 4 (Matrices, Sequential & Quantitative Reasoning, Pattern Construction, and Recall of Designs) make up the School-Age Special Nonverbal Composite.

The "low-low" properties of the DAS subtests have contributed to make it a very popular pre-school and bilingual assessment tool. The DAS is rather unique among cognitive assessment batteries in that it provides one of the widest ranges of coverage of the broad Gf-Gc abilities, and does so with the lowest overall culture-language demands.

 

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SUBTESTS