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Comparing apples with apples

Posted in Educational research, Learning disability by Matt at WelcometoIllinois on January 13, 2009

Researchers at The University of Arizona are developing a set of standardized tests with which to assess the potential cognitive ability of children with Down’s syndrome.

According to a report in UA News, “An accurate assessment of a child’s learning trajectory would enable parents and medical and education specialists time to develop appropriate strategies for learning and possible drug therapies.”

The standardized tests should enable the assessment of cognitive abilities against the spectrum of levels of ability seen in people with Down’s syndrome, rather than the general population.

The report quotes Lynn Nadel, a Regents’ Professor in the UA psychology department:

“We’re working on developing a standardized battery for 8 to 18 year olds, the adolescent range that is easiest to develop tests that have adequate controls for in the developing population. Once we have that figured out for that age range, we want to move in both directions.”

The test battery should be completed this year after a year and a half in development. A journal article is also near as well.

“We’re pretty much there, and should have a finished product that we will be happy to share with others doing the same thing around the world who want to use this standardized approach. People are pretty much waiting on us to finish.”

Standardized tests, he said, will also aid other researchers working on drug treatments and other kinds of early stimulation, especially for clinical trials that require before-and-after comparisons.

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