Psychology Professor Touts Strength of Intelligence Testing

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The nearly 350 school psychologists and scholars who attended the third annual Assessment Conference at Fordham on May 13 heard from one of the legends of the field.

Alan S. Kaufman, Ph.D., a psychology professor who is widely regarded for his work in intelligence testing, told attendees that testing instruments are stronger than ever.

“I’m just saying to those people who aren’t wedded to assessment, we have the best tests ever. We have the best training programs we have ever had,” said Kaufman, a clinical professor of psychology at the Yale Child Study Center at the Yale University of Medicine.

Response To Intervention (RTI) is a method of academic intervention designed to provide early, effective assistance to children who are having difficulty learning.

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“With our training and with good instruments, we can find strengths and weaknesses that can be used to inform intervention,” he said. “The notion that if you know which RTI approach [to use], it’s one size fits all is false. It doesn’t fit all.
Kaufman said that RTI is great, but can be supplemented by testing instruments to improve intervention.
“We have to make sure we find the right size for the right person,” said Kaufman, who worked for many years under David Wechsler, the creator of well-known intelligence scales, such as the Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale (WAIS) and the Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children (WISC).

“I’m proud to call him my mentor,” Kaufman said. “He taught me to look past the outside and try to get inside.

The third annual conference, “The Role of Contemporary Cognitive Assessment in Intervention Planning,” was hosted by the Graduate School of Education (GSE) and cosponsored by Pearson Education and Wiley Publishers, as well as a handful of supporting sponsors.

Before Kaufman’s talk, Vincent Alfonso, Ph.D., professor and associate dean for Academic Affairs at GSE presented him with the Excellence in Assessment Award “In Recognition of a Lifetime of Extraordinary ‘Intelligence Testing’ Contributions to the Practice of Psychological Assessment.”

Named the Alan S. Kaufman Award, it will be presented to the keynote speaker every future conference. Next year’s conference has been slated for May 11, 2012.

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