Friday, January 06, 2006

Review of "Essentials of WISC-IV Assessment"

Flanagan, D.F. & Kaufman, A.S. Essentials of WISC-IV Assessment. Hoboken, NJ: Wiley and Sons

I've decided that it is a good idea that I review the books that I assign for my student in my courses. Believe it or not, it bothers me that many of the texts that I assign cost so much money. I'm torn you see, as the books have so many good qualities. So I think that ethically, I should provide a rationale as to why I am assigning these books, so that students will understand why I am requiring that they buy them. Also, I hope that these reviews may help serve the school psychology community in general.

The first book that I am reviewing is Dawn Flanagan's and Alan Kaufman's "Essentials of WISC-IV Assessment". This is a volume in the "Essentials of Psychological Assessment" series that has been put out by Wiley Publishing. In general, I am a big fan of this series, having used them very often when I was working in a school setting. What I loved about these books what that they offer all the information regarding administration, scoring, and basic interpretation in one convenient place. Immediately, these books are the types of books that have immediate practical value as they help the student; they also become immediately helpful on that first, anxious day when you begin your career as a school psychologist.

Another strength of the series is that the books are organized in an almost standardized format. For instance, chapter four of this book is titled, "How to Interpret the WISC-IV"; in general, you should expect that if you opened up any other book in the"Essentials" series, chapter four would talk to you at length as to how to interpret the assessment instrument in its title. The series chapters include standardized charts and tables of important information useful for interpretation ("Rapid Reference"); this particular book is no exception.

The book is priced at $34.95 - that seems to be the going price for all of the "Essentials" books. Normally, I would rail that this price is somewhat excessive. However, this particular book is a good 374 pages long (it actually is one of the longest of the series that I have seen).

The real strength of this book is that includes information on the interpretation of the WISC-IV utilizing a CHC framework. So, while other books in the series tend to describe the way that the test authors would have wanted the instrument to be interpreted, Flanagan and Kaufman also describe how the measure "fits" into current CHC theory. This is the strength of this text, as it highlights the point made in the CIA book: namely, assessment in the 21st century should not be test-kit driven, but should be theory driven.

One critique that I have is that the sections on "fitting" the WISC-IV into a CHC framework are difficult to follow for people who are not too familiar with the theory. Not only have my students communicated this to me, but many other professionals have also echoed the same problem.

I think that this "difficulty to read" problem is not unique to this book. I will admit that CHC books and chapters are not always easy to read. For example, notations such as Glr, MA and NA are second nature to me, they are not always readily accessible to the professional looking to learn the theory. One of my students told me that she developed a CHC "cheat sheet" that she kept on the side of her book while reading any CHC related texts.

In general, I find this text to be fantastic.

1 comment:

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