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Failure Base Rates for the Word Reading Test

17 April 2009


Research has demonstrated that effort accounts for over 50% of score variability on neuropsychological tests, yet effort can be difficult to evaluate (Green, Rohling, LeesHaley, & Allen, 2001). Because ofthe integral role effort plays in neuropsychological testing, specific measures called symptom validity tests (SVTs) have been developed to determine if a client'.s Level of effort is sufficient during testing. While most SVTs are face-valid as memory tests (Lezak, Howieson, & Loring, 2004), some reseai'ch suggests that domain~specific (or symptom specific) SVTs are necessary when evaluating clients for conditions or disorders not normally associated with "memory problems" (Osmon, Plambeck, Klein, & Mano, 2006). The Word Reading Test (WRT) was developed to address this domain-specific issue and is designed to be used in Learning Disability (LD) evaluations (Osmon et aI., 2006). The purpose of the present study was to contribute to the normative base of the WRT by determining the base rate of failure in a clinical population. Subjects were 30 outpatients referred to a university doctoral clinical . psychology training and research clinic for neuropsychological evaluation for academic purposes. Using the recommended cut-off score of ~ 4 errors, three participants (10%) failed the test; using a cut-off of ~ 3 errors, four participants (13%) failed the test. There were no significant differences in WRT scores for age, years of education, presence of secondary gain, WAIS-III indices, or diagnostic categories.


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