Long-Term Memory Problems in Children and Adolescents: Assessment, Intervention, and Effective Instruction

By Milton J. Dehn | Go to book overview

6 CHAPTER
Assessing Long-Term Memory
With Standardized Tests

A high school senior, given the pseudonym of “Kim,” came to the tutoring center ostensibly seeking assistance with test-taking skills so that she could improve her ACT college entrance examination scores. Kim had a grade point average of 3.1, but all three of her ACT Composite scores had fallen below the national mean. Tests, in general, had always been challenging and frustrating for her. During course exams Kim seemed to “forget everything” she had studied. Although Kim admitted to being anxious during exams, it was her hypothesis that she did poorly because she couldn’t remember the information. As the interview progressed, Kim reported having had three concussions during soccer competitions. The first concussion, four years earlier, was severe enough to cause her to miss two weeks of school. The other two events also resulted in concussion syndrome but were less severe. Given this history and Kim’s beliefs that she could not remember semantic information, a memory assessment was conducted. The Wechsler Memory Scale-Fourth Edition (WMS® -IV; Wechsler, 2009) was administered, along with verbal working memory subtests from the Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale®-Fourth Edition (WAIS®-IV; Wechsler, 2008). Also, the School Motivation and Learning Strategies Inventory (SMALSI; Stroud & Reynolds, 2006), a self-rating scale, was used to evaluate Kim’s study skills and level of test anxiety. As it turned out, none of the memory hypotheses were supported. With the exception of low average verbal working memory, all of Kim’s memory components were in the mid-average range or higher. The cause of Kim’s poor examination performance seemed to be a high level of test anxiety. On the SMALSI, her level of self-reported test anxiety was at the 90th percentile, in the clinically significant range. Kim’s case is used in this chapter to illustrate two assessment strategies that were introduced in Chapter 5. First, even though the entire WMS®-IV scale was administered, supplemental testing with WAIS®-IV was necessary. Second, additional analytic and interpretative procedures (beyond those found in the WMS®-IV manual and record form) were necessary to fully profile Kim’s memory strengths and weaknesses. Kim’s completed Analysis of Memory Testing Results worksheet can be found in Table 6.9. Interpretation of her test results can be found at the end of the WMS®-IV section.

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