Conclusions and Recommendations
This final chapter summarizes the major themes and draws together recommendations emerging from the previous discussions.
Assessments of adolescents have been shown to be important in screening, placement and referral, instructional and treatment planning, and outcome evaluation contexts. Table 12.1 provides some examples of the wide range of decisions about young people made in these contexts. The importance of these decisions should not be underestimated. Placing a young person in a special opportunity class, deciding to provide a program of substance abuse counseling, or directing a youth to a secure custody facility are examples of the kinds of decisions having short- and long-term implications for the young people, their families, and society.
A key assumption developed at the beginning of this volume is that the quality of decisions made about the adolescent depends very directly on the quality of the assessments on which they are based. The examples provided there are worth repeating. A decision to provide a youth with a program of behavior modification for depression would be appropriate to the extent that the initial assessment of depression is valid. Similarly, the ultimate success of a decision to counsel a student to follow an academic stream in secondary school would be limited by the accuracy of the initial assessment of the student's aptitudes and interests. There are many examples of adolescents being deprived of needed services because of faulty assessments and inappropriate decisions of both sorts are often very costly to the individual and to society.
A second key assumption is that standardized psychological assessments have the potential to yield more valid and useful assessments than