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Differential Ability Scales®-II
(DAS-II®)

 

Overview: Using profile analysis, you can identify the child’s strengths and weaknesses, so the appropriate IEP goals, intervention strategies, and progress monitoring can be developed

Age Range: 2:6 - 17:11 years

Administration: Paper-and-pencil

Completion Time: Core Battery 45-60 minutes; Diagnostic Subtests 30 minutes

Scores/Interpretation: Standard Scores and Percentiles by age

Scoring Options: Scoring Assistant® software (included in every kit) or manual scoring

Publication Date: 2007

 
 
 

Product Details

The design of Differential Ability Scales–Second Edition (DAS-II) comes out of a vision to provide the psychologist with insight into how a child processes information to devise appropriate interventions and/or recommendations for the classroom and at home.

The DAS–II is a comprehensive, individually administered, clinical instrument for assessing the cognitive abilities that are important to learning. The test may be administered to children ages 2 years 6 months (2:6) through 17 years 11 months (17:11) across a broad range of developmental levels.

The diagnostic subtests measure a variety of cognitive abilities including verbal and visual working memory, immediate and delayed recall, visual recognition and matching, processing and naming speed, phonological processing, and understanding of basic number concepts. Some of these subtests can be used with children ages 2:6–17:11, while others have specific age ranges.

“DAS-II helps you find out why a child isn’t learning, and targets the specific nature of the problem, so that appropriate intervention strategies can be identified. It’s a well-rounded assessment of a child’s strengths and ability that also enables measuring change over time, in order to monitor progress.”
Dr. Colin Elliott, DAS-II author

Features & Benefits

The Differential Ability Scales ® –Second Edition (DAS–II) continues the tradition of providing an in-depth analysis of children’s learning abilities. Using profile analysis, you can identify the child’s strengths and weaknesses so the appropriate IEP goals, intervention strategies, and progress monitoring can be developed. The DAS-II is appropriate for diverse populations as it can predict achievement on the basis of ability equally well for African American, Asian, Hispanic, and White/Non-Hispanic children. More information about the cultural fairness of DAS-II is available in the Technical Manual.

The DAS-II covers all ability levels for ages 2:6 – 17:11 split into two battery levels. For ages 5:0 – 8:11, both levels of the battery are fully co-normed, allowing the examiner to use subtests from either level of the battery, depending upon the child’s performance on the age-appropriate subtest. Additionally, the examiner can compare performance on the subtests tapping similar constructs from each battery to test hypotheses about the reasons for high or low scores. With DAS-II’s age range of 2:6-17:11 years, you can complete comparisons of test performance across time – even when normative scores cannot be obtained for a child of a given age, ability scores can be compared across time.


Product Features

DAS-II is Theoretically Driven

  • All major CHC broad abilities are represented in the DAS-II subtests and composites.
  • Subtests map onto neuropsychological constructs, and reflect recent research in working memory and reading acquisition. Each subtest measures a homogeneous, reliable, and distinct set of cognitive abilities allowing clinicians the flexibility to use the test piecemeal with confidence.
  • DAS-II uses state-of–the-art psychometric techniques that make the instrument time-efficient, yet produce the highest reliable subtest specificity of any cognitive battery. The result is effective profile analysis of an individual’s strengths and weaknesses in cognitive processing.
  • Rasch modeling was applied to the construction of item sets to ensure ability levels were appropriate within each battery, resulting in only having to administer the items necessary to achieve a sufficient work sample, on a reliable subset of items. This efficiency helps children from experiencing boredom or fatigue by items that are either too easy or hard to reliably discriminate among age mates.

DAS-II is Child-Friendly

  • Increased floor for all subtests allows all children to find success on at least a few items, providing clinicians an understanding of what a child can do while preserving the rapport with the child.
  • Contains an abundance of teaching items to ensure a child does not fail because the instructions were not understood clearly.
  • Presents a wide range of engaging, child-appropriate activities to elicit optimal performance and create a positive view of testing in general.
  • Offers administration flexibility through out of level testing options with extended General Conceptual Ability (GCA) and cluster scores available for children experiencing cognitive delays.
  • Offers Spanish translation and American Sign Language translation of the nonverbal subtest administration instructions.
  • Tailored testing procedures reduce overall administration time, make maximum use of the child’s energy, and facilitate rapport.

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What’s New with DAS-II

The original DAS has provided the strong cognitive foundations for the DAS-II. The revision has gone even further in translating cognitive development and cognitive process research findings into easily administered and interpreted subtests. The 20 cognitive subtests of the DAS-II include 17 subtests from the original DAS. The subtests are divided into two batteries based on age and are further subdivided into core and diagnostic subtests. Here are some of the new features:

  • Updated normative sample representative of the general U.S. population
  • New items and four new subtests—Recall of Sequential Order, Rapid Naming, Phonological Processing and Recall of Digits–Backward
  • Block Building subtest is combined with the Pattern Construction subtest
  • Matrices subtest now contains a set of items for young children
  • Expanded clinical samples of children with a variety of special classifications (i.e., developmental risk; reading, writing, and math learning disabilities; attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorders; specific language impairment; limited English proficiency; mild to moderate intellectual disability; and gifted and talented)
  • More engaging and contemporary artwork
  • Modified the administration and scoring procedures to enhance the user-friendliness of the scale
  • Spanish language translation of the nonverbal subtests
  • CD with examiner instructions to assist with administration of the phonological processing subtest, and signed nonverbal subtest administration directions (signed sentences)
  • Linked to WIAT-III to tap into all areas of disability, as specified in IDEA 2004

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Test Structure

The diverse nature and individual reliability of the core and diagnostic subtests make the DAS–II a useful tool for profiling a child’s strengths and weaknesses. All 20 subtests involve activities that are appropriate to the developmental level of every child. The subtests are grouped into the Early Years and School-Age cognitive batteries with subtests that are common to both batteries and those that are unique to each battery. These batteries provide the General Conceptual Ability score (GCA), which is a composite score focusing on reasoning and conceptual abilities.

Early Years Cognitive Battery

The Early Years core battery includes verbal, nonverbal, and spatial reasoning subtests appropriate for ages 2:6 through 6:11. The battery is divided into two levels: children ages 2:6–3:5 and 3:6–6:11. The younger children are administered four core subtests to obtain the GCA composite score and children ages 3:6–6:11 take six core subtests which contribute to the GCA composite score. Although these subtests focus on ages 2:6-6:11, it can also be used to assess children ages 7:0–8:11 who are suspected of having cognitive delay.

There are eleven optional diagnostic subtests for this age group. There are also three optional diagnostic clusters: Working Memory, Processing Speed, and School Readiness.

School-Age Cognitive Battery

The School-Age core battery contains subtests that can reliably be used to assess children ages 7:0 through 17:11. These subtests measure verbal, nonverbal reasoning, and spatial reasoning abilities. The subtests can also be used to assess children ages 5:0–6:11 who may be cognitively gifted. In addition there are up to nine diagnostic subtests for this age group that feed into three possible diagnostic cluster scores: working memory, processing speed and, for the youngest ages, school readiness.

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Out of Level Testing for those children at the extremes of ability ranges

As the clinician there are times when you might not know exactly who you are going to be testing on a given day, in a given school. The DAS-II offers you flexibility in being able to tailor the test based on the empirical observations you make about the child—from children with very low ability to children with giftedness. You can feel confident in your decision even when the test is tallied as the child will still be compared to a reference group of age mates – because all of these subtests were normed for his or her age mates.

The Early Years and School-Age batteries were normed for overlapping age ranges, and both were standardized with children ages 5:0–8:11. This overlap permits out-of-level testing and insures that bright, younger children and less able older children can be given subtests appropriate for their abilities. Gifted children have the opportunity to show just how much they can do, by taking subtests typically administered to older children. Children of very low ability also have the opportunity to demonstrate what they can do, through administering the appropriate DAS-II subtests.

In analyzing the normative information, two decisions were made to simplify the normative data tables. For all remaining ages outside the age range of 5:0-8:11 years, all subtests have sufficient floors and ceilings, except where explicitly indicated (by shading in the norms manuals). When a subtest is not reliable for a particular age, it is because the ability being measured is developmentally inappropriate for almost all children of that age. The subtest and cluster/composite standard scales were extending to four standard deviations on either side of the mean for each age band. This means the GCA goes down to 30, up to 170; and subtests go from T=10 to T=90.

There may be instances were you have a child of age 9 years or older who is unable to provide a sufficient work sample for the School Age battery. The DAS-II offers extended GCA, SNC and all cluster scores via backchannel. These extended norms will not provide much of a downward extension in terms of standard scores (only down to 25 as opposed to 30); however, they will allow a child of this ability to be tested using subtests on which they will find some success, and still be compared against the projected performance of their actual age-mates.

Offering this combination of scores makes the DAS–II useful for classifications and placement decisions that require an index of intellectual ability, for diagnostic testing that may contribute to understanding a child’s weaknesses and strengths, and for designing tailored interventions.

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Clinical and Validity Studies

Clinical Studies

  • Developmental Risk
  • Intellectual Disability, including children with Down Syndrome
  • Learning Disorder in Reading
  • Learning Disorder in Reading and Writing
  • Learning Disorder in Math
  • Expressive Language Disorder
  • Mixed Receptive/Expressive Language Disorder
  • ADHD and a combination of Learning Disabilities (Reading , Writing, Math)
  • ADHD
  • Limited English Proficiency
  • Deaf and Hard of Hearing

Validity Studies—Establishing Lines of Validity Evidence Cognitive Ability

  • Bayley Scales of Infant Development–Second Edition
  • WISC–IV
  • WPPSI–III

Achievement

  • WIAT–III
  • KTEA-II - Kaufman Test of Educational Achievement Second Edition
  • Woodcock Johnson- III

Emerging Skills

  • Bracken School Readiness
  • Ready to Learn

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Areas of Assessment

The DAS-II still recognizes and defers to the judgment of the expert clinician, and provides the psychometric basis for allowing this kind of flexibility. The psychologist is encouraged to use his or her information about the child in the room to select a battery, subtests, and item sets that are appropriate to the ability of that child.

DAS-II Subtests Chart (PDF - 30kb)


Special Population Application

The DAS–II can be used as a psychoeducational tool to obtain an assessment of cognitive abilities. It is also useful as part of a comprehensive educational or neuropsychological assessment to identify cognitive strengths and weaknesses, intellectual giftedness, or intellectual disability. Results are intended to inform treatment planning and placement decisions in clinical and educational settings, and can provide useful clinical information for neuropsychological evaluation and research purposes.

With the DAS-II you can identify learning disabilities and intellectual disability and properly evaluate Spanish-speaking or deaf or hard of hearing children or giftedness.

Determination of Learning Disabilities

Tests of cognitive ability are used extensively in school settings to evaluate the specific cognitive deficits that may contribute to low academic achievement and to predict future academic achievement. To facilitate the assessment of learning disabilities, the DAS–II was linked with WIAT–III to provide information on both cognitive abilities and academic achievement in children from ages 6:0-17:11. Used in conjunction, the DAS-II and WIAT–III provide valuable information for both eligibility and educational intervention purposes.

With the new Phonological Processing Rapid Naming subtests, the DAS-II provides diagnostic subtests that measure cognitive abilities implicated in the dual-deficit hypothesis of developmental dyslexia. This is one of the differences that make a difference, in terms of differential treatment response (e.g., you don’t intervene with phonics when speed of lexical access is the sole deficit).

The DAS–II diagnostic subtests can be used in combination with other instruments specialized for the assessment of cognitive deficits underlying particular learning problems. For instance, poor performance on the Phonological Processing and Rapid Naming subtests may signal problems with the development of fundamental reading skills. In such cases, the Early Reading Success Indicator (ERSI) or the Process Assessment of the Learner: Test Battery for Reading and Writing (PAL) may be used with the DAS–II to enhance the clinical utility of each measure.

Pairing the DAS–II with the ERSI or the PAL provides corroborative information on processes and skills predictive of early reading ability, difficulties, or failure, while parsing out effects from other developmental conditions (e.g., attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder or a central auditory processing disorder). Additionally, the PAL provides means of tracking a child's progress in early intervention and prevention programs. Using DAS–II results in conjunction with the ERSI or PAL allows the examiner to go beyond the traditional use of ability-achievement discrepancies to determine eligibility for services, and helps school districts to more effectively respond to IDEA 2004.

The DAS-II includes measures of working memory and processing speed, two types of deficits that can underlie diminished performance across academic domains. This is another one of the differences that make a difference, in terms of differential treatment response (e.g., WM deficits are treated with WM interventions – teach encoding strategies, instead of drilling academic content for improvements across academic domains).

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Determination of Intellectual Disability

The DSM-5 and American Association on Intellectual Disabilities have defined diagnosing intellectual disability as significantly low performance on general cognitive ability with limited adaptive behavior ability.

The design structure of the DAS–II facilitates the assessment of children of very low ability. However, the most accurate diagnosis derives from multiple data sources, including assessment of the individual's functioning at home, at school, and in the community. The Adaptive Behavior Assessment System–Second Edition (ABAS–II) may be used with the DAS–II to enhance the clinical utility of both measures. This pairing provides information on cognitive and adaptive functioning, both of which are required for the proper diagnosis of intellectual disability. In addition, assessment of cognitive functioning provides useful information for placement and training decisions.

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Testing Children who are not proficient in spoken English

Not only was DAS-II standardized using Spanish directions for the administration of the nonverbal subtests—Copying, Matching Letter-Like Forms, Matrices, Pattern Construction, Picture Similarities, Recall of Designs, Recognition of Pictures, Sequential and Quantitative Reasoning, and Speed of Information Processing, it also

  • Offers an expert Spanish translation of nonverbal subtest directions (i.e., blind back translation, expert panel review)
  • Provides the SNC, which is useful for testing all children who are not proficient in spoken English
  • Gives you the means for a number of other subtractive methods that allow for specific hypothesis testing (e.g., Is limited English proficiency diminishing Word Definitions Scores for this 7-year-old?) Administer Naming Vocabulary, which has a reduced expressive language component, but still taps word knowledge

Best practice suggests that clinicians be well versed in the professional practice issues and ethical considerations of assessing children whose primary language is other than English. Spanish speakers may share a primary language with dialectical variations. However, these children will likely be diverse in many other respects. Examiners should familiarize themselves with the specific cultural and linguistic conditions of each child's background when administering the DAS–II Spanish subtests and interpreting performance.

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Testing Children who are hard of hearing

The DAS–II provides the option to evaluate a client with a hearing impairment. Signed standard administration directions are Included on a CD for Copying, Matching Letter-Like Forms, Matrices, Pattern Construction, Picture Similarities, Recall of Designs, Recognition of Pictures, Sequential and Quantitative Reasoning, and Speed of Information Processing.

A child may use one or any combination of aural/oral or visual modes when communicating. Therefore, the communication method used to administer the DAS–II to a given child may differ across different languages and modalities (e.g., between manually signed American Sign Language and spoken English) with gradations, combinations, and systems in between. Items on the DAS–II may be conveyed differently depending upon the signs and sign language(s) used. The DAS-II provides general guidelines and caveats for administration of DAS–II subtests to children who are Deaf or hard of hearing.

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Identifying Children for Giftedness

Children ages 5:0-6:11 years can be administered the school-age battery. The DAS-II has better ceilings and the normative score range is wider than the previous edition. Subtest scores now run from 10 to 90 (that is, the mean plus and minus 4 SDs) and composite scores now run from 30 to 170 (that is, the mean plus and minus 4.67 SDs). A Gifted sample is also included in the validity studies.

It is appropriate to use the Special Nonverbal Composite (SNC) for identifying giftedness in children in non-White populations when the verbal scores are lower due to cultural or environmental influences. The DAS-II GCA score is unbiased in predicting achievement scores of African-American and Hispanic children and in some instances, over-predicts their achievement scores.

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Other Applications


DAS-II as Part of a Neuropsychological Evaluation

Children referred for assessment in clinical and educational settings frequently show indications of complex problems requiring thorough assessment of cognitive, functional, and neuropsychological functioning. These evaluations identify individuals who may have underlying neurobehavioral problems or are employed to provide an in-depth examination of the neurocognitive abilities of children with known neurological insults.

Neuropsychological evaluations are also used for differential diagnosis of neurological and psychiatric disorders. The psychometric properties of the DAS–II subtests allow for each to be interpreted in isolation, making all DAS–II subtests suitable for inclusion in customized, construct-based assessment batteries.

To incorporate information on memory functioning, the DAS–II can be used with the Children's Memory Scale (CMS) or the NEPSY, both of which include a comprehensive measure of learning and memory functioning in children. These pairings enhance the clinical utility of the DAS–II by providing comprehensive information on children's memory function, among other neuropsychological processes and also provides additional means of assessing the neuropsychological status of children with congenital or acquired brain dysfunction, damage, or disease.

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Using DAS-II for Research Purposes

The comprehensive age range of the DAS–II makes it especially useful in longitudinal studies because the need to switch instruments as the children age is significantly reduced. The psychometric properties of the DAS have been maintained in the DAS–II; in some areas the technical characteristics have exceeded that of DAS, allowing for continued confidence in the DAS–II as a viable research instrument.

The DAS–II can be used to examine the performance of children in a particular diagnostic group or to track the effects of intervention on children's cognitive development. For example, researchers can use the DAS–II to determine the effects of traumatic brain injury on cognitive functioning or to examine whether the effectiveness of school-based interventions varies with specific cognitive abilities. The latter use has special implications for research into the changes in cognitive mechanisms that predict differential response to interventions.

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Scoring

Scoring and/or Reporting Options

ASSIST Scoring and Reporting Desktop Software – Scores and generates a variety of reports on your computer.

The DAS-II Scoring Assistant does more than offer assistance in scoring the various subtests. It also:

  • Reduces scoring time dramatically by eliminating table look-ups of Ability Scores, T-Scores, Standard Scores, Confidence Intervals and Percentile Ranks
  • Provides scores and ipsative comparisons among Core and Diagnostic Subtests, Age-appropriate Clusters, a Special Nonverbal Composite, and General Conceptual Ability
  • Generates tabular analyses of strengths and weaknesses in underlying cognitive processes
  • Allows import of summary information into any word processing program
  • Collects WIAT-III data for ability-achievement discrepancy comparisons and predicted achievement scores (available for WIAT-III Scoring Assistant or Writer users)

Although the DAS-II Scoring Assistant offers an error-proof option for extremely complex set of scoring rules, you may still prefer to use the norms tables. The DAS-II Record Form provides a user-friendly series of score summary and profile analysis. No matter if you select to use the Scoring Assistant or to hand score the DAS-II yourself, both the software and Record Form are designed to facilitate administration and scoring for examiners in training, or for more experienced examiners who are new to the DAS.

Save time and increase accuracy with automated scoring

  • Cut your scoring time dramatically by automating scoring of 20 subtests in mere minutes vs. by hand, scoring can take from 20 – 60 minutes
  • More reliable, trustworthy scoring results: Includes many error-proofing techniques so common scoring errors avoided
  • Our scoring assistant Windows-based software is easy to install and use

Have access to information at your fingertips, anytime and anywhere

  • Data is simply stored on your computer and easily retrieved
  • Data retention outlasts paper files

Report Results: What they need and nothing more

  • Use the results to analyze ability with the WIAT-III achievement scores
  • Approximately 40 pages of detailed reporting available for customized reports
  • Tailor report content to your needs by selecting tables desired
  • The software provides 50 comprehensive tables and 10 graphs for 3 different report battery types

Focus on interpretation instead of scoring

  • Makes it easy to access the diagnostic power of the test
  • Quickly see child’s strengths and weaknesses with subtest comparisons and across age clusters

Types of Scores

The DAS–II provides five types of norm-referenced scores: ability scores,T scores, cluster scores, composite scores and percentile ranks. In addition, confidence intervals are available for the cluster and composite scores; standard error of measurement information and age equivalents are provided for the subtest ability scores. For children ages 5:0-8:11 years, there is also a School Readiness cluster that measures three sets of abilities related to early school success and failure.

DAS-II Sample Report (PDF - 219 KB)

Resources

Training

  • DAS-II for Beginners

    This pre-recorded 20-30 minute session allows you to learn at your leisure. All you need is access to the Internet and the sound enabled on your computer. Please keep in mind that the session may take a few minutes to load.

    This overview presentation describes the purpose and uses of the DAS-II, general theoretical background, and information concerning general procedures for administration, scoring, and interpretation.

    Attend a session

     

Past Webinars

  • Differential Ability Scales – Second Edition: An Overview

    Presenter: Dr. Gloria Maccow

    The DAS–II is a comprehensive, individually administered, clinical instrument for assessing the cognitive abilities that are important to learning. The test may be administered to children ages 2 years 6 months (2:6) through 17 years 11 months (17:11) across a broad range of developmental levels. During this 1-1/2 hour webinar, the presenter will describe administration and scoring of the subtests and basic interpretation of the results.

    Date: Dec 19, 2012

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FAQs

Questions

Frequently asked questions follow. Click on a question to see the response.

New Features

  • What’s New with DAS–II?

    The DAS–II is built upon the strong cognitive foundations of the original DAS. The revision has gone even further, translating cognitive development and cognitive process research findings into easily administered and interpreted subtests. The DAS–II has 20 cognitive subtests, which includes 17 subtests from the original DAS. Two of the original DAS subtests, Block Building and Pattern Construction have been combined and four new subtests have been added. The subtests are organized in two batteries that are based on age. The subtests in each battery are subdivided into core and diagnostic subtests. Here are more of the new features:

    • Updated normative sample representative of the general U.S. population
    • Four new subtests—Recall of Sequential Order, Rapid Naming, Phonological Processing and Recall of Digits–Backward
    • The Matrices subtest now contains a set of items for young children, ages 3:6–17:11
    • The clinical samples were expanded to include children with a variety of special classifications: developmental risk; reading, writing, and math learning disabilities; attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorders; specific language impairment; limited English proficiency; mild to moderate intellectual disability; and gifted and talented
    • More engaging and contemporary artwork
    • Modified the administration and scoring procedures to enhance the user-friendliness
    • Spanish language translation of directions for the nonverbal subtests
    • A CD with examiner instructions is included in the kit to assist with administration of the phonological processing subtest, and signed nonverbal subtest administration directions (signed sentences)
  • Why were the achievement subtests removed from the DAS–II?

    The previous achievement portion was a screener, rather than a comprehensive achievement test. The WIAT–III link provides much richer data, allowing the clinician to predict and examine discrepancies for all WIAT–III composites. In addition to the GCA and Special Nonverbal Composite comparisons, there are now comparisons for the Verbal Cluster, and Nonverbal Reasoning Clusters and the Spatial Cluster. Also included are comparisons for each of the nine WIAT–III subtests.

  • Where is the small pencil that was once included in the Verbal Comprehension toy box?

    The small pencil has been replaced by the large primary grip pencil included in your DAS-II kit. When administering Verbal Comprehension, place this pencil among the array of objects that you arrange for this portion of the subtest.

General

  • Why is DAS–II not an IQ test?

    The DAS–II measures a more specific and narrower domain of human cognition. Although DAS–II provides a General Conceptual Ability composite, its primary purpose is as a tool for identifying and understanding the strengths and weaknesses in individuals. When describing an individual’s performance, it is recommended that you primarily focus on patterns of cognitive strengths and weaknesses, rather than the GCA score.

  • How can I make it easier for me to transport the DAS-II kit?

    Pack only the components you'll need to administer the test in your new DAS--II rolling bag. Leave the Technical Manual and any protocols you won't need in your office.

Scoring and Interpretation

  • What type of test scores are provided with DAS-II?

    The DAS–II provides five types of norm-referenced scores: ability scores, T scores, cluster scores, composite scores and percentile ranks. Confidence intervals are available for the cluster and composite scores. The composite score reflects conceptual and reasoning abilities, cluster scores measure more specific ability areas (verbal comprehension, nonverbal and spatial reasoning). Standard error of measurement information and age equivalents are provided for the subtest ability scores. Individual subtest scores represent a range of diverse abilities. For a quick overview of the types of scores available for subtests and composites, click here.

  • How does DAS–II guide me in determining if a client has a learning disability?

    Tests of cognitive ability are used extensively in school settings to evaluate the specific cognitive deficits that may contribute to low academic achievement, and to predict future academic achievement. To facilitate the assessment of learning disabilities, the DAS–II was linked with WIAT–II to provide information on cognitive abilities and academic achievement in children from ages 6:0–17:11. Used together, the DAS–II and WIAT–II provide valuable information for both eligibility and educational intervention purposes.

    The DAS–II diagnostic subtests can be used in combination with other instruments specialized for the assessment of cognitive deficits that underlie particular learning problems. For instance, poor performance on the Phonological Processing and Rapid Naming subtests may signal problems with the development of fundamental reading skills. Pairing the DAS–II with the ERSI or the PAL-II provides corroborative information on processes and skills predictive of early reading ability, difficulties, or failure, while parsing out effects from other developmental conditions (e.g., attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder or a central auditory processing disorder). The PAL-II also provides a means of tracking a child’s progress in early intervention and prevention programs. Using DAS–II results with the ERSI or PAL-II enables the examiner to go beyond the traditional use of ability-achievement discrepancies to determine eligibility for services, and helps school districts to more effectively respond to the reauthorization of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act of 2004 (IDEA).

  • Without a training CD, how can I complete the Copying and Recall of Designs scoring exercises?

    Please consult Appendix B of the Administration and Scoring Manual for more detailed guidelines on scoring the drawing tasks. For practice, you can apply the scoring criteria to the sample drawings. The fact that the drawings have been photographically reduced does not affect pass/fail judgments.

  • Why should a child have different ability scores from two different item sets?

    To answer this question, we will use a scoring example drawn from the Recall of Designs subtest. Here's a question posed by an examiner:

    "A 6-year-old child gets 22 points in Item Set 1–12. You reach the decision point at Item 12, and because the child has apparently passed all but two items with maximum scores, you go on to the next decision point at Item 16. The child gets no more points. The child's ability score for a raw score of 22 on Item Set 1–12 is 106. The child's ability score for a raw score of 22 on Item Set 1–16 is 95. Why is it so different?"

    The child, earning 22 out of a possible 24 raw-score points, has missed only 2 points on Item Set 1–12. The first thing to note is that the ability score of 106 falls within the shaded area on the Raw Score to Ability Score table. This indicates that having only two missed points does not give us sufficient information for us to make a reliable estimate of the child's ability. Note here that the standard error of measurement (SEM) is 8 (the SEM is the small number in parentheses next to the ability score). A larger SEM is another indication of a less reliable score. So we need to continue to administer additional items (13–16), as the examiner did, and then base the scoring on all responses from 1 to the next decision point, after Item 16.

    On Items 13–16, the child scores 0 points. At Item 16, she therefore has a raw score of 22, with an ability score of 95 (SEM = 5) for Item Set 1–16. Note that this raw score and this ability score are in the white, unshaded area. Also, the SEM for this ability score is lower than that of the score we obtained that fell into the shaded area. Quite correctly, testing discontinues at this decision point.

    The general rule for deciding which ability scores (and corresponding T scores) to use is this: When you have a choice of two or more ability scores from different item sets, use the one with the smallest SEM. In this case, the ability score with the smaller SEM is from Item Set 1–16 (Ability Score = 95, SEM = 5). The smaller SEM indicates that we have greater confidence in the accuracy and reliability of that ability score. It is that score that should be used as the basis for reporting the child's normative T score.

    Here's another general rule to help you decide which ability score to use: If you have a choice of two item sets with identical SEMs for the two ability scores, use the one that included the most items. In our example above, the child actually could be scored for Item Set 4–16, on which she obtained a raw score of 16 (Ability Score = 94, SEM = 5). Even though the SEM is the same (i.e., 5) for the ability scores estimated from Item Sets 1–16 and 4–16, the ability score for Item Set 1–16 should be used because it covers more items.

    Wherever possible, you should not stop testing if you find that converting a child's raw score to ability score falls into a shaded area on the Raw Score to Ability Score table. The shaded areas indicate very few passes (at the lower end) or very few failures (at the upper end) on the item set. They also indicate that an easier or more difficult item set is available and should be used. However, carefully following the administration rules for Decision Points will prevent a score from falling in the shaded area, except when it is unavoidable because the child cannot pass the first few items or passes the most difficult items on the subtest.

    However, a key issue remains in the question: "WHY are the two ability estimates so different?" There are two possible influences at work here. First, it may just be due to random error of measurement. Measures of human abilities are never perfectly precise. We must remember that we are always making estimates. And the very few points missed in Item Set 1–12 of this example make us relatively uncertain about where the child's ability truly lies. In other words, Item Set 1–12 was too easy to provide an accurate measurement for this child, as shown by the shaded-area scores and relatively high SEMs.

    The second influence at work may be something more systematic. Look again at the Raw Score to Ability Score table on the front of the School-Age Record Form. In our example, the child achieved a raw score of 22 on Item Set 1–12. With an ability score of 106 (all other things being equal) we would expect her to obtain a raw score of about 26 on Item Set 1–16; if you look at the second column of the table, you will see that this is the raw score corresponding to an ability score of 105. In other words, if a child was able to obtain an ability score of 106 for Item Set 1–12, we would have normally expected that child to obtain an extra 4 points on Items 13–16 so that the ability score would be close to, or the same as, that obtained by the earlier item set.

    However, the child's inability to score any additional points after Item 12 may tell us something about the child and her approach to problem solving. Sudden and unexpected failure of this kind can often be observed in children who have had much experience with failure. They hit something challenging and cave in, saying they can't do it. That's one possible clinical hypothesis to explain this sort of sudden failure.

    One might also observe behavioral indications supporting such an interpretation of sudden failure on relatively difficult items. For example, the child may show signs of visual avoidance of the problem (looking away after a very brief look at the item), or may respond impulsively on items that clearly require more thought and analysis. A frequent strategy used by some children is just to say, "I don't know" or "I can't remember" without attempting a response.

    Most children respond roughly according to prediction; however, it is the students who do not respond in the classroom according to expectation who are typically referred for assessment. We need to be alert for unusual item response patterns!

    To summarize our recommendations:

    • Never be tempted to report a score based on an ability estimate that falls within the pale green or blue shaded bands in the Raw Score to Ability Score tables on the Record Form. Do this only if it was impossible to administer additional items.
    • When you have a choice of two or more ability scores from different item sets, use the one with the smallest SEM.
    • When you have a choice between two ability scores that have the same SEM, use the item set with the greatest number of items administered.

Specific Populations

  • May I use DAS–II to diagnose intellectual disability?

    Although the design structure of the DAS–II facilitates the assessment of children of very low ability, the most accurate diagnosis derives from multiple data sources, including assessment of the individual's functioning at home, at school, and in the community. The DSM-5 and American Association on Intellectual Disabilities have defined diagnosing intellectual disability as significantly low performance on general cognitive ability with limited adaptive behavior ability. This pairing of the Adaptive Behavior Assessment System–Second Edition (ABAS–II) with the DAS–II provides information on cognitive and adaptive functioning, both of which are required for the proper diagnosis of intellectual disability. In addition, assessment of cognitive functioning provides useful information for placement and training decisions.

  • Is the DAS–II appropriate to use with a child from a culturally and linguistically diverse background?

    Although the design structure of the DAS–II facilitates the assessment of children of very low ability, the most accurate diagnosis derives from multiple data sources, including assessment of the individual's functioning at home, at school, and in the community. The DSM-5 and American Association on Intellectual Disabilities have defined diagnosing intellectual disability as significantly low performance on general cognitive ability with limited adaptive behavior ability. This pairing of the Adaptive Behavior Assessment System–Second Edition (ABAS–II) with the DAS–II provides information on cognitive and adaptive functioning, both of which are required for the proper diagnosis of intellectual disability. In addition, assessment of cognitive functioning provides useful information for placement and training decisions.

  • May I administer the DAS–II to a child who has limited English proficiency?

    If you are certain that the child has limited English proficiency, you may administer the nonverbal subtests and communicate the instructions in the child’s primary language or by gesture. Given that this is an accommodation and not a modification, you can still use the norm-referenced scores available for children who are proficient in English. The DAS–II also provides translations for standard administration directions to accommodate children who speak Spanish or use sign language, rather than spoken English, to communicate. As always, any departure from standardized administration procedures should be noted and described on the Record Form and considered when interpreting test results.

  • Is the DAS-II appropriate for children who are Deaf/Hard of Hearing?

    Many DAS-II subtests are appropriate for testing children who are Deaf/Hard of Hearing, but several are not. Please consult your DAS–II Technical Handbook, chapter 9, for more information about the appropriateness of DAS–II subtests with this diverse population.

  • I am not fluent in ASL. Can I just play the Signed Standard Sentences CD for a Deaf/Hard of Hearing child, and record his or her answers?

    No. In fact, the training CD presents the demonstration items out of sequence to illustrate changes in instructions. The CD is not meant for actual administration of the test.

  • Can a severely impaired child age 9:0 or older be tested with the Upper Early Years level of the battery?

    Yes. When a child age 9:0 or older is unable to establish a sufficient work sample (at least 3 items correct) on more than one subtest from the School-Age battery, it may be appropriate to administer the Upper Early Years level of the battery. When you do so, you need to obtain the extended norms for children ages 9:0 and above from a customer service representative.

  • When administering a battery out of level, can I still make substitutions?

    Yes. However, please remember that only one substitution is allowed from the alternative battery.

Administration

  • I have a child whose age spans both batteries. Which battery should I administer?

    The DAS–II Early Years and School-Age batteries were normed for overlapping age ranges, and both were standardized with children ages 5:0–8:11. Select the appropriate subtests based on your clinical judgment. For children who may have below-average cognitive ability, administer the Early Years battery because of the lower floor for this age range. For children of above-average ability, consider administering the School-Age battery because of the higher ceiling. The Early Years battery is appropriate for most children ages 6:0–6:11 of average ability. The School-Age battery is appropriate for most children ages 7:0–8:11. By definition, the majority of children are in the average ability range.

  • I have a child in the 7:0–8:11 age range with a language impairment. May I still administer the DAS–II?

    Administering the verbal portion of the Early Years battery to older children with language impairments or verbal or expressive difficulties may reduce the confounding effects of language or the demand of complex verbal expression on composite scores. Please refer to the DAS–II Technical Manual for information on how to use the test and compare results with the results of studies with clinical groups with known language impairments.

Product Training

  • The DAS-II Administration and Scoring Manual mentions a training CD (p. 13). Is such a CD available for purchase?

    No. The only training CD available is the one demonstrating an ASL administration of the nonverbal subtests. Contact your regional Clinical Consultant for training opportunities.

Pricing & Ordering

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  • DAS-II Comprehensive Kit
    015833969X
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    Includes Administration Manual, Technical Manual, Normative Data Tables, 15 Preschool Record Forms, 15 School-age Record Forms, 10 each of Speed of Information Processing Booklets Versions A, B, and C, 4 Stimulus Books, Object Recall Card, Picture Similarities Cards, Phonological Process and Signed Sentences CD, and Manipulatives, and Scoring Assistant.
    WARNING: CHOKING HAZARD - Small parts. Not for children under 3 years.
  • DAS-II and Supplement Combination Kit
    0158339584
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    Includes DAS-II Comprehensive Kit and DAS-II Early Years Spanish Supplement
    WARNING: CHOKING HAZARD - Small parts. Not for children under 3 years.
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  • DAS-II Normative Data Tables Manual
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  • DAS-II Technical Manual
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  • DAS-II Early Years Record Forms - Ages 2:6-6:11
    0158339762
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    Pkg of 25
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    0158339770
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    Pkg of 25
  • DAS-II Speed of Information Processing Response Booklets - Version A
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    Pkg of 10
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  • DAS-II Phon Proc-Signed Sentences DVD
    0158339878
    $64.00
     
  • DAS-II Stimulus Book 1
    015833972X
    $126.00
     
  • DAS-II Stimulus Book 2
    0158339738
    $126.00
     
  • DAS-II Stimulus Book 3
    0158339746
    $126.00
     
  • DAS-II Stimulus Book 4
    0158339754
    $126.00
     
  • DAS-II Eight Natural-Finish Wooden Blocks
    0158068289
    $75.00
     
  • DAS-II Six Black-and-Yellow Crepe foam Squares
    0158068300
    $53.25
     
  • DAS-II Picture Similarities Cards
    015833986X
    $27.00
     
  • DAS-II Object Recall Card
    0158339851
    $66.00
     
 
 
Software-based Scoring and Reporting
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  • Kits

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  • DAS-II Comprehensive Kit
    015833969X
    $1,237.00
     
    Includes Administration Manual, Technical Manual, Normative Data Tables, 15 Preschool Record Forms, 15 School-age Record Forms, 10 each of Speed of Information Processing Booklets Versions A, B, and C, 4 Stimulus Books, Object Recall Card, Picture Similarities Cards, Phonological Process and Signed Sentences CD, and Manipulatives, and Scoring Assistant.
    WARNING: CHOKING HAZARD - Small parts. Not for children under 3 years.
  • Manuals

    Price

    Qty

     
  • DAS-II Normative Data Tables Manual
    0158339940
    $62.50
     
  • DAS-II Administration and Scoring Manual
    0158339703
    $173.00
     
  • DAS-II Technical Manual
    0158339711
    $105.00
     
  • Administration Materials

    Price

    Qty

     
  • DAS-II Early Years Record Forms - Ages 2:6-6:11
    0158339762
    $79.50
     
    Pkg of 25
  • DAS-II School Age Record Forms - Ages 7:0-17:11
    0158339770
    $105.50
     
    Pkg of 25
  • DAS-II Speed of Information Processing Response Booklets - Version A
    0158339789
    $33.00
     
    Pkg of 10
  • DAS-II Speed of Information Processing Response Booklets - Version B
    0158339797
    $33.00
     
    Pkg of 10
  • DAS-II Speed of Information Processing Response Booklets - Version C
    0158339827
    $33.00
     
    Pkg of 10
  • Scoring Software

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  • DAS-II Scoring Assistant
    0158338839
    $275.00
     
  • Additional Materials

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    Qty

     
  • DAS-II Phon Proc-Signed Sentences DVD
    0158339878
    $64.00
     
  • DAS-II Stimulus Book 1
    015833972X
    $126.00
     
  • DAS-II Stimulus Book 2
    0158339738
    $126.00
     
  • DAS-II Stimulus Book 3
    0158339746
    $126.00
     
  • DAS-II Stimulus Book 4
    0158339754
    $126.00
     
  • DAS-II Eight Natural-Finish Wooden Blocks
    0158068289
    $75.00
     
  • DAS-II Six Black-and-Yellow Crepe foam Squares
    0158068300
    $53.25
     
  • DAS-II Picture Similarities Cards
    015833986X
    $27.00
     
  • DAS-II Object Recall Card
    0158339851
    $66.00
     
 
 
 
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