KTEA-3 Qualitative Observations
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KTEA-3 Qualitative Observations

What are qualitative observations?

Qualitative observations provide additional insights to enhance the interpretability of the KTEA™-3 scores and cross-validate results. Observing the examinee's test taking behavior, level of motivation, visual-motor coordination, and so forth can be quite helpful when interpreting the profile of scores. These observations may suggest the kinds of strategies the student uses, as well as cognitive processing strengths and weaknesses. They also help you understand the reasons behind the academic strengths and weaknesses, improve understanding of the student's school performance, and lead to more meaningful recommendations.

How qualitative observations add another dimension to your KTEA-3 assessment

Observations of test-taking behavior are intended to provide qualitative information that can develop, confirm, or refute hypotheses about factors affecting test performance. Clinical observation during testing also helps you evaluate the score profile. This may be especially useful for explaining unusually high or low scores. For example low scores on Math Computation may be attributable to an interfering variable, such as visual processing and attention to signs, rather than a weakness in procedural knowledge.

Anxiety can have disruptive effects on many areas of test performance

When anxiety affects attentional control, the available capacity of the central executive component of working memory is reduced. The table below illustrates the hierarchical relationship among achievement and language domains and the KTEA-3 subtests with respect to their level of cognitive processing.

Behaviors to watch for that may indicate anxiety include:

  • Trembling, fidgeting, restlessness, twisting, tics, or nervous laughter
  • Pressured speech or stuttering
  • Excessive self-correcting or checking the correctness of responses
  • Statements about being nervous or worried
  • Answering questions with questions (e.g., "I think the answer is C. Is that right?)
  • Racing through tasks that require contemplation
  • Timidity in verbalizing or making pointing responses, whispering, or sounding tentative

Observe the relationship between executive functions and achievement

Some KTEA-3 subtests may be sensitive to problems with inattention or executive functions (Barkley, 2003; Naglieri, Goldstein, Iseman & Schwebach, 2003; Sattler, 2003). This behavior may be evident in KTEA-3 subtests such as Oral Expression that requires the student to follow specific directions to meet the Task criteria; Reading Comprehension that calls for differentiating between multiple choice answers; Math Computation that asks the student to apply operations and then check answers; and Written Expression, which requires merging new writing into already established stories.

Students who have problems with attention or executive functions may exhibit some of the following behaviors:

  • Inability to sustain attention, such as being easily distracted by outside noises, materials in the testing room, other test materials, or thoughts
  • Impulsivity when responding, such as quickly responding without a pause for reflection or problem solving
  • Excessive self-correcting, such as changing the answer
  • Inability to remember target words or phrases, such as on Phonological Processing and Oral Expression
  • Rushing through the decoding process on Letter & Word Recognition and Nonsense word Decoding
  • Inability to keep track of where he or she needs to be in the Written Expression booklet or in the Response Booklet
  • Blurting out answers
  • Making many mistakes and corrections
  • Overestimating his or her own abilities

Report test findings using Q-global®—or by hand on printable forms

The KTEA-3 makes it convenient to document test-taking behaviors that may disrupt or enhance performance by providing a list of relevant behaviors on the back page of the Record Form. To determine whether the number of errors in a given category represents weak, average, or strong performance, error analysis norms are available for 10 of the KTEA-3 subtests.

Using the KTEA-3 standard report in Q-global, subtest-specific qualitative observations may be entered for 15 subtests. The standard report displays possible areas of cognitive processing weaknesses suggested by the qualitative observations.

Alternatively, the flash drive included in the KTEA-3 kit offers a Qualitative Observations Form for entering qualitative observations by hand. This form also lists the qualitative observations in Record Form order, which may be printed out for easy reference during test administration.