Omat työkalut

Johanna Heinonen, Tuija Aro, Timo Ahonen, and Anna-Maija Poikkeus (in press)

Test-taking behaviors in a neurocognitive assessment: Associations with school-age outcomes in a Finnish longitudinal follow-Up

Psychological Assessment.

Test-taking behaviors (i.e., task focus, maintenance of attention, and cooperation) affect children’s
cognitive test performance, and, thus, it is critical to take test-taking behavior into account when drawing
conclusions and making recommendations. Prior studies have evaluated test-taking behaviors at the end
of the assessment; the present study focused on the fluctuation of cooperation and attention during a
neuropsychological assessment. We examined the attention and cooperation of 5-year-old children in a
test-taking situation; the associations between these aspects of their test-taking behavior and the
children’s concurrent neurocognitive test performance, IQ, and parent-rated behavior; and the associations
with their IQ, behavioral outcomes, and academic achievement at 8 years of age. The data (for 76
boys and 63 girls) were drawn from the Jyva¨skyla¨ Longitudinal Study of Dyslexia (Lyytinen et al., 2001,
2004). All the children were Caucasian and spoke Finnish as their native language. As a whole, the
5-year-old children showed high cooperation and attention, but a slight decrement in test-taking behavior
toward the end of the session was rather common. Three subgroups of children with different levels of
cooperation and attention were identified. Children in the subgroup with nonoptimal attention and
cooperation showed decreasing neurocognitive test performance toward the end of the assessment
session. They also showed more inattentive behavior 3 years later. The findings imply that the examiner’s
observations of waning attention and cooperation during the assessment session are highly relevant, as
these provide stable and clinically meaningful information about the child’s behavioral tendencies.
Keywords: test-taking behavior, child assessment, neurocognitive performance, behavior at home,
academic performance

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