Children's Perspectives On Cognitive Assessment: A Qualitative Analysis Of What Children Say About Being Tested

Prof Doc Thesis

Conniff, Harriet 2008. Children's Perspectives On Cognitive Assessment: A Qualitative Analysis Of What Children Say About Being Tested. Prof Doc Thesis University of East London School of Psychology
AuthorsConniff, Harriet
TypeProf Doc Thesis

Every year, thousands of children are referred to psychologists for cognitive
assessments yet how testing is experienced is under-researched. This study
aimed to explore children's views on and understanding of cognitive assessment
focusing on how they describe their experience of the WISC-IV. Interviews with
eight children referred for cognitive testing in a paediatric setting were analysed
using Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis.
Five main themes were generated. Overall there was a sense that reasons behind
the process of testing were benign; to help with a problem or discover something
wrong. Cognitive testing was seen as distinct from other testing experiences e.g. in
hospital and school. Children described a mixed experience of cognitive testing
which they experienced as unusual. This unusual experience was mainly related to
the varied difficulty of tests both across and within sub-tests. Children found this
difficult to manage. Elsewhere children seemed to appreciate qualities of the testgiver
and described learning from the actual test experience. Not surprisingly,
children described having mixed feelings related to testing.
Children dealt with testing differently, some used humour and others dismissed the
tests as easy or boring. Children appeared to normalise their experience by talking
about testing as related to the known phenomena of school. Children's wider
experiences of coping with hospital procedures seemed to mirror strategies they
used to manage doing the cognitive assessment. This could perhaps indicate that
the paediatric context of having cognitive assessments is protective. The paediatric
context may limit the transferability of this study's findings.
There was an overriding sense of uncertainty about testing including while
undergoing the test and about what to expect before testing and how test results
might impact on their lives. One means children seemed to manage this
uncertainty was to position the test as powerful and trying to help. Children
described having different needs for information about testing. The findings
suggest that this should be explored with children before testing occurs. Further
implications for research and practice are discussed.

Publication dates
PrintMay 2008
Publication process dates
Deposited30 Jun 2014
Additional information

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