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Alternative Tests

The tests designated as "alternative tests" are not
intended for regular use. Inasmuch as they have been standardized and
belong in the year group where they are placed, they may be used as
substitute tests on certain occasions. Sometimes one of the regular
tests is spoiled in giving it, or the requisite material for it may not
be at hand. Sometimes there may be reason to suspect that the subject
has become acquainted with some of the tests. In such cases it is a
great convenience to have a few substitutes available.

It is necessary, however, to warn against a possible misuse of
alternative tests. _It is not permissible to count success in an
alternative test as offsetting failure in a regular test._ This would
give the subject too much leeway of failure. There are very exceptional
cases, however, when it is legitimate to break this rule; namely, when
one of the regular tests would be obviously unfair to the subject being
tested. In year X, for example, one of the three alternative tests
should be substituted for the reading test (X, 4) in case we are testing
a subject who has not had the equivalent of at least two years of
school work. In year VIII, it would be permissible to substitute the
alternative test of naming six coins, instead of the vocabulary test, in
the case of a subject who came from a home where English was not spoken.
In VII, it would perhaps not be unfair to substitute the alternative
test, in place of the test of copying a diamond, in the case of a
subject who, because of timidity or embarrassment, refused to attempt
the diamond. But it would be going entirely too far to substitute an
alternative test in the place of every regular test which the subject
responded to by silence. In the large majority of cases persistent
silence deserves to be scored failure.

Certain tests have been made alternatives because of their inferior
value, some because the presence of other tests of similar nature in the
same year rendered them less necessary.

Next: Finding Mental Age

Previous: Supplementary Considerations

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