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Desirable Range Of Testing

There are two considerations here of equal importance. It is necessary to make
the examination thorough, but in the pursuit of thoroughness we must be careful
not to produce fatigue or ennui. Unless there is reason to suspect mental retardation,
it is usually best to begin with the group of tests just below the child's
age. However, if there is a failure in the tests of that group, it is
necessary to go back and try all the tests of the previous group. In
like manner the examination should be carried up the scale, until a test
group has been found in which all the tests are failed.

It must be admitted, however, that because of time limitations and
fatigue, it is not always practicable to adhere to this ideal of
thoroughness. In testing normal children, little error will result if we
go back no farther than the year which yielded only one failure, and if
we stop with the year in which there was only one success. _This is the
lowest permissible limit of thoroughness._ Defectives are more uneven
mentally than normal children, and therefore scatter their successes and
failures over a wider range. With such subjects it is absolutely
imperative that the test be thorough.

In the case of defectives it is sometimes necessary to begin with random
testing, until a rough idea is gained of the mental level. But the
skilled observer soon becomes able to utilize symptoms in the child's
conversation and conduct and to dispense with most of this preliminary

Next: Order Of Giving The Tests

Previous: Duration Of The Examination

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