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 test
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