47| Uniform Test Score Labeling – A Conversation With Dr. Tom Guilmette

Previously, test score labeling has varied across practitioners, leading to discrepancies in the interpretation and communication of neuropsychological assessment results. The American Academy of Clinical Neuropsychology (AACN) formed a consensus conference to address this concern, charged with establishing a uniform test score labeling system.  Today we talk with co-chair Tom Guilmette, Ph.D., ABPP-CN, about the new system and the hope that all neuropsychologists will adopt it.

A pdf of the transcript for this episode is available here.

Topics Covered

  • Review the rationale behind establishing a uniform test score labeling system
  • Discuss the pros and cons of test labeling systems from specific test manuals
  • Moving away from using “impaired” as a test result descriptor
  • List the benefits of uniformity to communicating about neuropsychological assessment results
  • List the barriers to establishing a uniform test score labeling system, including system-wide inertia and differences in opinion
  • Describe the AACN consensus conference uniform test labeling system and how the conference arrived at the specific test labels
  • Explain how the uniform test score labeling system can be applied to different tests and testing scenarios
  • Discuss how to use qualitative and quantitative test performance descriptors in tandem to describe neuropsychological test performance
  • Review how the uniform test score labeling system has been received
  • Describe the process of pursuing a consensus statement

About Tom

Dr. Thomas J. Guilmette is a Professor in the Department of Psychology at Providence College, an adjunct associate professor of Psychiatry and Human Behavior at The Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University, and a clinician at Neuropsychology Partners, Inc., in East Providence, Rhode Island.  Dr. Guilmette’s clinical interests include the assessment and diagnosis of individuals with dementia, stroke, head injuries, psychiatric conditions, and other persons with known or suspected cognitive dysfunction.  His research interests include clinical decision-making, the application of clinical neuropsychology in forensic and legal settings, the detection of malingering, and the rehabilitation and outcome of persons with brain injury.

Score Labeling System

From Guilmette et al., 2020:

Select References

Guilmette, T. J., Hagan, L. D., & Giuliano, A. J. (2008). Assigning qualitative descriptions to test scores in neuropsychology: Forensic implications. The Clinical Neuropsychologist22(1), 122-139.

Guilmette, T. J., Sweet, J. J., Hebben, N., Koltai, D., Mahone, E. M., Spiegler, B. J., Stucky, K., Westerveld, M., & Conference Participants. (2020). American Academy of Clinical Neuropsychology consensus conference statement on uniform labeling of performance test scores. The Clinical Neuropsychologist34(3), 437-453.

Ingraham, L. J., & Aiken, C. B. (1996). An empirical approach to determining criteria for abnormality in test batteries with multiple measures. Neuropsychology10(1), 120.

Schoenberg, M. R., & Rum, R. S. (2017). Towards reporting standards for neuropsychological study results: A proposal to minimize communication errors with standardized qualitative descriptors for normalized test scores. Clinical neurology and neurosurgery162, 72-79.

Schoenberg, M. R., Osborn, K. E., Mahone, E. M., Feigon, M., Roth, R. M., & Pliskin, N. H. (2018). Physician preferences to communicate neuropsychological results: Comparison of qualitative descriptors and a proposal to reduce communication errors. Archives of Clinical Neuropsychology33(5), 631-643.


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