Saturday, July 23, 2005

CHC Theory: Historical context and introduction presentations

It was time to do some hard drive cleaning.

Over the past decade I have developed a variety of Cattell-Horn-Carroll (CHC) PowerPoint presentations. They have proliferated like rabbits, often only being a few slides different. This past week I decided it was time to clean house and develop a nice, clean, crisp and smaller set. These are meant to be introductory presentations to share with others.

The results are posted at the links below. By clicking on each link (regular click to view; right click to download) you will be granted access to PDF viewable copies of the two CHC modules....with two slides per page.

When I can get around to it (shortly, I hope), I will also post the actual PPT slides for download, either at this blog or at my web page.
Feedback is welcomed. Enjoy. Spread the word.

Keywords: CHC teaching tool PPT

Friday, July 15, 2005

CHC study of WJ-R and DAS in preschool sample

Tusing, M. B., & Ford, L. (2004). Examining preschool cognitive abilities using a CHC framework. International Journal of Testing, 4(2), 91-114.

  • Although there has been a substantial growth in the number of published studies examining tests of cognitive abilities and using contemporary theories of cognitive abilities, to date none have done so with preschool cognitive tests. In this study the relation between cognitive ability measures for young children and Cattell–Horn–Carroll (CHC) theory is examined. Tests and subtests from the Differential Ability Scales: Upper Preschool Level and the Woodcock–Johnson Tests of Cognitive Ability–Revised with a sample of 158 children between 4 and 5 years of age were used in a series of joint factor analyses. Although a series of models were explored, the model representative of the CHC theory of cognitive abilities was best supported by the data. This provides evidence for a greater differentiation of young children’s cognitive abilities than are typically interpreted. Results are discussed with regard to understanding the link between contemporary theories of intelligence and young children’s cognitive abilities, as well as implications for intellectual assessment practices with young children.

Additional comments (by study authors) in discussion section
  • "The notion that young children's cognitive abilities are best conceptualized as dichotomous is dismissed."
  • "In this study, five broad ability factors were reliably identified: Gc intelligence, Glr, Gsm, Ga, and a fifth factor that we originally referred to as nonverbal ability."
  • "Evidence for the differentiation of the Gy factor represented in Carroll's three-stratum theory into two distinct broad abilities (Glr and Gsm) and the identification of visual-memory as a narrow ability under Gv provide further support for McGrew and Flanagan's (McGrew, 1997; McGrew & Flanagan, 1998) integration of three-stratum theory and Gf--Gc theory into CHC theory."
  • "Two broad ability factors thought to be represented by the subtests included in this study did not significantly distinguish themselves in this sample, namely, Gf and Gq. It is possible that these broad ability factors are not able to be distinguishedcfrom other broad abilities with samples of young children, as their loadingscon the broad ability factor with which they were identified were significant.cHowever, failure to identify the specific broad abilities of Gf and Gq is more likely due to a lack of additional tasks measuring the same abilities."

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Longitudinal child development research program - ALSPAC

While skimming a journal article that presented the results of a longitudinal investigation of the consequences of poor phonological awareness (Ga) abilities (at age 5 - follow-up at age 8), I discovered that the investigators were part of a larger systematic longitudinal child development research program that might be worth monitoring.

Below is a description from the The Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children (ALSPAC) [also known as 'Children of the 90s'] web page. As stated on their page, ALSPAC is:
  • "aimed at identifying ways in which to optimise the health and development of children..Our main goal is to understand the ways in which the physical and social environment interact, over time, with the genetic inheritance to affect the child's health, behaviour and development."
A review of published/unpublished reports suggests that these have been a busy group of researchers.

With regard to the article mentioned above, the formal citation, followed by the abstract, is presented below:
  • Gathercole, S. E., Tiffany, C., Briscoe, J., & Thorn, A. (2005). Developmental consequences of poor phonological short-term memory function in childhood: a longitudinal study. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 46(6), 598-611.
  • Background: A longitudinal study investigated the cognitive skills and scholastic attainments at 8 years of age of children selected on the basis of poor phonological loop skills at 5 years. Methods: Children with low and average performance at 5 years were tested three years later on measures of working memory, phonological awareness, vocabulary, language, reading, and number skill. Results: Two subgroups of children with poor early performance on phonological memory tests were identified. In one subgroup, the poor phonological memory skills persisted at 8 years. These children performed at comparable levels to the control group on measures of vocabulary, language and mathematics. They scored more poorly on literacy assessments, but this deficit was associated with group differences in complex memory span and phonological awareness performance. The second subgroup of children performed more highly on phonological memory tests at 8 years, but had enduring deficits in language assessments from 4 to 8 years. Conclusions: Persistently poor phonological memory skills do not appear to significantly constrain the acquisition of language, mathematics or number skills over the early school years. More general working memory skills do, however, appear to be crucial.

Journal awareness - Annals of Dyslexia

FYI - representative articles from the Annals of Dyslexia.

Record 1 of 6
Authors TB Penney, KM Leung, PC Chan, XZ Meng, CA McBrideChang
Title Poor readers of Chinese respond slower than good readers in phonological, rapid naming, and interval timing tasks
Full source Annals of Dyslexia, 2005, Vol 55, Iss 1, pp 9-27

Record 2 of 6
Authors NA Badian
Title Does a visual-orthographic deficit contribute to reading disability?
Full source Annals of Dyslexia, 2005, Vol 55, Iss 1, pp 28-52

Record 3 of 6
Authors WV Catone, SA Brady
Title The inadequacy of Individual Educational Program (IEP) goals for high school students with word-level reading difficulties
Full source Annals of Dyslexia, 2005, Vol 55, Iss 1, pp 53-78

Record 4 of 6
Authors I Raman, BS Weekes
Title Acquired dyslexia in a Turkish-English speaker
Full source Annals of Dyslexia, 2005, Vol 55, Iss 1, pp 79-104

Record 5 of 6
Authors MS Kobayashi, CW Haynes, P Macaruso, PE Hook, J Kato
Title Effects of mora deletion, nonword repetition, rapid naming, and visual search performance on beginning reading in Japanese
Full source Annals of Dyslexia, 2005, Vol 55, Iss 1, pp 105-128

Record 6 of 6
Authors CK Leong
Title Editor's commentary
Full source Annals of Dyslexia, 2005, Vol 55, Iss 1, pp 1-8

Binet, Intelligence, and Paris - Oct 6-8 conference

Sorry for the lack of recent posts. Summer is harder on my work schedule than the rest of the year. Upon returning from my last trip I was summoned to jury duty and have spent the better part of this week simply waiting in a jury pool room, with no internet access.

For those interested in combining a vacation trip to Paris with a professional conference, check out ("a century after Binet") Intelligence in child: Clinical and theoretical aspects, assessment issues, in Paris.

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

Quote to Note: Merton on science and skepticism

"Most institutions demand unqualified faith; but the institution of science makes skepticism a virtue"
  • • Robert K. Merton, Social Theory and Social Structure (1962)

Student progress monitoring

I'm currently in DC to participate (as a member) of the National Advisory Committee to the National Center on Student Progress Monitoring. It dawned on me (over my morning Joe) that readers of this blog may not be familiar with the activities of this center. Below is a brief description of the mission of the NCSPM. Check out the link above to visit the page for additional information.

Mission of NCSPM

  • To meet the challenges of implementing effective progress monitoring, the Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP) has funded the National Center on Student Progress Monitoring. Housed at the American Institutes for Research, and working in conjunction with researchers from Vanderbilt University , we are a national technical assistance and dissemination center dedicated to the implementation of scientifically-based student progress monitoring.
  • The Center's mission is to provide technical assistance to states and districts and disseminate information about progress monitoring practices proven to work in different academic content areas (Gr. K-5).

Saturday, July 02, 2005

Gf task analysis via Sternberg's unified reasoning theory

During my vacation I read a relatively old article by Robert Sternberg on human reasoning. I read his work via my CHC lens and have summarized the key information below. I believe this information can be translated by good practitioners into useful insights regarding the performance of individuals on various Gf tests. I have taken the liberty to insert CHC abbreviations (Gf, I, RG, etc.) in my summary of his writing.

Sternberg, R. (1986). Toward a Unified Theory of Human Reasoning, Intelligence, 10, 281-314 (1986)

  • “Human reasoning has been a topic of serious study at least since Aristotle and continues to be an important topic of psychological theory and research today. The omnipresence of reasoning in our lives encourages us both to understand the processes by which we reason and to identify the sources of error that sometime lead us to mistaken conclusions” (1986, p.281)

In 1986, Sternberg specified a unified theory of human reasoning (Gf). His unified theory of Gf conceptualized reasoning as “the controlled and mediated application of three processes-- selective encoding, selective comparison, and selective combination--to inferential rules.” According to Sternberg, the presence of any of these processes defines a task/problem as Gf whereas any task where the solution is not dependent on any of these processes is not to be considered Gf.

As per the CHC taxonomic definition of Gf, selective encoding and comparison primarily underlie the narrow Gf ability of inductive reasoning (I) while selection combination is characteristic primarily of general sequential (deductive) reasoning (RG).

Sternberg’s Gf processes defined
  • Selective Encoding. In many everyday problems and tasks (as well as psychometric tasks) individuals are bombarded with a large array of information, only a portion of which is relevant to understanding and solving the task at hand. Selective encoding is the process employed to distinguish relevant from irrelevant information. In many such tasks individuals must decide which bits of information/stimuli are relevant to solving the problem. This relevance decision-making process is believed to occur within working memory (Gsm-MW).
  • Selective Comparison. The solution to most reasoning problems requires individuals to retrieve declarative and/or procedural knowledge from the vast stores of acquired information. Given the breadth and depth of an individual’s domains of acquired knowledge, a mechanism is needed to decide which stored information is potentially problem-relevant. Selective-comparison is the process by which individuals retrieve only those bits of information that are potentially relevant to problem solution. This process involves accessing (Glr) the stores of acquired knowledge (e.g., Gq, Gc, Grw).
  • Selective Combination. Once information has been selectively encoded and compared, the two components are combined in working memory (Gsm-MW).

Consistent with the CHC-based definition of Gf (novel problem solving), Sternberg provides one caveat. Namely, selective encoding, comparison and combination only define a reasoning situation/task to the “extent that they are executed in controlled, rather than automatized, fashion” (p. 286). According to Sternberg’s “graduated” view, automatization lies along a continuum with problems that rely less on automatization requiring greater degrees of Gf.

Sternberg I vs. RQ distinction

According to Sternberg (1986), the essence of inductive reasoning (I) derives primary from “selective encoding and selective comparison processes, both of which involve sorting of relevant from irrelevant information. The only constraint is that there be no logically determinate solution to the problem; in other words, it should not be the case that the use of certain information is logically correct and the use of other information logically incorrect” (p. 293).

In contrast, the defining feature of deductive reasoning (RQ) derives primarily from “selective combination processes, with the constraint that there be one or more logically determinate solutions to the problem. In other words, certain combinations of information must be logically correct, and others logically incorrect (p. 294).

Mediators of Gf performance

According to Sternberg (1986), a Gf problem “may be made easier or harder simply by varying the availability or accessibility of such rules through the use of mediators” (p. 292). A mediator is defined as any intervening variable that will increase or decrease the availability or accessibility of the inferential rules to be used in a particular Gf problem. Below is a non-exhaustive list of potential Gf mediators provided by Sternberg.

  • Prior Probability. The subjective likelihood estimate that an individual brings to a reasoning task for the use of a given inferential rule (or set of inferential rules).
  • Posterior (Contextual) Probability. The probability that an individual will apply a certain kind of inferential rule to a problem can be influenced by “internal context clues” in the problem task. An example provided by Sternberg, relevant to verbal Gf verbal test items (e.g., verbal analogies), is that an individual can often figure out the meanings of unknown words vis-à-vis knowledge provided by prefixes, stems, and suffixes.
  • Entrenchment. Some inferential information (rules) are more familiar (entrenched) in one’s experience than other rules, with entrenched rules being more readily applied to problem solutions. For example, individuals are more familiar with using positive (versus) negative information in Gf tasks (Sternberg, 1986).
  • Prior Knowledge. An inferential rule relevant to Gf problem solution cannot be employed if an individual does not know the rule. The availability (in contrast to the accessibility – characteristic of the three mediators described above) of a rule is considered a prior knowledge mediator.
  • Working-memory capacity (Gsm-MW). The resource-limited constraints of the proverbial information processing “bottleneck” (working memory) hinders the amount of space required for encoding and combining problem-relevant information. Large complex Gf problems that require the mental juggling of increasing amounts of information and rules are rendered more difficult by the limited resources of the working memory system.
  • Representational capacity. People vary in their ability to represent information in different (e.g., linguistic; spatial) formats. According to Sternberg (1986), “two people may be equally adept at applying a given procedural rule such as inferring the relation, but have differential difficulty on a given problem because of their differential ability to apply that procedural rule to a given mental representation. One individual might find it easier to apply the rule in a spatial domain, and the other to apply the rule in a linguistic domain” (p. 292). The fluency or efficiency in applying various kinds of processes to Gf tasks may depend upon the quality of the mental representation used during the problem-solving process.
  • Content-induced biases. The type of content in a Gf problem might influence task performance. For example, research has demonstrated that categorical syllogisms with emotionally charged content are more difficult than those without emotional content.
  • Form-induced biases. The form or structure of a Gf task may also introduce bias. Form-induced biases are biases that are introduced by the form rather than the content of a given reasoning problem.


Ok. Time to check out the grapevine capability of this blog. I hereby post an APB on the following dissertation study and author. If there is anyone out there who knows how to contact the author of this disseration, or the faculty adivsor, please let me know. I'm trying to secure a copy of this disseration and/or any possible manuscripts from the work. Thanks.

AN Dissertation Abstract: 2003-95018-135.

AU Carper, Marlene Snapka.
TI A concurrent validity study comparing executive functioning of the Woodcock Johnson III Tests of cognitive ability and the NEPSY.
SO Dissertation Abstracts International: Section B: The Sciences & Engineering. Vol 64(3-B), 2003, 1516. US: Univ Microfilms International.


  • The purpose of this study was to examine the concurrent validity between the Woodcock Johnson III Tests of Cognitive Ability (WJ III COG; Woodcock, McGrew, & Mather, 2001) executive functioning tests and the NEPSY (Korkman, Kirk, & Kemp, 1998) executive functioning tests within the same population sample of nondisabled children. The tests of the WJ III COG that are executive functioning tests are Concept Formation, Planning, and Pair Cancellation. On the NEPSY the tests that make up executive functioning are Tower and Design Fluency. A total of 60 participants (30 females and 30 males) were recruited to participate in this study. Participants completed an IQ screener to ensure intellectual functioning scores were 80 or above. Parents provided background information, providing pertinent medical and emotional information to rule out health and other behavioral influences, as well as assuring that children were currently passing all subjects in school. Participants additionally completed the executive functioning tests comprising the WJ III COG and NEPSY. Results indicated: no significant differences for mean standard scores of the WJ III COG and NEPSY based on age or on sex; although, there were significant correlations within tests of the WJ III COG and NEPSY Design Fluency test; no significant correlations found with any WJ III COG tests and NEPSY Tower test; and WJ III COG and NEPSY correlations did not vary by sex or by age. Implications of this study indicate that the WJ III COG and NEPSY provide a time- and cost-effective means for comprehensive assessment of executive functions and may enhance educational plan development within the school setting. Careful study of the referral information, as well as, the types of tasks that encompass the executive functioning concept believed to be at deficit will drive the test selection. This study has also provided research data on the WJ III COG and NEPSY in the area of executive functioning in which few studies were found to exist.

Differentail Ability Scales (DAS) and CHC theory - a research study

AN Dissertation Abstract: 2004-99024-119. AU Sanders, Sarah J.

TI A joint confirmatory factor analysis of the differential ability scales and the Woodcock-Johnson tests of cognitive abilities - third edition.

SO Dissertation Abstracts International: Section B: The Sciences & Engineering. Vol 65(6-B), 2004, 3218. US: Univ Microfilms International.


  • Human cognitive ability has been a popular area of research that has developed over the past century. Theories and measures of ability have ranged from very simplistic definitions and tests, such as a global intelligence construct (IQ) and single sensory/motor tests to highly complex multiple ability theoretical conceptualizations with corresponding batteries of tests. Additionally, the mandated use of intellectual measures for guiding educational and diagnostic decisions has led to a steady increase in the development of cognitive batteries and the need for a clearer understanding of what constructs these tests measure. The purpose of this study was to investigate the Differential Ability Scales (DAS; Elliott, 1990a), a standardized measure of cognitive ability, in relation to the Cattell-Horn-Carroll (CHC) theory of cognitive abilities. The CHC theory is a hierarchical three-tiered taxonomy consisting of has an overall general ability (Stratum III), with several broad abilities (Stratum II) that consist of numerous narrow abilities (Stratum I). This was accomplished by analyzing the DAS in conjunction with the Woodcock-Johnson Tests of Cognitive Abilities-Third Edition (WJ-III COG; Woodcock, McGrew, & Mather, 2001b), a contemporary cognitive ability measure developed based on the CHC theory. A group of 133 school-aged children were administered the DAS and WJ-III COG. Several variations of the CHC model were examined to determine which provided the best representation of the underlying CHC constructs measured by the DAS. Results of these confirmatory factor analyses supported the interpretation of the DAS from a CHC theoretical perspective. Moreover, this study confirmed that the DAS contains relatively strong measures of six of the CHC second-stratum abilities. Although a two-stratum CHC model provided the best statistical representation, results suggested that the complete, hierarchical three-stratum CHC model also should be considered a tenable solution. Specifically, these results confirmed that most of the CHC abilities (Gc, Gv, Glr, Gs, Gf, and Gsm) are measured on the DAS cognitive battery, with each of the DAS subtests representing primary indicators (Strata I narrow abilities) of these broad ability domains.

Executive functions and writing research

I'm back from vacation and plan to start posting with greater regularity. During my break, I did complete a search of recent literature that turned up a number of interesting unpublished doctoral disserations. I will post a few. Here is the first.

AN Dissertation Abstract: 2005-99004-036.
AU Hargrave, Jennifer Leann.
TI The relationship between executive functions and broad written language skills in students ages 12 to 14 years old.
SO Dissertation Abstracts International: Section B: The Sciences & Engineering. Vol 65(8-B), 2005, 4320. US: Univ Microfilms International.


  • The purpose of this investigation was to explore the relationship between executive functions and written language skills. Five hundred and forty-three students between the ages 12 and 14 were administered the Planning, Retrieval Fluency, Pair Cancellation, and Number Reversal subtests from the Woodcock-Johnson Tests of Cognitive Abilities - Third Edition (WJIII; Woodcock, McGrew, & Mather, 2001a) and the subtests included under the Broad Written Language cluster of the Woodcock-Johnson Tests of Achievement - Third Edition (WJIII; Woodcock, McGrew, & Mather, 2001b). The sample was taken from the larger sample used to norm the WJIII tests. Relationships were explored between the executive function subtest scores and Broad Written Language scores and were found to be significantly correlated. The four executive function measures and gender were entered simultaneously into a multiple regression equation and found to significantly predict Broad Written Language scores. Further examination revealed that all the composites with the exception of the Planning subtest significantly predicted Broad Written Language skills. Subtests measuring the executive functions working memory and attention (Number Reversal and Pair Cancellation) were the most significant contributors when the composite scores were examined. Results provide researchers with a foundation to further investigate the underlying executive functions that may help or hinder students' ability to produce quality written products and eventually design intervention studies based on areas of executive functioning. Limitations of the study are presented as well as implications for research and practice and directions for future research.