Determining Whether or When to Adopt New Versions of Psychological and Neuropsychological Tests: Ethical and Professional Considerations
Bush, Shane S.
Clinical Neuropsychologist 2010 January; 24(1): 7-16
Test selection has significant implications for inferences that can be drawn from test data. Some tests undergo revisions, typically to improve their psychometric properties, normative data, relevance of stimuli, and ease of administration. Although revisions of psychological and neuropsychological tests are published periodically, little information is available regarding whether or when clinicians should transition to the most recent versions of the tests. The 2002 APA Ethics Code (Standard 9.08b) requires that psychologists not base their assessment or intervention decisions or recommendations "on tests and measures that are obsolete and not useful for the current purpose." However, there is no consensus regarding when tests should no longer be considered acceptable, and there may be sound reasons for delaying or foregoing the purchase and use of new versions of assessment measures. Determining whether or when to transition to a new version of a test can be particularly difficult for clinicians in psychological specialties because it can take years after publication of a revised test for research with special patient populations to be performed and published. As a result, different clinicians may adopt newer versions of tests at different times or elect not to use the newest version, depending on the specific patient population and referral questions. Decisions regarding transitioning to new test revisions should be based on the scientific merits of the tests, not on an arbitrarily defined time frame. Clinicians ultimately must use their judgment regarding which test version is best for a given patient at a given point in time.
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