The Speech-Language and Psychology teams at LIH Olivia’s Place Shanghai have recently made the exciting transition to digital assessment administration for many formal assessments. Since LIH Olivia’s Place opened in 2010, we have been committed to using leading industry standard assessments and to safeguarding the intellectual property of the assessment authors and publishers. This has always meant dealing with a number of challenges to ensure that test materials from international assessment publishers could be readily and consistently available. The opportunity to explore another way of maintaining our high standards while we continue to grow in China, while protecting the integrity of the assessments themselves, was exciting to us.
The decision to change from paper-and-pencil test formats to the use of iPad and computer-based testing was no easy task. Our teams had to consider the ease of use for children and parents, comfort levels with necessary technology, and the learning curve of new administration techniques. However, after trials by our speech and psychology staff, it was clear that these formats would be of significant benefit to the families we serve and our clinicians. Once a struggle because most assessments must be purchased outside of China, digital assessment platforms will allow LIH Olivia’s Place clinicians to immediately access the most up-to-date versions of some of our most widely used tools. They will also allow us to stay immediately informed of any changes or improvements in the tests we use.
Digital administration is now offered through several assessment publishers and LIH Olivia’s Place will migrate to digital platforms as they become available and well-tested. One of these platforms is Q-Interactive, offered by Pearson, the publisher of many of the most reputable and evidence-based tests. It can be used to both administer and score tests that are traditionally given by examiners in a paper-and-pencil format. Using the digital version of the assessment, testing takes place on two iPads using an app called Assess. The first iPad is used by the examiner to access the test administration instructions, score and record responses, and control visual stimuli. The person who completing the assessment uses the other iPad to view and respond to stimuli. Q-interactive can also generate summary information for assessments administered on the iPads.
Pearson has conducted substantial research to ensure that the use of its digital system does not detract from the quality of assessments administered. Prior to inclusion in the Q-interactive library, each new type of subtest underwent an equivalency study to evaluate whether scores from digital testing were interchangeable with those scored from paper-and-pencil testing. Results of these studies support the validity of Q-Interactive as a method of administration for all tests included.
The transition to digital assessment is an intensive process. While familiar with the paper and pencil versions of these tools, our clinicians have undertaken additional training to solidify their competency in each assessment they will be administering with the new systems. Clinicians and families at LIH Olivia’s Place Shanghai will be the first to use these advanced digital platforms, other LIH Healthcare clinics and hospitals can anticipate having access to this technology and specialized training in the near future.