The CAS and NEPSY as measures of cognitive processes: examining the underlying constructs
Jarratt, Kelly Pizzitola
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Although there appears to be increasing popularity in neuropsychology across disciplines of study, only modest work has been conducted with preschool and schoolage children. Changes in the structure of cognitive processes during early childhood and the extent of frontal lobe maturation are important to consider when conducting assessments with young children. Many neuropsychological theories, however, are based primarily on adult research (e.g., Luria??????s theory) and respective assessment measures are often the extension or slight modification of items from adult assessments. Because adults and children differ on a number of neuropsychological measures, especially at younger ages, the same underlying constructs and interpretive strategies may not be appropriate for use with young children. The CAS and NEPSY are two assessment measures based on Luria??????s theory; however, each posits a different conclusion regarding the number of factors that explain neuropsychological functioning in young children. Luria asserted that neuropsychological functioning is comprised of three functional units, while Naglieri and Das (e.g., CAS) suggested a four factor model, and the authors of the NEPSY declared a five factor model of functioning. Due to the emerging development of a child??????s frontal lobes, and the inconsistency regarding the number of factors related to neuropsychological functioning in young children, this study examined the CAS and NEPSY using factor analyses and model fit indices to determine the underlying structural model(s). The study also examined the usefulness of combining specific subscales from the CAS, NEPSY, and Peabody Picture Vocabulary Test-III (PPVT-III; Dunn & Dunn, 1997) to create a cross-battery approach to assessing neuropsychological functioning in young children. In addition to the CAS, NEPSY, and PPVT-III, data was obtained from the Behavioral Assessment System for Children (BASC; Reynolds & Kamphaus, 1992), and the Behavior Rating Inventory of Executive Function (BRIEF; Gioia, Isquith, Guy, & Kenworthy, 2000) to gather background information and to assess parent and teacher ratings of behavioral and neuropsychological functioning.