Saturday, July 15, 2023

Understanding Cognitive Skills Testing: What Is It? Why Have It Admin? & Where To Find It?"

 I am reprinting an earlier version, 2010 article of mine, regarding the value of cognitive skills, standardized, longitudinal testing, still applicable today. 

Later, interestingly, in 2014, the University of Pennsylvania's Brain Behavior Lab created a simple, normed test, computerized, self-administered in one hour, called Mindprint Learning. It gives a direction for personalized learning plans in 10 skill levels.

While helpful for parent/teacher/student planning, the Mindprint Learning self-awareness test, therefore, differs greatly from the rigorous pre-post-post standardized test batteries I discuss, and administered at 13 learning sites.

 I work from the Guilford Intellgence model for backbone theory,  with a reformulated, brief, puppetry playbook model on downloadable film.

Lesson 1 preview is now available on Utube under "Jan Kuyper Erland".    (paste link in your browser)

All of my lessons and content are original. The article goes well with my following July article on "Digital Transformation."


We can now all move forward to new learning and achievement heights, providing we understand how our own information processing works. Our reluctance to be the very best we can be, can now be left behind us. 

My work is based upon the premise that “intelligence” is trainable, and that skills, like reading, writing, mathematics and problem solving are dependent on cognitive information processing basic blocks called “primitives.”

Why understand what these blocks are? Because all work proficiency, including academic achievement, depends upon how our “mind works” operate. 

The renowned psychologist, J. P. Guilford, identified 150 cognitive skills cubes, called the Structure of Intellect theory (SOI), which has been used as a foundation and measurement of general intelligence for decades. (See footnote).

Why should we care? Because our future endeavors, how we cope with everyday life and our achievements/life styles will depend upon our information processing capabilities. 

It will become our lifetime path we lead, and how contented we will be with what we end up doing as a livelihood.

How do we find out what capabilities we have? It is through standardized cognitive skills testing and evaluations can show information processing strengths and weaknesses of the individual.

Why is testing and evaluation not routinely prescribed? Why do we not know about it? It is because testing can only be administered by highly trained, state certified, professionals at the masters/doctoral degreed levels. 

These people include psychologists, school psychologists, and learning disability specialists. 

Testing companies will not sell testing materials to anyone other than these highly qualified and trained professionals, who are trained to do measurement and evaluations.

Subsequently, the testing requires trained expertise, money, and takes time. One set of cognitive skills tests usually runs from $2,500. - $3,000. 

Therefore, parents often go to physicians or psychiatrists who can prescribe medication to calm the learner, which may appear to be a quick, inexpensive solution. 

Yet, this intervention is not low-cost, and can run $100. a month or more depending upon insurance coverage. And, prescribed medication can become habit-forming.

There is little, scientific knowledge, summarizing the life-long effects of any kind of stimulant medication on the brain and body that is used to increase focus and concentration needed for learning new material.

Cognitive skills training and cognitive skills assessment has been available for some time. In 1975, Guilford's student, Dr. Mary Meeker, formed the "Structure of Intellect" (SOI) Institute and trained educators how to measure cognitive skills according to task. 

She and her husband, Robert, designed tests and materials. The SOI Institute exists today (as of July 2023) with clinicians in every state that have been trained at their "Advanced Level" out of four levels of experienced practice and training. 

The program has focused on reading, math, and learning problems, early childhood weaknesses, Gifted instruction with remediating missing blocks, and career counseling.

Yet, cognitive skills measurement and standardized testing has not been mainstreamed for the average, yet ambitious person, due to training, time, professional qualifications, and cost constraints. 

Generally speaking, individuals needing remediation were tested either privately, in schools, clinics, or within learning institutions.

Subsequently, many who who were fortunate enough to obtain low-cost assessments and training, or at no cost through their school, later felt embarrassed that they might be considered as "inadequate or a slow learner." 

Yet, they could subsequently experience giant steps forward in perceiving and learning new information faster and reaching greater career heights. 

Now, this sense of "being singled out as imperfect or having a problem " is no longer the case, as we move forward with a new dimension of identifying learning skills strengths and weaknesses to create the high performing, confident individual. 

We must all excel. Tomorrow's world is demanding it of us.

How can I get started with solid, eye-opening measurement of my own or my children’s cognitive skills if it is expensive and time consuming? Is this beneficial, and worth the time and trouble?

Soon there will be available online options that will offer access to finding the right professional in your area, who will now charge less for solid evaluations. 

And, the online options will give you the information you need and want, and point you in the right direction for not only testing, measurement and evaluations, but for instructional, learning solutions.

My dream is that most of us will want optimum mental fitness in the future for our children and ourselves the same way we want physical fitness and personal well-being. 

It will be our choice to move forward to higher levels. We can be competitive in the new, global world.

Footnote: Guilford, J.P. (1967). The Nature of Human Intelligence. New York: McGraw-Hill. In Guilford's Structure of Intellect (SOI) theory, intelligence is viewed as comprising operations, contents, and products. 

There are 5 kinds of operations (cognition, memory, divergent production, convergent production, evaluation), 6 kinds of products (units, classes, relations, systems, transformations, and implications), and 5 kinds of contents (visual, auditory, symbolic, semantic, behavioral). 

Since each of these dimensions is independent, there are theoretically 150 different components of intelligence.

Sunday, July 2, 2023

A Case for Digital Transformation

Exploring Evidenced-Based-Data Results


Many products in development claim Evidence-Based-Data findings.

What is their data authenticity? What kind of testing, and by whom?

This article is in response to my previous “Proof is in the Pudding” discussion, where I self-monitored my internal responses in parallel to the participants’.

Subsequently, my former personal anecdotal review can be validated by lengthy clinical research findings.

Most product-building data collections, unfortunately, are heavily anecdotal, or computerized self-tests, rather than having rigorous scientific analyses.  

Participants can be assessed by informal tests in specific areas, by self or instructors.  Compilations then become compiled by doctoral, or representative students in labs, or by computerized selection formats.

The BTA has applied both types of assessment extensively, through 13 test sites with many 3rd party evaluators, testing companies, and institutions. 

The treatment outcomes included both criteria- referenced elements (continued to the present time), and highly recognized diagnostic standardized tests, monitored in depth by three independent testing companies, and five universities.

Although the confirmed results are precedingly dated, they remain substantive, as they were evaluated at so many assessment levels, with high level statisticians/evaluators, and circumstances.

Participant longitudinal data is hard to come by, as the learner often changes locations. Parochial schools are preferred, as students often move lock-step from grade- to- grade.

In the 2-Parochial school study, the goal was to determine if the results generalized to higher achievement scores. 

Out of 14 classrooms, only three adhered to implementation protocols and obtained results (two fourth grades and a 6
th grade).

These students, moved forward with new teachers, and were followed by assigned numbers for 2-4 years longitudinally, as long as they remained at the middle school level.

The implementation problem was embedded in the poor technical media applications available in 1996. 

Only three teachers could manage juggling video and audio tapes with an overhead projector, for 48 lessons on a daily basis. 

And, following heavy on-site teacher training, applying students’ handwriting on worksheets.

Surprisingly, these written worksheets, revealed important cognitive changes within the first 20 days.

Interestingly, the two schools with the 4th and 6th grades’ high results, elected to verify my outcomes with an independent testing company; Educational Testing Service (ETS) of Princeton, NJ.


The subsequent verification of my results indicated that I needed to wait for the right technology to emerge, even if it took a waiting time.

Broadband internet availability, with finding the right photographer/sound editor, who could incorporate the many embedded instructional layers into one brief, daily filming lesson, was crucial.

Then, hopefully, creating high fidelity, excellent phonological sound quality, with streamlined, engaging, and timing with puppetry.

Subsequently, I waited, and completed the problematic, on-going project’, now prepared for broader digital transformation.

Drahozal, E. (Vice President, Iowa Test of Basic Skills - ITBS testing service, personal communications, technical assistance, April 18, 1998, May 17, and May 27, 1999 and June 8, 1999). Ithaca, IL: Riverside Publishing Company.

Erland, J K. (c February 1986, 1989).  Contrapuntal Thinking and Definition of Sweeping Thoughts.  Lawrence, KS

Erland, J.  K.  (1994).  Analytical skills training through video-tape instruction develops higher-order thinking skills capability.  Journal of the Society for Accelerative Learning and Teaching, 19, (2), 155-227.

Erland, J . K. (1995).  Cognitive skills training improves listening and visual memory for academic and career success.  in ERIC Clearinghouse, Journal of Accelerative Learning and Teaching, 20, (1 & 2) 87-101.

Erland, J.  K.  (October 1997). Fitting into the high-performance workplace. The American Society For Training and Development. KC-ASTD’s VISION. p. 1

Erland, J.  K.  (Fall, 1998).  Cognitive skills and accelerated learning memory training using interactive media improves academic performance in reading and math.  Journal of Accelerative Learning and Teaching,23, (3 & 4), 3-57.

Erland, J. K.  (Spring, 1999).  High performance thinking counts.  Performance In Practice.  The American Society for Training and Development. and KC-ASTD’s VISION, February, 1999.

Erland, J.  K.  (Spring, 1999).  Brain-Based learning longitudinal study reveals solid academic achievement maintenance with Accelerated Learning practice.  Journal of Accelerative Learning and Teaching, 24, (1).

Erland, J. K. (Summer-Fall 2007). Five generations, 27-years of iterative experimentation demonstrates cognitive skill improvement enhances academic achievement and career goals.

Frisbie, D.  (Ed., ITBS, personal communication, technical assistance, June 10, 1998 and August 9, 1999). Iowa City, IA: Iowa Testing Service.

Hoover, H. D., Hieronymus, D. A. Frisbie, D. A., & Dunbar, S. B., (1993)  Iowa Tests of Basic Skills Content Classifications with Item Norms.  Complete/Core/Survey Batteries, Levels 5-14.  Form K.  Chicago, IL: The Riverside Publishing Company.

Riverside 2000. (1994). Iowa Tests of Basic Skills Integrated Assessment Program, Technical Summary I.   Chicago, IL: The Riverside Publishing Co.

Science Research Associates Standardized Achievement Testing (1985). Survey of Basic Skills. Chicago, IL: SRA.