Kaufman Assessment Battery for Children

The Kaufman Assessment Battery for Children (KABC) is a clinical instrument (psychological diagnostic test) for assessing cognitive development. Its construction incorporates several recent developments in both psychological theory and statistical methodology. The test was developed by Alan S. Kaufman and Nadeen L. Kaufman in 1983 and revised in 2004. The test has been translated and adopted for many countries, such as the Japanese version of the K-ABC by the Japanese psychologists Tatsuya Matsubara, Kazuhiro Fujita, Hisao Maekawa, and Toshinori Ishikuma.

The KABC also gives special attention to certain emerging testing needs, such as use with handicapped groups, application to problems of learning disabilities, and appropriateness for cultural and linguistic minorities. The authors rightly caution, however, that success in meeting these special needs must be judged through practical use over time. They also point out that the KABC should not be regarded as “the complete test battery”; like any other test, it should be supplemented and corroborated by other instruments to meet individual needs, such as the Stanford-Binet, Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale, Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children, McCarthy scales, or neuropsychological tests.

The original KABC was developed from neuropsychological theory, merging left brain-right brain research on cerebral specialisation (e.g., Sperry, 1968) with Luria’s sequential simultaneous processing dichotomy (Luria, 1966) and work in cognitive psychology. The KABC focuses on the processes needed to solve problems rather than their content i.e. verbal vs. non verbal. The KABC was one of the first intelligence tests to be principally derived from strong theoretical basis and the first intelligence test to be based in neuropsychological theory (Reynolds & Kamphaus, 1997). An important feature of the KABC is that it yielded smaller than average score differences than was typical between African American and European American ethnic groups, making it particularly useful when assessing children of difference ethnicities.

The second edition (KABC-II) which was published in 2004, is an individually administered measure of the processing and cognitive abilities of children and adolescents aged 3-18. As with the original KABC, the KABC-II is a theory-based instrument. However the KABC-II differs in its conceptual framework and test structure. While the KABC is grounded in simultaneous/sequential processing approach the KABC-II incorporates two distinct theoretical models. The KABC-II is grounded in a dual theoretical foundation: the Cattell-Horn-Carroll (CHC) psychometric model of broad and narrow abilities and Luria’s neuropsychological theory of processing.

There are a number of important revisions in the KABC-II:

With the KABC-II, the examiner can choose which theoretical model to follow. Typically the Cattell-Horn-Carroll model is useful for children from a mainstream cultural and language background. Or if Crystallized Ability would not be a fair indicator of the child’s cognitive ability, examiners may choose the Luria model which excludes verbal ability.

The KABC-II has 18 subtests of two types: core and supplementary. Before testing the examiner decides which model to follow: Luria or CHC. The subtests are grouped into 4 or 5 scales depended on the age and interpretive model chosen. Luria’s model consists of four scales: Sequential Processing Scale, Simultaneous processing Scale, Learning Ability and Planning Ability. CHC model renames these: Short Term Memory (Gsm), Visual Processing (Gv), Long Term Storage and Retrieval (Glr) and Fluid Reasoning (Gf) plus an additional 5th scale Crystallised Ability (Gc).

KABC-II scales and their subtests include:





Knowledge(Gc) included in the CHC model only

KABC-II yields two general intelligence composite scores: Mental Processing Index (MPI; Luria’s model) and Fluid-Crystallised Index (FCI; CHC model). The Luria model takes 25-60 minutes to administer while the CHC model takes 30-75 minutes to administer depending on the child’s age.

The KABC-II was standardised between 2001 and 2003 on 3,025 3- to 18-year-olds in 39 states and the District of Columbia. The KABC-II is co normed with the KTEA-II (Kaufman & Kaufman, 2004b). Correlation studies have been completed with: KABC, WISC, WISC-III, WPPSI-III, KAIT, WJ-III COG, PIAT-R, WJ-III ACH and WIAT-II. Special group studies (clinical validity studies) included: those with Emotional Disturbances, ADHD, Autistic Disorder, Intellectual disability, Learning Disability (Written expression, Mathematics and Reading) and those classed as Gifted.

The internal consistency reliability coefficient for core and supplementary subtests demonstrate the KABC-II has good reliability. The median reliability for the 3-6 age band is .85 (range .69-.92) and .87 (range .74-.93) for 7-18. Retest reliabilities of the global scales ranged from 0.72 to 0.94 where retest stability increasing with age.

The KABC-II helps to identify an individual’s strengths and weaknesses in cognitive ability and mental processing. The information provided by the KABC-II can facilitate clinical and educational planning, treatment planning and placement decisions. As with most psychological assessments the utility can be improved when combined with other tools. High scores on some forms of the test are accepted for admission to high IQ societies such as Intertel or Australian Mensa.

The approach to understanding intelligence with the most supported and published research over the longest period of time is based on psychometric testing. It is also by far the most widely used in practical settings. Intelligence quotient (IQ) tests include the Stanford-Binet, Raven’s Progressive Matrices, the Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale and the Kaufman Assessment Battery for Children. There are also psychometric tests that are not intended to measure intelligence itself but some closely related construct such as scholastic aptitude. In the United States examples include the SSAT, the SAT, the ACT, the GRE, the MCAT, the LSAT, and the GMAT.
Intelligence tests are widely used in educational, business, and military settings because of their efficacy in predicting behavior. IQ and g (discussed in the next section) are correlated with many important social outcomes—individuals with low IQs are more likely to be divorced, have a child out of marriage, be incarcerated, and need long-term welfare support, while individuals with high IQs are associated with more years of education, higher status jobs and higher income. Intelligence is significantly correlated with successful training and performance outcomes, and IQ/g is the single best predictor of successful job performance.