Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Digital Assessments and Q-Interactive

When I checked my school email this morning I had one from Pearson. I started receiving these after the NASP Convention last year (2012) when I signed up to win a test kit (Spoiler alert: I didn’t win). Every now and then (aka when I am avoiding something I should be doing, but don’t want to) I take the time to peruse the contents of the email. Today, it was about a new digital system titled “Q Interactive” from PearsonEd. The subject of the email read: Increase Efficiency and Savings with Q-Interactive™. This peaked my interest so I continued reading.

Well, if this isn’t a tagline for school psychologists everywhere I don’t know what is! Now, I try my hardest to avoid paper, but I still love it. In grad school I loved printing the day’s PowerPoint and taking notes. Something about having the hard copy made me feel accomplished. It also was conducive to my commuting lifestyle and made studying on the T (MBTA) that much easier, but I digress.

Yes, this is my computer. I call her "Big Momma."
With today’s technological advancements there are various applications and programs that are extremely helpful in our role as a school psychologist, such as the PAR Toolkit or School Psychology Tools. While I have downloaded the former, I typically only use the age calculator on the go. I also know there are apps for collecting behavioral data, including Behavior Lens, but I have not tried these out. However, the switch to a digital protocol format is unreal! Imagine, tapping the blocks to accurately record a student’s design, rather than fumbling with drawings. For someone like me who is weak in this area, it would make things a lot easier.

As it is stated in the video there is a “cloud” where all of the assessment data is stored, which means you can test on the go or at the last second (provided you have any additional materials you may need). It also means you have access to your protocols readily in a meeting or for consultation purposes. The idea of using this system is mindboggling, but in a good way. I have been so trained to rely on my paper and pencil method, I can’t fathom having everything on my tablet. Guess that show’s how tech savy I am, right? (Sidenote: I tried to use an app to make my grocery list, but after a few weeks I’m back to the paper method again. I just love physically crossing off items rather than tapping a button!).

In order to truly buy into this approach I think I would need to see it done in front of me and have the ability to play around with the program. It is definitely a system that will take some practice getting used to, especially recording procedures. According to the website, not everything will be directly on the program. Standard issue Wechsler blocks will still need to be purchased (at $54.00 a set!) as well as other materials. I will say that having the California Verbal Learning Test for Children (CVLT-C) available peaks my interest. I love this tool and love it more when I can use computer scoring. I used it a lot last year at my site, but don’t have access to it this year (rather avoid using it because I need to hand score). The program also charges an annual licensing fee ($300/year) and then $1.50 per subtest. It is available for the iPad only. 

What is great about this is the ability to use subtests from a variety of measures. Currently Q-Interactive offers the Wechsler scales (WISC-IV, WAIS-IV), California (CVLT-C, CVLT-II), and select subtests of the Delis-Kaplan Executive Function System (D-KEFS). They also have select subtests of the NEPSY-II, Wechsler Memory Scale (WMS-IV), and Children's Memory Scale (CMS) are listed as "coming soon."

So, what are your thoughts as assessments move into the age of technology? Are you tech savy enough to handle these changes? Are you old school (like me) and attached to your paper and stopwatch?

I think I need to make smaller, incremental changes before I jump into tablet based assessment. Any recommendations on how I could add technology into my practice as a school psychologist? What works for you? What is the one tech program/app that you couldn’t do your job without?

Until next thyme,

1 comment:

  1. Erika-

    Hello. I am happy to hear that our most recent email sparked an interest. I work on the Q-interactive Team at Pearson and would be happy to schedule some time for you and your followers to see Q-interactive in action. Please email me at if you are interested in scheduling a webinar.

    Best of luck to you!

    Janet S. Ward
    Q-interactive Marketing & Communications Manager