The Serial Use of Child Neurocognitive Tests: Development Versus Practice Effects

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When serial neurocognitive assessments are performed, 2 main factors are of importance: test-retest reliability and practice effects. With children, however, there is a third, developmental factor, which occurs as a result of maturation. Child tests recognize this factor through the provision of age-corrected scaled scores. Thus, a ready-made method for estimating the relative contribution of developmental versus practice effects is the comparison of raw (developmental and practice) and scaled (practice only) scores. Data from a pool of 507 Portuguese children enrolled in a study of dental amalgams (T. A. DeRouen, B. G. Leroux, et al., 2002; T. A. DeRouen, M. D. Martin, et al., 2006) showed that practice effects over a 5-year period varied on 8 neurocognitive tests. Simple regression equations are provided for calculating individual retest scores from initial test scores.

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