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Should cognitive assessment be administered first?

Posted on: 23 April 2009 at 12:58 SAST

± minute read

Author: Dorron Aremband I am sure that reading this as a professional in the field of psychology and psychometrics, the title of this article more than likely sparked some degree of panic. It is likely that answers such as 'of course' or 'it is best practice' immediately presented themselves as the only feasible answer to such an obvious question. I am also of the opinion that for many, even proposing that cognitive assessments should not always be administered first within an assessment battery, is psychological and psychometric blasphemy. There is no doubt that best practice dictates the point above, in addition, assessment distributors and providers are very stringent in terms of promoting that for occupational assessment, a cognitive assessment should always be administered first. However...A colleague and I have recently noticed a trend. Individuals that had undergone an assessment battery often complained that the simulation exercise that they were required to complete was the most taxing, and in they would have liked to complete the simulation exercise first. This sparked a debate between my colleague and me. I argued for the cognitive assessment to be administered initially, whilst my colleague argued that the simulation exercise should be administered initially. This argument began to spiral into a further argument: whether the type of simulation exercise or cognitive assessment will have an impact on which instrument to administer at the onset. Furthermore; is the participants' opinion substantiated (as they are not the professional)? Should their opinion change the way in which the process is currently undertaken. In essence, both arguments carry some validity, depending on the criteria used to authenticate the proposed dilemma...

Personally I shared and still do share the same conviction proposed above. In addition, as a unit that provides an assessment service, it is our policy to administer cognitive assessments initially and such assessments should not even be administered in the afternoon. However I wanted to test my opinion at the hand of a wider audience. The fundamental postulate is: as practicing, competent professionals we understand that occupational cognitive assessments should be administered first as best practice. Past learning has infused this belief to such an extent that it is rarely challenged. The question is - if this still makes sense? What do you think? Perhaps you have come across research to justify one position over the other? I'm looking forward to your comments below.

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