Validity of memory tasks across the WJ III COG, NEPSY II, and WRAML-2 in a mixed clinical sample of children: Applicability to four neurocognitive theories
Psimas, J. Lynsey
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Current research regarding the neurocognitive construct of memory in children and adolescents within clinical populations is insufficient (Hughes & Graham, 2002). Controversial theories of memory have led to divergent hypotheses about the construct of memory. Based on current disparity regarding the theoretical paradigm of memory, it cannot be assumed that test instruments are measuring the same constructs. Due to the critical importance of memory in comprehensive neuropsychological evaluations, it is essential to establish the validity of theoretical foundations and assessment instruments, particularly within clinical populations. Valid neuropsychological instruments are particularly important in educational settings, where the resulting evaluations often serve as the framework for recommendations, interventions, and other support services. This study examined the concurrent validity of memory subscales of three commonly used neurocognitive instruments: the Woodcock-Johnson III Tests of Cognitive Abilities, Normative Update (WJ III COG; Woodcock, McGrew, & Mather, 2001c, McGrew, Schrank, & Woodcock, 2007; Woodcock, Shrank, Mather, & McGraw, 2007); the Wide Range Assessment of Memory and Learning, Second Edition (WRAML-2; Adams & Sheslow, 2003); and the NEPSY II: A Developmental Neuropsychological Assessment, Second Edition (Korkman, Kirk, & Kemp, 2007). Additionally, the underlying factor structure of the neurocognitive instruments and their congruence with four well-established theories of memory were examined. These four theories include Atkinson and Shiffrin's multimodal model of memory (1968), Baddeley and Hitch's working memory model (1974), CHC theory of cognitive abilities (McGrew, 2005), and the Conceptual Model for School Neuropsychological Assessment (SNP Model; Miller, 2007, 2010; Miller & Maricle, 2012). Examining the fit of memory theories within assessment instruments determined which theories best conceptualize the construct of memory. Archival data were extracted from 892 school neuropsychology case study reports. This research included subjects aged 5 through 16 from a clinical sample. Bivariate correlations were conducted to examine relationships among memory subtests. These analyses support the reliable use of most of these subtests within clinical populations. Level of fit between models of memory and sample data were described using structural equation modeling and analyzed using confirmatory factor analysis. The SNP model was determined to be the best fit among the designated models.