This study explores the use of the Progressive Figures Test as an instrument for broad initial screening of children in the 6- through 8-year age range with respect to the possible need for more definitive neuropsychological evaluation. Considering earlier results obtained in comparison of brain-damaged and control children [Clinical Neuropsychology: Current Applications, Hemisphere Publishing Corp., Washington, DC, 1974, p. 53; Proceedings of the Conference on Minimal Brain Dysfunction, New York Academy of Sciences, New York, 1973, p. 65], the Progressive Figures Test seemed potentially useful as a first step in determining whether a comprehensive neuropsychological evaluation is indicated. In this investigation, three groups were studied: (1) children with definitive evidence of brain damage or disease who, when compared with normal controls, help to establish the limits of neuropsychological functioning, (2) a group of children who had normal neurological examinations but also had academic problems of significant concern to both parents and teachers, and (3) a normal control group. Statistically significant differences were present in comparing each pair of groups, with the brain-damaged children performing most poorly and the controls performing best. Score distributions for the three groups make it possible to identify a score-range that represented a borderline or “gray” area and to suggest a cutting score that identified children whose academic problems might have a neurological basis and for whom additional neuropsychological evaluation appeared to be indicated.

Author notes

Presented at the Reitan Society (Tucson Chapter) on February 13, 2001.