Despite its controversial history, intellectual assessment is an important part of a comprehensive psychoeducational or cognitive evaluation. Assessing intelligence offers insight into a test-taker's unique pattern of cognitive strengths and weaknesses and provides a psychometric basis for developing clinical hypotheses, recommendations, and treatment planning as part of a larger assessment protocol. This is why Contemporary Intellectual Assessment: Theories, Tests, and Issues (3rd ed.), edited by Drs Dawn P. Flanagan and Patti L. Harrison, will be a valuable resource for neuropsychologists conducting comprehensive evaluations. Furthermore, the book's scope, depth, and clarity will be useful to seasoned as well as more junior practitioners and graduate students.
Contemporary Intellectual Assessment: Theories, Tests, and Issues (3rd ed.) is comprised of 36 chapters divided among six parts. The editors have selected authors with expertise in the theory, research, and practice of intellectual and cognitive assessment and with specialties in clinical psychology, neuropsychology, pediatrics, education, school psychology, developmental psychology applied psychometrics, and test publishing. While generally consistent with the scope of the second edition (Flanagan & Harrison, 2005), the third edition contains expanded content areas, updated research throughout, and several key improvements that will be appreciated by the reader, as detailed below.
Parts I and II address the history of intellectual assessment from its origins (e.g., its pseudoscientific, philosophical, and early scientific beginnings) through to contemporary theories reflecting advances and revisions in operationalization, application, and interpretation on empirical grounds (e.g., a revised account of CHC theory including growing evidence for its relevance to neuropsychological, cognitive, and information-processing models of assessment). As a result, these chapters offer the reader a thorough yet digestible account of the theoretical diversity surrounding the models that have guided the definition and measurement of intelligent behavior from the late 1880s through now. They do so by offering a balanced account of each model's strengths and weaknesses or criticisms. I should note that Part II begins with a chapter that is a reprint from the prior edition, and this is because one author of the second edition chapter, John L. Horn, passed away since that edition was published.
Part III reviews the most up-to-date editions of common intelligence, cognitive, and neuropsychological batteries used to measure ability and achievement across the lifespan. Each chapter focuses on a different test—described by its author(s)—including a new chapter on the NEPSY-II, which enhances the book's relevance to practitioners of neuropsychological assessment. A particularly useful feature of Part III is its user-friendly organization. For instance, each chapter is formatted to first describe the battery's theory, development, and psychometric properties, then offer clinical applications and interpretive suggestions and conclude with a brief case sample to help the reader put it all together.
Part IV as a whole centers on summarizing various models for interpreting test results and linking each to treatment planning and intervention. Where these chapters succeed is in providing the practitioner guidance on drawing reliable, theory-driven conclusions from cognitive test performance, supported by the latest research findings. Another strength of this section is that it provides a corpus of contemporary models, most rooted in CHC theory (e.g., the cross-battery approach, cognitive hypothesis testing, information-processing approaches), bound to be useful to a range of practitioners. Perhaps better placed in Part V from an organizational standpoint, but valuable nonetheless, the last two chapters of Part IV focus specifically on issues (and recommendations for reconciling them) faced by practitioners working with culturally and linguistically diverse populations and those with specific learning disabilities.
Part V addresses intellectual and cognitive assessment in specific populations. Each chapter highlights relevant considerations unique to the assessment of that population. Compared with the second edition, the third includes an updated listing of clinical populations for which intellectual, cognitive, and neuropsychological assessments are useful and common (e.g., autism spectrum disorder, ADHD, traumatic brain injury, etc.) as well as updated research findings related to intellectual assessment in the very young, gifted, and learning-disabled populations.
Part VI concludes this resource with a summary of current and emerging issues surrounding intellectual, cognitive, and neuropsychological assessments (e.g., validity evidence supporting measures of ability, a shift toward using cognitive theories—as opposed to intelligence theories—to predict academic success, etc.). Where this edition becomes more relevant to neuropsychologists than the previous edition is in Part VI's attention to the historical influence of neuropsychological models of brain function and behavioral impact on more traditional models of intelligence testing and interpretation.
In sum, Contemporary Intellectual Assessment: Theories, Tests, and Issues (3rd ed.) provides a comprehensive and empirically grounded account of intelligence theory and assessment. It is organized in a user-friendly manner, presents current and updated research, and offers the reader best practices for intellectual, cognitive, and neuropsychological testing from leading scientist-practitioners in psychology and related fields. The editors' attention to the needs of their target audience is apparent and will go a long way in securing this book as an oft-used reference in one's clinical practice and theoretical understanding of contemporary intellectual assessment.