Psychological assessment includes among its variants the evaluation of intelligence, and this has been especially important in the area of children. Here we will talk about the Kaufman Evaluation Battery for Children .

It assesses not only the child’s knowledge, but also how he or she processes information, i.e., his or her processing style, which may be sequential or simultaneous. We will know the characteristics of the battery and which components it evaluates.

Kaufman Children’s Test Battery: Features

The Kaufman Assessment Battery for Children, also called K-ABC, was designed by Kaufman and Kaufman in 1983.

It comprises a series of tests that measure intelligence and academic performance . It is applied to children between 2.6 and 12.5 years old, and its theoretical basis is based on cognitive and neuropsychological models.

This battery is interested in the style and type of processing of the subject rather than the final result. In other words, it focuses primarily on the processing of information.

The subscales included in the battery are five: sequential processing, simultaneous processing, mental processing, knowledge and the non-verbal scale . Let’s get to know them in detail.

Battery scales

The Kaufman Children’s Assessment Battery includes two types of global scales. Let’s see what they are.

1. Mental processing

Measures intellectual functioning, i.e. the type of information processing used by the subject. It encompasses two types of processing: sequential and simultaneous. The scale represents the integration of these two processing styles.

Its measurement provides a good overall estimate of mental processing capacity or intelligence; according to the authors themselves, “intelligence is complex and probably the most intelligent behaviours result from an integration of sequential and simultaneous processes”.

1.1 Sequential processing

Measures the child’s ability to solve problems whose elements are presented to him in succession , one after the other. The stimuli are temporally and linearly related to the preceding ones. This type of processing is composed of three subtests, and requires analytical, successive or serial skills.

1.2. Simultaneous processing

It evaluates the ability of the subject to synthesize the information needed to solve the problems presented. The different stimuli have to be integrated and synthesized, simultaneously, to reach the appropriate solution.

It consists of 7 subtests and requires holistic or gestalt skills.

2. Academic knowledge

This scale assesses the knowledge and skills acquired at school or, more informally, in the environment. That is, is intended to measure the knowledge acquired and the level of school learning .

Non-verbal scale

The battery also includes a non-verbal scale for children with hearing or speech difficulties . This scale is composed of different subtests of sequential and simultaneous processing. The subtests are grouped into three age groups:

  • Between 2 and 4 years old : includes the tasks of face recognition, hand movements and triangles.
  • From 5 years old : includes the tasks of hand movements, triangles, analogous matrices and spatial memory.
  • Between 6 and 12 years old : includes the tasks of hand movements, triangles, analogous matrices, spatial memory and photo series.

The non-verbal scale can be administered through gestures, using a minimum of verbal prompts; in addition, it is also responded to through gestures.

Scoring and interpretation

The battery uses IQ scores. To give a rough idea of its scores, an IQ of less than 85 is indicative of impairment (this would be 1 standard deviation below average).

Each item in the Kaufman Kids Test Battery is scored with 0 or 1. On the other hand, there is no bonus or “plus” for responding quickly, although there is only one test with a set response time, the triangle test. No points are awarded either if an item is answered or partially solved .

In the Spanish adaptation of the test, the manual offers tables that allow the direct score to be transformed into scalar scores, centiles and equivalent ages.

On the other hand, the subtests of the scale of mental processing have a mean of 10 and a standard deviation of 3; on the other hand, those of the scale of academic knowledge, have a mean of 100 and a standard deviation of 15.

Kaufman K-BIT

In addition to the Kaufman Children’s Screening Battery , there is another battery for quick and easy first screening . It measures two types of intelligence: verbal and non-verbal.

Its age of application is from 4 years old to 90 years old. This test is an excellent measure of general intelligence, which includes two subtests:

  • Vocabulary: expressive vocabulary and definitions.
  • Matrices: drawings and abstract figures (eliminates cultural influence)

Bibliographic references:

  • Kaufman, A. & Kaufman, N. (1997). Kaufman’s Battery of evaluation of Kaufman for children. Madrid: TEA.
  • Cohen, R.J., Swerdlik, M.E. (2002) Psychological testing and assessment. McGraw-Hill. Madrid.
  • Matos, M.A. and Mustaca, A.E. (2005). Applied behavioural analysis (ACA) and generalized developmental disorders (GDD): their assessment in Argentina. INTERDISCIPLINARY, 22,(1), 59 – 76.
  • Amador, J.A., Forns, M. and Kirchner, T. (2006). The Kaufman children’s assessment battery: K-ABC. Working paper. Faculty of Psychology – University of Barcelona