The importance of culturally valid norms in cognitive assessment: The Case of the WAIS-IV French-Canadian adaptation
Yergeau É, Le Corff Y, Parent N. (2019). The importance of culturally valid norms in cognitive assessment: The Case of the WAIS-IV French-Canadian adaptation. Journal for Teaching and Education. 9(1): 411-416.
This study aims at highlighting the importance of using adequate cultural norms when assessing cognitive performance with a complex test protocol such as the Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale. This instrument has been the gold standard in cognitive evaluation for over 70 years (Wechsler, 2008) and is widely used by many practitioners in many countries. The WAIS-IV has been adapted for the Canadian population both English (WAIS-IV CND; Wechsler, 2008) and French speaking (WAIS-IV CDN-F; Wechsler, 2010). Both adaptations rely on English-only norms to derive the composites scores of global IQ (FSIQ) and other indexes. This situation causes a problem in fairness of assessment as posited by the standard practices in testing (AERA, APA & NCME, 2014). In order to grab the extent of the language bias in the French-canadian WAIS-IV assessments, this study presents simulations with WAIS-III version which had distinct English and French norms. For two age strata, simulated raw scores to obtain Low, Mean and High range IQ scores with the French-canadian norms were processed through English norms. Results of simulations show that the use of English norms with French speaking subject induce a systematic bias, mainly lowering verbal IQ indexes scores of French subjects. The magnitude of the bias diminishes as age increases and as IQ lowers. Impacts on IQ scores interpretation are discussed.