Quick Neurological Screening Test, Revised Edition

Purpose: Designed for use in screening for early identification of disabilities.

Population: Ages 5 and over.

Score: Norms suggest cutoff scores.

Time: (20) minutes.

Authors: Margaret Mutti, Harold M. Sterling, and Norma V. Spalding.

Publisher: Academic Therapy Publications.

Description: The Quick Neurological Screening Test (QNST) is composed of 15 observed tasks that reportedly can be used as a screening test for learning disabilities. These tasks are very simple in nature and were adapted primarily from a typical pediatric neurological examination; however, a few tasks were derived from developmental scales or neuropsychological tests.

Scoring: Subjective scoring is required for the tasks, which include: handwriting ability, perceptual ability for numbers written on the palms of the hands, eye tracking, finger to nose coordination, rapidly reversing repetitive hand movements, tandem walk, and arm and leg extension. The test requires that the examiner be highly observant of the child’s behavior and make subjective ratings concerning the child’s performance. These subjective ratings are then compared to cutoff scores in the manual.

Reliability: Although subjective scoring is involved in the test, no direct measure of scorer reliability is presented in the manual. Indirect evidence suggests that there is some examiner bias. For example, in one study a test-retest reliability coefficient of .81 is reported after a month interval for 33 learning disabled children who were tested by a single examiner. A single examiner is likely to exercise the same scoring bias on two administrations. A lower reliability coefficient of .71 was reported in another study after a 1 month interval with two different examiners. Apparently one examiner administered the first test and another examiner the follow-up test. The difference between these two correlations may imply that individual examiners employ slightly different criteria in scoring even though both attempted to follow the instructions.

Validity: The QNST seems to be best for matching the findings of a standard pediatric neurological examination. In one study of over 550 subjects, 30% of which had positive neurological findings, the QNST was abnormally high in 98% of these. No patient had a positive neurological examination and a QNST in the normal range. A major problem with the QNST, however, is that a large unspecified number of subjects had abnormally high QNST scores and no positive finds on neurological examination.

Norms: 2,239 subjects from learning disabled and undifferentiated populations.

Suggested Uses: It is recommended that the QNST could be included as only one test in a battery of neuropsychological tests for learning disabilities.