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Sattlers Pillars of Assessment

Sattlers Pillars of Assessment

Sattler is a world-known author and a pioneer in the physiological testing and assessment fields. He is more popular for the “Assessment of Children: Cognitive and Application” which explains the four pillars of assessment which are, information assessment methodologies, interviews, norm-referenced tests, and observation. There are multiple reasons why counselors may find the need to assess their clients, as they all have different psychological problems. Assessments help psychologists get a deeper understanding of their clients by looking at the relevant factors that are involved in the normal human functioning. They are also able to identify the client’s strengths and areas that need to be developed. This essay will discuss how a psychologist can apply Sattler’s pillars of assessment in an educational scenario and explain the ethical guidelines that will be required in the assessment process.

Part A: The Testing Process

A psychologist or counselor may apply the Sattler’s pillars of assessment when testing a disabled learner. The testing is educational as the assessment process will screen, diagnose, determine and implement an intervention program to monitor the learning institutions for students with disabilities. It is easier to address any challenges that a disabled learner may have in the process of acquiring knowledge and skills within the learning institutions using the Sattler’s assessment pillars (Sattler & Ryan, 2009). Appropriate intervention measures may be taken to addressing all the learning challenges based on the assessment outcomes. The psychological assessment, in this case, will ensure that proper intervention strategies are designed to cater to the client’s needs. The testing process of the client will integrate all the relevant details obtained from all four assessment pillars, as explained.

Non-Referenced Tests

These tests will be used to compare the student’s performance with that of other students with learning disabilities. Some of the non-referenced instruments to be used by psychologists are early childhood development, intelligence, overall language, and adaptive functioning. The testing may be done by assessing the student’s level of intelligence, his display of maladaptive behaviors, and social-emotional functioning. The psychologist may give the client a numerical value as a way of assessing his memory skills, and this will allow him to compare his strengths and weaknesses to those of his peers. Giving him a numerical value to memorize will help determine whether he has a strong or a weak memory capacity.

Conducting Interviews

As a psychologist, I will conduct interviews to help me know the client better and assess the nature of his challenges. The client’s family background, mental or physical illness is very crucial as it may help in understanding whether the disability may be hereditary and whether the disability may be causing mental illness to the patient. Assessments are used to generate information, and conducting interviews is a vital source of getting information from the client. If the primary caregiver of the client is available, she may also be interviewed according to her impact on the client’s functioning as she may be aware of some useful information that the challenged learner does not know. Interviewing is the most important pillar of assessment as it allows a psychologist to determine the possible behavioral challenges of the client.


Observation is an integral part of the testing process. Psychologists have to observe clients, facial expressions, demeanor, and behavior during the testing process. In this pillar, the client will be assessed based on the behavior he displays during the testing process like during the interviewing sessions. In this case of assessing a disabled learner, the psychologist will have to extend his observation techniques to examining the student’s efforts, social interaction skills, language and how they cope with the school setting (Chouraeshkenazi& Kime). The observation pillar is, therefore, very important when evaluating clients and determining the most suitable measures to be taken so as to meet the client’s educational needs.

Informal Assessment Procedures

The informal methods of assessment would be used to further assess the client’s strengths, areas in need of development and allow for some degree of creativity on the part of the psychologist. The client may be subjected to activities like reading some passages and physical outdoor games to identify their weaknesses. Outcome rating scales that informally assess the client for several days will be the best for the student as it will provide the psychology with a trend of how the client has been over a specific period in the social, interpersonal, and overall areas of his life. Generally, the main purpose of the informal assessment procedures is to obtain important information to be used in the official testing procedures.

Part B: Ethical Guidelines to Consider in the Assessment Process

Assessing a student with some disabilities is crucial, and one is required to follow some unorthodox protocol. Due to the sensitivity of the topic, there are various ethical considerations that may negatively affect the psychologist in the assessment process. Although testing is very important as it influences the intervention measures to be taken when teaching a student with a disability, psychologists experience some ethical dilemmas during the process.


Competence is very important in such an assessment process. As a psychologist, I would have to make sure that all activities done draw upon the professional or scientific knowledge of my discipline. Counselors must be able to have control over their life, cope with any possible challenges effectively, and adapt quickly to circumstances as they change (Adams & Luscher, 2003). A psychologist should be competent enough to deal with all clients regardless of their racial or ethnic differences. According to the American Psychology Association, competence is an important characteristic of a psychologist’s performance to determine his abilities. To ensure that competence is clear and that they provide professional and qualified practices, psychologists have to complete training.

Informed Consent

As a psychologist handling a client with some learning disability, I should have the element of informal contest. This is where a psychologist will have to describe his role and obtain the client’s consent to participate in the assessment process based on the client’s understanding of the methods to be used. The client has to be informed that he has the right to accept or decline his participation in the therapy sessions. If the student is very small to make such a decision, the primary caregiver is given the opportunity to make the decision. The client should also be aware that in case of any discomfort or personal issue, he is free to withdraw from the tests at any period and also be made aware of any consequences that may arise as a result of them withdrawing from the process. Finally, a client has to be given a Contact to use in case they have any questions concerning the assessment process.

Human Relations

Human relations cover some crucial elements that may be detrimental in the assessment process. A psychologist has to ensure that the client is protected by avoiding any unfair discrimination, harm, or any kind of harassment. Discrimination, in this case, may be based on unfair treatment as a result of differences in gender, race, culture, ethnicity or religion. In this case, a psychologist may be bias and discriminatory because of the fact that a client is a person with a disability. To conduct the assessment process effectively, one has to annotate meticulous protocols of how he will mitigate any kind of discriminatory practice from the analysis and conduct his testing process in a manner that produces the most reliable results. Avoiding harm is another important element of a psychologist as a client should always be safe and secure during the psychological assessment process.


The four pillars used in the assessment process are norm-referenced tests, interviews, observations, and none informed tests. Understanding the pillars of Assessment ensures quality and sound professional practice. Counselors and other scientists involved in psychological assessments may use Sattler’s pillars of assessment as guidelines to ensure they include all the necessary elements and that they adhere to all ethical and legal protocols. The Psychological assessment process is very crucial, and the practitioners have to follow some ethical guidelines like competency, informed consent, and human relations in their practices.


Adams, H. E., & Luscher, K. A. (2003). Ethical considerations in psychological assessment. Handbook of professional ethics for psychologists: Issues, questions, and controversies, 275-283.

Chouraeshkenazi, M. M., & Kime, S. Pillars of Assessment in Psychology. Sattler, J. M., & Ryan, J. J. (2009). Assessment with the WAIS-IV. Jerome M Sattler Publisher.


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In this assignment, you will examine how Sattler’s pillars of assessment apply to professional practice.

Imagine that you are working as a psychologist. Develop a scenario where you might see a client for testing. The testing may be forensic,  educational, clinical, or occupational. Please choose only one.

Sattler’s Pillars of Assessment

Sattler’s Pillars of Assessment

Part A

Using Sattler’s pillars of assessment, explain how you would proceed with the testing process.

Part B

Identify at least three ethical guidelines that you will need to consider in the assessment process and give a specific example for each of these issues (such as confidentiality, informed consent, competency,  etc.).

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