Chapter 7: The Kaufman Assessment Battery for Children (K-ABC) in South Africa

AUTHOR/S:  K. Greenop, J. Fry, D. de Sousa

ABSTRACT: The K-ABC was published in 1983 (revised and re-standardised, K-ABC ll, in 2004) as a measure of cognitive ability in children aged 2-12:6 years. The revised edition appropriately extends the age band to 18:11 years and modifies, subtracts and adds subtests. The K-ABC measures fluid and crystallised abilities, short and long term memory and visual processing and aligns with the Cattell-Horn-Carroll hierarchically organized model. The battery is based on Luria’s model of mental processing and has correlated significantly with scholastic achievement. Of greatest relevance is that the K-ABC was designed to have a reduced language and cultural load and the second edition has altered two sub-scales that were shown to load differently for diverse cultures.  The degree to which the K-ABC is able to offer a reduced cultural load test is debatable. Cross-cultural research, in Zaire and South Africa predominantly, has demonstrated that the K-ABC has value in cross-cultural settings but with specific caveats. Importantly the Sequential and Simultaneous processing scale offer more value that the Mental Processing Composite which has a knowledge basis that is culturally specific. The few studies have been conducted on the K-ABC in South Africa, have demonstrated its assessment value in a diagnostic, remedial and dynamic assessment framework, especially in comparison to alternate intelligence tests. However, caution is raised due to the absence of a strong South African normative basis.

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