Lucid Exact and LASS 11-15 are quite different assessment tools. Lucid Exact is a suite of attainment tests. Because they tell the assessor where a student’s literacy attainments are compared with the general population of students of the same age, the results of Lucid Exact are helpful in identifying learning problems, but do not shed light on the underlying nature or causes of those problems. LASS, on the other hand, is a diagnostic assessment tool that gives information on key underlying learning skills such as reasoning, memory and phonological processing. This information can be used diagnostically in order to clarify the nature of a student's problems and to identify conditions such as dyslexia. For comprehensive assessment efficiency, both LASS and Lucid Exact should be used.
Lucid Exact has quite a wide range of application in addition to assessment for exam access arrangements, e.g.
(a) Lucid Exact is appropriate for assessing students with specific learning difficulties in secondary, further or higher education, or for teachers wishing to obtain a standardised objective assessment of literacy of groups of students from ages 11-24, or of individual students within that age range who have specific problems (such as slow handwriting, spelling or reading comprehension).
(b) Although individual tests from Lucid Exact may be helpful in suggesting dyslexia, or may form part of a dyslexia assessment, this group of tests are not sufficient in themselves to make a diagnosis of dyslexia and are not designed for that purpose. Administrators who require a test that will identify dyslexia should consider using LASS 11-15 (for the age range 11:0 – 15:11) or LADS/LADS Plus (for ages 16 and upwards).
(c) Lucid Exact has two forms of equivalent difficulty – Form A and Form B. This allows for repeated assessment if desired, without undue concern about practice effects and without violating psychometric principles. The two forms can be alternated over time in order to record progress, e.g. in response to intervention given to students with literacy difficulties.
Lucid is in the process of publishing provisional norms based on data already collected, so that Lucid Exact could be used for this purpose. If any schools would like to assist Lucid in collecting Year 6 data to speed up the production of definitive norms, please contact us. However, teachers should also check check the regulations on access arrangements for SATs,see www.education.gov.uk/schools/teachingandlearning/assessment/keystage2/ks2tests
Bright students may have genuine literacy difficulties but are typically good at compensating so their literacy may well be above the normal threshold for access arrangements (standard score 85). But the JCQ regulations do not require an IQ score to be given, so measurement of IQ is not strictly necessary and that is why it has not been included in Lucid Exact. Similarly, JCQ regulations do not require a diagnostic label (like ‘dyslexia’) to be given, although information about this is often given under ‘History of need’ in Section A, JCQ Form 8. If the assessor believes that IQ is relevant in a particular case, this information can be given in the ‘Other relevant information section’ of Section C, JCQ Form 8. To assess IQ we would recommend using Lucid Ability.
JCQ Regulations specify that the assessment must be carried out or supervised by a suitably qualified person, who could be an appropriately qualified psychologist or a specialist teacher with a current SpLD Assessment Practising Certificate, and the Head of Centre must satisfy themselves that this person is competent to carry out such assessments. [JCQ Regulations 2014-15, Section 7.3]. The person carrying out the assessment then takes responsibility for selecting and administering appropriate tests, interpreting the results [JCQ Regulations 2014-15, Sections 7.4 and 7.5], and making the recommendations for access arrangements using JCQ Form 8 via the JCQ Access Arrangements Online service [[JCQ Regulations 2014-15, Section 7.6].
These requirements apply whatever tests are used, whether Lucid Exact, or any others. Further advice on this matter is given in the Patoss book ‘Dyslexia: Assessing the need for Access Arrangements during examinations. A practical guide’ (4th edition, Patoss, 2011), Chapter 8. See:www.patoss-dyslexia.org/resources
A free update for the 2014-15 academic year is also available from the Patoss website [www.patossdyslexia.org/Resources/2014-08-22/PatossJCQ-update-Insert-for-4th-Edition-201415].
JCQ Form 8 requires that, for each test used in the assessment, the ‘Test ceiling’ is entered on the form. Teachers are sometimes puzzled about this, because they are unsure whether this refers to a score or an age limit. The JCQ Regulations state that:
“The candidate’s chronological age should be less than the ‘ceiling’ of the test, unless no test is published for the candidate’s age.” [JCQ Regulations, 2014-15, section 7.5.7]
This makes it clear that JCQ intends that ‘test ceiling’ should refer to the maximum age for which the test has been standardised. In the case of all the tests in Exact, this is 24 years 11 months. So this is what should be entered on Form 8.
Occasionally, students older that 24:11 need to be assessed for exam access arrangements. In this event, please see the answer to the FAQ ‘Can Lucid Exact be used to assess students over the age of 24 years 11 months?’
By way of further explanation, the term ‘test ceiling’ as used in psychometrics typically refers to the highest score that is obtainable on a given test rather than the upper age limit is the test. The term is derived from the concept of a ‘ceiling effect’, has been defined as:
“In statistics and measurement theory, an artificial upper limit on the value that a variable can attain, causing the distribution of scores to be skewed. For example, the distribution of scores on an ability test will be skewed by a ceiling effect if the test is much too easy for many of the respondents and many of them obtain perfect scores.” [Colman, A. M. (2008) A Dictionary of Psychology. Oxford University Press, 2008]
What this means is that when students score the maximum on a test (generally called ‘ceiling level’ or ‘at ceiling’) the test result may not accurately reflect their ability because there is no way of knowing whether they could have scored higher if there were more difficult items on the test. However, for the score test ceiling to be meaningful, one would have to also know what the student’s raw score actually was, in order to determine that it was below the ceiling. JCQ Form 8 does not ask for the raw score because in this context ‘test ceiling’ means upper age limit rather than maximum score.
The initial version of Exact was standardised for ages up to 24 years 11 months; however, there are occasions when students older than this age need to be assessed for exam access arrangements. Examination of the research literature on studies of adult literacy across the western world shows that reading, spelling and handwriting skills are fairly stable over the age range 25 to 45 (see references below). Therefore it is reasonable to assume that norms for Exact word recognition, reading comprehension accuracy and speed, spelling and handwriting are unlikely to differ significantly during that time, and hence the norms for age 24 may be used for students in the 25 to 45 age range. When using Exact for students aged 25-45 you should enter their data of birth as normal so that the report will show their correct chronological age. The test will automatically apply norms for age 24, but these will still be valid across the 25-45 age range. On the JCQ form you should enter the test ceiling as ’45:11’ and, if necessary, you should cite this FAQ answer as evidence that you are using the test appropriately.