University of Wisconsin - Madison
Department of Rehabilitation Psychology and Special Education
194-540: Assessment of Adults with Disabilities Syllabus
Fall 2006

Professor: Ruth Torkelson Lynch, Ph.D., CRC, NCC
Office: 432 North Murray Street, Rm. 409
Telephone: (608) 263-7785
Fax: (608) 262-8108
Office Hours: 1:00- 2:00 p.m. on Mondays or by appointment

Teaching Assistant: Jeong Han Kim
Office: 432 North Murray Street, Room 420
Telephone: (608) 262-7498
Office Hours:

Class Time: 11:15 am – 2:00 p.m., Tuesdays
Rm. 2121 Mechanical Engineering

[email protected] course homepage is available through your MyUW portal.

"I wish to fully include persons with disabilities in this course. Please let me know if you need any special accommodations in the curriculum, instruction, or assessments of this course to enable you to fully participate. I recognize the confidentiality of the information you share with me."

Course Objectives

This course will focus on client assessment within the rehabilitation process. The specific
course objectives are to develop knowledge and skills as follows:
a) determine what type of assessment information would be useful for rehabilitation planning
b) identify appropriate assessment tools to gather the information
c) understand the core methodology of assessment procedures (e.g., reliability, validity, standardization)
d) understand the process involved to administer, score, and interpret results of assessment procedures
e) develop skills related to report writing of assessment results
f) utilize the implications of client assessment for rehabilitation planning with the client
g) develop an awareness of limits and ethical issues relevant to assessment
h) develop awareness of assessment considerations relevant to gender, racial and ethnic background, and disability
i) understand the applications of assessment in a variety of rehabilitation programs and settings



Knowledge areas:
• Assessment resources and methods
• Standardization
• Measurement and statistical concepts
• Selecting and administering the appropriate assessment method (e.g., standardized tests, situational assessment, place-access vs. access-place)
• Obtaining, interpreting, and synthesizing assessment information
• Conducting ecological assessment
• Assistive technology
• Ethical, legal, and cultural implications in assessment

Outcomes as demonstrated by the ability to:
C.7.1 determine an individual’s eligibility for rehabilitation services and/or programs;

C.7.2 facilitate consumer involvement in evaluating the feasibility of rehabilitation or independent living objectives;

C.7.3 utilize assessment information to determine appropriate services;

C.7.4 assess the unique strengths, resources, and experiences of an individual including career knowledge and interests;

C.7.5 evaluate the individual’s capabilities to engage in informed choice and to make decisions;

C.7.6 assess an individual’s vocational or independent living skills, aptitudes, interests, and preferences;

C.7.7 assess an individual’s need for rehabilitation engineering/technology services throughout the rehabilitation process;

C.7.8 assess the environment and make modifications for reasonable accommodations;

C.7.9 use behavioral observations to make inferences about work personality, characteristics, and adjustment;

C.7.10 integrate assessment data to describe consumers’ assets, limitations, and preferences for rehabilitation planning purposes;

C.7.11 interpret test and ecological assessment outcomes to consumers and others;

C.7.12 objectively evaluate the effectiveness of rehabilitation services and outcomes.

Course Readings

Note: Students are responsible for all reading assignments (in the required text, electronic reserve readings, and other materials distributed in class). The text is available for purchase through University Bookstore. Additional readings for the course (listed below under “Additional Required Readings”) can be found at the [email protected] course website.

Required Textbooks
Power, P.W. (2006). A guide to vocational assessment (4th ed). Austin, TX: Pro-Ed.

Urbina, S. (2004). Essentials of psychological testing. Hoboken, New Jersey: John Wiley & Sons.

Additional Required Readings: located at [email protected] course websitel

Cohen, R. J. & Swerdlik, M. E. (2005). The assessment of people with disabilities. In Psychological testing and assessment: An introduction to tests and measurement (6th ed., pp. 490-519). New York, NY: McGraw-Hill.

Hood, A B. & Johnson, R. W. (2002). Mental health assessment: Interview procedures. In Assessment in Counseling (3rd ed., pp. 285–308). Alexandria, VA: American Psychological Association.

Kaplan, R. M & Saccuzzo, D. P. (2005). Testing in health psychology and health care. In Psychological testing: Principles, applications, and issues (6th ed., pp. 475 – 508). Belmont, CA: Thomson Wadsworth.

Lichtenberger, E. O., Mather, N., Kaufman, N. L., & Kaufman, A. S. (Eds.). (2004). Behavioral observations. In Essentials of assessment report writing (pp. 55-81). Hoboken, NJ: Wiley & Sons, Inc.

Lopez, S. J., Synder, C. R. & Rasmussen, H. N. (2003). Striking a vital balance: Developing a complementary focus on human weakness and strength through positive psychological assessment. In S. J. Lopez & C. R. Snyder (Eds.), Positive psychological assessment: A handbook of models and measures (pp. 3-20). Washington, D.C.: American Psychological Association.

MacDonald-Wilson, K. L., Nemec, P. B., Anthony, W.A., & Cohen, M. R. (2001). Assessment in psychiatric rehabilitation. In B. F. Bolton (Ed.), Handbook of measurement and evaluation in rehabilitation (3rd ed.) (pp. 423-448). Gaithersburg, MD: Aspen Publications.

Miller, R. J., Lombard, R. C., & Corbey, S. A. (2007). Transition planning and transition assessment: What is it? Why do we do it? In Transition assessment: Planning transition and IEP development for youth with mild to moderate disabilities (pp. 2-11). Boston, MA: Pearson Education., Inc.

Miltenberger, R. G. (2001). Observing and recording behavior. In R. G. Miltenberger, Behavior modification: Principles and procedures (2nd ed., pp. 18-38). Belmont, CA: Wadsworth.

Prieto., L. R. & Scheel, K. R. (2002). Using case documentation to strengthen counselor trainees’ case conceptualization skills. Journal of Counseling and Development, 80 (1), pp. 11–21.

Reid, C., Deutsch, P. M., & Kitchen, J. (2005). Life care planning. In F. Chan, M. J. Leahy, & J. L. Saunders (Eds.), Case management for rehabilitation health professionals (2nd ed., Vol. 1) (pp. 228-263). Osage Beach, MO: Aspen Publications.

Smith, D. K. (2002). The decision-making process for developing testing accommodations. In
R. B. Ekstrom & D. K. Smith (Eds.), Assessing individuals with disabilities in educational, employment, and counseling settings (pp. 71-86). Washington, D.C.: American Psychological Association.

Snyder, C. R., Lopez, S. J., Edwards, L. M., Teramoto Pedrotti, J. Prosser, E. C., LaRue Walton, S., Vehige Spalitto, S. & Ulven, J. C. (2003). Measuring and labeling the positive and negative. In S. J. Lopez & C. R. Snyder (Eds.), Positive psychological assessment: A handbook of models and measures (pp. 21-39). Washington, D.C.: American Psychological Association.

Walls, R.T. (2001). Measurement of client outcomes in rehabilitation. In B. F. Bolton (Ed.), Handbook of measurement and evaluation in rehabilitation (3rd ed., pp. 311-337). Gaithersburg, MD: Aspen Publications.

Whiston, S. C. (2005). Using assessment in counseling. In Principles and applications of assessment and counseling (2nd ed., pp. 305– 22). Belmont, CA: Thomson Brooks/Cole.

Course Structure
1. Classroom activities will include lecture, discussion, demonstration, and small group exercises/presentations. Exercises in class will be used to develop knowledge and skill in assessment activities. Students are expected to read assigned materials prior to class, to attend class, and to participate actively in classroom discussions and activities. The professor will use class time to review key points, to elicit critical analysis, and to explore potential applications in rehabilitation counseling practice.

2. "Lab" activities will concentrate on skill building in administration, scoring, and interpretation of representative assessment instruments. The facility and equipment of the Education and Psychological Training Center (EPTC) will be available for use by students in this class. A student lab fee of approximately $20.00 will be required to cover the cost of assessment materials and scoring. This will be discussed in more detail in class. You will be required to submit a 4-5 page assessment report which will include a summary of the assessment results and interpretive recommendations. The report is due on 11/28/06.

3. Examinations and on-line quizzes.
a. Three (3) unit exams given on the dates specified in the course outline (10/03/06, 10/31/06, and 12/05/06); 45 points possible on each exam; exam content will cover material from assigned readings and class lectures/discussions since the previous exam.

b. 40 points of on-line quiz questions related to the assigned readings. In order to obtain credit, the quiz for the week will need to be completed prior to class (i.e., before 11:15 a.m. on Tuesdays.).

4. Short topic paper. Each student will prepare a short topic paper regarding an assessment issue/topic. The intent of this exercise is to provide further insight and knowledge into applications of assessment within rehabilitation counseling. Each student is required to submit their topic title with a draft outline of key references and a plan for the paper no later than 10/10/06. The due date for the topic paper is 11/14/06.

The paper should be no longer than 8-10 double-spaced pages and will be worth a maximum of 30 points. Concentrate on a specific assessment theme and discuss the implications of that theme or issue for rehabilitation practice. Topics might include: assessment issues for specific functional difficulties (e.g., visual, hearing, learning, motor/physical); assessment of work behavior in supported employment; trends and implications of computer scoring and interpretation; ethnic or gender issues and assessment; assessment of coping abilities, suicide risk, independent living skills, coping, quality of life, etc. You are expected to read and reference at least five (5) articles/chapters in preparing your topic paper. (These should be additional readings beyond the required texts or the additional readings on electronic reserve.) In preparation of your paper, you may also want to review assessment materials from the extensive testing library in the department. Those arrangements will need to be made with the TA or the instructor.

5. Discussion and class participation. Each student will be expected to actively participate in classroom discussions throughout the semester (5 points for participation).

Guidelines for Assignments (Short Topic Paper and Assessment Report)

1. Assignments are due on the dates specified. If you have any difficulty meeting the deadlines, please discuss with Dr. Lynch. You may submit drafts of your papers for feedback and
suggestions up to two weeks prior to the due date.

1. All written assignments must be typed (unless otherwise indicated). They are expected to be neat, grammatically correct, proofread and concise. Any paper turned in within two weeks of the final due date or on the final due date will be considered the final version and graded
“as is”.

2. Students are urged to seek writing assistance to improve writing skills. Call the Writing Center (263-1992), use the UW-Madison On-Line Writing Center ( or consult with the professor or TA for the course.

Student Evaluation
Final course grades will be determined on the following basis:
135 pts. 3 Examinations (45 points each)
40 pts. On-line quizzes
30 pts. Short topic paper
30 pts. Interpretive assessment report
5 pts. Attendance at Rehabilitation Technology Expo
5 pts. Brief presentation of topic paper on 12/12/06
5 pts. Discussion and class participation
250 Total points

A = 230-250 points (92 - 100% of possible points)
AB = 213-229 points (85 - 91% “ )
B = 195-212 points (78 - 84% “ )
BC = 183-194 points (73 - 77% “ )
C = 168-182 points (67 - 72% “ )
D = 152-167 points (61 - 66% “ )
F = 151 points or less (60% or less “ )

Course Outline


Topic(s): Course introduction
Review of syllabus and course requirements


Topic(s): Foundations and history of psychological assessment
Assessment in rehabilitation counseling

Required Readings:
Textbook readings: Power: Introduction and Chapter 1
Urbina: Chapter 1

Readings at [email protected]: 1) Whiston


Topic(s): Fundamentals of testing and measurement
Scores and norms
Reliability and validity

Required Readings:
Textbook readings: Power: Chapter 5
Urbina: Chapters 2, 3

Topic(s): Focusing on strengths and weaknesses
Contextual factors in assessment
Interviews, intake forms, and checklists as assessment tools.

Required Readings:
Textbook Readings: Power: Chapters 3, 6

Readings at [email protected]: 1) Lopez et al.
2) Snyder et al.


EXAM #1 (11:15 a.m. – 12:45 p.m.)

Topic(s): Observation and assessment of behavior
Assessment of cognitive abilities

Required Readings:
Textbook Readings: Power: Chapter 8

Readings at [email protected]: 1) Kaplan & Saccuzzo (pp. 475-493)
2) Miltenberger
3) Lichtenberger


Topic(s): Assessment of achievement, aptitudes, and special abilities
Assessment of environment and person-environment interaction
(situational assessment)

Required Readings:
Textbook Readings: Power: Chapters 10, 12

Topic(s): Assessment of personality and adjustment
Assessment of mental health and psychopathology
Assessment of substance use and suicide risk

Required Readings:
Textbook Readings: Power: Chapter 9

Readings at [email protected]: 1) Hood & Johnson
2) Kaplan & Saccuzzo (pp. 493-508)

EXAM #2 (11:15 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.)

Topic(s): Assessment of interests (12:45 – 2:00 p.m.)
Required Readings:
Textbook Readings: Power: Chapter 7

Topic(s): Assessment of career choice, career development, work behaviors and skills
Legal & ethical issues
Required Readings:
Textbook Readings: Power: Chapters 2 (pp. 27-35), 11
Urbina: Chapter 7

Topic(s): Accommodations and modifications – testing special populations
Assessment interpretation considerations: multicultural and language issues
Required Readings:
Textbook Readings: Power: Chapters 2 (pp. 35-44), 4
Readings at [email protected]: 1) Cohen & Swerdlik
2) Smith


Topic(s): Interpreting and reporting assessment information
Assessment applications in rehabilitation practice
(a) Assessment in psychiatric rehabilitation

Required Readings:
Textbook Readings: Power: Chapters 13, 16
Readings at [email protected]:: 1) MacDonald-Wilson et al.
2) Prieto & Scheel


Topic(s): Assessment applications in rehabilitation practice
(a) Life care planning
(b) Transition and school to work
(c) Outcome evaluation
(d) Assessment in forensics and workers compensation contexts

Required Readings:
Textbook Readings: Power: Chapters 14, 15

Readings at [email protected]: 1) Miller, Lombard, & Corbey
2) Reid et al.
3) Walls


EXAM #3 (11:15 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.)

Topic(s): Assessment issues and themes in rehabilitation (class group discussions based on topic papers)

Updated 8-24-2006

Last modified: Friday, 1 December 2006, 01:29 PM