Kaufman Assessment Battery Test for Children, 2nd Edition: Tool for Diagnosing Learning Disabilities

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A Little Background

Alan and Nadeen Kaufman developed the Kaufman Assessment Battery for Children, with the first edition coming out in 1983. The second edition was published in 2004, founded based on two theroretical models, Luria’s neuropsychological theory of processing and Cattell-Horn-Carroll’s model of categorizing cognitive abilities. It is composed of 18 subtests that lead to seperate scoring based on each of the models. Only one of these two scores is computed for the examinor, who will select which one to use based on the child and situation. The Cattell-Horn-Carroll (CHC) model is preferred in the majority of cases. The Luria test excludes verbal ability, so may be used for children that have difficulty expressing themselves verbally, or who do not know English as their primary language.

It is used in clinical research but not as a primary or complete assessment of a child’s intelligence. The KABC-II, however, is a well accepted instrument to correlate with other types of assessment tests.

Purpose of the Test

The main purpose of this standardized assessment test is to assess the achievement and intelligence of children. The second edition can assess children aged 3 to 18.

The KABC-II is organized into three levels for different age groups: age 3, ages 4-7 and ages 7-18. It is also quite useful for children with learning disabilities and children who belong to minority groups. It can also be effective for children who speak another language besides English, as the KABC-II allows correct answers in Spanish and other languages to be graded and given credit. The results of this assessment instrument are correlated with other tests to help teachers plan educational placement, develop IEP, help a neurological diagnosis, and further research in special education.

Administration of the Test

Administration of the test will depend mostly on the age of the child being tested and whether or not the administrator is using the Luria model or the CHC model. Tests will generally last between 25-55 minutes with the Luria model and 35 to 70 minutes with the CHC model.

The administrator of the test should be a professional with training in psychological assessment.

Limitations of the Test

Since this assessment test is especially developed to measure nonverbal intelligence, it becomes limited in measuring verbal intelligence. This test has also been criticized for using questions that measure intelligence in subtests that are supposed to indicate achievement. And finally, only a trained examiner or a psychologist can interpret the scores of the test.


The sample utilized for the standardization of this intelligence and achievement test, according to the authors, was representative of the population of US children, based on attributes such as gender, age, ethnicity, size of the community, and the education of the parents. The sample was also based on educational placement, whether the child belongs to a special education class or mainstream classroom. The norms established from the standardization led to global scores having a mean score of 100 with a standard deviation of 15.

Global Test Scores

Although only a trained psychologist can adequately interpret the four global test scores of the KABC-II, it can provide very useful information for the special education team. Because of the way the test is designed, it can very effective to use with children who have limitations in speech. These could include children who do not speak English as their primary language, children with a hearing or auditory disorder, children with autism, or children with learning disorders. This can be an effective way for educators to find out what a child’s strengths and weaknesses are, allowing the special education team to tailor an educational plan to fit a student’s needs.

Because the test contains little cultural information it is also an excellent test to use for children of any background. Results are data-driven with less filtering for language and cultural understanding. Some of the things tested include:

  • Sequential processing: This reflects the child’s ability to solve problems that involve sequences. For example, the child may arrange items in a series. The scale also measures the child’s short-term memory because some tasks involve recall of numbers or items in sequence.
  • Simultaneous processing: This scale is based on subtests that measure the use of several processes to solve more complex problems. These complex problems involve recognizing a face, block counting and other problems.
  • Knowledge (in the CHC model only): Tests language, vocabulary and knowledge the child has learned at home and at school.


This post is part of the series: Assessment Tests

This is a series of articles about assessment tests

  1. Standardized Tests as a Quality Benchmark for Student Appraisal
  2. Assessment Instruments Commonly Used in Special Education
  3. Assessing Motor Skills in Early Childhood - Using the PDMS
  4. Using the Kaufman Assessment Battery 2nd Edition for Children
  5. The Validity of the Stanford-Binet Intelligence Scale
  6. The Vineland Adaptive Behavior Scale and Special Needs Students
  7. Using the Child Behavior Checklist