Linda Wetzel, Ph.D. and Thomas J. Boll, Ph.D.
The Short Category Test, Booklet Format (SCT) reduces the length and complexity of the Halstead-Reitan Category Test, one of the most sensitive indicators of brain damage.
Brief, portable, and easy to administer, the SCT uses less than half the items on the original test and presents them in convenient, spiralbound booklets. It eliminates entirely the expensive and cumbersome equipment required by the Category Test. Yet this practical new format retains the diagnostic power of the original test, effectively assessing cognitive deterioration in adults aged 20 and older.
The SCT includes five subtests, each in a 5" x 7" booklet of 20 Stimulus Cards. As in the original Category Test, the cards show various geometric shapes, lines, colours, and figures. All the cards within each booklet are organised around a single principle.
The client is shown the cards, one at a time. In order to respond correctly, they must discern the principle underlying each series of cards. This requires specific mental abilities: abstract concept formation, learning capacity, adaptive skill, and cognitive flexibility. By testing these abilities, the SCT uncovers the important, but often subtle, deficits that are frequently present in brain-damaged individuals.
Although the SCT measures a complex set of abilities, it is quite easy to administer and score. Under appropriate supervision, a paraprofessional may administer all five subtests in just 15 to 30 minutes. The only materials required are the SCT Answer Sheet and the five subtest booklets.
The test may be given to anyone who can see clearly and is alert enough to give a simple one-word response. (Individuals who are language impaired may respond by pointing to numbers on a special card provided with each subtest booklet.) As the test materials are compact and portable, the SCT is easy to administer at bedside.
Scoring the test requires only a few minutes. Errors are totalled to produce raw scores, which are then converted to T-scores and percentile equivalents.
The SCT functions in a manner very similar to the Category Test in terms of psychometric properties, discriminative ability, and correlation with other neuropsychological tests. It serves as a sensitive screening device in a variety of medical and mental health settings. Typically, the test is used to:
- Detect the subtle effects of closed-head injuries.
- Isolate the organic components of psychiatric illness.
- Identify the early stages of dementia related to Alzheimer's disease, multiple infarcts, drug and alcohol abuse or drug toxicity.
- Assess the effects of chronic conditions, such as renal failure and diabetes.
- Measure cognitive status following neurosurgery or rehabilitation.
- Confirm suspected deficits in abstract concept formation.
The SCT gives you the diagnostic power of the Category Test, without its practical limitations.
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