Walter C. Shipley, Ph.D.
Since its original publication in 1940, the Shipley Institute of Living Scale has been widely used to assess cognitive functioning and impairment. Revised and restandardised, this enduring test continues to offer a brief yet robust measure of both crystallised and fluid intelligence -now with updated norms, an expanded age range that includes both children and adults (7 to 89 years), and a new, non-verbal Block Patterns scale. The Shipley-2 is an excellent choice whenever you need a quick estimate of cognitive ability. Brief and easily administered to individuals or groups, it is well suited to educational, clinical, rehabilitation, geriatric, neuropsychological, forensic and human resource applications.
A Brief Measure of Crystallised and Fluid Abilities
Like the original test, the Shipley-2 measures two aspects of cognition:
- Crystallised knowledge -- that gained through education and experience
- Fluid reasoning -- the capacity to use logic to learn and acquire new information or solve problems
Because it assesses both kinds of ability, the Shipley-2 may be used not only to obtain a quick estimate of overall intelligence but also to reveal cognitive impairment. Research shows that crystallised ability is relatively stable, while fluid reasoning is affected by aging, injury and psychopathology. By uncovering discrepancies between the two, the Shipley-2 may provide evidence of cognitive deterioration.
Two Options for Measuring Fluid Ability
To measure crystallised ability, the Shipley-2 includes a 40-item Vocabulary scale. Each item requires the respondent to look at a target word and then choose from four options the word that is closest in meaning.
To assess fluid ability, the test offers two options: the Abstraction scale, which presents 25 sequence-completion items similar to those in the original Shipley; and the new Block Patterns scale, composed of 12 multiple-choice items based on the well-known Kohs cube designs. While the Abstraction scale has the advantage of being familiar to Shipley users, the Block Patterns scale is a good alternative when you need a non-verbal measure of fluid ability - or when you prefer the simplicity of a multiple-choice response format. The Manual offers guidance in selecting one over the other.
Easy Administration, Scoring, and Interpretation
The Shipley-2 may be administered to individuals or groups in just 20 to 25 minutes, and scored in 5 minutes more. Norms are based on a sample of 2,826 individuals representative of the U.S. population in regard to ethnicity, gender, and educational level. They are presented separately for children (ages 7 to 19 years) and adults (ages 17 to 89 years) and stratified by age.
The test produces standard scores for the scales administered, as well as percentiles, age-equivalents, and confidence intervals. It also provides a Composite score, which is formed by combining the Vocabulary score with either the Abstraction score or the Block Patterns score.
Composite A Composite B
Vocabulary score + Abstraction score Vocabulary score + Block Patterns score
Composites A and B are interpreted very similarly. Both are standard scores that reflect overall cognitive ability.
In addition, the Shipley-2 provides a useful Impairment Index. Calculated only for adults, it represents the discrepancy between vocabulary and abstract thinking.
The Manual offers detailed interpretive guidance related to issues of response validity, differential cognitive functioning, item analysis and retesting over time. Case studies from various settings are also included.
Quick, Simple, and Useful in Multiple Settings
Because it is straightforward and brief, the Shipley-2 is an excellent choice when you need to obtain quick ability estimates, screen for cognitive dysfunction, or qualify participants for research studies. Yet it also functions well as a component of more complex assessments in neuropsychological, clinical and forensic settings.
This revision retains the Shipley's simplicity while expanding its utility in varied applications. It is ideal for intake screening, assessing brain injuries, determining eligibility for disability benefits, measuring the effects of toxic exposure, guiding treatment and rehabilitation, informing educational or job placement decisions, identifying cognitive problems, monitoring cognitive decline, and more.
The Shipley is one of those rare instruments that has withstood the test of time, and its continuing use testifies to its value as a quick yet accurate measure of general intellectual functioning.
The Shipley-2 Impairment Index Calculator lets you quickly calculate the AQ or BQ impairment index for the Shipley-2.
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