Eric K. Mason
Test: Shipley Institute of Living Scale (Shipley)
Authors: Walter C. Shipley
The norm group for the Shipley consists of 290 psychiatric patients with a mean age of 34.9. Test-retest and Split-half studies determined the reliability of the Shipley. The Shipley showed high reliability. The correlation coefficient for the test-retest study was .78, while two split-half studies revealed correlation coefficients of .84 and .92. The validity of the Shipley was determined through the use of criterion- and content related studies. Shipley scores showed high correlations with scores on other intelligence test, such as the W-B, WAIS, and WAIS-R. The correlation coefficients between the aforementioned test and the Shipley ranged from .68 to .84. The Shipley, therefore, appears to both reliable and valid.
Although I believe that the abstraction portion of the Shipley measures intelligence, the vocabulary portion of the test more likely measures one’s education. In other words, the abstraction portion reveals one’s ability to solve a problem in an unstructured manner. Such skills are rarely taught in American schools. I, therefore, feel that this more accurately depicts one’s intellectual abilities. On the other hand, the vocabulary portion of the test measures one’s formal education. The educational system in the U.S. emphasizes the development of this skill. One, who had more education, would likely do better on this portion than one who lacked formal education. I, personally, do not feel that education is synonymous with intellectual abilities, but rather knowledge of what a society determines is important.
The Shipley could be used any many different cultural settings, although different cultures may emphasize the acquisition of different types of knowledge. For example, a culture may emphasize emotional or social knowledge more than vocabulary or abstraction skills. Furthermore, the Shipley would not be suitable for non-native English speakers, as it uses one’s knowledge of English vocabulary to determine one’s intelligence. However, the Shipley could be professionally translated into different languages in order to rectify this issue.
The Shipley may be suitable for those recovering from addiction. However, those who are currently addicted to drugs and/or alcohol may not receive an accurate depiction of their intelligence from the Shipley, as their thinking may be clouded by drugs or withdrawal from drugs. The Shipley could be helpful in discovering cognitive deficits caused by excessive drug use in recovering addicts. The Shipley is appropriate for individuals with disabilities. For example, it may be used with individuals with spinal cord injuries, as well as for those with amputations. As long as an individual has at least one good hand to mark his or her answers and can read each question, then he or she could use the Shipley without accommodations.
Blind individuals and those with reading disabilities could use the Shipley, but with accommodations. For example, the examiner could read each question and its answers aloud to the individual, and mark the answers as indicated by the individual. However, the abstraction portion of the test appears to evaluate one’s ability to see a pattern in order to solve some of the abstraction questions. Blind individuals may be at great disadvantage in this section of the Shipley. I would, therefore, be somewhat suspicious of a blind individual’s low test scores in this section. Furthermore, people who were not able to mark their own answers (e.g., those without use of the hands and/or arms) could read each question and answer to themselves, but indicate to the examiner which answer should be marked on the test.
Oral administration of the Shipley would probably not affect the results of the Shipley (for those who are not blind, of course). As with any test, it is important to establish rapport. If the Shipley is orally administered, it is even more important to establish good rapport between the examinee and examiner. When an examinee feels that he or she is being immediately evaluated (judged) by the examiner, his or her test anxiety may become greater; thus, skewing the results of the test. Most people are rather sensitivity about their intelligence, so test anxiety would not be unusual for most people taking the Shipley.
Strengths of the Shipley include its ease of administration and scoring. The test can be administered and scored in a very short amount of time. It is also efficient in that it can be administered to a large group of people at the same time—provided none of the examinees have disabilities. The instructions for the Shipley are simple and easy to understand. It is sufficiently valid and reliable. In addition, the Shipley is accessible for many people with disabilities.
Although the abstraction section on the Shipley measures intellectual abilities, it is my personal opinion that the vocabulary section does not. I believe that the vocabulary section simply measures one’s formal education. Because the abstraction section scores and the vocabulary section scores are combined to determine one’s IQ, I do not believe that one should regard an examinee’s score on the Shipley as his or her definitive IQ, but rather his or her intellectual abilities in combination with his or her formal education.
Overall, I think the Shipley is useful in that it allows the examiner to gain insight into the examinee’s level of education (vocabulary section), as well as his or her intellectual abilities (abstraction section). The information gleaned from the Shipley should allow rehabilitation counselors to better understand their clients, as well as what types of occupational roles their clients may successfully fill. Despite its usefulness, I do not believe that clients should be labeled with a particular IQ based solely on the scores from the Shipley.