dence for substantial relationships between racial or ethnic group membership and performance on adaptive behavior scales, unmediated by socioeconomic differences, is very limited.
Nonetheless, culturally competent assessment practices require consideration of the developmental impacts of cultural practices or language differences among examiners, examinees, and informants that may affect the validity of the clinical information collected and interpreted. Under ideal circumstances, adaptive behavior measures should be administered in an examinee’s or informant’s primary language. Often, there may be no substitute for assistance by a translator familiar with the informant’s dialect, even for examiners who are fluent in the informant’s primary language. In instances in which the informant is bilingual, it may be appropriate to probe interview responses in both languages.
There are at least 200 published adaptive behavior instruments that have been used for diagnosis, research, program evaluation, administration, and individualized programming. Some of these scales were developed to serve only one of these purposes; however, several have attempted to include both the breadth required for diagnosis and the depth required for clinical use. Most tests fall short of accomplishing both purposes. Referring to the dual purpose of adaptive behavior scales, Spreat (1999) concluded that it is “unrealistic to think that the same test can be used for program evaluation, diagnosis, classification, and individual programming” (p. 106). Among the very large number of adaptive behavior scales on the market, very few have adequate norms and reliability to diagnose mental retardation in people with IQs in the questionable range (e.g., 60-80). Kamphaus (1987b) reported that the Vineland Adaptive Behavior Scales-Survey Form (Sparrow et al., 1984a) and the Scales of Independent Behavior (Bruininks et al., 1984) had adequate standardization samples. In a national survey of school psychologists, only three scales were found to be in wide use for diagnosis: the Vineland Adaptive Behavior Scales, the Scales of