Why do we use UK or US norms?

In the development of standardised psychological tests, test taker’s performances are compared against a standardisation sample to determine whether a person’s performance is high or low. This standardisation sample is a large sample of test-takers who represent the population that the test is intended for. This means that for a cognitive test for children, a standardisation sample will involve testing a large group of children to get the various results of the children. This standardisation sample is thus referred to as the norm group. Using the results of the norm group, test makers are able to create a normal distribution of the test scores which can then be used for the comparison of any future test score. So when a child takes a cognitive test, his/her scores on the test will be compared against the scores of their same-age peers. Without the norm group, it would not be possible to tell if the child’s performance is expected for his/her age.

At DAS, we mostly use test kits that are from the United States (US) or the United Kingdom (UK). This means that the norms of these tests are from standardisation samples from the US and UK populations respectively. These tests are used as Singapore currently does not have many standardised tests that are normed using our local population. Hence, scores of these tests should be interpreted with caution due to differences in linguistic, cultural, educational, and social opportunities.