The purpose of this study was to construct and validate a problem-solving version of the existing Allen Cognitive Level Test (ACL) (Allen, 1985). The new problem-solving version of the ACL (ACL–PS) follows the theoretical developments of the cognitive disability theory and the information processing approach. It was constructed to provide a more accurate assessment of the problem-solving process as well as task performance, especially at the higher cognitive levels. Both tests were administered to a psychiatric adolescent group (n = 49) who were subdivided according to diagnosis and to a matched nondysfunctional control group (n = 29).

The results showed that both the ACL and the ACL–PS differentiated significantly between the patients and the control subjects and among the patient groups. At Level 6 of the ACL, none of the subjects needed any demonstration, with all scores distributed between independent performance or performance following verbal instructions only, that is, problem-solving phases that were added with the ACL–PS. The scoring of the ACL–PS is provided in addition to detailed scoring of the cognitive levels. It is suggested that the ACL–PS be implemented as a clinical evaluative tool with adolescents.

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