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Mullen Scales of Early Learning: AGS Edition

The Mullen Scales of Early Learning: AGS Edition (Mullen, 1995) is an individually administered, standardized measure of cognitive functioning designed to be used with children from birth through 68 months.

Overview

This update is a revised version of the original Mullen Scales of Early Learning, combining the Infant MSEL with the Preschool MSEL. It consists of a Gross-Motor Scale and four Cognitive Scales: Visual Reception, Fine-Motor, Receptive Language, and Expressive Language. The Gross-Motor Scale is for use with children ages birth through 33 months, whereas the Cognitive Scales are used with children ages birth to 68 months. T-scores (mean of 50 and a standard deviation of 10) are given for individual scales, and an optional Early Learning Composite serves as an overall estimate of cognitive functioning. The Mullen Scales may be used for eligibility decisions as well as program planning.

Summary

Author (yr) Age Range (yrs) Method of Administration/Format Approx. Time to Administer Subscales
Mullen Scales of Early Learning: AGS Edition Mullen (1995) Birth–6 yrs., 6 mos.

Individually administered, norm-referenced measure of cognitive development; clinician- administered interactive assessment

Yields t-scores, percentile rank, descriptive category, age equivalents

15–60 min.

Gross-Motor, Visual Reception, Fine-Motor, Receptive Language, Expressive Language, Early Learning Composite

Availability: Pearson Assessments, http://bit.ly/1N5ZkC7

Research

Author (yr) Sample Size Topic(s) Addressed Outcome
Swineford, Guthrie, & Thurm (2015) 399 - Age Range: 3.38 years (SD=1.14) Convergent and divergent validity

The purpose of this study was to report convergent, and divergent validity of the Mullen Scales of Early Learning (MSEL) in children with ASD.

The sample was divided into a group of children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and a group without ASD.

Results examining general construct validity showed that each of the MSEL domain scores loaded onto a single, latent factor in the entire sample and the factor form held across the ASD and non-spectrum groups. This suggests that the same overall development is measured in both children with ASD and children without ASD.

Results showed good convergent validity for language and adaptive behavior when all children were considered together. But when the two groups were separated, convergent validity for language and adaptive behavior was suspect in the children with ASD.

Divergent validity was demonstrated by the loading of MSEL domain scores almost exclusively on the Developmental Functioning factor when examined in the entire sample and by group. The visual reception and fine-motor domain scores did not significantly load onto the Autism Symptoms, Communication, or Emotional/Behavior Problems factors in either group, suggesting that measurement of these skills is independent of these latent constructs. The authors thought that this suggested that the MSEL measures additional aspects of communication not related to the developmental factor rather than a direct lack of divergence. Together, these results demonstrate evidence for the construct, convergent, and divergent validity of the MSEL using powerful data-analytic techniques.

Author (yr) Sample Size Topic(s) Addressed Outcome
Farmer, Golden, & Thurm (2015) 118 with autism spectrum disorder (ASD), non-ASD developmental delays, and typically developing children - Age Range: 2-10 (years) Concurrent validity

Compared DAS-II with Mullen Scales of Early Learning (MSEL). Scores on the DAS-II and MSEL were highly correlated, suggesting that they measure a similar construct. However, curve estimation revealed large mean differences in scores that varied as a function of the child's cognitive ability level.

The authors concluded that interchanging MSEL and DAS-II scores in research studies without regard to the discrepancy in scores may produce misleading results in both cross-sectional and longitudinal studies of children with and without ASD, and, thus, this practice should be implemented with caution.

Author (yr) Sample Size Topic(s) Addressed Outcome
Nordahl-Hansen, Kaale, & Ulvund (2014) 55 children diagnosed with ASD - Age Range: 2-4 (years) Concurrent validity

The study addressed the concurrent validity of different language for measuring expressive and receptive language. Parents and preschool teachers separately filled out the Communicative Development Inventory (CDI), a widely used report-based assessment of language. The children were also tested with the two standardized direct language tests: Reynell Developmental Language Scales (RDLS) and Mullen Scales of Early Learning (MSEL). The results suggested very high agreement between the measures, and this was found regardless of whether parents or preschool teachers filled out the CDI. This study showed that there are several valid measures available for measuring expressive and receptive language.

Author (yr) Sample Size Topic(s) Addressed Outcome
Ben-Sasson, Habib & Tirosh (2014) 583 - Age Range: Longitudinal 12 and 24 months Validity

The study examined the feasibility and validity of implementing an ASD screening for 12-month-olds. Babies were tested at their well-baby checkup. All parents completed the First Year Inventory – Lite (FYI-L). Ten infants who failed the FYI-L and a subset of 12 infants who passed the identified FYI-L were evaluated using the Autism Observation Scale for Infants (AOSI) and the Mullen Scales of Early Learning. Information regarding social-communication development ≥ 24 months of age was extracted from medical records. Mean response rate across clinics was 26.63%. Infants at risk compared to controls showed significantly higher scores on the AOSI, lower composite scores on the MSEL, and a higher rate of referral for a developmental evaluation. At 24 months, 95% of infants who were negatively screened had no social-communication problems on their medical records; 60% of those who were screened positive had documented problems on medical records. Conclusion: ASD screening using the FYI-L at 12 months in a healthcare setting identifies infants with poor social-communication development, yet parents had low compliance with screening.

Author (yr) Sample Size Topic(s) Addressed Outcome
Burns, King, & Spencer (2013) 47 patients diagnosed with neurodevelopmental disorders were compared to 47 age-, gender-, and racially matched typically developing children taken from the normative sample - Age Range: 2-4 (years) Criterion validity and sensitivity

*This study examined the frequency of impairment across domains of the Mullen Scales of Early Learning (MSEL). In the neurodevelopmental group, the sample was composed of children diagnosed with autism spectrum disorders (ASD; n = 19), cerebral palsy (CP; n = 14), and epilepsy (EPI; n = 14). Each clinical group demonstrated statistically significant delays across domains relative to the respective matched control group (p < .001). Children failed to demonstrate a “signature” profile for a diagnosis of ASD, CP, or EPI. The clinical sensitivity of the MSEL and the need for obtaining specific intervention services for children diagnosed with these conditions was presented. Finally, these results are discussed within the context of the clinical sensitivity of the MSEL in working with these clinical populations.

*Adapted from abstract
Author (yr) Sample Size Topic(s) Addressed Outcome
Bishop, Guthrie, Coffing, & Lord (2011) 72 - Age Range: 2-5 (years) Convergent validity Discriminant validity

Convergent validity: Results showed good convergent validity. Nonverbal IQ: NVIQ scores on the MSEL and DAS were statistically similar (r = .74, p <.01)

Verbal IQ: VIQ scores on the MSEL and DAS were statistically similar (r = .83, p < .01).

Discriminant Validity: Results suggest that the MSEL NVIQ construct may need further research. MSEL NVIQ was significantly correlated to both DAS NVIQ (.74) and DAS VIQ (.76). MSEL VIQ was significantly correlated to both DAS NVIQ (.48) and DAS VIQ (.82).

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