Frequently Asked Questions
The questions most frequently asked of Risk & Needs are listed below. If you would like more information or have other questions, please contact us.
- Why use Risk & Needs tests?
- How do these testing systems work?
- Who can use these tests?
- How can you tell if the person taking the test was truthful?
- How can you test the reading impaired?
- How is confidentiality protected?
- Are these tests reliable and valid?
- What are the advantages of a built-in database?
- Are these tests expensive?
- Risk Ranges explained.
- How about research support?
- Are Risk & Needs tests available online?
1. Why use Risk & Needs tests?
In addition to alcohol and drugs, Risk & Needs tests gather other valuable information. All Risk & Needs tests contain a Truthfulness Scale to determine the amount of test taker denial, minimization, and faking. And, each test varies, according to the client population being evaluated. Consequently, Risk & Needs tests measure important behaviors missed by other tests. Risk & Needs has different tests, for different client populations, and different evaluation purposes. Risk & Needs tests are designed for drug courts, adult and juvenile general population courts, probation departments, corrections (prisons), parole departments, sex offender evaluations, DUI/DWI offender screening, violence (lethality) assessment, anger management programs, shoplifter testing, substance abuse treatment, counseling programs, and other assessment settings. Visit Risk & Needs' test list page for more specific information on tests that you are interested in.
2. How do these testing systems work?
Risk & Needs test users are registered, and may purchase diskettes which contain 25 or 50 test applications. Windows applications require a one-time, installation procedure, after which the 25 or 50 test data diskettes are used. Training manuals are provided free. Support services are available by e-mail, telephone and fax. Clients can complete the tests on the computer's screen, or using the paper/pencil method, with the answers manually entered into the computer by the evaluator, at their convenience. When all test applications contained on a diskette are used, diskettes are returned to Risk & Needs. Prior to returning a diskette, the "delete names" option can be used to ensure confidentiality and compliance with HIPAA (federal regulation 45 C.F.R. 164.501). Test data and demographics are retained for ongoing research. Data on returned diskettes is downloaded into that test's expanding database for annual analysis. And, annual summary reports can also be provided. Ongoing database research ensures quality control. Annual, test program summaries provide for program self-evaluation.
Test users that want to test over the internet should visit www.online-testing.com. You can purchase tests as you need them. This eliminates expensive testing inventories. Risk & Needs has exclusively contracted with Online-Testing to provide Risk & Needs tests online at $9.95 (U.S. currency) per test. Volume discounts are available for clients that administer over 800 tests a year. For more Online-Testing information, e-mail email@example.com.
3. Who can use these tests?
A wide variety of staff uses evaluation, assessment and screening instruments. Applications range from troubled youth programs through pre-employment screening and chemical dependency treatment. Users include, but are not limited to, school personnel, counselors, DUI/DWI providers, probation officers, private practitioners, parole officers, juvenile and adult courts, diversion programs, EAPs, HMOs and other professionals. Training manuals and related materials are provided. Tests assess client risk and need, in each of the scales (measurements) that comprise the tests. They produce risk-related, working hypothesis, and are to be used by experienced staff. These tests do not diagnose. Risk & Needs registers its test users, and only registered users are allowed to administer its tests.
4. How can you tell if the person taking the test was truthful?
It would be naive to assume everybody answers all test questions honestly. That's why, Risk & Needs uses Truthfulness Scales and Truth-Corrected scores. The Truthfulness Scale determines how honest the person was while completing the test. The Truthfulness Scale detects denial and faking. Error, of measurement associated with untruthfulness, is identified and applied to each test's scale scores, resulting in Truth-Corrected scores. Truth-correcting is standardized on the test population. Raw scores may only reflect what the person being tested wants you to know. Truth-Corrected scores reveal what the test taker is trying to hide. Truth-Corrected scores are more accurate than raw scores. The Truthfulness Scale is discussed on each test webpage.
5. How can you test the reading impaired?
Risk & Needs tests are available in English and Spanish. Reading levels typically vary around the 5th or 6th grade. "Short-Form" versions of several tests have been developed for reading impaired assessment. Many Risk & Needs tests are now available in the Audio (Human Voice) reading test, administration mode. This option is new and innovative. The client sits before the computer with earphones on. Earphones ensure clarity, while eliminating distractions. The "arrow keys" allow the client to switch back and forth between questions and answers. As each question, or answer is highlighted, it is read to the client. The client can go back and forth as many times as needed. When the client selects an answer, the program advances to the next question. Reading can be in any language, such as English, Spanish, or Native American. This innovative approach, to reading impaired evaluation, resolves most bilingual, cultural, and reading impaired, screening problems.
6. How is confidentiality protected?
Risk & Needs tests are used internationally in several countries, such as, Canada, the United Kingdom and the United States. And, there has never been a confidentiality problem. The confidentiality of the test taker is insured, and compliance with HIPAA (federal regulation 45 C.F.R. 164.501) with the "delete client names" option. Before returning a used diskette to Risk & Needs, the "delete client names" option can be used. Once test takers' names are deleted, they are removed from the diskette. Demographics and test data are retained for subsequent database analysis, and annual program summary. The "delete names" option is explained in each test's "Orientation & Training Manual" and "Computer Operating Guide."
7. Are these tests reliable and valid?
Correlations between a test and criteria are called validity coefficients and concurrent validity. These types of validity have been demonstrated with each test and a variety of criteria. The tests measure what they purport to measure. For example, the DRI-II accurately classifies DUI/DWI offenders in representative, risk range, classification categories. The DRI-II has been validated with other objective measures, selected MMPI scales, experienced staff judgment, polygraph exams, DUI/DWI screening instruments, and other DUI/DWI tests. College students and non-DUI clients are represented in this research. Yet, the DRI-II has also been standardized on over one million DUI/DWI offenders. As concluded by NHTSA (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration) in DOT HS 807 475, "The DRI-II appears to be, by far, the most carefully constructed DWI test . . . Reliability is well established and validity is based on the DRI-II's relationship to other established measures." Continuing, "In settings where it has been adopted as the primary screening instrument for processing convicted drunk drivers, substance abuse counselors have reported that it improves the quality of their decisions while making their task less time-intensive." Reliability studies demonstrate impressive reliability coefficients.
Each test's webpage has a link to that test's reliability, validity and accuracy research. In some cases a specific test-related study is presented, whereas, in other cases, a test's "Inventory of Scientific Findings" research is presented. If additional research is desired, interested parties should contact Risk & Needs.
New tests are introduced via field tests. And, upon standardization, each test's database continues to expand with each test that is administered. New tests have smaller databases than established tests. Database research provides a cost efficient approach, to sustaining ongoing research, on a test-specific basis. Sometimes, a scale may be standardized with one test, incorporated in another test, for subsequent standardization on a different population. For example, the Stress Coping Abilities Scale has been incorporated in several of our assessment instruments, and its statistical properties (reliability, validity, etc.) continue to be very impressive.
Risk & Needs continues to support independent research. Students are encouraged to utilize these tests in their masters studies and doctoral dissertations. Prior to participating, Risk & Needs requires a letter of intent, specifying the name, address and telephone number of the doctoral supervisor and/or committee chairman. A research discount can be available for approved research conducted by qualified independent scientists. Risk & Needs tests' demonstrated reliability, validity and accuracy provide a sound empirical basis for decision making.
8. What are the advantages of a built-in database?
Test software is designed with the capability to save the data, from each test that is administered, in a confidential (no names) manner. This procedure allows continued expansion of the test database, with each test that is scored. Databases permit research opportunities that were not possible before. For example, Risk & Needs' DRI-II database constitutes one of the most extensive databases ever gathered in the DUI field. Databases permit ongoing research, as well as annual, statewide, program summary -- with no additional imposition on staff time, and at no additional cost. Until now, many agencies have lacked the technical capability and budget necessary for database analysis and summary. Ongoing database research ensures meaningful quality control. Annual, summary reports provide program self-evaluation.
Built-in databases are an important feature of Risk & Needs' tests. Consequently, databases are discussed frequently in the following webpages.
9. Are these tests expensive?
By most psychometric standards, these tests are not expensive. Risk & Needs' test unit fee is $9.95 (U.S.A.) per test. Risk & Needs' proven research continues to deliver the highest assessment quality, at remarkably affordable prices. Test unit fees are not only nominal, but everything else is included free. Included at no additional cost are test booklets in English and Spanish, computerized human voice reading of tests, staff orientation and training manuals, ongoing research, annual summary reports, and support services. Volume discounts are also available. We're so sure you'll like these tests that we offer a 30-day, money back guarantee.
Risk & Needs also has an exclusive contract with www.online-testing.com to provide our tests on an online testing platform at $9.95 per test. Online Testing also provides volume discounts for providers that use over 500 tests a year. Additional cost, or test unit fee information can be provided by e-mail to info@RiskandNeeds.com, fax at (602) 266-8227, telephone at 1 (800) 231-2401, or letter to:
Risk & Needs
P.O. Box 44256
Phoenix, Arizona 85064-4256
NOTE: Barring a national catastrophe, once our test unit fee is established -- it does not change. Consequently, price changes do not apply to established or current clients.
10. Risk Ranges explained:
Risk & Needs tests determine client risk by a series of equations, which classify clients according to four risk ranges. These risk ranges, and the percentages of clients expected to fall in each risk range, are as follows: low (zero-39th percentile or 39%), medium (40-69th percentile or 30%), problem (70-89th percentile or 20%) and severe problem (90-100th percentile or 11%). A problem is identified when a client's scale score is at, or above, the 70th percentile. These percentages were initially derived from available literature. Subsequently, they have been endorsed by our peers and test users across the United States.
Validity analyses support the use of these risk ranges. Problem risk (70th percentile and above) identifies at least 98 percent of clients who have problems. In these analyses, clients who have had treatment are assumed to have problems. These clients are compared to clients who have not had treatment (no problem). Within these two groups, clients who scored at or above the 70th percentile are compared to clients who scored at or below the 39th percentile (low risk). In every analyses studied, at least 98 percent, of the clients who had treatment, scored at or above the 70th percentile. These findings support the 70th percentile as the threshold for identifying problems.
Classifying clients, according to pre-defined risk ranges, provides an efficient and workable solution to the complex problem of determining client risk. In this way, risk range classification accuracy can be determined. The percentages of clients falling into each risk range should closely approximate these predicted (cognitively established,) risk range percentages. All Risk & Needs tests are demonstrated to be accurate, within two or three percent of predicted risk range percentages.
11. How about research support?
Risk & Needs actively supports research involving its tests. We support research by providing Risk & Needs test materials, and the use of the Risk & Needs tests, at little or no cost to approved researchers. Students are required to provide the name and address of their major professor, chair or faculty advisor that will be Risk & Needs' contact person. Interested parties should contact Risk & Needs by telephone 1 (800) 231-2401, fax (602) 266-8227 or e-mail info@RiskandNeeds.com.
12. Are Risk & Needs tests available online?
To insure Risk & Needs tests are readily available, Risk & Needs signed an exclusive internet testing contract with Professional Online Testing Solutions, Inc. (www.online-testing.com), to offer Risk & Needs tests over Online-Testings internet platform. We are in the process of bringing all 40+ Risk & Needs tests online. Questions pertaining to Online-Testing's provision of Risk & Needs tests, over the internet, should be directed to info@RiskandNeeds.com.
Annual Summary Reports:
Risk & Needs can access each of its tests' built-in databases for statistical analysis' and summarization of all tests administered. Annual Summary Reports are prepared for states, provinces, departments, agencies, and even some individual providers -- at no cost to them. These reports are provided as a professional courtesy to large volume test users. Summary reports include demographics, court-history when relevant, and test statistics (reliability and validity). Has anyone offered to summarize your testing program? Annually? At no additional cost to you? Minimum testing volume for annual reports is 800 tests. There is no maximum limit. Risk & Needs' annual reports range in size from 800 tests to over 50,000 tests annually. An example Annual Summary Report can be viewed by clicking on this Annual Summary Report link.
Test-related questions vary widely. Consequently, Risk & Needs' e-mail address provides a way to pursue topics of interest, resolve ambiguities, get answers to questions, or assist others. And, additional information can be provided upon request Risk & Needs' e-mail address is info@RiskandNeeds.com.