ACLS-5 and LACLS-5 Test: Psychometric Properties and Use of Scores for Evidence-Based Practice

(copyright 2016, the Allen Cognitive Group/ACLS&LACLS Committee) Compiled by Deane B. McCraith, MS, OT/L, Research and Education/Director In Collaboration with the Allen Cognitive Group/ACLS and LACLS Committee: Linda RiskaWilliams, MA, OTR/L, President/Director; Catherine A. Earhart, BA, OT. Cert., OTR/L, Development/Director; Sandra K. David, MHE, OTR/L, Former Director.


The intent of this report is to identify all relevant evidence related to the psychometric properties of the Allen Cognitive Level Screen-5 and the Large Allen Cognitive Level Screen-5 test including use of test scores for evidence-based practice in the context of the cognitive disabilities model. The focus is on published research using the ACLS-5 and LACLS-5 and the ACLS-90 versions of the test. We hope that this report will serve as a useful resource for therapists, educators, and researchers who value use of evidence-based assessments in practice. While the Allen Cognitive Group has tried to identify all relevant research, we recognize that we may have inadvertently overlooked some. We hope that readers of this report will notify us of any additional published, unpublished, or “in process” evidence that has not been included. We also realize that additional psychometric and intervention outcome research would strengthen the credibility of the ACLS-5 and LACLS-5 for use in evidence-based practice. The Allen Cognitive Group is available to support these efforts. Please contact us at Thank you.


The cognitive disabilities model (CDM) was introduced in the 1960’s as a guide for occupational therapy practice with adults in mental health settings who had temporary or permanent impairments in global cognitive processing capacities that affected their ability to participate safely in meaningful daily activities and occupations (Allen, 1985; Allen, Earhart, & Blue, 1992, p. 238; McCraith, Austin, & Earhart, 2011, pp. 383-406). It has been extended to an older adult population with dementia (Allen, Kehrberg, & Burns, 1992; Gitlin, Winter, VauseEarland, Herge, Chernett, & Piersol, 2009; Levy, 1986; Levy & Burns, 2011; Warchol, 2004), adults who have cognitive and physical disabilities (Allen, Earhart, & Blue, 1992); adolescents with cognitive and emotional disabilities (Lee, Gargiullo, Brayman, Kinsey, Jones, & Shotwell, 2003; Shapiro, 1992); individuals who have sustained a head injury (Voydetich, Jensen, Sigford, & Mehr, 2002); and adults with mental illness at risk for homelessness (Chapleau, A., Seroczynski, A. D., Meyers, S., Lamb, K., & Buchino, S., 2012; Helfrich, Chan, & Sabol, 2011)

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