Encyclopedia of Clinical Neuropsychology

2018 Edition
| Editors: Jeffrey S. Kreutzer, John DeLuca, Bruce Caplan

Basal and Ceiling Rules

  • Matthew J. L. PageEmail author
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-57111-9_9055


Entry and discontinue rules


A basal and ceiling rule refers to the entry point and discontinue point of a psychometric test. The purpose of basal and ceiling rules is to reduce the number of items an examinee is required to attempt, by eliminating items that are too easy and too difficult. Doing so reduces administration time and burden on the examinee.

Although specific start and stop rules and administration procedures vary across tests, basal and ceiling rules are generally used for tests in which the items are ordered from easiest to most difficult. The most common basal procedure is to first start at an early, easier item based on the examinee’s age. The examinee is then required to establish a basalby completing a predetermined number of consecutive items correctly (e.g., three correct items in a row). In general, items are administered in reverse order, so that they are increasingly easier, until the basal is established. In doing so, the examiner can...

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References and Readings

  1. Wechsler, D. (2008). Wechsler adult intelligence scale (4th ed.). Bloominton: Pearson.Google Scholar
  2. Wechsler, D. (2009). Wechsler memory scale (4th ed.). Bloominton: Pearson.Google Scholar
  3. Wechsler, D. (2014). Wechsler intelligence scale for children (5th ed.). Bloomington: Pearson.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Allegheny General HospitalPittsburghUSA
  2. 2.PsychologyAllegheny Health NetworkPittsburghUSA