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Testing and Assessment

"If something exists, it exists in some amount.  If it exists in some amount, then it is capable of being measured." Rene Descartes, Principles of Philosophy, 1644

"Assessing gifted children is similar to and different from assessing other types of children. Though areas to be assessed are similar for all, for gifted children, the assessment techniques and tests require special characteristics. While most professionals are trained to assess many kinds of children, few are specifically trained to assess in this particular area. The general perception is that these youngsters, with abilities and strengths in many areas, have no special needs, educational or otherwise, that merit serious clinical attention. For this reason, it is important that parents who suspect that their child may be gifted search for a professional with experience in working with this population..."  Julia B. Osborn, Assessing Gifted Children

See also ... Proficiency Testing, Identification and An Inventory of Tests

Testing and Assessment of Gifted Children: What do all these scores mean?, a presentation by Carolyn K.

Assessing Gifted Children Recommended by Julia B. Osborn
Testing versus assessment. These two activities are frequently discussed together and criticized together, when, in fact, they are quite different...
 
Ensuring Gifted Children With Disabilities Receive Appropriate Services: Call For Comprehensive Assessment Recommended NAGC
Like all other students with disabilities in America’s schools, gifted students with co-existing disabilities—the Twice-Exceptional (2e)—have the right to a free, appropriate, public education. However, due to challenges inherent in accurately evaluating a student’s learning strengths and weaknesses, and special education identification processes that focus on below grade-level achievement, many 2e students are going unidentified. NAGC recommends five strategies that will increase the probability that gifted students with disabilities are identified and that their advanced abilities and disabilities are simultaneously addressed and supported... (requires Adobe Reader)
 
Harcourt Assessment WISC-IV Technical Report #4 General Ability Index Recommended
GAI removes lower Short Term Memory and Processing Speed scores from the full scale score, resulting in a score more highly correlated to giftedness... (requires Adobe Reader)
 
Harcourt Assessment WISC-IV Technical Report #7 WISC–IV Extended Norms Recommended
Extended norms are useful when a child’s score is the maximum (ceiling) on two or more subtests (e.g., obtains scaled scores of 18 or 19 points)... (requires Adobe Reader)
 
How Can I Prepare My Child for Testing? Recommended by Aimee Yermish
There are some important things that kids should know about the tests before they take them...  Here are some ideas to prepare your child for the experience of taking an individualized IQ or achievement test...
 
How legitimate is the Flynn effect for the gifted? Recommended by John D. Wasserman, George Mason University
Flynn effect has not yet been adequately demonstrated for all levels of ability; there is some support for its validity with low ability individuals (e.g., those with intellectual disabilities or learning disabilities) but there is no substantive evidence for its validity with high ability individuals (particularly those who are intellectually gifted)...  Also read We are about as smart as we're going to get, says IQ pioneer by Flynn himself...
 
IQ Subtest Analysis: Clinical Acumen or Clinical Illusion? Recommended by Marley W. Watkins, Department of Educational and School Psychology, Pennsylvania State University
Subtest analysis is pervasive in psychological training and practice. But the evidence that exists regarding relations between subtest profiles and socially important academic and psychosocial outcomes is, at best, weak. Hypothesized relationships between subtest profiles and other psychosocial behaviors persistently fail to achieve statistical or clinical significance...
 
An Inventory of Tests Recommended collected by Carolyn K.
A list of commonly administered intelligence and achievement tests, with links to more information on each...
 
Parent's Guide to IQ Testing and Gifted Education Recommended by David Palmer or Kindle edition
Great introduction to IQ testing and gifted children.  Answers your questions, from Why test? to What do the scores mean? and What about scores of twice exceptional children?  Every parent entering the gifted education world should read this book...
 
Smart as We Can Get?: Gains on certain tests of intelligence are ending in some places Recommended David Schneider, American Scientist
Psychometricians have long been aware of a phenomenon called the Flynn effect—a widespread and long-standing tendency for scores on certain tests of intelligence to rise over time. And now they have another curiosity to ponder: The tendency for intelligence scores to rise appears to have ended in some places. Indeed, it seems that some countries are experiencing a Flynn effect with a reversed sign...
 
Tests and Measurements for the Parent, Teacher, Advocate & Attorney Recommended by Peter W. D. Wright and Pamela Darr Wright, Wrighslaw
(Written for special education parents, but just as valuable for gifted education parents.)  Most parents of special needs children know that they must understand the law and their rights. Few parents know that they must also understand the facts. The "facts" of their child's case are contained in the various tests and evaluations that have been administered to the child. Changes in test scores over time provide the means to assess educational benefit or regression. Parents who obtain appropriate special educational programs for their children have learned what different tests measure and what the test results mean...
 
Use of the WISC-IV for Gifted Identification Recommended a Position Statement of the National Association for Gifted Children
It is recommended practice to derive the General Ability Index (GAI) when there are large disparities among the Composite/Index scores. Flanagan and Kaufman (2004), in Essentials of WISC-IV Assessment, deem the FSIQ “not interpretable” if Composite scores vary by 23 points (1.5 standard deviations) or more...
 
What Do the Tests Tell Us? Recommended by Carolyn K.
Many parents arrive in the world of gifted education with a report full of tests results, supposedly defining their child as "gifted."  But more often than not, parents have more questions than answers upon receiving those test results.  And just as often, the short answers from the psychologist, the school, the teachers, and other parents do more to confuse than clarify...
 
What is Highly Gifted? Exceptionally Gifted? Profoundly Gifted? And What Does It Mean? Recommended by Carolyn K.
Levels of giftedness, test ceilings, questions that you want answers to...
 
Why should I have my child tested? Recommended by Carolyn K.
Intelligence tests, ability tests, achievement tests, test young, test older, use this test, use that test... we all hear tons of tidbits of information about testing, from the schools, from other parents, from mailing lists, from professionals.  Here are all those tidbits, distilled into a comprehensive guide to testing our gifted children...
 
Why do my child's test scores vary from test to test? Recommended by Carolyn K.
Why do children's test scores, on both IQ and achievement tests, vary (sometimes dramatically) from test to test?  There are so many reasons, and most do not have anything to do with the child's intelligence or ability...
 
The 2002 APA Ethics Code
Occasionally, a psychologist or tester declines to share a child's actual test scores with the parents.  The APA Ethics Code is clear on the Release of Raw Test Data: "Pursuant to a client/patient release, psychologists provide test data to the client/patient or other persons identified in the release" (p. 1071).
 
Assessment and Testing: What about the SB5, WISC-IV, and Other Tests? by Barbara Gilman, closing statement from Our Gifted Online Conferences conference on Testing and Assessment
Promising New or Still Valuable Tests or Portions of Tests, The Increased Emphasis of Processing Skills Measures as Part of the FSIQ, How Can We Accommodate Aspergers , Learning Disabilities and Other Deficits in Testing?, With Likely EG and PG Children, Is It Important to Seek Testing From Testers Experienced With This Population? and other questions answered...
 
Assessment of Children WISC-IV and WPPSI-III Supplement by Jerome M. Sattler and Ron Dumont
Full of helpful administrative and interpretive tips, it is a must-have reference for students and clinicians involved in intelligence testing...
 
Buros Institute of Mental Measurements
Comprehensive (and technical) source of information on intelligence and achievement tests (this resource offers test review information at a charge; to see the same information for free, visit the reference section of your local library, for the Buros Mental Measurements Yearbooks)
 
The case for the Stanford-Binet L-M as a supplemental test by Kathi Kearney & Linda Silverman
The population is apparently gaining in intelligence, but modern intelligence tests have less power to measure the high end of that intelligence. The original Stanford-Binet Intelligence Scale was structured to measure development from very early childhood to adulthood. It has a higher ceiling (and lower floor) than any of the current tests. And the most important factor in assessing gifted students is the height of the ceiling... (requires Adobe Reader)
 
The Cattell-Horn-Carroll (CHC) Theory of Cognitive Abilities: Past, Present and Future by Kevin S. McGrew, University of Minnesota
The history and evolution of Cattell- Horn-Carroll (CHC) theory of cognitive abilities, the broad and narrow CHC abilities, including, where appropriate, the integration of factor analytic research (since 1993) that suggests possible refinements to the taxonomy, and (3) review structural evidence that supports the broad strokes of CHC theory...

A psychometrician named Farrell,
Upon reading some research by Carroll,
Said “How can this be--
There’s just too much g!”
My test is now over a barrel!
-- Andrew D. Carson, Ph.D.

The contribution of cognitive psychology to the study of human intelligence by Cesare Cornoldi
One of the reasons for the immediate interest of lay people in the concept ``intelligence'' and the simultaneous reluctance of researchers to study this concept is the fact that intelligence has been defined in numerous ways and the term has been used in a variety of different and partially contradictory contexts...
 
Data Collection: Old and New IQ Test Score Pairs Carolyn K., webmistress, Hoagies' Gifted Education Page
Similar to the old WISC-III and/or WPPSI-R vs. SB L-M data, I'm collecting (anonymously) data comparing kids' scores on now old versions WPPSI-R, WISC-III and SB-4 to the same kids' scores on the newer WPPSI-III, WISC-IV and SB-5.  (SB L-M scores are optional)  These scores will be collected, and included in a similar table once I have 25 data points, enough to make the results anonymous.  Thanks for your data points!  Current count: 23 data points (March, 2008)
 
The difference between ratio and deviation aptitude test scores by Margaret DeLacy
Or why gifted IQ scores don't accurately differentiate gifted children...
 
Discovering highly gifted students by J. Hansen
The principle reason for identifying highly gifted children is to help them get a better education than they probably would get otherwise. Tests designed for age-peers are powerless in yielding information to meet this end. One effective method of discovering highly gifted students is by above-level testing...
 
Dumont Willis Farleigh Dickenson University
Comprehensive site on tests and testing, by two professors at Fairleigh Dickenson...
 
Evaluating Intellectual Potential by Jerry Schecter
"My child is only five years old, and he reads at a fourth grade level. But he's doing cutting and pasting in his kindergarten class and complains of being bored. He doesn't want to return to school."  Scenarios like these are repeated countless times every school year, and parents are often at a loss as to how to deal with them.
 
The Explore Test: A Talent Search by Linda
Questions and answers about the Explore Test, a commonly used Talent Search identification test
 
Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA)
Sometimes advocacy has to begin with getting answers to questions already asked.  In the United States, if your child has had testing, you are entitled to copies of the full results, including IQ / standard scores, percentiles, age and grade equivalent scores, and much more... but sometimes you may need to cite this federal law to get them
 
Gaining Accurate Assessments of High Levels of Giftedness by Linda Silverman and Kathi Kearney
One unique problem for parents of highly gifted children is the impossibility of gaining accurate information about the level of their children's abilities, given the low ceilings on modern tests.  None of these tests can capture the full range of abilities of the extraordinarily gifted because the children's abilities extend beyond the upper limits of the tests  (requires Adobe Reader)
 
Gifted and highly gifted students: how do they score on the SB5? (Identification Discrepancies) by Shannon Pratt (subscription required)
Despite attempts to develop a test useful for determining giftedness, there were several early indications that the test was not operating in the expected manner. The gifted sample included in the validity studies received a mean Full Scale score of 123.7--over 6 points below the general standard of 130 for gifted-program participants. In an additional study Riverside documented that students performing at a prodigious level received a mean score of 130, a score much lower than expected. In addition to the lower means, it seems odd that a sample made up primarily of moderately gifted students would only score 6 to 7 points below a sample in the profoundly gifted range...
 
Gifted Today but not Tomorrow? Longitudinal Changes in Ability and Achievement during Elementary School by David F. Lohman & Katrina A. Korb, The University of Iowa
Approximately half of the students who score in the top 3% of the score distribution in one year will not fall in the top 3% of the distribution on the next year.  One can substantially reduce the amount of regression by combining the information from multiple assessments.  Understanding that all abilities are developed and that schools play a critical role in that process can lead to policies in which children’s reasoning abilities are assessed...    Read Understanding and predicting regression effects in the identification of academically gifted children, an update and extension of the original paper... (requires Adobe Reader)
 
Glossary of Measurement Terms Harcourt Brace Educational Measurement's technical glossary
Looking for a definition of criterion-referenced vs. norm-referenced, grade equivalent, percentile or stanine? Here are the definitions...
 
Harcourt Assessment WISC-IV Technical Report #4 General Ability Index
WISC-IV publisher's information on calculating the General Ability Index (GAI) for gifted identification when the processing speed and/or short term memory indices pull down the full scale score... (requires Adobe Reader)
 
History of Influences in the Development of Intelligence Theory & Testing
An interactive map and supporting details on the history from Plato to Sternberg, Gardner and Catell of today...
 
History of the Stanford-Binet Intelligence Scales: Content and Psychometrics by Kirk A. Becker
Using qualitative and quantitative methods, this bulletin examines the similarities and differences between the different editions of the Stanford-Binet published over the past century...
 
How to Use the New IQ Tests in Selecting Gifted Students, executive summary of the Symposium on Assessment Techniques in the Identification of Gifted Learners hosted by the World Council for Gifted Children 16 th Biennial Conference in New Orleans, Linda Kreger Silverman
20 recommendations for using IQ tests in the identification of gifted students, along with research references for each recommendation. 1. Individual IQ tests provide better information for high-stakes decision making for gifted students than group tests. Group IQ tests are best used for general screening purposes. 2. Gifted students are a special needs population...
 
I Know My Child is Smart; Why Does She Need Testing? by Linda Kreger Silverman
Early detection of children’s learning deficits is vital, as early intervention is essential for optimal development. A well-kept secret is that the same developmental rule applies to children who are unusually advanced. Early detection and intervention are also essential for optimal development of gifted abilities. Testing can prevent problems from occurring down the road...
 
Identification and assessment of gifted students with learning disabilities by Lilia M. Ruban and Sally M. Reis
More is known about the characteristics and needs of gifted students with learning disabilities today than in the past. However, many of these students are not identified as requiring services, and if they are, it is for only 1 exceptionality. This absence of knowledge about the consequences of the coincidence of gifts and disabilities has resulted in misidentification and minimal services for many students...
 
Instruments for measuring leadership in children and youth by Frances A. Karnes, in Gifted Child Today ($)
Following the incorporation of leadership as a dimension of giftedness in the federal definition, instruments for screening and identification of leadership have been developed, as well as curricular approaches and programs for developing and enhancing leadership skills. Screening and identification practices can assist educators in nurturing leadership skills in students identified as gifted leaders, but can also serve to help teachers develop leadership skills of students with other areas of giftedness...
 
Intellectual Assessment of Exceptionally and Profoundly Gifted Children by John D. Wasserman, from Ringing the Bell Curve: Saving and Surviving Amazing Kids (published in High IQ Kids: Collected Insights, Information, and Personal Stories from the Experts )
Exceptionally and profoundly gifted children... have been found to have qualitatively and quantitatively unique cognitive characteristics that differentiate them from intellectually gifted children performing at the lower ranges of intellectually gifted ability...  The SB L-M remains unmatched in its breadth of procedures and is probably truer to the changing nature of cognitive-intellectual abilities over development than any other test subsequently published...
 
I.Q. Comparison Site 
History of IQ, Flynn Effect, how to estimate your IQ from SAT-I, SAT or GRE scores, and more...  Note that these tests have hard ceilings of just over 152, under 164, and under 160 (using standard deviation of 15)... they just aren't designed for differentiation with highly, exceptionally, or profoundly gifted high school students and adults.  Also includes IQ Percentile and Rarity Chart for standard deviations of both 15 and 16...
 
Is America smart enough? IQ and national productivity by Daniel Seligman in National Review
Arguments about group differences in IQ have roiled the academy for years. Oddly enough, nobody pays attention to certain national IQ differences, which could help us answer the question: How does Japan do it?  INTELLIGENCE testing has a bad, bad reputation these days...
 
The Junior Meritocracy by Jennifer Senior, in New York Magazine
Should a child’s fate be sealed by an exam he takes at the age of 4? Why kindergarten-admission tests are worthless, at best. 
 
Note: the article is based on New York City admission policies, and does not reflect policies in the rest of the U.S.  Conversely, the implication that all students should receive an enriched education from Kindergarten and be assessed later through comprehensive observation is good, but Senior admits, impossible to implement...
 
Lessons from the history of intelligence testing by David Lohman
Three themes on intelligence testing: the developers of intelligence tests were not as narrow minded as they are often made out to be; theories of intelligence are the product of not only data and argument, but also the personal proclivities and experiences of theorists; the most important changes in the format of intelligence tests were dictated by the demands for efficiency and reliability... (requires Adobe Reader)
 
Measurement of Intellectual Capabilities: A Review of Theory by John L. Horn
Presents an overview of intelligence theories, and places the Gf-Gc theory of the Woodcock Johnson Cognitive into the context of other theories and their historical underpinnings... (requires Adobe Reader)
 
One Minute Test-taking Tips by Ronald L. Rubenzer
The "testing triathlon": being fact smart, test smart, stress smart.  Left-brain, right-brain, and both-brain activities to assure test preparedness... (requires Adobe Reader)
 
On Testing by Elizabeth Meckstroth
...intelligence testing materials are available to many practitioners who are not sensitive to gifted children's enormous range of abilities or the intensity of their emotions... Research continually confirms that parents know their children best.  For example, Jacobs found that parents could identify 61% of their gifted kindergarten children.  By contrast, their teachers identified only 4.3% of these children...
 
Present Levels of Educational Performance (PLEPs) by Todd McIntyre of AppliedGiftedEd
How do you determine a student's Present Levels of Educational Performance (PLEP) prior to the Gifted meetings?  How does that PLEP correlate to the district's curriculum?  What's the role of state standardized tests in determining the student's PLEP?  Though written for folks dealing with Pennsylvania mandate, it has valuable information for all parents of gifted students...
 
Proficiency Testing
Proficiency testing is NOT the same as other testing, and does not help the gifted child, or the adults seeking to understand and quantify the gifted child.  Yet it must be discussed here...
 
Professionals familiar with Gifted and Exceptionally Gifted
In addition to psychological testing, gifted children (and adults) have other needs for professionals.  From audiologists to developmental optometrists to counselors, here's a list of professionals across the U.S. who offer valuable services, while understanding our gifted children...
 
Psychologists familiar with Testing the Gifted and Exceptionally Gifted
The question is often asked, "Who should I get to test my gifted child?" or "My highly gifted child?" What psychologist is familiar with the ceilings on the commonly administered individual IQ tests like the Wechsler (WPPSI or WISC) and Stanford-Binet (SB-IV), or perhaps is familiar with giving the supplemental Stanford-Binet LM (SB L-M, the 'Old Binet')?  Here's a list of psychologists around the world who offer the SB L-M as supplemental testing for gifted children...
 
Rising Scores on Intelligence Tests
American Scientist article explains the Flynn Effect of rising IQ scores
 
The Role of Nonverbal Ability Tests in Identifying Academically Gifted Students: An Aptitude Perspective by David Lohman
Disadvantages of figural reasoning tests include task specificity greater than for V or Q, large practice effects, largest Flynn effect, appearance of measuring something innate, appearance of being culture fair, distal predicator of academic success...  (requires Adobe Reader)
 
SASP Interviews: Arthur R. Jensen by A Alexander Beaujean, University of MissouriColumbia
Teachers should also notice pupils who are especially exceptional at the high end of the ability spectrum; they often need a different educational program than that offered to their more typical age-mates... Standardized [individual IQ and achievement] tests, can get a much better estimate of a pupil’s standing in academic ability related to peers of his/her own age than is possible for a teacher to estimate using the more informal assessment procedures...  Despite years of psychometric research that proves contrary, there are still those who think that cognitive assessment instruments are biased, and consequently are only valid for middle-class Caucasians... (requires Adobe Reader)
 
SAT Conversion Chart 
In 1996, the Educational Testing Service simplified the SAT. The overall effect was to raise the average combined score...
 
The Secret Weapon from GT-World (click Articles, and then Secret Weapon)
Adaptation of the top secret chart used by some school psychologists when holding staffings for special ed kids; shows mental age by IQ vs. physical age and grade...
 
Stat-Fu: The Path of Turning Data into Information by Todd McIntyre of AppliedGiftedEd
A child’s educational test scores contain data. Statistics is the process by which information is gleaned from raw data. Stat-Fu is designed to provide the parent with a path towards understanding the significance of their child’s tested results. And, as with all paths, Stat-Fu is only meaningful if it is traveled.... (requires Adobe Reader)
 
TAGFAM MonTAGe E-Journal: IQ Testing: An Overview editor, Valorie J. King
Includes articles "IQ Tests: What Are They Measuring?" and "Pathfinders In The IQ Wilderness"
 
Testing and Counseling Interview Questions by Institute of Educational Advancement
What questions should I ask when interviewing a professional to assess or counsel my gifted child?  When inquiring about services for your child, it is important to be candid regarding your motives for seeking professional assistance...
 
Testing Your Gifted Child: A Springboard for Effective Advocacy by Barbara Jackson Gilman, in Duke Gifted Letter
For the rare gifted student whose educational needs have been met, individual assessment may not be a priority. However, for the vast majority, testing can be a potent ally. It can address parental concerns and bolster advocacy efforts when the curriculum is restrictive and gifted accommodations are sparse. A professional evaluation documents cognitive strengths, assesses academic achievement, and recommends specific strategies to meet a child’s needs...
 
Understanding Tests and Measurements
LD Online's site on testing is written for LD students, but is just as informative for parents of gifted children
 
Use of the SB5 in the Assessment of High Abilities by Deborah L. Ruf
The feature of the Stanford-Binet Intelligence Scales, Fifth Edition (SB5) make the test useful for the assessment of high abilities in both general and gifted assessment...  (requires Adobe Reader)
 
Also read Special Composite Scores for the Stanford-Binet Intelligence Scales, Fifth Edition by Gale H. Roid
Several new composites for the Stanford-Binet Intelligence Scales, Fifth Edition (SB5)... First, subtests are grouped into composites useful for predicting learning disabilities. Second, composites are provided for both slow learning and giftedness. Third, composites for general clinical use are presented, followed by applications to various special populations, such as individuals with attentional problems, traumatic brain injuries, and dual exceptionalities (such as giftedness coupled with learning disabilities). ... (requires Adobe Reader)
 
Using Test Results to Support Clinical Judgment by Linda Kreger Silverman
In diagnosing giftedness, too often the test results are expected to be able to do the job alone
 
We are about as smart as we're going to get, says IQ pioneer by Alexandra Frean, Times of London
Now the man who first observed this effect, the psychologist James Flynn, has made another observation: intelligence test scores have stopped rising. Far from indicating that now we really are getting dumber, this may suggest that certain of our cognitive functions have reached — or nearly reached — the upper limits of what they will ever achieve, Professor Flynn believes. In other words, we can’t get much better at the mental tasks we are good at, no matter how hard we try...
 
What should I look for in a psychological evaluation? Parent to Parent, by M. Warshaw

Who Are the Gifted Using the New WISC-IV? by Linda Kreger Silverman, Barbara Gilman, and R. Frank Falk
Studies conducted to date on the WISC-IV suggest that two of the four indices, the Verbal Comprehension Index and the Perceptual Reasoning Index, provide the best measures of giftedness...
 
Why Is Assessment Important If We Plan On Homeschooling? by Alexandra Shires Golon
other homeschooling parents often ask me, “Why is assessment important if we plan on homeschooling?” My answer, though likely more than they wanted to hear, seldom has anything to do with obtaining an IQ score.  Assessment also is critical for determining if your child has any weaknesses; assessment can reveal a variety of learning disabilities including...
 
Why We Use the Stanford-Binet Form L-M
While it is a dated test, the SB L-M is clearly still a valid test, or it would not be listed as such in the [2002] Riverside catalog [which states]: Form L-M, with its lower floor and higher ceiling, is diagnostically appropriate for children at the extremes of mental ability. It can be used to evaluate levels of mental retardation and intellectual giftedness (bold added)
 
WISC-III and/or WPPSI-R vs. SB L-M Collected by Carolyn K.
This new table of over 50 students shows that... no conclusions can easily be drawn from WISC-III or WPPSI-R subtests ceilings to indicate how MUCH higher a gifted child who hits the ceiling on a Wechsler IQ test may score in supplemental testing on the SB L-M, but when given to children who reach ceilings on the WISC / WPPSI, they nearly all DO score higher...
 
WISC-III Verbal/Performance Discrepancies Among a Sample of Gifted Children by John D. Sweetland, Jacqueline M. Reina and Anne F. Tatti
Very intelligent children demonstrate much larger Verbal-Performance discrepancies than are reported in the WISC–III manual...  Though this refers to a previous version of the WISC, the Verbal-Performance discrepancies among gifted children continue to occur (requires Adobe Reader)


Last updated October 17, 2014
 

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