Detection of sub-optimal effort is a critical element of all psychological assessment procedures. Failure to consider the validity of the client's performance and symptom reporting may result in inaccurate conclusions about the degree of impairment. Because the American with Disabilities Act requires colleges to provide accommodations for students with documented disabilities, providing resources for students feigning impairment may ultimately drain university resources intended to help those students with disabilities. This study sought to examine the relationship between two different types of measures of effort and variables related to academic ability. De-identified archival data was gathered from the University Accessibility Center (UAC) at Brigham Young University (BYU) which provided psychological assessments for accommodation seeking students (N = 602) for a reduced fee. Measures used to detect sub-optimal effort included the Test of Memory Malingering (TOMM), Word Memory Test (WMT), Validity Indicator Profile (VIP), California Verbal Learning Test-Second Edition (CVLT-II), Reliable Digit Span (RDS), and the Integrated Visual and Auditory Continuous Performance Advanced Edition (IVA-AE). Measures indicating academic ability included select subtests from the Woodcock Johnson Test of Achievement Third Edition (WJ-III). Additionally, Matrix Reasoning of the Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale Fourth Edition (WAIS-IV) was included as a cognitive measure of nonverbal IQ. Two point biserial correlations were conducted. Results indicated that the nonverbal portion of the VIP had a significant relationship with writing fluency. The TOMM also had a significant relationship with writing fluency. Additionally, results demonstrated that Reliable Digit Span had a significant relationship with Academic Fluency, Writing Fluency, Letter Word Identification, and Math Fluency. Data suggests that university disability service offices may wish to include the RDS, TOMM, and VIP in their considerations of effort.



College and Department

David O. McKay School of Education; Counseling Psychology and Special Education



Date Submitted


Document Type





accommodation, sub-optimal effort, college student population, TOMM, WMT, VIP