Volume 19, Issue 4 (1990)
Dynamic Approaches to Psychoeducational Assessment
H. Carl Haywood, Anthony L. Brown, Sabine Wingenfeld
“Static approaches to psychoeducational assessment have problems that limit their utility and that may lead to misclassification, errors in placement, and failure to develop appropriate educational programs. Standard tests are used most often for classification, but the notion that classification leads to appropriatee “treatment” has not been generally supported. Normative tests, based heavily on achievement, rely on the assumption that subjects have had equal opportunities to learn. Further, they generally assess products of prior learning rather than processes of learning, thinking, and problem solving. They do not take advantage of new knowledge about cognitive development and cognitive modifiability, and are not designed to answer contemporary questions. Assessment of processes, relying on techniques that include teaching, have evolved over the last 60 years, reflecting the thinking of Vygotsky, the Lerntest movement in Germany, contemporary neoPiagetian thought, clinical assessment techniques of Rey, research by several contemporary American psychologists. The single most important contribution has been that of Feuerstein, whose Learning Potential Assessment Device is a well-developed clinical approach and set of instruments resting on a “theory of structural cognitive modifiability.” Dynamic assessment differs from static assessment in that it is addressed to new goals, makes use of different content, relies upon very different methods of assessment, including a radically changed relation between assessor and subjects, and yields results that are interpreted differently. Important psychometric dimensions have not yet been adequately established. The approach holds promise as an approach to “nondiscriminatory” assessment and to assessment of the learning potential of culturally different, handicapped, language different, and learning-impaired persons.
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