Dynamic assessment : a practical strategy for school educators

Coosner, Carroll Diane (1999-12)

Thesis (M Ed) -- University of Stellenbosch, 1999.

Thesis

ENGLISH SUMMARY: Post-apartheid South Africa has seen a shift to process-centred, outcomesbased (OBE) education. Inherent in this shift and in the democratisation of the education system, has been a move to holistic, learner-centred and inclusive education. The successful implementation of a 'new' education system will require a major paradigm shift in educators' methodology, especially with regard to how educators assess learners within this processcentred, OBE approach. The concept of dynamic assessment is especially relevant in the shift to OBE. The dynamic assessment strategy proposed by this researcher is based on Feuerstein's theoretical design. Implicit in the theory are the concepts of ., structured cognitive modifiability (SCM) and the mediated learning experience (MLE). SCM is based on the assumption that human beings have the capacity to modify their cognitive functions and adapt to life's changing demands. They are thus open systems which are amenable to cognitive changes. Structural changes are pervasive and determine cognitive function in a broad series of mental activities. Feuerstein has suggested a list of deficient cognitive functions at the input, elaboration and output phases of the mental act. These serve as guidelines for observational and mediational efforts. The identification of the deficient cognitive function, the level of modifiability and the mediation required to change them are considered to be of vital importance to predicting future learning. This basic assumption shifts the responsibility for a person's modifiability from that individual to the mediator or examiner. For this reason, cognitive modifiability is best explained by the MLE theory. MLE refers to an interactional process in which adults interpose themselves between the leamer/child and his or her world and help him or her to make meaning of that world. For the purposes of this study project it was vital that the educators be trained to use the MLE criteria in their interactions. The literature study was followed by a pilot study, which was carried out in order to refine and contextualise the theoretical framework underpinning the strategy. The results of this pilot study led to further refinements of the proposed strategy which developed into the practical dynamic assessment strategy. (See Chapter 4.) The prototype of the dynamic assessment strategy contains training in both the needs and relevance of the strategy within the South African context, the theoretical foundations which underpin it, and strategies for its successful implementation. It requires approximately four hours of intensive training. The results of the research reflected that an overwhelming majority of the educators became more learner-centred and self-reflective, and had internalised and integrated the criteria of MLE. They found the strategy to be practical and implementable. It is preCisely strategies like this which are now needed in South Africa's educational transition. Without the necessary pre- and in-service training, the vision and principles of aBE could remain an idealistic dream, as opposed to an implemented and working reality.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Post-apartheid Suid-Afrika het "n verskuiwing na prosesgesentreerde, uitkomsgebaseerde onderwys (UGO) ondergaaan. Inherent binne hierdie verskuiwing en in die demokratisering van die onderwyssisteem is "n beweging na holistiese, leerdergesentreerde en inklusiewe onderwys. Die suksesvolle implementering van "n "nuwe' onderwyssisteem vra "n ingrypende paradigmaskuif ten opsigte van opvoeders se metodologie, veral wat betref die assessering van leerders binne hierdie prosesgesentreerde, uitkomsgebaseerde benadering. Die konsep van dinamiese assessering is veral relevant in die verskuiwing na UGO. Die dinamiese assesseringstrategie is gebaseer op Feuerstein se teoretiese ontwerp. Implisiet in die teorie is die konsepte van gestruktureerde kognitiewe modifieerbaarheid (SCM) en die gemedieerde leerervaring (MLE). SCM is gebaseer op die aanname dat die mens die kapasiteit het om sy kognitiewe funksies te modifieer en aan te pas by veranderde lewenseise. Die mens is dus "n oop sisteem, vatbaar vir kognitiewe verandering. Strukturele veranderinge is deurdringend en determineer kognitiewe funksies in "n breer reeks denkaktiwiteite. Feuerstein suggereer "n Iys van ontoereikende funksies by die invoer- verwerkings- en uitvoerfases van die den kaktiwiteite , wat kan dien as riglyne vir pogings tot observasie en mediering. Die identifisering van die ontoereikende kognitiewe funksies, die vlak van modifieerbaarheid en die mediering om dit te verander, word beskou as uiters belangrik vir die voorspelling van toekomstige leer. Op grond van hierdie basiese aanname verskuif die verantwoordelikheid vir "n persoon se modifieerbaarheid van die individu tot die mediator of ondersoeker. Om hierdie rede, bied die MLE-teorie die beste verduideliking van kognitiewe modifieerbaarheid. MLE is "n interaksionale proses waarvolgens volwassenes hulleself tussen die leerder/kind en sy of haar wereld plaas en hom of haar help om betekenis aan die wereld te gee. Ter wille van die doelwitte van hierdie studieprojek was dit uiters belangrik dat die opvoeders opgelei word om die MLE-kriteria in hulle interaksies te gebruik. Die navorser se literatuurstudie is opgevolg deur 'n loodsstudie ten einde van die teoretiese raamwerk, wat die strategie onderle, te verfyn en te kontekstualiseer. Die resultate van die loodsstudie het tot verdere verfyning van die voorgestelde strategie gelei wat ontwikkel het, in die praktiese dinamiese assesseringstrategie vir opvoeders (Hoofstuk 4). Die prototipe van die dinamiese assesseringstrategie omvat die opleiding, in beide die behoeftes en toepaslikheid van die strategie binne die Suid-Afrikaanse konteks, die teoretiese fundering wat dit onderle en ook die strategiee vir die suksesvolle implementering daarvan. Dit vereis ongeveer vier ure se intensiewe opleiding. Volgens die resultate van die navorsing het die oorgrote meerderheid van die opvoeders meer leerdergesentreerd en selfreflekterend geword en hulle het die MLE-kriteria ge"intemaliseerenge"integreer.Hulle het die strategie as prakties en implementeerbaar beleef. Dit is in besonder strategiee 5005 hierdie wat nou nodig is vir die oorgangsfase in Suid-Afrikaanse onderwys. Sonder die nodige voordiens- en indiensopleiding sal die visie en beginsels van UGO slegs 'n idealistiese droom bly, in teenstelling met 'n werkbare realiteit.

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