The design and evaluation of a cognitive skills assessment checklist for educators

Coosner, Carroll Diane (2001-12)

Thesis (MEd)--University of Stellenbosch, 2001.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: Post-apartheid South Africa has seen a shift to process-centred, outcomesbased (OBE) education. Within this paradigm much has been written and recommended as regards assessment, specifically authentic assessment, which needs to be continuous. Within this transformatory model of teaching and assessment, it is vital for the educator to understand how the learner learns in order to assess him/her authentically. Because cognition has to do with how learners acquire, store and utilize information, the best way to assess cognitive ability is to assess those thought processes that are involved in arriving at the products of cognition directly. Being process-based and judging the learners' responsiveness to instruction, it becomes important for the educator to examine how a learner learns, before educators can hope to categorise and analyse the learners' ability to learn. The paucity of the data base search revealed that the design of such a cognitive checklist was imperative. The checklist had to be easily understood, practical and easily impiementabie. The researcher based the checklist on Feuerstein's (1980) model, which is underpinned by the concepts of structural 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 educator. The basic parameters of the cognitive process are subsumed into the cognitive map. These include: content; operation; modality; phase (input, elaboration, output); level of complexity; level of abstraction and level of efficiency. The present researcher reframed all the basic components of the learning phases into easily accessible English and provided examples of sub-skills (150) necessary for the successful acquisition of learning at that phase of the learning process. The literature study was followed by a pilot-study. This was carried out in order to refine the checklist and make sure that it was, indeed, user-friendly, easily understood, impiementabie without training and that it yielded information which the educators found to be professionally beneficial and enriching. The results of the pilot-study were incorporated into The Checklist To Assess Cognitive Skills' (Chapter 4). The result of the research was unanimous as regards the above-mentioned goals. The educators all realised the necessity of linking assessment to instruction and understood how crucial it is that educators understand and appreciate how a learner learns and hence, develops.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Na apartheid het Suid-Afrika 'n verskuiwing na prosesgesentreerde, uitkomsgebaseerde onderwys (UGO) beleef. Binne hierdie paradigma is baie geskryf en aanbevelings gemaak oor assessering, veraloor outentieke assessering wat deurlopend toegepas moet word. Binne hierdie transformatiewe model van onderrig en assessering is dit van besondere belang dat opvoedkundiges moet verstaan hoe die leerder leer ten einde hom of haar op 'n outentieke wyse te kan assesseer. Omdat kognisie te doen het met die verwerwing, prosessering, storing en aanwending van inligting, is die geskikste wyse om kognitiewe verweë te assesseer, om daardie denkprosesse te assesseer wat direk betrek word ten einde by die produkte van kognisie uit te kom. Aangesien dit proses gebaseerd is, en gaan om die beoordeling van leerders se responsiwiteit op onderrig, word dit belangrik vir die opvoedkundige om te ondersoek hoe 'n leerder leer, voordat die opvoedkundige met enige mate van sukses leerders se leervermoëns sal kan kategoriseer en analiseer. Die beperkte omvang van die databasis-soektog beklemtoon dat die ontwerp van 'n kognitiewe kontrolelys vir opvoedkundiges imperatief is. Die kontrole lys moet verstaanbaar, prakties en maklik implementeerbaar wees. Die navorser het die kontrolelys gebaseer op Feuerstein (1980) se model wat onderlê word deur die konsepte van strukturele kognitiewe modifieerbaarheid (SCM) en die gemedieerde leerervaring (MLE). Struktuele kognitiewe modifieerbaarheid (SCM) is baseer op die aanname dat mense oor die vermoë besit om hulle eie kognitiewe funksies te modifieer en om aan te pas by die veranderende eise van die lewe. Hulle is dus oopsisteme wat vatbaar vir kognitiewe veranderinge is. Struktuele veranderinge is deurdringend van aard en bepaal kognitiewe funksionering in 'n breë reeks van denkaktiwiteite. Feuerstein het 'n lys van ontoereikende kognitiewe funksies by die invoer-, uitbreidings- en uitvoerfases van die denkhandeling voorsien. Hierdie lys dien as riglyne by beide waargenome en gemedieerde pogings. Die identifikasie van ontoereikende kognitiewe funksies, die vlak van modifieerbaarheid en die mediëring om dit te wysig, word as van kardinale belang beskou in toekomstige leer. Die basiese parameters van die kognitiewe proses word gesubsumeer in die kognitiewe kaart. Dit sluit in: inhoud; operasie; modaliteit; fase (invoer, uitbreiding, uitvoer); vlak van kompleksiteit; vlak van abstraksie en vlak van effektiwiteit. Die navorser het al die basiese komponente van die leerfases in toeganklike Engels herskrywe en het voorbeelde van 150 subvaardighede, nodig vir suksesvolle verwerwing van leer in daardie spesifieke fase van die leerproses, voorsien. Die literatuuroorsig is deur 'n loodsstudie opgevolg. Die loodsstudie is uitgevoer ten einde die kontrolelys te verfyn en om te vergewis dat dit werklik gebruikersvriendelik, maklik verstaanbaar, en toepasbaar is sonder opleiding, en dat dit inligting voorsien wat 'n voordelige en verrykende professionele bydrae sal maak. Die bevindings van die loodsstudie is in die Kognitiewe Kontrolelys geïnkorporeer (Hoofstuk 4). Die navorsingsbevindings het op eenstemmige wyse die realisering van bostaande doelwitte onderskryf. Die opvoedkundiges het almal die noodsaaklikheid van die verbinding tussen assessering en onderrig verstaan en ook van die belangrikheid dat die opvoedkundige begrip en waardering toon van hoe 'n leerder leer en dus ontwikkel.

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