Educational psychologists' view of the relevance of dynamic assessment for their practice

Smit, Mia (2010-12)

Thesis (MEdPsych (Educational Psychology))--University of Stellenbosch, 2010.

Bibliography

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: This study stems from the concern about the over-reliance on and limitations of using isolated psychometric measures in psycho-educational assessments. Despite claims in literature that dynamic assessment is a valuable tool in linking assessment and intervention, many proponents of dynamic assessment (for instance Bosma & Resing, 2008; Woods & Farrell, 2006; Elliot, 2003; Tzuriel, 2001; Lidz & Elliot, 2000) have found that it has not been fully incorporated into educational psychologists‘ assessment practices. The present study aimed to explore educational psychologists‘ views on the relevance and challenges of practising dynamic assessment in the changing context of educational psychology practices in South Africa, particularly assessment practices. It reports on the value, relevance and potential of dynamic assessment for educational psychologists, but also sheds light on the factors and challenges that hamper its implementation in practice. The researcher utilised a basic qualitative, interpretive research design. Twelve educational psychologists either in private practice or in state education services who had knowledge of dynamic assessment were selected by means of criterion-purposive sampling to participate in the study. Data were collected by means of an extensive literature review and semi-structured interviews, and analyzed using a synthesis of content and interpretive analysis. The findings suggest that educational psychologists in South Africa found dynamic assessment to be relevant to their practices. Participants report that it yields valuable information about learning (on cognitive, affective and behavioural levels) and that it is especially useful for assessing learners from diverse backgrounds for whom no standardized tests exist. However, they experienced some obstacles in implementing dynamic assessment. These were related to insufficient training, too few experts to assist with supervision, expertise residing in too few retired or nearly retired persons, as well as the perceived labour-intensive and time-consuming nature of dynamic assessment. Therefore, recommendations for theory and further research indicate that more research (especially with regard to training presented at tertiary institutions) is needed to boost its momentum and ensure its further development. Recommendations for practice focus on raising educational psychologists‘ awareness of dynamic assessment, increasing the availability of courses, as well as interested professionals‘ access to training. Keywords: Dynamic assessment; educational psychology; assessment in South Africa

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Hierdie studie spruit voort uit kommer oor die oormatige vertroue op en beperkings van die gebruik van geïsoleerde psigometriese maatreëls in psigo-opvoedkundige assesserings. Ongeag aansprake in die literatuur dat dinamiese assessering 'n waardevolle instrument is om assessering en intervensie te verbind, het baie voorstanders van dinamiese assessering (byvoorbeeld Bosma & Resing, 2008; Woods & Farrell, 2006; Elliot, 2003; Tzuriel, 2001; Lidz & Elliot, 2000) bevind dat dit nog nie volledig in die assesseringspraktyke van opvoedkundige sielkundiges geïnkorporeer is nie. Die doel van die onderhawige studie was om opvoedkundige sielkundiges se sieninge oor die relevansie en uitdagings van die praktisering van dinamiese assessering in die veranderende konteks van opvoedkundige sielkundige praktyke in Suid-Afrika, in besonder assesseringspraktyke, te verken. Dit doen verslag oor die waarde, relevansie en potensiaal van dinamiese assessering vir opvoedkundige sielkundiges, maar werp ook lig op die faktore en uitdagings wat die implementering daarvan in die praktyk bemoeilik. Die navorser het 'n basiese kwalitatiewe, interpretatiewe navorsingsontwerp gebruik. Twaalf opvoedkundige sielkundiges in privaatpraktyk of in staatsopvoedkundige dienste wat kennis van dinamiese assessering gehad het, is deur middel van kriteriagerigte steekproefneming geselekteer om aan die studie deel te neem. Data is deur middel van 'n uitgebreide literêre oorsig en semi-gestruktureerde onderhoude versamel en geanaliseer deur 'n sintese van inhoud- en interpretatiewe analise te gebruik. Die bevindings dui daarop dat opvoedkundige sielkundiges in Suid-Afrika dinamiese assessering relevant vir hulle praktyke vind. Deelnemers rapporteer dat dit waardevolle inligting oor leer (op kognitiewe, affektiewe en gedragsvlakke) daarstel en dat dit veral nuttig is vir die assessering van leerders uit uiteenlopende agtergronde vir wie geen gestandaardiseerde toetse bestaan nie. Hulle het egter 'n paar hindernisse ervaar in die implementering van dinamiese assessering. Dit was verwant aan onvoldoende opleiding, te min kundiges om met toesig behulpsaam te wees, kundigheid wat in te min afgetrede en byna afgetrede persone setel, asook die waargenome arbeidsintensiewe en tydrowende aard van dinamiese assessering. Aanbevelings vir teorie en verdere navorsing dui daarop dat meer navorsing (veral ten opsigte van opleiding wat by tersiêre inrigtings aangebied word) benodig word om die momentum daarvan 'n hupstoot te gee en die verdere ontwikkeling daarvan te verseker. Aanbevelings vir die praktyk fokus op die bevordering van opvoedkundige sielkundiges se bewustheid van dinamiese assessering, die verhoging van die beskikbaarheid van kursusse asook toegang van geïnteresseerde professionele lui tot opleiding.

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