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Chapter 3

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University of Guelph
Political Science
POLS 2000
Frank Cameron

Chapter 3 • Alfred Binet began the serious efforts to measure intelligence in 1904 • The influence of development in psychological assessment is evident far beyond the area of intellectual disabilities, and its methodology has become increasingly complex Issues and Concepts • Research on measurement of intelligence has a very long history • Efforts have been made to evaluate other areas of functioning • In some cases the development of assessment instruments has been driven by commercial motives rather than the cautious and systematic investigations of science Assessment Use • Instrument development has occurred at a very rapid rate, often at the expense of careful and deliberate thought about the purposes and uses of the tests • There has been a significant proliferation of psycho-educational instruments in the past 30 years • New instrumentation is being developed continually at an accelerating rate • Questions arise about the degree to of technical precision • Many instruments on the market do not give adequate attention to sound measurement practices Assessment Referencing • Development and articulation of measurement concepts regarding the reference used for data interpretation represents one of the more important developments in the field of assessment • This refers to what standards or comparisons are used for a child's performance • Most prominent in this work is the distinction between norm- and criterion-referenced evaluation • Using different referents does not necessarily mean that different test items are employed, just that the performance data are compared with a different standard Norm Referencing • Early assessment • developments focused on how an individual performed, compared to others, particularly in the area of intelligence • Child's test score was viewed in relation to his/her age mates or some standard norm • Assessment in which the performance of an individual is compared with that of others is known as norm-referenced evaluation • This is when how well an individual performs is compared or referenced to the scores of others using well established norms • The norm-referenced approach has been predominant for many years • As the science of human behaviour progressed, measurement problems that obviously needed attention developed • Standardized tests provided information that was useful for some purposes but not for others • Norm-referenced assessment information did little to facilitate placement, planning, and programming • The difficulties with norm-referenced assessments described here do not mean that it lacks value Criterion Referencing • Criterion-referenced evaluation assesses specific skill areas individually, rather than generating a score based on a composite of skills • It does not compare an individual's performance with that of others • Test items are usually arranged in a sequence of increasing difficulty, and a person's functioning is viewed in terms of absolute performance lever or the actual number of operations completed • Level of performance may be referenced in one of two ways: • First way involved an evaluator and the teacher (often the same person) asking "is this level of proficiency adequate for this child at this time" • Second way involves comparison of the individual's performance in one area with their performance in another • Criterion referenced evaluation has been applied in a wide variety of settings, one of the most pertinent being classroom assessments • Curriculum-based assessment uses the sequential objectives of the student's curriculum as the referent or criterion for evaluating progress • Curriculum-based also provides a natural and efficient process for screening assessment • Criterion- and norm-referenced assessment studies have shown that neither in isolation results in a totally effective process Formative and Summative Evaluation • Other conceptual developments look directly to the purposes of evaluation and have led to the articulation of two broad categories • Formative evaluation is assessment that focuses not on a desired behaviour but on the next step in an instructional program • Summative evaluation involves assessment of terminal behaviours and evaluates performance at the end of a given period Assessment Bias • Discriminatory testing is another concern in the assessment field • Questions about discriminatory assessment surface particularly often with respect to the standardized, norm-referenced testing of minority group children • Assessment bias, whether due to instrumentation or administration, generates inaccurate results that are at least partially due to cultural background, rather than actual mental abilities or skills • Attempts to construct unbiased instruments have been largely disappointing • Some of the efforts undertaken are beginning to place the assessment of minority children on firmer ground • Evidence continues to indicate that factors such as ethnicity influence a youngster's likelihood of being diagnosed as having a disability and minority children still represent a disproportionately large segment of the population identified as having intellectual disabilities Early Life Screening Concepts • High-risk situations may trigger assessment and actual intervention aimed at prevention • Genetic counseling may be employed in a wide range of circumstances where developmental abnormalities are probable and may result in advice that a pregnancy should be avoided or closely monitored if the potential parents decide to proceed • Early identification plays a vital role in terms of planning for the future of the child and the family • Certain problems persist in accomplishing early screening assessments for intellectual disabilities • One serious difficulty in assessing young children is accuracy of prediction • Prediction is not as accurate as we would like, but it is not impossible • Accuracy of prediction is much greater with the infant who has severe disability and exhibits clearer signs of impairment earlier • Another concern for early screening assessment involves the factors evaluated • Valuable predictive information may be obtained by evaluating environmental factors as well at the child's developmental status • Some factors are more important than others such as parents' language style, attitudes about achievement, and general involvement with the young child Genetics, OtherAssessment and Prevention Issues • The early identification of disability or risk conditions is very important and in many cases enhances the probability of a favourable intervention outcome • Prevention focuses on pregnancies or newborn children who are thought to be at risk • Certain pregnancy situations are at greater risk for developmental accidents or disruption of the normal developmental processes than others • One negative outcome of early assessment is labelling • Evaluation of minority groups is an even greater concern in early screening as issues of poverty, race and environment play a large role in early screening access Early LifeAssessment Prenatal • Early assessments are now considered essential to monitoring fetal status • In cases where problems are detected these assessments may result in very early intervention • High-risk pregnancies are more frequent among women who cannot afford adequate health care or who for some reason do not have adequate medical resources available to them • Routine, ongoing prenatal assessment is generally adequate as long as a healthy mother and fetus are involved • Certain danger signs prompt more extensive evaluation • There are accurate diagnoses possible for a variety of hereditary disorders • The ability to detect and take action is a major contribution to the field of intellectual disabilities • Even more significant is the ability to prevent personal tragedies resulting from the birth of children with such devastating disorders and to provide intervention and support for the parents • Significant portions of this kind of extensive prenatal assessment are not yet routine Newborn • Avariety of assessment techniques are used with the newborn • Immediately after birth, several factors are noted and rated on theApgar score (measures heart rate, respiratory effort, muscle tone reflex irritability, and colour • Extremely lowApgar scores at the 5-minute measure suggests a potential problem and is considered an indicator for a variety of developmental difficulties • Other assessment procedures can be conducted during the very early part of a child's life • Some evaluate neurological status and reflex behaviours • Others attempt to detect inherited or congenitally present disorders • Anumber of anomalies can be treated • Treatment can prevent or substantially diminish the developmental problem that would result if the condition were unknown or ignored • Certain other abnormalities are detectable from clinical observation at the newborn stage Beyond the Newborn Stage • Certain measurements are difficult to make from birth through the first few years of life Intellectual • Anumber of instruments and evaluation procedures attempt to assess intellectual functioning in young children • Revised Bayley Scales of Infant Development represent one such instrument • Include test items from 1 to 30 months after birth for children at risk • Rely heavily on the assessment of sensorimotor performance • Bayley scales are reasonably accurate for certain high-risk populations • Instrument that have been employed at this age include the Brazelton Neonatal Behavioural Assessment Scale (3 days to 4 weeks), the Griffiths Scale (birth to 4 years) and the Revised Gesell Scale (birth through 5 years) Language • The assessment of language at this very early age is challenging • Robinson and Robb (2002) note that two broad models are prominent • One model promotes evaluation that is generally naturalistic assessment • This type of information is viewed quite favourably but is costly in terms of time and money to train observers • The alternative method is one where an instrument is employed to assess language development status • One criticism of this approach is it is often directed at the limited scope of evaluation that is imposed • Using instruments to assess language status often does not involve as much time for the evaluation as the more lengthy naturalistic assessment approach • Evaluation of language development is an increasingly important area of interest in
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