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Title: An exploration of dynamic assessment in two different educational settings.
Author: Lauchlan, Fraser A.
ISNI:       0000 0001 3605 5618
Awarding Body: University of Sunderland
Current Institution: University of Sunderland
Date of Award: 1999
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This thesis considers a means of psycho-educational 'assessment known as dynamic assessment (DA). The study involved 64 children - 30 from a special school (aged 8-9 years), and 34-from two-mainstream schools (aged 11-12 years) - and six teachers. The research questions were "expk red -simultaneously in both these educational settings. = `' ',, Initially, all children were assessed using both dynamic and `standardised measures, and then again, using the same measures, 15 months later. During this 15 month period, half of the children in each setting were given cognitive intervention (that is, 15. children in the special school received the Cognitive Modifiability Battery (Tzuriel, 1995), 17 children in, the mainstream school received Instrumental Enrichment (Feuerstein et al., 1979)). The other children in each setting constituted classroom control groups. The children were also divided into two groups depending upon whether they-demonstrated high or low learning potential (based on the dynamic assessments that were administered before the period of cognitive intervention). An aim of the study was to determine whether the use of DA provided a reliable and valid measure of learning potential. Thus, the research design was unique since it enabled the simultaneous exploration of the concept of learning potential, and the theory of cognitive intervention. In addition, six teachersw ere given a dynamic assessmenrte port on each child involved in the study. The usefulness, or otherwise, of the reports was explored in a series of interviews with teachers. Qualitative data obtained from the interviews were used to explore the extent to which teachers perceived the findings of dynamic assessment to be useful regarding the provision of suggestions and insights about children's learning difficulties. In the special school setting, the group of children who received cognitive intervention and demonstrated a high level of learning potential improved their scores most significantly (that is, they demonstrated the most learning progress over the course of the study). It was concluded that the use of DA provided a valid measure of learning potential but only if there followed a period of cognitive intervention. The children who received cognitive intervention demonstrated significantly more learning progress than the control group. The research conducted in the mainstream setting produced different results. The group of students who demonstrated high learning potential improved their scores most significantly, regardless of whether cognitive intervention was received. There were no differences found between those students who received cognitive intervention and the control group. The study lends strong support for the claim that the use of DA provides a reliable and valid measure of learning potential. Linking DA to cognitive intervention directly (through the use of DA reports as a means of building upon strengths and tackling weaknesses in cognitive functioning) is hypothesised as the key to progress. The interviews with teachers provided a range of positive findings regarding the perceived usefulness of dynamic assessment in the classroom, although caution was made regarding the sample size. Teachers made encouraging comments about the DA reports: they felt the reports provided accurate accounts of the children, and provided useful suggestions and recommendations for tackling the children's learning difficulties. The results and conclusions made from this study point to a promising future for the adoption of DA as an assessment tool for educational psychologists.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Psychology