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Title: Is play-based assessment a useful technique for educational psychologists? : an initial evaluation of the validity and reliability of a play based tool
Author: Squibb, Helen Ruth
Awarding Body: UCL (University College London)
Current Institution: University College London (University of London)
Date of Award: 2005
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Play-based assessment is an increasingly popular technique for Educational Psychologists (EPs) in their assessments of young children. Play is seen as a medium through which progress across many developmental domains can be assessed, and a range of play-based assessment tools has been developed. Many claims are made about the value of play-based assessment but there have been few evaluations of its effectiveness, particularly for the approaches used by EPs in the UK. This study investigated whether a particular play-based assessment model represents a valid and reliable assessment tool. A popular UK play-based assessment model (Let's Play) was selected as the focus of the study and was evaluated according to an established framework for the evaluation of psychological 'tests'. The framework included the key criteria of test-retest reliability, inter-rater reliability, concurrent validity, construct validity and face validity/taker rapport. Twelve pre-school children for whom EP involvement had been requested underwent a range of play-based assessments and the perceptions of pre-school staff and parents were collected. The findings indicate that, overall, Let's Play provides reliable and valid assessment information but that it has shortcomings with respect to aspects of concurrent validity and the limited repertoire of play assessed. It performed particularly well in relation to accessibility, test-taker rapport and face validity. A simple answer to the question of usefulness is avoided, given the complexity of test evaluation and the uneven performance of Let's Play across the criteria. However, practical considerations for EPs in the use of the tool are discussed, and the importance of the wider assessment process within which Let's Play is used is stressed. Further research is identified to overcome the limitations of the study, including the need to assess all the elements of Let's Play and to consider a broader, more qualitative range of evaluation criteria.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available