AUTHOR/S: Z. Amod & J. Seabi
ABSTRACT: This chapter outlines current developments in Dynamic Assessment (DA), an interactive assessment procedure that uses deliberate and planned mediational teaching and assesses of the impact of that teaching on subsequent performance. The objective of the chapter is to critically review the major criticisms of the traditional “static“ testing approach, discuss the theoretical basis of the DA approach and its relevance within the South African context, present current empirical research on the Dynamic Assessment of children, and suggest some directions for future research. The DA approach has been motivated by the inadequacy of traditional “static” tests to provide accurate information about the individual’s ability. Given that the history of “static” testing in South Africa closely resembles the racial policies of apartheid, which attempted to preserve and perpetuate social structures (Benjamin & Lomosfky, 2002), and that many of such tests have been standardized on middle class children, concerns regarding the relevance of traditional testing have been raised. DA is presented in this chapter as an alternative approach that minimizes discriminatory approaches to the assessment of culturally different populations and facilitates a strong link between assessment and intervention. DA is aimed at changing and modifying the individual’s cognitive structures within the assessment process. The theoretical foundations of DA are derived primarily from Vygostky’s socio-cultural theory, specifically the zone of proximal development, and Feuerstein’s Mediated Learning Experience theory. DA has been applied with different educational and clinical groups of children and adolescents both abroad and in South Africa and has been found to be more accurate in reflecting children’s learning potential. Although the DA approach has a great appeal to many professional psychologists and educators, it has not yet become a central part of prevailing practice. Major critiques leveled against the DA approach are discussed.