Chapter 8: The Cognitive Assessment System (CAS) in a South African context

AUTHOR/S:  Z. Amod

ABSTRACT: Limitations of current intelligence tests, the search for more equitable assessment procedures and the need to link assessment with intervention have led to the exploration of alternative forms of cognitive assessment.  Information processing models of assessment embodied in the work of Luria, Kaufman and Das, for instance, are in the forefront of the latest developments in cognitive psychology.  In this chapter the Cognitive Assessment System (CAS) developed by Das and Naglieri (Das, Naglieri & Kirby, 1994) is discussed both theoretically and in relation to research conducted mainly abroad but also in South Africa. This novel assessment approach is based on the Planning, Attention, Simultaneous and Successive (PASS) model of cognitive functioning. There is empirical support for the PASS theory and the CAS (Naglieri, 1999; Van Luit, Kroesbergen and Naglieri, 2005) and extensive research has been conducted to establish the relationship between certain cognitive processes of the PASS model and specific academic skills (Kirby and Das, 1990; Hold, 2000; Lerew, 2003; Germain, 2004). The usefulness and application of the CAS instrument in South Africa has been indicated by several studies (Chow and Skuy, 1999; Churches, Skuy & Das; Fairon, 2006; Floquet, 2008; Hofmeyer 2000; Naidoo, 2001; Reid, Kok & van der Merwe, 2000). The PASS Remedial Programme (Das et al, 1994) has been developed to provide a link between cognitive processing strategies and academic content. It is proposed in this chapter that the PASS model as operationalized by the CAS is a valuable alternative or at least adjunct to traditional intelligence tests. Further research needs to be conducted which combines the Information Processing model with Dynamic Assessment, to facilitate a link between assessment and intervention.

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