Chapter 11: The APIL and TRAM learning potential instruments in South Africa

AUTHOR/S: T. Taylor

ABSTRACT: This chapter covers three main topics involving the APIL and TRAM learning potential instruments developed by Aprolab, namely, the underlying theory, the nature and contents of the instruments and technical information. Early theory by Vogotsky, Feuerstein and others suggested that learning potential is solely reflected in the zone of proximal development, the degree to which an individual’s performance improves with intervention.  APIL and TRAM instruments are based on a broader theory drawn from cognitive psychology, information processing theory and learning theory. This theory incorporates four main elements – fluid intelligence, information processing efficiency, transfer and learning rate. The first two constructs are static (not direct measures of learning potential, but nevertheless critical to learning). The last two dimensions are dynamic (direct measures of learning). Only learning rate is related to the zone of proximal development concept from which the learning potential construct originally arose. There are actually three Aprolab learning potential instruments: APIL, TRAM-2 and TRAM-1. They cover the educational spectrum from no education to tertiary education. All of them are based on the theory mentioned above and incorporate separate measures of the four constructs listed above. In some cases the constructs are broken down into sub-dimensions. APIL has eight scores, TRAM-2 six and TRAM-1 five. The sub-dimensions are described, the techniques whereby the raw-scores are converted into normed scores on these sub-dimensions explained, and examples of stimulus material provided. The APIL and TRAM instruments have been used since the mid-90’s. Technical information is given on scale inter-correlations, reliabilities, predictive and concurrent validity, and culture-fairness/lack of bias.

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