mediated learning

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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Chapter 9: Dynamic Assessment in South Africa

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.

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