In this study, a dynamic measure of school success was used to validate the Hessels Analogical Reasoning Test (HART), a standardized test of children’s learning potential. It is argued that dynamic tests are superior to standard intelligence tests with regard to ecological, construct, and predictive validity. In this context, it is argued that the usual measures of school success, such as tests for reading and mathematics, are not suited for the estimation of the predictive validity of a dynamic measure of general learning capacity (intelligence), especially for children with learning difficulties or mental deficiency. Therefore, the HART was validated with a dynamic measure of school learning. Three versions of a Geography Learning Test were developed for three different age groups. All versions consist of training followed by a test. The results show that: (a) young children need to be familiarized with a test to be able to respond to the items in the way that is expected; (b) the HART posttest measure is a better predictor of learning than the static pretest; and (c) dynamic measures of learning are preferred to static measures.
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- Go to article: Estimation of the Predictive Validity of the HART by Means of a Dynamic Test of Geography
- Go to article: The International Association for Cognitive Education and Psychology and the Journal of Cognitive Education and Psychology
- Go to article: Assessing Special Educational Needs in Austria: Description of Labeling Practices and Their Evolution From 1996 to 2013
Assessing Special Educational Needs in Austria: Description of Labeling Practices and Their Evolution From 1996 to 2013
Even if the label special educational needs (SEN) is similarly used in various countries for indicating students with disabilities, the practices and diagnostic criteria leading to this label vary widely. This study aims to clarify the diagnostic process in Austria that leads to labeling. A sample of 169 special needs teachers who regularly write SEN reports participated in the online survey. The survey questions were based on those of a study by Ansperger (1998), who questioned special education teachers writing such reports in 1995–1996. Results show that, although more and more standardized instruments are used, still quite several unstandardized assessments are reported. Little time is available for the assessments, and only few reports include information on future pedagogical/educational intervention. It is concluded that in inclusive education, assessment should be more oriented toward educational intervention to address the diversity in learning needs among students than at diagnosing disabilities.
- Go to article: External Memory and Verbalization in Students with Moderate Mental Retardation: Theory and Training
Persons with moderate mental retardation were trained to use external memory strategies in order to overcome their working memory limitations. We expected that metacognitive training would allow these individuals to use external memories and that this would be associated with higher recall. It was further hypothesized that the training would be more effective when combined with a short verbalization instruction. Verbalization of one’s own thinking and actions should support and reinforce strategic thinking and structure representation. Verbalization should also permit the participants to acquire or access meta-knowledge, one of the basic components postulated for transfer of strategies. Furthermore, performance in analogical tasks should be improved by transferring the use of external memory strategies. The results show that only some of the participants of the experimental group with and without verbalization used the external memory strategy after training. Those who did use the external memory strategy at posttest performed well with regard to recall performance. We concluded that an external memory strategy is required if the task memory load is high and that the memory performance depends on the use of an external memory aid. The problem of transfer to analogical reasoning tasks remained, most likely because how external memories could be used in such tasks was not made explicit, and did the tasks did not allow much use of external memories.
A metacognitive teaching approach was implemented in a special education class with five children, aged 12 to 13 years. One day per week, the regular school activities were enriched with a metacognitive intervention with curriculum-unrelated tasks during the morning hours and curriculum-related tasks during the afternoon. The children first worked in dyads, after which the tasks were discussed in the whole class. The discussions served indirectly to teach cognitive and metacognitive strategies and to develop metacognitive awareness in an indirect manner. In the afternoon, the learned strategies were applied to the curriculum related task to foster transfer. In addition, a strategy of the day was defined in the final discussion of both types of exercises, and children were encouraged to use these on other school days. The application of the strategies and the children’s metacognitive knowledge were evaluated through self-report questionnaires (both general and task specific), observation of their behavior and verbalizations, and their performance in the various tasks. Children progressed in cognitive and metacognitive strategy use in both types of tasks as well as in their overall performance on the tasks, but their evaluations in the general metacognitive questionnaire decreased. The latter was interpreted as a metacognitive adjustment in the children, who, after repeated reflection on their behavior in different types of tasks, were better able to evaluate their cognitive and metacognitive behavior.
- Go to article: Pretest Versus No Pretest: An Investigation Into the Problem-Solving Processes in a Dynamic Testing Context
Pretest Versus No Pretest: An Investigation Into the Problem-Solving Processes in a Dynamic Testing Context
Proponents of dynamic testing have advocated its use as a replacement or addition to conventional tests. This research aimed to investigate the effects of using versus not using a pretest on both the outcome on the posttest and the processes used in solving inductive reasoning tasks in dynamic testing using a graduated prompts training. Sixty-seven 7- to 8-year-old children were assigned to either a group that received a pretest or a group that did not receive a pretest, using a randomized blocking procedure. No significant differences were found between both groups of children on posttest accuracy, process measures, number of hints needed during training, amount of time needed for testing, and the prediction of school related measures. This article concluded that the decision of whether or not a pretest is necessary should be based on the research question to be answered because it does not appear to influence posttest results.
- Go to article: Some Issues in Assessment and Intervention in Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities
- Go to article: Performance of Adolescents with Moderate Mental Retardation on a Working Memory Task and Analysis of their Response Patterns
Performance of Adolescents with Moderate Mental Retardation on a Working Memory Task and Analysis of their Response Patterns
A Rasch-scaled working memory task was used to estimate the working memory capacity of adolescents with moderate mental retardation. The working memory task was calibrated using a sample of 412 children from regular mainstream classes and special education classes in primary school. The main issue of this paper concerns the usefulness of the constructed scale for children with moderate mental retardation. The Item Response model used is the Verhelst and Glas generalized Rasch-model (see e.g., Verhelst & Glas, 1995), a strong measurement model with attractive properties, such as measurement on a true interval scale on which both items and persons can be represented and the estimation of personal capacities independent of the items actually used. Because the model can be tested and the response patterns of individual persons can be analyzed, inferences can be made about the usefulness of the model for persons with moderate mental retardation. When the estimated capacity of a person is not in line with the responses given to individual items, this implies that the measure is not reliable for this person. When such a situation arises for many persons with mental retardation, this indicates that the present model is not applicable to this population; however, when the capacity estimates of persons with moderate mental retardation are reliable, this implies that working memory capacity is measured on the same dimension. In this study, the performance of adolescents with mental retardation was generally comparable to those of six- to seven-year-old normally developing children, but never surpassed complexity level 4. Their response patterns also conformed to the model. We concluded that working memory was measured on qualitatively the same dimension in both groups.