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Addressing the social, cognitive and emotional needs of children: the case for dynamic assessment

Lauchlan, Fraser (2001) Addressing the social, cognitive and emotional needs of children: the case for dynamic assessment. Educational and Child Psychology, 18 (4). pp. 4-18. ISSN 0267-1611

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Abstract

This paper examines the extent to which the use of psychological assessment addresses the social, emotional and cognitive needs of children experiencing difficulties with learning. Evidence in favour of a curriculum-based assessment (CBA) approach is presented, and the advantages and disadvantages are evaluated. This paper argues that CBA does not stand up well to the demand for a more ecological approach to assessment that considers the social and emotional needs of children. CBA can often be too task oriented, and more importantly fails to consider an interactive environment in which to assess the child. Finally, the underlying theory of CBA on behavioural approaches to learning neglects a focus on the cognitive and meta-cognitive aspects of learning. Arguments in favour of dynamic assessment are offered as an approach which does consider such aspects of learning. Nevertheless, the appropriateness and effectiveness of CBA and dynamic assessment can only truly be considered in light of the purposes of each individual assessment. Different approaches to psychological assessment could be used in different circumstances, therefore, the ‘why?’ of assessment (Frederickson, Wright & Webster, 1991) should receive careful consideration before the issue of ‘which approach is best?’.