Educational psychologists' experiences in the assessment of culturally and linguistically diverse (CLD) leaners in KwaZulu Natal region.
Educational psychologists encounter great controversies with regard to the use of traditional clinical and psycho-educational assessment tools to evaluate individuals from diverse communities. In order to gain a meaningful perspective of the matter it is important to gain an understanding of how educational psychologists experience the current available assessment tools and their usefulness in the diverse South African context. The study was therefore aimed at identifying educational psychologist’s perception and attitude towards the use of current available assessment tools with culturally and linguistically diverse (CLD) learners. The study also aimed at exploring possible challenges educational psychologists may encounter during the assessment process as well as towards identifying ways that they use to cope with these challenges should they arise. The theoretical framework of the study is informed by a hermeneutic phenomenological approach with emphasis on subjectivity, description, interpretation and agency. The qualitative design was used and data was collected using semi structured individual interviews. The study involved nine educational psychologists, who have been practicing for at least three years including an educational psychology intern – post-registration with the Health Professions Council of South Africa, in the area of KwaZulu-Natal. The data analysis of this study was informed by an interpretive phenomenological analysis (IPA) in providing a detailed exploration of how the participants were making sense of their professional world and the meanings they attach their experience of assessing CLD learners. Working with diverse communities was found to be a strenuous task for educational psychologists in ensuring that the level and quality of intervention is relevant to the context. Educational psychologists remain challenged in addressing the education, research and treatment obstacles associated with a diverse society. Although developments towards minimising these challenges have been implemented, it is evident that in order to address the diverse nature of our nation, objective and dependable assessments tools are still in need.