The appropriateness of the raven's coloured progressive matrices and its existing normative data for Zulu speakers.
Increasing focus is being placed on fair assessment practices in South Africa. Most psychological tests used in this country were designed and developed in other countries. Research has shown that when using these tests on a different target population, it is important to determine the suitability of the test for that population. This involves investigating reliability, validity and possible sources of bias. It is equally important to have local normative data with which scores can be compared and interpreted. Research in this area has been limited. The purpose of this study was to undertake such research by evaluating a widely used test, the Raven's Coloured Progressive Matrices (RCPM), and its existing norms, for Zulu children in South Africa. The study also aimed to provide raw data, which could be used to assist with the compilation of local norms. The test was administered to a convenience sample of 522 primary school children between the ages of 5 and 12 years old. The sample was divided into two groups to represent two different geographical locations: rural and urban. The sample consisted of 284 rural children and 237 urban children. There were 263 males and 259 females in the sample. Findings indicated good test reliability for this sample. Test validity however could not be confirmed as possible sources of bias at the content and item levels were shown. Age had a significant effect on performance, but level of education appeared to be the strongest predictor of performance on the RCPM for this sample. Significant gender differences were found. There was a tendency for males to outperform females on the test. Location had a significant effect on scores, where urban children performed better than rural children. Comparison of Zulu sample scores with those produced by the British standardisation sample, revealed a large discrepancy in performance between the two different cultural groups. The Zulu sample mean scores were significantly lower than the British mean scores. These findings highlight the need for locally developed normative data. The validity of the test for the sample requires further investigation. Results indicate that test adaptation may be required for Zulu children.