An investigation into the suitability of the National Bureau Group Test for five-and-six year-olds as an instrument for measuring school readiness among a group of Indian children in Durban.
This study was primarily intended to ascertain whether there was any test already in existence in South Africa which was entirely suitable as a test of school readiness for Indian children. If there were no such test, could an existing test not be modified to make it suitable for use with Indian children? Or would an entirely new test be indicated? As a secondary, though intimately related matter, it was decided to discover to what extent factors such as schooling, socio-economic status and sex affect an Indian child's readiness for school. An examination of the existing group tests of school readiness in this country, showed that the National Bureau Group Test for Five-and-Six-Year-Olds (N.B.G.T. 5/6) was the one which was most likely to be suitable for use with Indian children. This test was therefore chosen for a more detailed study. In pursuit of the secondary aim it was decided to use two additional tests - the Raven Coloured Progressive Matrices (1947) and the Peabody Picture Vocabulary Test - so as to provide a broader basis for the conclusions than the N.B.G.T. 5/6 by itself would have provided. The total sample of 156 six-year-old children, chosen from the Western Area of Durban, comprised three groups: (a) Schoolers (N = 60) : At the time of testing this group had had about six months of formal schooling. (b) Preschoolers (N = 48) : At the time of testing these children were attending a play-centre. (c) Nonschoolers (N = 48) : At the time of testing these children had had no schooling, either formal or of the play-centre type. Each of these three groups consisted of an equal number of boys and girls. In each of these sub-groups there was an equal number of children of each sex from the high and the low socio-economic groups. A random selection procedure was used through- The study of the primary aim involved quantitative and qualitative analyses of the data. Spearman's rank-order correlation coefficients and z-tests were computed. In the case of the secondary aim the statistical procedures included the use of 2 x 2 and 3 x 2 x 2 analyses of variance in addition to t-tests and product-moment correlations. The results of the study were as follows: General Aim (a) : The N.B.G.T. 5/6, unmodified, is unsuitable as a test of school readiness for use with Indian children. General Aim (b) : (i) Experiences related to the classroom learning situation, formal or otherwise, exert an influence on a child's readiness for school. (ii) Socio-economic factors have a marked influence on a child's readiness for school. (iii) A child's sex does not have any influence on a his readiness (or unreadiness for school). It was recommended that every opportunity for the advancement of preschool education among Indian children should be seized. This would compensate to some extent for the missing stimulation of a good home, an important factor for the promotion of school readiness.