The influence of culture and language in cognitive assessment: implications for learner placement and schooling.
Zulu, Phindile Eunice.
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The implementation of inclusive education in South Africa has led to an increased number of learners that are alternatively placed in special schools. The purpose of this study was to explore the influence of culture and language in cognitive assessment of learners; and how assessment practitioners accommodate such influence when making learner placement recommendations. The results of this study should contribute to the research in the area of cognitive assessment of learners in South Africa; and assist assessment practitioners when making educational decisions about learner placement. A semi-structured individual interview was conducted with six black psychologists in Pietermaritzburg. The results of this study show that culture and language influence the test performance of learners whose mother tongue is not the language of the assessment instrument. Although assessment practitioners put effort in accommodating such influence by sing cognitive assessment results with other sources of evidence, some learners are incorrectly placed in special schools. This study reveals a need for locally created new cognitive assessments.