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Dynamic assessment of cognitive ability: investigating the construct validity of the Learning Potential Computerised Adaptive Test (LPCAT) within an academic context.

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No doubt, intelligence testing is vital for placement, intervention and other academic purposes, however, when factors that might disadvantage the individual, such as their impoverished socio-economic backgrounds are not considered in the process, such endeavours might further disadvantage the individual. In a bid to fill this assessment loophole, which is more peculiar to the static approach, the psychological assessment community witnessed the emergence of the dynamic approach to assessment, which gives hope for fairer assessments through its test-train-test approach. Although several measures using this approach have been developed, the dearth of empirical evidence on their psychometric properties still limits their popularity and acceptance across the globe. This study therefore investigated the construct validity of a locally developed dynamic measure of learning potential, the Learning Potential Computerised Adaptive Test (LPCAT), by comparing scores on it to those obtained on the Raven’s Standard Progressive Matrices (SPM). The intent of this endeavour is for findings to lend credence to the use of the LPCAT within the South African context and invariably, the dynamic assessment approach. The study also investigated the influence of demographic factors (race, gender, socio-economic status (SES) and English language proficiency) on the LPCAT, with the intent of verifying its culture-fairness. The study adopted a quantitative approach and the sample included 92 undergraduate students, conveniently drawn across the Pietermaritzburg campus of the University of Kwa-Zulu Natal. Findings indicated a strong positive relationship between the LPCAT and the SPM, while none of the variables tested had a significant effect on the LPCAT scores, aside from English language proficiency. The study therefore affirmed the construct validity and culture-fairness of the LPCAT with a caution that the language proficiency of the examinee be considered to ensure a culture-fair assessment. Keywords: Dynamic assessment, cognitive assessment, static approach, construct validity, culture-fairness, intelligence, zone of proximal development, learning potential


Masters Degree. University of KwaZulu-Natal, Pietermaritzburg.