The influence of IsiZulu indigenous language and culture on intellectual assessment : the psychologists’ perspective.
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The population of South Africa is diverse, comprising individuals from different ethnic and cultural backgrounds, who speak a variety of languages, practice various religions and have different political orientations. Such diversity poses challenges within the field of psychological assessment. This includes the appropriate use and interpretation of intellectual assessment measures. These challenges also emanate from the history of apartheid where there was an unequal distribution of resources, including psychological assessment measures. As such, the linguistically and culturally appropriate use and interpretation of intellectual assessment has been compromised. This study investigated the influence of the isiZulu language and cultural background on intellectual assessment. The research was conducted obtaining psychologists’ perspectives on using intellectual assessment measures on the isiZulu linguistic and cultural group. A sample of six psychologists was considered for this study, and interviews were conducted with each participant. Thematic analysis was used to analyse the psychologists’ responses. The themes that emerged from the interview data were namely; a) the use of assessment measures b) language and culture as a barrier and, c) interpretation of the assessment measures. The above issues seemed to concern most psychologists, as they evidently influenced the intellectual assessment process with individuals who are from diverse language and cultural backgrounds. Even though the focus of the study was on the isiZulu indigenous language and cultural group, the findings from the data were based on all the South African linguistic and cultural groups. The study concluded that the limited availability of linguistically and culturally appropriate intellectual assessment measures is a challenge for both the client and psychologists in South Africa. Furthermore, concerns were raised about the need for psychologists to play a role in appropriate administration through obtaining contextual knowledge. Consequently, both the assessment measure and the administrators can negatively influence the effectiveness of the assessment procedure. Nonetheless, psychologists believe that intellectual assessment still have their place, however, they equally have their challenges that psychologists have individually tried to overcome.