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Educational implications of a dynamic approach in the assessment of learning propensity: case discussion Jo Lebeer, University of Antwerp, Faculty of Medicine. Dynamic Assessment and Inclusive Education International Network Conference 22 November 2004 Università degli Studi di Milano Bicocca.

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Educational implications of a dynamic approach in the assessment of learning propensity: case discussionJo Lebeer, University of Antwerp, Faculty of Medicine

Dynamic Assessment and Inclusive Education

International Network Conference 22 November 2004

Università degli Studi di Milano Bicocca

central problem
Central problem
  • What to do with a child who does not learn…
  • or keep up with our expectations?
testing paradigm
Testing paradigm

1. Test the child

2. Adapt teaching to test results

How, what, what for?

static testing paradigm
Static testing paradigm=

1.Subject the child to a number of diagnostic tests to find out what goes wrong

  • IQ, DQ, EQ, neuropsychology, neuropsychiatrytesting of knowledge & skills
  • psychometric testing
statis testing paradigm
Statis testing paradigm
  • 2. Label

Learning disability, NLD, DYS-calculia, - grafia, lexia,




static assessment
Static assessment
  • Monologue
  • Essentially quantitative - normative
  • Static: no examiner’s interference
  • Measurement of actual performance
  • Time-limited
  • Standardized
  • Pathogenic; looks at defects
  • Individual out of context
  • Deterministic
dynamic assessment
Dynamic assessment
  • Dialogue
  • Qualitative
  • Evaluates change of cognition, motivation, learning disposition, efficiency
  • effect of context and mediation
  • examiner intervenes to obtain modifiability: looks for optimal conditions, gives feedback, teaches, mediates
case 1 harry
Case 1: Harry
  • °1989
  • History of autistic behaviour from kindergarten: auditory hypersensitivity, withdrawal, screaming
  • Etiology = ? Hypothesis: perinatal brain damage due to difficult forceps delivery; immune reaction after MMR vaccination
  • 5years: Enrolled in international school (other language than mother tongue); big cognitive & social difficulties; needs individual instruction
  • Diagnosis of autism at age 9
  • 9 years: Transfer to special school for children with learning difficulties; learning remains difficult in group; academic retardation ( aritmetics, reading, spelling)
  • Parent-induced therapies: Son-Rise ( Option Institute US Mass.), diet ( glutenfree, milkfree), auditory integration Tomatis, osteopathy
case 1 harry conclusions static test reports
9 years: IQ 64, way below average; limited cognitive potential , language retardation, information processing, perceptual organisation; defects in social skills, personality disturbance, lack of phantasy, lack of impulse control

11 years: WISC-R t IQ vIQ71 pIQ 78; difficulties with verbal comprehension, maths concepts, representational thinking, planning, eye-handco-ordination, visual memory, but improved as compared to 9 years; problems with attention, self-organisation, oppositional, lack of perseverance

12,5 years: IQ 92 ( after cognitive-mediational intervention)

Case 1 Harry: conclusions static test reports:
  • Referral to special school ZML = low level
  • Offer structured environment
  • Reduce too stressing situations
case 1 harry dynamic assessment
Case 1: Harry, dynamic assessment
  • Method of assessment used: Feuerstein’s LPAD ( Learning Propensity Assessment Device)
  • 5x 2-3 hours individual assessment
characteristics of feuerstein s lpad
Characteristics of Feuerstein’s LPAD
  • Profile of modifiability on 4 domains:
  • Cognitive functions
  • Mental operations
  • Affective/ motivational factors
  • Efficiency
  • Modifiability : test- mediation - retest
  • Evaluation of context: family, support, school
  • Evaluation of the needs for mediation to bring about necessary changes
lpad instruments
LPAD: instruments
  • Tests for visuo-motor perception, organisation & planning
  • Organisation of Dots (Feuerstein-Rey) (OD)
  • Complex Figure (Rey, adapted by Feuerstein (CFD)
  • Test for analogical thinking
  • Raven’s matrices (RCPM and RSPM)
  • Feuerstein’s Variations on Raven (VAR II, A,B, C )
  • Memory tests
  • Visual Memory: Associative Recall & Functional Reduction Test Feuerstein.
  • Auditory Memory: 16 Word Memory Test (Rey, adapted by Feuerstein (WMT)
  • Spatial Memory: Plateaux, (PTX) (Rey, adapted by Feuerstein)
  • Higher logical relations
  • Representational Stencil Design (RSDT) (Feuerstein
  • Organiser (ORG) van Feuerstein
  • Seriation
  • Numerical progressions (NP) ( Feuerstein)
complex figure mediation
Complex figure mediation
  • Analysis + naming: what structures can you discover?
  • Important questions: what? (Gives information about shape) Where? ( gives info about place), How? ( info about orientation and position); How long, how big ( size); when ( order), how many ( number), how far from each other ( distance)
  • Vocabulary of shapes
  • Vocabulary of spatial concepts: horizontal, vertical, diagonal, right angles, parallel, “at the same height”, etc.:
  • Comparison: where is that point in relation to the two others?
  • Regulation of impulsivity
  • Need to count and be precise
  • Relationships between parts and whole, and between parts
  • Planning: what do to first in order to ensure that everything will be on the right place, the right size, etc.
  • Systematic exploration: doing first the inside, then the outside
  • Precision of data gathering and of output in drawing
  • Combining all the criteria
case 1 harry results after mediation
Case 1 Harry: results after mediation

Second copy, 1st trial

Second copy, 2nd trial

Second memory

case 1 harry visual memory tests
Case 1 Harry: visual memory tests
  • Associative Recall & Functional Reduction
  • Pre-mediation: 12/20
  • Post-mediation: 20/20
case 1 harry auditory memory tests
Case 1 Harry: auditory memory tests
  • 16 Word memory ( Feuerstein, based on André Rey’s 15 word memory test)
  • pre-mediation 6/16
  • Mediation of categorisation and summative behaviour: 16/16 after 9 trials
case 1 harry spatial memory
Case 1 Harry: Spatial Memory
  • Plateaux (André Rey)

Number of errors

Number of trials

  • Mediation of refraining impulsivity
  • Stop trial and error
  • Name position with 2 dimensions
  • Mediated repetition
case 1 harry higher tests
Case 1 Harry: higher tests
  • Organiser ( Feuerstein):
  • Potentially good inferential thinking, but bad reading, interprets wrongly
  • Poor hypothesis generation and verification
  • Normalizes after mediation
  • Numerical Progressions ( Feuerstein)
  • Inefficient arithmetics, but able to learn and apply rules
  • Representational Stencil Design
case 1 harry dynamic conclusions lpad
Case 1 Harry: dynamic conclusions LPAD
  • Cognitive deficiencies, but highly modifiable with mediation:
  • Unfocused look c focused
  • Unsystematic & impulsive data gathering c more systematic
  • Unstable spatial reference frame c adequate use of spatial concepts
  • Inefficient reading c after regulation, understands better
  • Diff. with hypothesis generation, checking, planning
  • Blocks: stops searching c learns to be more flexible in choosing strategy
  • Affective/motivational factors:
  • Autistic withdrawal symptoms stress induced, also highly modifiable
  • Cooperative, motivated, easy to mediate
  • Bright without mediation in some areas ( coloured pattern analysis, organisation according to model)
  • Bright in all areas with relatively little mediation
case 1 harry recommendations
Static test report:

Reduce stress

Lower academic level

Special school

Avoid too many changes

Medication for behaviour control

LPAD test report:

Academic domain:

Daily reading comprehension tasks

Daily maths, increase level steadily

General subjects

Cognitive rehabilitation domain

Feuerstein’s Instrumental Enrichment, individual + group

Mediation cognitive analysis in daily life situations

Modifying environment

Teach how to cope with changes

Schoolng with non-disabled children

Suggestions for incresing MLE by teachers & parents

Suggestions for improving cognitive functioning

Case 1 Harry: recommendations
case 1 harry suggestions for increasing mle by teachers parents extract
Case 1 Harry: Suggestions for increasing MLE by teachers & parents (extract)
  • Example of mediation of intentionality and reciprocity:
  • Explain clearly what you want him to learn and why
  • Explain your goals (short term and long term)
  • Start with something which elicits his motivation and curiosity
  • Obtain his cooperation by joining him a while, do a game, a physical game, or something else, and then take over the lead
  • Clarify the task : “what do we have to do here? Where would you start looking? What do you know already? Where is the information?
  • Vocabulary: how do you call this?
  • Analysis: what are the properties? (the ngive vocabulary to name the characteristics)
  • Repeat until mastery is reached

Etcetera for 12 criteria of MLE

case 1 harry sugestions for improving cognitive functions
Case 1 Harry: sugestions for improving cognitive functions

1. Suggestions to improve perception of data

  • First look carefully, focus: what do you see here? (help focussing)
  • Be more systematic : don’t look here and there, but step by step, from left to right, from top to down, in the direction of reading. This by regulating strongly: stop impulsivity, point trythmically “here” and “here”, etc.
  • Use the right labels: a circle is a circle. A diamond is not the same as a tilted square. Name the shapes + use the concept “shape”
  • Use correct words to indicate place and position, e.g. left, right, horizontal, vertical, in the middle, between, top-left, etc.
  • Use correct words to indicate time and sequence, e.q. what comes first? Is there any indication?
  • Be more precise when you gather the data
  • Help to consider two characteristics simultaneously ( e.g. height and shape), to combine sources of information
dynamic assessment 2 michael
Dynamic Assessment 2: Michael
  • °1984
  • Brain tumor (R temporal lobe astrocytoma) at age 2,5 and age 8 with epilepsy & behaviour disturbance
  • Post-op: good language development, positive behavioural changes but: left spastic hemiplegia, wheelchair bound + cognitive deficits, regression to mental age of 3, dependence on maternal care
dynamic assessment 2 michael schooling
Dynamic Assessment 2: Michael Schooling
  • Elementary school: has to relearn to read and write
  • initially wheel chair bound
  • Relearns to walk and leaves wheelchair behind
  • Serious depression because he feels he has lost many capacities
  • he works daily with a dedicated speech therapist
  • at 15 he finishes the medium school with a serious cognitive gap and retardation of schooling: at that time a diagnosis is requested
michael static assessment data age 15
Michael: static assessment data (age 15)
  • medium to light mental retardation
  • IQ v75, IQp 48, IQt 59
  • defects in visuo-spatial functions
  • difficulties in linguistic integration, spelling, writing
  • STM and LTM memory and memorisation deficit
  • automatisation problems in arithmetics
  • Problem solution difficulties
  • “typical problems with planning, control, generalisation and constant need for a mediator”
michael static assessment data age 15 recommendations
Michael: static assessment data (age 15): recommendations
  • work at adaptation skills
  • teach how to use public transport, money, social contacts outside school
  • vocational training
michael dynamic assessment conclusions
Michael: dynamic assessment conclusions
  • Cognitive deficiencies: unsystematic data gathering, lack of spatial concepts, lack of concepts to relate, to compare, to make hypotheses, to plan, to have strategies, impulsivity
  • All cognitive deficiencies were modifiable, with relatively little mediation
  • Potentially bright
  • Memory skills O.K. when mediated to organise & look for relationships
  • Visuo-motor function O.K. after mediation
  • Higher logical abstract thinking potentially O.K.
  • Learning disposition O.K. when properly mediated
  • Psychological difficulties with self-acceptance
  • Low learning efficiency improves when cognitive functions improve
case 1 michael dynamic recommendations
Case 1 Michael: dynamic recommendations
  • Academic: continue general education in liceo scientifico with general knowledge subjects languages, maths, history, geography, philosophy, art
  • IEP: reduce level of complexity, select key concepts, reduce quantity, individualize evaluation, give more mediation for each subject
  • Cognitive rehabilitation: Feuerstein’s Instrumental enrichment & mediated learning
  • Intensive, daily mediation in academic matters
  • Modifying environments: teach autonomy skills in a structural way: how to get somewhere, learn to deal with complexity, how to make & keep social relationships
michael progress
Michael: progress

Maturità liceo scientifico


Entra la facoltà

case 3 willy a boy with down syndrome
Case 3: Willy, a boy with Down syndrome
  • °1994
  • 9th child out of 11 children
  • Goes to normal kindergarten
  • School refuses entrance to primary school on grounds of static test reports: language delay and intellectual deficit are considered too big
  • Change to different primary school; dynamic assessment (DA) requested; IEP formulated on the basis of DA report
  • Successful 1° & 2nd elementary school; problems in 3rd grade; school requests testing
case 3 willy test results
Case 3 Willy: test results
  • 4 y: Reynell language tests and SON IQ tests : delay 2 years
  • 5 y: static cognitive tests delay 2 years; conclusion “low concentration; behavioural difficulties, difficult cooperation, too much withdrawal, language gap”; referral to special school
  • 5 y: dynamic assessment conclusions “same cognitive, behavioural & language deficits found as other tests, but modifiability is evident: he is open to learning, has a very good LTM, can be taught concepts. Recommendation: inclusive primary school, start reading & writing
  • 6y: DA :”despite big cognitive difficulties (lack of focussing, lack of concepts, lack of comparative behaviour) and attention span shortness (1/2 h) , signs of modifiability: retention of learnt concepts, motivation to learn, less repetition needed, able to understand relationships
case 3 willy primary school iep programme
Case 3: Willy: primary school IEP programme
  • Participate with all classroom activities
  • Reading programme same as others
  • at home extra reading with other family members, with reading cards
  • at home extra individual work on maths
  • increased cognitive & MLE activation home programme to teach concepts ( colour, size, shape, numbers, direction, time) & operations (categorisation, seriation, analogies), executed by volunteers ,students, brothers & parents
willy s iep programme learning context
Willy’s IEP programme & learning context
  • IEP is highly flexible, regularly evaluated
  • IEP works with some, but not all teachers
  • Person of teacher more important than programme
  • Characteristics of succesful teacher & individual mediators:
  • - not necessarily specialists; teacher never had experience with Down S.
  • - spontaneous good mediators
  • - synthesis of being very firm (good regulation of behaviour and clear intentionality), creative (in obtaining reciprocity) + optimistic (strong beliefs in modifiability) + challenging + mediating feelings of competence + welcoming ( med. feeling of belonging)+ individualizing
willy s assessment age 10
Willy’s assessment age 10
  • 10y: static tests add label of autism; school threatens to exclude , either by referring to special school or by excluding him from classroom teaching
  • New DA requested
case 3 willy conclusions from da
Potential for academic skills learning is present, but this is hampered by cognitive deficiencies ( unsystematic search, superficial perception, no model, lack of spatial reference, impulsivity, lack of integration of information, lack of control

Benefits from imitation, group learning

Withdrawal symptoms context dependent and because of lack of mediation

Strong, intensive mediation needed

Organize a meeting with parents, teachers, school psychologist, assistants

Make a new IEP based on DA outcome

Intensify work on cognitive dysfunctions: both at home & school

Child will stay in classroom most of lesson hours + individual tutoring 5h/week at school+peer tutoring

Teach teacher some principles of mediation

Case 3 Willy: conclusions from DA
general conclusions
General conclusions
  • Static, psychometric testing , confirms IQ-based categorisation in different classes of mentally retarded, based on a static model of intelligence and makes minimalistic recommendations
  • Static, psychometric testing IS NOT a valid test for evaluation of learning processes, potential, propensity
  • Static psychometric testing DOES NOT allow prediction of future educational performance
  • Static testing may do harm for the child’s reputation and future
general conclusions44
General conclusions
  • The deficiencies found in Dynamic evaluation ( LPAD) - the pre-test scores - are usually compatible with static IQ & other test results
  • The changes observed after mediation, however, give an indication of modifiability
  • Dynamic assessment is MORE VALID to assess learning processes, potential & propensity

Planning of educational intervention should be based on Dynamic Assessment


General conclusions Psychometrics - Dynamic Assessment

  • mechanistic paradigm
  • ecological paradigm

Macrosystem: society


Mesosystem: family, school, therapists

Microsystem: child

Assessment without ecological intervention does not make sense

general conclusion
General conclusion
  • Inclusive education, but with continuing classic static assessment, risks to block modifiability
  • Dynamic Assessment without vigorous, ecological, intervention does not make sense
  • Jo Lebeer, coordinator INCLUES
  • University of Antwerp (Belgium), Project of Learning Enhancement and Inclusion
  • UA, Campus Drie Eiken, S5
  • Universiteitsplein 1, B-2610 Wilrijk
  • tel +32 3 820 25 29
  • The full text of this ppt. Presentation has been published : Lebeer, J. (2005), Shifting perspective: dynamic assessment of learning processes in children with developmental disabilities, Erdélyi Pszichológiai Szemle (Transsylvanian Journal of Psychology), Special Issue on Dynamic Assessment, 1,55-81