What is dynamic assessment?
Dynamic assessment is an interactive approach to conducting
assessments within the domains of psychology, speech/language, or education, that focuses on the ability of the learner to
respond to intervention.
What are the primary characteristics of dynamic assessment?
Dynamic assessment is not a single package or procedure,
but is both a model and philosophy of conducting assessments. Although there are variations on several dimensions of the model,
the most consistent characteristics are as follows:
* The assessor actively intervenes during the course of the assessment
with the learner with the goal of intentionally inducing changes in the learner's current level of independent functioning.
The assessment focuses on the learner's processes of problem solving, including those that promote as well as obstruct successful
* The most unique information from the assessment is information about the learner's responsiveness to intervention.
The assessment also provides information about what interventions successfully promote change in the learner (connecting assessment
* The assessment is most often administered in a pretest-intervention-posttest format.
The assessment is most useful when used for individual diagnosis, but can also be used for screening of classroom size groups.
The model is viewed as an addition to the current, more traditional, approaches, and is not a substitute for existing procedures.
Each procedure provides different information, and assessors need to determine what information they need.
* The underlying
assumption of dynamic assessment is that all learners are capable of some degree of learning (change; modifiability). This
contrasts with the underlying assumption of standardized psychometric testing that the learning ability of most individuals
is inherently stable. Research with dynamic assessment has demonstrated that determination of the current levels of independent
functioning of learners is far from a perfect predictor of their ability to respond to intervention.
What are the primary procedure models of dynamic
assessment procedures vary on a number of dimensions, but primarily with regard to degree of standardization of interventions,
as well as regarding content. There are four basic models that fit most of the procedures:
1. An open-ended, clinical
approach that follows the learner, using generic problem solving tasks such as matrices (e.g., Feuerstein et al.). The approach
to intervention focuses on principles and strategies of problem solution and aims to promote independent problem solving.
2. Use of generic, problem-solving tasks, but offering a standardized intervention. All learners are provided with
the same intervention involving principles and strategies for problem solution (e.g., Budoff, Guthke, et al.). These approaches
tend to focus on classification of learners, attempting to reduce the negative results of cultural bias.
3. A graduated
prompting procedure where learners are offered increasingly more explicit hints in response to incorrect responses. All learners
progress through the same menu of prompts or hints, varying with regard to the number of prompts required for task solution
(e.g., Campione, Brown, et al.).
4. Curriculum-based approaches that use actual content from the learner's educational
program, with interventions based on "best practices" of teaching. These can vary regarding degree of standardization
of interventions (Lidz, Jepsen, et al.). These approaches focus on IEP development for learners with special needs.