Assessment For Early Intervention And Evaluation of Child Development and Learning: A Challenge To African Psychologists
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Assessment is a process in which various strategies are used to evaluate child learning and development. It is generally felt that assessment should also include evaluation of the cultural, social and physical contexts within which learning and development occurs. It would seem self- evident that early intervention for infants with learning difficulties should begin with assessment of the child s developmental status and continue with ongoing evaluation of environmental support and programme effectiveness. This paper suggests that both assessment processes and assessment data should be viewed in context. This context will include such issues as the cultural-political system that may impact on the infants present status and future life chances. Another contextual aspect of assessment involves the psychologist as one part of the system within which data is collected and interpreted. The developmental, social and educational models that the psychologist works from will be reflected in the way in which the infant is assessed and described and in the intervention strategies that are proposed from the assessment. The implications of such an ecological perspective on assessment are suggested in this paper. The paper identifies the question that assessment might ask and the assumptions and implications of both the questions asked and the strategies used to answer those questions.