The Accuracy of Assessment Tests

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Cognitive assessment entails the characterization of mental functionality for clinical significances, coupled with the determination of the intellectual ability of individuals. The following context's focus is on testing of intelligence as a process achieved through the interview and questionnaire-filing method and quantified based on the validated standards. First, there is an explanation of intelligence testing regarding its origin, importance, and accuracy concerns in relation to cross-cultural scopes. Second, the review proceeds to explain the causes of such issues and how assessment faces limitations because of intelligence diversities and other culture-based factors. Finally, before proposing an actionable solution to the identified intelligence testing problems, it explores sociological matters.

Blanton (2000) acknowledges that Binet and Simon are the ones who created the initial test for assessing intelligence in the early 1900s. It centred on determining children with mental disabilities. Later on, Ardila (2005) shows that Terman made developments on the initial test, thereby leading to the creation of the Intelligence Quotient (IQ) test. Its diverse enhancement resulted in the WISC-IV for testing childrens cognitive and intellectual ability. Even so, there is a continuing debate regarding the essence of the standard cognitive tests. It bases on the fact that the assessments dictate a childs prospects of advancing academically and professionally. What arises is that the tests do not favour children from non-Western cultures. On a historical standpoint, Davidson (1995), Blanton (2000) and Sternberg (2007) admit that the scores of Indigenous Australians on standardized tests are always poor compared to those of non-Indigenous groups such as White Australians. The same is detectable in racial groups that are not Western Whites such as Blacks and Hispanics in the United States (US). In 1985, because of the discrepancies facing cross-cultural cognitive testing, it was necessary for the Testing and Assessment of Ethnic Minority Groups to hold a conference in Australia.

Following the meeting, it was clear that non-Western races faced difficulties when it came to determining their cognitive ability using standardized tests. Two major issues surfaced. First, Kearins (1988) and Sternberg (2007) agree that the tests identified intelligence characteristics that are of high value in Western countries. These constituted of academic knowledge consisting of elements from the cultural practices of Westerners. Thus, it is right to state that the tests concentrated on assessing the level of education without considering the fact that other cultures do not put emphasis on academic knowledge. With regards to Ardila (2005), that means the value of intellectuality depends on other factors other than schooling in many non-Western cultures. The same point is agreeable with Stenberg (2007). That is why, according to Kearins (2007), little stress on academic knowledge among children of Indigenous Australians acts as a hindrance to better performances on standardized cognitive tests. Second, the testing process portrayed a Western-based construct. Ardila (2005) confirms that such frameworks assume all takers of the cognitive tests have the motivation to undertake official and time tests that involve pens and papers. They forget that certain cultures are not familiar and literate in the styles of interaction and communication used in Western cultures. By analyzing the two conclusions from the conference, it is deducible that cognitive tests are ineffective in assessing the intellectual abilities of Indigenous Australians.

The unfairness exhibited by cognitive and intellectual tests in the cross-cultural context proves that there are different intelligence aspects. These are not part of the mainstream assessment processes. Based on Rowe (1988), the commonness of determining general intelligence is inappropriate. Davidson (1988) reiterates by affirming that the standard cognitive tests under-represent the diverse abilities of cognition in relation to many cultures of the world. That is no different in comparison to the Successful Intelligence Theory by Sternberg (2004). The concept reveals that prosperity is achievable in life using intelligence within a particular cultural milieu. It is an environment that offers stable grounds of processing component abilities to necessitate proper applications in a culture-specific scope. For example, children of Indigenous Australians know a lot about medicinal drugs for treating certain diseases. It is the knowledge they apply in their communities. However, their scores of intelligence are poor when compared with their knowledge levels. It implies that there is no need of using Western tests of intelligence in cultures that are not of Western origin. If that happens, then it is inevitable to witness inaccurate scores among all tested children. In proving the given conclusion, Kearins (1976) showed that Indigenous Australian children passed the tests involving visual-spatial memorization abilities with high scores as opposed to their American counterparts. It is because; the exercises reflected their environmental demands. That resulted in the recognition that the children of Indigenous Australians did not rely on verbal methods of rehearsal that are a common thing among children of Western culture (Kearins, 1986). Such findings imply that standard cognitive tests are underestimating the IQ abilities of Indigenous Australians and other people from non-Western cultures.

Alternatively, the accuracy of intelligence assessment across cultures faces limitations from culture-based norms in regards to the process of testing. Ardila (2005) confirms that these are rules that define every social circumstance. In that scenario, assessment is subject to similar inherent codes, especially around matters of time and communication. A continuation by Kearins (2000) explains that when psychologists from Western countries question Indigenous Australian children with a jovial child-level approach, they are likely to get no response. It means that children from rural cultures do not get along with strangers, specifically under enclosed conditions. More so, they do not welcome enquiries from foreigners. Based on that, they are poised to show unwilling participation while taking IQ tests. That is another cause of inaccurate results. Inaccuracies are profound in situations where there is an administration of pressure (Davidson, 1988). It is why Kearins (2000) stresses on the need to establish a trustworthy relationship before assessing the intellectual and cognitive abilities of Indigenous Australians. It is a proposition that confirms the findings of Dingwall and Carney (2013). Besides, time is another aspect that influences the performances of rural cultures. These are people with no adeptness on ability-testing based on timed tasks. Kearins (2000) affirms that, in conditions where time is not a factor for testing childrens abilities, those from Indigenous Australian culture performed in a desirable way. But, since cognitive assessments have standardized time, non-Western cultures are prone to perform poorly. Such results signify an inaccurate process of testing children across different cultures.

Since it is clear that IQ tests produce incorrect results for assessing the cognitive and intellectual abilities of children from Indigenous Australian cultures, there are several attempts that psychologist consider as corrective measures. These aim at providing equal opportunities for assessment across diverse cultures. In Australia, progressive matrices are embroiling the non-verbal Queensland Tests and Ravens assessments. Though they are Australian-specific, they have Western values that do not identify with the cultures of other Indigenous groups. According to Benson (2010), their Western bias nature bases on the idea that they do not predispose normative scores. The same conclusion is what encompasses the research conducted by Dingwall and Carney (2010). In ensuring an actionable solution, it is advisable for psychologist and other concerned stakeholders to establish a flexible approach of testing intellectual and cognitive skills. That is possible by considering the diversity of cultures, specifically among the Indigenous communities around the world. It is a solution proposal that is agreeable with the likes of Davidson (1988) and Sternberg (2007).

As psychologists embark on creating IQ tests that take into account the cross-cultural elements, the considerable recommendation entails the use of a multiaxial model. Developed by Davidson (1995), it urges the need to have cognitive tests that base on environmental factors. It provides a holistic technique of assessing intellectual abilities by determining daily functions, broad life responsibilities, and appropriate cognitive approaches. That typifies a multifaceted scale of comprehensiveness that allows certain acculturation degree. Even if it seems complicated, it forms the basis of creating IQ tests that are favourable to all cultures. In other words, it is the preferable way of finding a solution to the inaccuracies that plague the standard tests of IQ in Australia and other countries. It is something that receives support from research suggestions of Dingwall, Pinkerton, and Lindeman (2013). It is because; there are no reasons that justify the continuing use of Western-based cognitive and intellectual tests.

References

Ardila, A. (2005). Cultural values underlying psychometric cognitive testing. Neuropsychology Review, 15(4), 185-195. doi:10.1007/s11065-005-9180-y

Benson, E. (2003). Intelligence across cultures. Monitor on Psychology, 34(2), 56-60.

Blanton, C. K. (2010). They cannot master abstractions, but they can often be made efficient workers: Race and class in the intelligence testing of Mexican Americans and African Americans in Texas during the 1920s. Social Science Quarterly, 81, 1014-1026.

Davidson, G. (1988). Some social and cultural perspectives on cognitive assessment. In G. Davidson (Ed.), Ethnicity and cognitive assessment: Australian perspectives (pp. 7-14). Darwin, Australia: Darwin Institute of Technology Press.

Davidson, G. (1995). Cognitive assessment of Indigenous Australians: Towards a multiaxial model. Australian Psychologist, 30(1), 30-34.

Dingwall, K. M., & Carney, S. (2010). Psychological and cognitive assessment of Indigenous Australians. Australian and New Zealand Journal of Psychiatry, 44(1), 20-30.

Dingwall, K. M., Pinkerton, J., & Lindeman, M. A. (2013). People like numbers: A descriptive study of cognitive assessment methods in clinical practice for Aboriginal Australians in the Northern Territory. BMC Psychiatry, 13(42). doi:10.1186/1471-244X-13-42.

Kearins, J. (1976). Skills of desert Aboriginal. In G. E. Kearney & D. W. McElwain (Eds.), Aboriginal cognition: Retrospect and prospect. Canberra, Australia: Australian Institute of Aboriginal Studies Press.

Kearins, J. (1986). Visual spatial memory in Aboriginal and white Australian children. Australian Journal of Psychology, 38, 203-214.

Kearins, J. (1988). Cultural elements in testing: The test, the tester and the tested. In G. Davidson (Ed.), Ethnicity and cognitive assessment: Australian perspectives (pp. 60-70). Darwin, Australia: Darwin Institute of Technology Press.

Kearins, J. (2000). Children and cultural difference. In P. Dudgeon, D. Garvey, & H. Pickett (Eds.), Working with Indigenous Australians: A handbook for psychologists (pp. 167-176). Perth, Australia: Gunada Press.

Rowe, H. A. H. (1988). Toward ecologically valid methods of intelligence assessment. In G. Davidson (Ed.), Ethnicity and cognitive assessment: Australian perspectives (pp. 27-36). Darwin, Australia: Darwin Institute...

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