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The world of education and in the studios of the BBC in London. This is Jeremy verity in recent years there's been a great dispute about the validity of IQ tests used in the assessment of the ability and potential of children going through the education system over the years the tests have been adapted so that the results would not be influenced by the cultural social or economic background of the children but would give an absolute assessment of the child's potential. Many teachers and educational psychologists doubt that they have achieved this with me in the studio are Dr. Judith Haynes an educational psychologist who study of the educational assessment of immigrant pupils in Britain has just been published. John Wilson of the University of London Institute of Education who specialized in the problems of teaching children of cultures other than the English. And Ted Field at Master of Hampstead comprehensive school which has children from 51 different nationalities. Now I'd like to start this discussion off by asking all of you but first of all Judith Haynes. General how reliable do you think the
existing IQ tests are. Well in general the existing tests are extremely useful and efficient at predicting the educational progress of the children in our schools. But this statement is really any true in the case of children who've been brought up in this country and who've had the advantages of being educated in our schools from an early age and have had good support from the helm backgrounds. But when we come up against the problem of assessing disadvantaged children whether they are English children from abroad then I'm afraid we do have to admit that our tests are sadly lacking in their validity and their reliability. John Wilson would you agree. Yes. And the same skeptical frame of mind as Judas about this teaching children from other cultures on our own seem to present quite a problem. Linguists often speak about linguistic interference from one language to another but it seems to be there is
some cultural interference. Sure and ways of thought even different semantic value as I catch two words Ted Field. Well I work for the inner London educational authority which has tended rather to move away from the traditional idea of measuring intelligence with a set of figures to something much wider in terms of a profile which is a series of reports on a child usually done at the junior school which give me a pretty all round picture of the child. But I find that in the light of the work we're doing in I'm streaming children teaching them in under strain and teaching steps. We have to modify the picture that the junior school gives us very rapidly and particularly within the first year of them coming to us at the age of 11. And do the testing mechanisms that you have at hand help you in this.
Indeed they do. But I'm so aware of the fact that children coming to me at age 11 are just about to start a tremendous intellectual breakthrough in a way they mature so much in say years 11 to 14 that with the sort of teaching techniques we're using I wouldn't place a lot of validity Aula test at age 11 compared to the test a couple years later. Would you agree with that Ruth. But in my experience which has really been largely based in working in Child Guidance clinics and in schools psychological says this where I'm giving individual tests of intelligence I feel that I can make as good an assessment of a child when I say that 10 as when they're 12. From my point of view the difficult age groups have been the preschool ages and the younger the child broadly speaking the more difficult it is to make long term predictions about the future progress. Of course one must always take
into consideration the child's personality and his present surroundings. When one is considering their IQ One must never just look at their IQ. And of course when a child comes to the secondary stage of education they are undergoing considerable emotional development. And one would expect the test results perhaps to be slightly less reliable. Why test at all. What's the point of all this testing. Yes well this was a question which was brought home to me very much when I was first appointed as an educational psychologist in an area on the outskirts of London where there are large numbers of immigrant children. I was asked to see some of these children who had been in school perhaps a term perhaps one or two years who were not making good progress. As regards the children who were making adequate progress the same to be no reason to assess them as children. It's when you come across a child who doesn't seem to be making adequate progress and no one knows why.
A test can sometimes but I have to underline that word sometimes elucidate the underlying reasons for the child's lack of progress. But I also feel that it's not only in the case of children who are obviously not making progress that one needs to know about their abilities but it's also in the case of children who are making good progress who may well be capable of even better progress. And we do really need to have access to a measurement a more reliable measurement of the abilities of all children so that we can form a more realistic expectancy of what they are capable of achieving. I'm interested to hear the euro see more than testing finding the bare I.Q. She sees other factors in this and in relation to about this I'd like to ask Ted if he knew which is he is in the case of underprivileged children of our own society and the case of immigrant children any relationship between the command of language or lack of command of language and success in this educational breakthrough which he thinks the secondary school
offers to them I think you summed up the question of the child in the remedial department when you talk about command of language because this implies not only ability to verbalize but ability to write. This is the basic problem one of literacy. I have a couple of quibbles about what Judyth has just said. One is that when we're thinking about say a culture free intelligence test I wonder if we should be. You see an intelligence test is in a way a kind of horses for courses. Measurement. And suppose we devise such tests. We're still going to put the children into a situation where they are faced with. Show is a culture ridden teachers of a particular kind. My second point particularly about immigrant children I feel it is a cultural gap. But it's the attitude of the home for instance what I particularly find about West Indian
children is that they have been educated to a much more rigid kind of discipline within school than happens in the majority of English schools. So many parents are amazed when the children join my school and fun for instance. There is no corporal punishment at all. I think these are all important factors religion. I'd like to go back to a point that Ted made earlier in connection with culture free tests because in fact psychologists have now largely got away from the idea that we need a culture pretest in order to assess the abilities of children. What we need to measure really is the child's ability to learn the kinds of things that are going to make him successful in our culture. We need to know really at the beginning of the child's school Korea what their capabilities are so that we can organize the best help for the child in school the most appropriate kind of education for the child. Can you really hope to make this sort of long term prediction.
Well I think if one tries to construct and develop the sorts of tests which I've been working on I think these kinds of tests are related to long term achievement. You see the whole rationale behind my new tests is that the child is put in a situation where he's required to learn something he's never known before learn new material new mental skills. And this is what's going to be asked of him once he arrives at school. So you observe how the child copes in that situation. Yes. We observe the child's approach to a new learning situation. His motivation how much effort he can make his concentration as well as his final achievement. I'm not so concerned with what he achieves what as soon as he walks in the door what he's able to learn it's result of being taught. Don't listen do you think that a regime of testing of assessment like that is going to produce the answers the teachers and masters are going to be able to use. No I've often thought this and what it seems to be coming out
here strengthens me in this I often think we need only years on with social workers into the family of psychologists and the teacher. This is a thing I think of this liking in our educational work with very free with a psychologist on to do research work. I sociologist on to do research work on it but we need help with teacher. I quite agree with you John we do need more liaison. It's not enough even with new tests to just know the results of the tests. These results have got to be communicated to the people who are going to be working with these children concerned for them. Both the parents and teachers feel that the headmaster How do you feel about all these extra people coming into what used to be your preserve. It still is that a much by preserve I mean I think that I work for the richest and I feel the best educational authority in the country. And yet there are 2.4 educational psychologists for the whole of my division
which has I don't know how many thousand children in it. So I think we are approaching the answer to this problem in all sorts of ways not necessarily connected with literacy and speech. I think we're going much further. I think that one of the things that is helping my children with this kind of problems for instance is my drama department where for instance the disturbed child is able to act out all sorts of tensions and can go on from an expression drama lesson back to the classroom. And in a much better frame of mind to cope with the more formal side. This story I think are very important. I am continually saying to people run visual aids departments. The basic need in speech. I'm done speaking and I don't only mean how one pronounces or the phonology I mean how one exchanges ideas that dramatize ation
is the fundamental issue in all this kind of work help social adjustment of learning a language not to do things I recognise that the regime of test that you're proposing are an individual basis but isn't there a danger that the tests are so complex that once an individual has been through them that they will be placed once and for all. And finally settled in their educational career and that the very rapid changes that take place in childhood won't be accounted for. Well I think the only mistakes that are made are in the question of school placements. And I think here we do have to be very careful think very carefully before we place a child in a special school or in a remedial class. And here these tests would be of additional value because they do give a broader picture of what child disabilities are. And I think they're essential and should be an essential part of any assessment procedure when my considering long term school placements. Would this include some review of social
The world of education
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Educational Assessment
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University of Maryland (College Park, Maryland)
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Identifier: 71-22-1 (National Association of Educational Broadcasters)
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Duration: 00:13:34
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