using dynamic assessment in differential diagnoses of culturally and linguistically diverse students

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  • Dynamic assessment has been shown to be one of the few strategies available for differentiating those students who do not perform well because of unfamiliarity with the tasks from those who do not perform well because they have intrinsic cognitive or language learning disorders (Westby, 2001).

  • Objectives

    Define dynamic assessment Develop practical teaching tasks Select teaching targets to perform appropriate

    assessments of CLD students Use the results to make differential diagnoses

    of diverse learners

  • Framework for Assessment In-depth case history from multiple sources Assess both languages

    Formal Assessment Informal Assessment

    Observations in variety of contexts Dynamic Assessment Analyze and interpret results using difference vs.


  • Informal Assessments

    Language Samples: Conversation in both languages Narratives in both languages Answering WH-questions Following directions Portfolio

  • Making a Diagnosis

    Looking at scores Looking at functionality

    school reports, teacher observations parent reports clinical judgment/observations Doing dynamic assessment

  • DoyouneedContinuingEducationorwanttolistentothiscourselive?


  • AllofthedocumentsandchartsinthispresentationcanbedownloadedfromourFreeResourceLibrary.


  • TestTeach


  • Dynamic Assessment

    Less-biased approach for determining difference vs. disorder Interactive and process-oriented procedure to

    measure language learning potential Test-teach-retest model based on Vygotskys

    Zone of Proximal Development (ZPD) Provides some form of intervention or

    mediated learning (Feuerstein)

  • Dynamic Assessment

    Mediated Learning Experiences (MLEs) often include components of: Intentionality Transcendence Meaning Competence Observe childs responsiveness, amount of

    examiner effort, and ability to transfer what is learned

  • Why do Dynamic Assessment? Aids in determining difference vs. disorder Gives opportunity for children not from

    mainstream culture to understand demands of task; reduces situational bias Dynamic assessment provides an alternative

    approach to traditional procedures by focusing on learning potential, rather than acquired skills, possibly reducing test bias

  • Who gets Dynamic Assessment?

    Are some children obviously impaired? Do all children get it? Only ELL students? Low SES? Feasibility of multiple testing sessions Ethics?

  • How do we do Dynamic Assessment?

    How do we use the results of our formal/informal assessments to select teaching targets? Scaffolding

    What does it take for a child to be able to perform a skill?

  • Mediated Learning Experience (MLE)

    What are mediation strategies? Intentionality Meaning Transcendence Application* Competence

  • Intentionality

    Whats the goal?

    State the purpose of the teaching.

  • Intentionality

    Example: Were going to work on following directions that have 3 steps.

  • Meaning

    Why are we working on this?

    Tell why its important and relevant.

  • Meaning

    Example: When someone gives you directions, its important to do each step so that you finish the task.

  • Transcendence

    What happens if we dont have this skill?

    Develop awareness of the relevance of the skill to real life through critical thinking.

  • Transcendence

    Example: What if your teacher tells you to color, cut, and glue, but you only follow two of the directions? Then your project wouldnt be finished.

  • Application

    Heres what I expect you to do. Lets try it together.

    Clarify expectations and give explicit instructions. Provide a model and allow opportunities for practice.

  • Application

    Example: This time when I give you a direction that has 3 steps, I want you to do all 3 steps in the order that I say them. Ill do it first and then it will be your turn.

  • Competence

    What did you learn? Why is it important? When will you use this skill?

    Check for understanding of the skill and its importance for the current context and future classroom activities.

  • Competence

    Example: Remember, its important to listen to all the steps in a direction and follow each one. Now you tell me what we practiced and why its important. Think about when you might need to follow directions correctly in the classroom. Then well try it five more times.

  • Dynamic Assessment Protocol


  • Dynamic Assessment Protocol







    3years Setting(Time,Place)Initiatingevent

    4years Temporalsequence*Centraltheme*

    5years LabelscharactersLabelssurroundingsAttemptsConsequenceReaction

    6years Providesimplicitaims/intentionsofcharactersResolution

    7years ThemeandMoral*

    8years Explicitaims/plansofcharacters(useswordslikedecidedto)

    11years MultipleplansMultipleattemptsMultipleconsequencesEmbeddedStories*

    >12years Twoseparatebutparallelepisodesthatinfluenceeachother


  • Dynamic Assessment Protocol


  • Dynamic Assessment

    Support strategies Teacher effort Cueing

    Number of cues Types of cues (visual, auditory) Number of presentations

  • How do we use results?

    Qualifying for services Classroom accommodations

  • How do we use results?

    5-point scale: Teaching Tasks: Mediation Strategies Support Strategies/Teaching Effort Childs Responsiveness to Strategies Results: how do we measure improvement? Re-test same formal items? Get a score?

  • Assessment of Fictional Narratives

    Arranged by age expectations of macrostructure of fictional narratives. Consider microstructure as well. Separated by universal expectations and

    expectancies that may vary by culture. Selecting targets for Dynamic Assessment

  • Dynamic Assessment Procedures for Fictional Narratives:

    Child listens to recording of frog story Clinician determines targets for dynamic assessment Clinician uses Assessment of Fictional Narratives

    during childs retell If macrostructure is weak, teach to this target and

    retest narrative retell for macrostructure If microstructure features are distracting, switch to

    this type of analysis If microstructure skills are consistently weak in both

    contexts (i.e., formal and informal), then select the corresponding language target for dynamic assessment

  • Dynamic Assessment Procedures for Fictional Narratives: Use mediation strategies Determine support strategy level If child reaches 80% level, return to narrative to

    look for carryover to functional context If skills are present, NO Support for disability If skills are not present, look at support strategy

    level to help determine if intervention is indicated If child is at 60% level or below, further

    intervention may be indicated.

  • Questions

    If a student is a fast learner, does that mean he/she does not need therapy? Do some fast learners need therapy to learn the

    skill? Why havent they gotten it on their own


  • Questions

    Can we feel confident saying a child is a typical language learner when we only assess dynamically in one language area? If the child performs well with minimal support

    and low teacher effort in one area, should you look at other language targets?

  • SummarySLPs will have to argue for the need for dynamic assessment approaches, and they will have to develop these approaches (Westby, 2001).

  • References Feuerstein, R., Rand, Y., & Hoffman, M. (1979). The dynamic assessment

    of retarded performers: The Learning Potential Assessment Device. Baltimore, MD: University Park Press.

    Hughes et al. (1997). Guide to Narrative Language. Eau Claire, WI: Thinking Publications.

    Gillam, R., & Pearson, N. (2004). Test of Narrative Language, Examiners Manual. Austin, TX: PRO-ED.

    Gutierrez-Clellen, Vera F. (2002). Narratives in Two Languages: Assessing Performance of Bilingual Children. Linguistics & Education, Vol.13 Issue 2, p199.

    Heath, S.B. (1982). What no bedtime story means: Narrative skills at home and school. Language in Society, 11(1), 49-76.

    Metzi, Gigliana. (2000). Cultural variations in the construction of personal narratives: Central American and European American mothers elicitation styles. Discourse Processes. Vol. 30(2). 153-177.

  • References Miller, L., Gillam, R., & Pea, E. (2000). Dynamic Assessment and

    Intervention: Improving Childrens Narrative Abilities. Austin, TX: PRO-ED. Poveda, David. (2002). La Ronda in a Spanish kindergarten classroom

    with a cross-cultural comparison to sharing time in the U.S.A. Anthorpology & Educaiton Quarterly. Vol 32(3). 301-325.

    Shiro, Martha Klein (1998). A discourse analysis approach to evaluate stance in Venezuelan childrens narratives. Dissertat


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