Universiteit Leiden

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Hidden treasures:

Uncovering task solving processes in dynamic testing

Jochanan Veerbeek
11 April 2019
PhD thesis defence


When questions arise regarding a child’s cognitive functioning, often traditional, static tests are utilized to evaluate the child’s cognitive abilities. However, these static tests are said to provide limited information about possible reasons for success or failure on the test. The primary goal of this dissertation was to investigate what information could be obtained through the use of process-oriented dynamic testing. This type of testing aims to make an estimate of a child’s learning potential, through the provision of training or feedback within the testing procedure, and evaluates the task solving processes a child uses on the tasks. Additionally, this dissertation focused on the specific properties of a new computer automated method to obtain a picture of the task solving processes children employed while solving cognitive tasks, by analysing the grouping of answer pieces.

The findings of this dissertation stated that process-oriented dynamic testing provides valuable information as an addition to the performance of a child and that it can provide information about the effects of training on the processes children employ during task solving. In line with previous findings, dynamic testing appeared to provide more explained variance than static testing measures. The number of hints children needed during training appeared to be the best predictor of academic performance of children. The different process measures that were utilized in this dissertation all seemed to measure different aspects of the task solving process. Grouping of answer pieces was related to accuracy on a task of inductive reasoning. In line with recent findings, this thesis found that task characteristics play a key role in the relationship between process measures and performance.

Computerized process-oriented dynamic testing provides a number of unique possibilities for assessment in education. It enables the assessment of children’s learning potential and the solving processes they use, while they are working with the technology independently, without adding to the  workload for teachers. Utilizing the possibilities that technology provides us might be a challenge, it also offers new opportunities to assess and develop children’s individual learning potential.

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