For your initial post, you will present at least two viewpoints debating professional approaches to assessment used in psychology for your assigned age group. Please see the list below for your assigned age group. In addition to the required reading, research a minimum of one peer-reviewed article from the Ashford University Library on ability testing research at is pertains to your assigned age group. In your initial post, you must
present a critical analysis of these viewpoints, examining their strengths and weaknesses.
The professional approaches to assessment used in psychology for the assigned age group of early childhood (3-8 years) have been a topic of debate among experts in the field. Two prominent viewpoints that have emerged from this debate are the norm-referenced approach and the criterion-referenced approach. This post will critically analyze both approaches, discussing their strengths and weaknesses.
The norm-referenced approach is a widely used method in assessing young children’s abilities in various domains, such as cognitive, language, and social skills. This approach involves comparing a child’s performance to that of a normative sample, which consists of children of the same age or grade. The strengths of this approach lie in its ability to provide standardized scores that can be easily interpreted and compared against a normative group. This makes it useful for identifying children who may be performing above or below average in specific areas.
Additionally, the norm-referenced approach allows for easy comparisons between individuals, schools, or districts, which can be valuable for evaluating educational programs and interventions. Furthermore, it provides a framework for understanding a child’s development in relation to their peers, which can inform educational and clinical decisions.
However, the norm-referenced approach also has its weaknesses. One of the main critiques is that it does not capture the individual differences and unique strengths a child may possess. It focuses on comparing the child to a normative group, which may not accurately represent the child’s abilities or potential. This approach may disregard the fact that each child develops at their own pace and has their own unique set of skills.
Another weakness of the norm-referenced approach is that it tends to emphasize the measurement of discrete skills or abilities, rather than holistic development. This reductionist view may not fully capture the complexity of early childhood development, which is characterized by interrelated and interdependent domains.
The criterion-referenced approach, on the other hand, assesses a child’s performance against a predetermined set of criteria or standards. This approach focuses on whether a child has achieved specific learning goals or objectives, regardless of how their performance compares to others. The strengths of this approach lie in its ability to provide a more comprehensive and individualized view of a child’s abilities. It allows for a more holistic assessment of a child’s skills and competencies, taking into account their development in multiple domains.
Moreover, the criterion-referenced approach can inform instructional planning and intervention strategies. By identifying specific areas of strength and weakness, educators and clinicians can tailor their interventions to meet the individual needs of the child. This approach can also be empowering for children, as it emphasizes their individual progress and growth rather than their comparison to others.
However, the criterion-referenced approach also has its weaknesses. One criticism is that it is often more difficult to develop valid and reliable criteria or standards that accurately represent the desired outcomes. The process of creating these criteria may be subjective and lack consensus among professionals.
Another weakness is that the criterion-referenced approach may not provide a clear indication of how a child’s performance compares to their peers or to the population at large. It may not provide the same level of comparative information as the norm-referenced approach, which can be valuable for identifying areas of relative strength or weakness. This may limit the ability to make informed decisions about educational placement or intervention prioritization.
In conclusion, the norm-referenced and criterion-referenced approaches represent two distinct viewpoints in the assessment of early childhood. While the norm-referenced approach provides standardized scores and allows for easy comparisons, it may overlook individual differences and holistic development. On the other hand, the criterion-referenced approach provides a more comprehensive view of a child’s abilities but may be more challenging to develop valid and reliable criteria. A well-rounded assessment approach for early childhood should aim to integrate elements from both approaches to capture the complexity of children’s development and inform educational and clinical decision-making.