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J. Intell. 2016, 4(1), 3; doi:10.3390/jintelligence4010003

Contextual Responsiveness: An Enduring Challenge for Educational Assessment in Africa

Psychology Department, University of Zambia, P.O. Box 32379, Lusaka 10101, Zambia
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Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Robert J. Sternberg
Received: 22 July 2015 / Revised: 15 January 2016 / Accepted: 1 February 2016 / Published: 17 February 2016
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Challenges in Intelligence Testing)
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Abstract

Numerous studies in Africa have found that indigenous conceptualization of intelligence includes dimensions of social responsibility and reflective deliberation, in addition to the dimension of cognitive alacrity emphasized in most intelligence tests standardized in Western societies. In contemporary societies undergoing rapid socio-cultural and politico-economic change, the technology of intelligence testing has been widely applied to the process of educational selection. Current applications in Zambia rely exclusively on Western style tests and fail to respond to some enduring cultural preoccupations of many parents, educators and policymakers. We discuss how recent and ongoing research addresses the challenges of eco-culturally responsive assessment with respect to assessment of intellectual functions in early childhood, monitoring initial literacy acquisition in middle childhood, and selection for admission to secondary and tertiary education. We argue that the inherent bias of normative tests can only be justified politically if a compelling theoretical account is available of how the construct of intelligence relates to learning and how opportunities for learning are distributed through educational policy. While rapid social change gives rise to demands for new knowledge and skills, assessment of intellectual functions will be more adaptive in contemporary Zambian society if it includes the dimensions of reflection and social responsibility. View Full-Text
Keywords: intelligence; Africa; culture; educational assessment; standardized testing; educational policy; early childhood; initial literacy learning; tertiary educational selection; social responsibility intelligence; Africa; culture; educational assessment; standardized testing; educational policy; early childhood; initial literacy learning; tertiary educational selection; social responsibility
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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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MDPI and ACS Style

Serpell, R.; Simatende, B. Contextual Responsiveness: An Enduring Challenge for Educational Assessment in Africa. J. Intell. 2016, 4, 3.

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