Cul­ture-fair­ness can im­pact the ac­cu­racy of as­sess­ments

Hindustan Times (Chandigarh) - - HINDUSTANT­IMES -

To­wards a re­form of the ed­u­ca­tional sys­tem, gov­ern­ments are mak­ing it manda­tory for would-be and ex­ist­ing em­ploy­ees to un­der­take ap­ti­tude tests whereas and at work­places, many or­gan­i­sa­tions are mak­ing it oblig­a­tory for would-be and ex­ist­ing em­ploy­ees to un­dergo per­son­al­ity screen­ing be­fore be­ing ac­cepted for train­ing, em­ploy­ment or em­ploy­ment con­tin­u­a­tion. Coun­tries like Fin­land have in­tro­duced ap­ti­tude, per­son­al­ity and re­silience as­sess­ments for ac­cept­ing stu­dents to be trained as teach­ers. How­ever, a ques­tion that arises “Is In­dia ready to adopt such mod­els? Do we have enough re­sources, un­der­stand­ing, and ma­tu­rity to un­der­take such mea­sures?

Psy­cho­log­i­cal as­sess­ment is very com­pli­cated. It is of­ten un­der­taken to screen a per­son’s be­hav­ior, per­son­al­ity or per­for­mance. The as­sess­ment of­ten uses a nu­mer­i­cal scale that is in form of a ques­tion­naire. They are ini­tially ad­min­is­tered to a large num­ber of peo­ple to sta­tis­ti­cally check for the con­sis­tency, sta­bil­ity, uni­for­mity, le­git­i­macy, and ra­tio­nal­ity of the test. As­sess­ments are not al­ways ac­cu­rate as of­ten peo­ple try to re­spond in a so­cially de­sir­able man­ner or tend to give a neu­tral re­sponses as they are fear­ful of be­ing caught through their re­sponses.

As­sess­ments en­able to screen men­tal health is­sues, un­der­stand the per­for­mance of chil­dren, in­crease pro­duc­tiv­ity at work­places, and show a path of im­prove­ment and as­sists in the iden­ti­fi­ca­tion of strengths and weak­ness of peo­ple. As­sess­ments are done from birth till old age to screen out men­tal and phys­i­cal dis­abil­i­ties or im­pair­ments. It is very rare that par­pop­u­la­tion. ents will un­der­take cog­ni­tive screen­ing of their chil­dren. At the work­place, as­sess­ment helps to as­sign work du­ties, rec­og­nize strong per­son­al­ity at­tributes, help em­ploy­ees to over­come weak­nesses and de­sign train­ing mod­ules.

A large pool of avail­able as­sess­ments are con­structed on non-in­dian pop­u­la­tion. How­ever, very few psy­cho­log­i­cal as­sess­ments have been con­structed on In­dian pop­u­la­tion. As­sess­ment scores are highly sen­si­tive to how a per­son re­sponds, the en­vi­ron­men­tal con­di­tions present and lan­guage and cul­tural con­text of the ques­tions or state­ments. Cul­ture­fair­ness and lan­guage ap­pro­pri­ate­ness are im­por­tant fac­tors that im­pact the fi­nal score. There is a high de­mand to es­tab­lish the con­sis­tency and ra­tio­nal­ity of the tests for In­dian pop­u­la­tion. An in­creas­ing de­mand pre­vails in con­struct­ing new as­sess­ments for In­dian pop­u­la­tion.

Few of west­ern screen­ing and as­sess­ment tests have shown con­trast­ing re­sults on the In­dian pop­u­la­tion. When the er­rors in the as­sess­ment were sta­tis­ti­cally cor­rected for the In­dian pop­u­la­tion, the re­sults were much more ac­cept­able. How­ever, many trained psy­chol­o­gists and un­trained pro­fes­sion­als from al­lied fields of psy­chol­ogy use the as­sess­ment tests with­out ad­just­ing it for sta­tis­ti­cal er­rors.

Lack of check on con­sis­tency and ra­tio­nal­ity of as­sess­ments is largely at­trib­uted to psy­cho­log­i­cal train­ing im­parted in col­leges. Most of the times, the west­ern­ized as­sess­ments are ad­justed for sta­tis­ti­cal er­rors for In­dian This does not take care of cul­ture fair­ness and lan­guage ap­pro­pri­ate­ness. For ex­am­ple, In­dian psy­chol­o­gists have un­der­taken the adap­ta­tion of former in­tel­li­gence tests which is in­suf­fi­cient be­cause they fail to ad­dress the di­ver­sity of lan­guage and cul­ture, com­plex­ity of school sys­tems, and in­fras­truc­tural in­ad­e­qua­cies in school. In­tel­li­gence tests are presently used to iden­tify dis­abil­ity, as­sess well-be­ing, and ac­count for gaps in po­ten­tial­ity and per­for­mance in school, re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion, and guid­ance. Pri­mar­ily I. Q. tests are un­der­taken in schools which fo­cused on gen­eral in­tel­li­gence. A child can be good in spa­tial ori­en­ta­tion or mu­si­cal abil­ity and hence, it is rec­om­mended that par­ents and teach­ers should as­sess spe­cific area of in­tel­li­gence. Apart from in­tel­li­gence, de­vel­op­men­tal prob­lems such as spe­cific learn­ing dis­abil­ity, and autism spec­trum dis­or­der. How­ever, there is a need to de­velop indigenous in­tel­li­gence as­sess­ments that are based on In­dian ed­u­ca­tional sys­tem and child’s growth and de­vel­op­ment pa­ram­e­ters.

Lastly, the need of the hour is to train psy­chol­ogy stu­dents with rigor in as­sess­ments and pre­pare them to con­struct more indigenous as­sess­ments.

A new trend in In­dian psy­cho­log­i­cal re­search that has come to sur­face in last decade is to con­struct new indigenous as­sess­ments. How­ever, many of these as­sess­ments lack sta­tis­ti­cal ro­bust­ness and hence are not free from bi­ases.

Psy­cho­log­i­cal as­sess­ments need to be han­dled eth­i­cally and in the right way to avoid in­cor­rect la­belling and iden­ti­fi­ca­tion of men­tal health is­sues.

Cul­ture­fair­ness and Lan­guage ap­pro­pri­ate­ness are Fac­tors That im­pact The Fi­nal score

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A large pool of avail­able as­sess­ments are con­structed on nonIn­dian pop­u­la­tion

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