EDUCATIONAL PSYCHOLOGICAL ASSESSMENT IN SOUTH AFRICA

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CHAPTER 2: EVIDENCE-BASED PRACTICE

INTRODUCTION

The concept of Evidence-Based Practice has become prominent in literature in the last decade. It originated in medicine but quickly spread to other health professions, the corporate world and also to education. Evidence-Based Practice strives to integrate research findings into practice to ensure that practitioners base their daily decisions on the most recent research findings. In this process, the evidence-based movement has developed methodologies to access information, to enhance clinical expertise and to meet the specific needs and preferences of the individual patient or client.This chapter surveys Evidence-Based Practice from its origins in medicine, to its establishment in the mental health field and especially in psychological practice. The application of evidence-based practice in educational psychology is investigated and the reader is informed about strategies of becoming an evidence-based practitioner. The acceptance and
acknowledgment of the evidence-based paradigm are highlighted and the emphasis on the outcomes of intervention is clarified.

THE DEVELOPMENT OF EVIDENCE-BASED PRACTICE

Evidence-Based Practice, previously also referred to as ‘empirically supported treatments and empirically validated treatments’ (Chambless & Ollendick, 2001:697) has its origins in medicine.The pioneer, Dr Archie Cochrane (1972), argued that due to scarce resources, only ‘health care services which could be proven as effective’ should be delivered (Trinder, 2000:20-21). Cochrane was the first big influence on the establishment of evidence-based practice and promoted the use of randomised controlled trials. A randomised controlled trial is ‘an experiment in which two or more interventions, possibly including a control intervention or no intervention, are compared by being randomly allocated to participants’ (Cochrane collaboration, 2009:n.p.). This practice became known as Evidence-Based Medicine (EBM) and was the first influence towards radical progress in primary health care. The second big influence on the development of Evidence-Based Medicine, originated in the training of medical doctors at McMaster’s University in Canada, where Dr David Sackett(1996) initiated an innovative curriculum of ‘problem-based self-directed
learning’ (Hamer & Collinson 2005; Sackett, Rosenberg, Gray, Haynes & Richardson, 1996). Prior to the evidence-based movement, decisions about patient care were mostly derived from the experience-base of the clinician and from the authoritative opinions of a few experts in the field, which led to practices which had very little scientific underpinning (Gambrill, 2005:256).Sackett et al., (1996:312) define Evidence-Based Practice in medicine as, ‘…integrating individual clinical expertise with the best available external clinical evidence from systematic research’. Increased clinical expertise can be reflected in many ways, but especially in diagnosis that is more effective and in which scientific research evidence, especially randomised controlled trials, have been used. Another way in which clinical expertise was defined, was by the practitioner being intimately involved in the patient’s life, by ‘thoughtful identification and compassionate use of individual patient’s predicaments, rights, and preferences in making clinical decisions about their care’ (Sackett et al.,1996:312).These developments were novel at that time and provided expectations of new standards of patient care. Clinical expertise was in the focus of training establishments. One of the ways to improve clinical expertise was to create guidelines for best practices. The assumption was that all research could be effectively implemented into routine everyday practice, provided that the results were available in a format that was accessible to the practitioner (Trinder, 2000:3). Bridging the research-practice gap consequently provided impetus for the emergence of the evidence-based movement. Evidencebased practice, however, entails more than just providing guidelines for best practices in an effort to get research findings into practice.

CHAPTER 1: SOUTH AFRICAN EDUCATIONAL PSYCHOLOGY IN THE CONTEXT OF THE WORLD TREND OF EVIDENCE-BASED PRACTICE
1.1. INTRODUCTION
1.2 BACKGROUND 
1.3 ANALYSIS OF THE PROBLEM
1.3.1 Awareness of the problem
1.3.2 Investigation of the problem
1.3.3 Statement of the problem
1.4 AIMS OF THE RESEARCH 
1.5 RESEARCH METHOD
1.5.1 Literature survey
1.6 ETHICAL CONSIDERATIONS
1.7 DEMARCATION OF THE RESEARCH
1.8 OUTLINE OF THE CHAPTERS
1.9 SUMMARY
CHAPTER 2: EVIDENCE-BASED PRACTICE
2.1 INTRODUCTION 
2.2. THE DEVELOPMENT OF EVIDENCE-BASED PRACTICE
2.2.1. Utilising research findings in health care settings
2.2.2. Searching databases
2.2.3 Appraising evidence
2.2.4. Integrating the evidence with patient characteristics or ecological circumstances
2.2.5. Evaluating the outcome
2.3. EVIDENCE-BASED PRACTICE IN PSYCHOLOGY 
2.3.1 The best available research
2.3.2. Practice-based research and outcome measures
2.3.3. Clinical expertise as a pre-requisite for evidence-based practice
2.3.4. Considering patient characteristics and preferences
2.4. BECOMING AN EVIDENCE-BASED PRACTITIONER
2.4.1. Formulating research questions
2.4.2. Searching databases
2.5 ACCEPTANCE OF EVIDENCE-BASED PRACTICE IN PSYCHOLOGY 
2.6. EVIDENCE-BASED PRACTICE IN EDUCATIONAL PSYCHOLOGY 
2.6.1. The need to base decisions on scientific research
2.6.2. The need for research
2.6.3. Practice guidelines
2.6.4 Intervention guidelines
2.7 ACKNOWLEDGING THE SPECIFICITY OF THE CLIENT 
2.7.1. Developmental concerns
2.7.2. The client’s specific culture
2.7.3. The client’s specific language development and barriers
2.8. EVIDENCE-BASED PRACTICE IN SOUTH AFRICA
2.9. SUMMARY 
CHAPTER 3: EVIDENCE-BASED ASSESSMENT
3.1 INTRODUCTION
3.2. BACKGROUND TO ASSESSMENT IN CHILD PSYCHOLOGY 
3.3.1. The integration of research into practice
3.3.2. Assessment with fidelity
3.3.3. Evidence-Based Assessment in clinical practice
3.3.4. Assessment with multiple methodologies
3.3.5. Criteria for the classification of EBA instruments
3.3.6. Evidence-Based instruments for the assessment of
cognition
3.4. DIFFERENT VIEWS ON INTELLIGENCE AND COGNITION
3.4.1. Lurian theory of cognition
3.4.2. Cattell-Horn-Carroll (CHC) theory of cognition
3.5 DIFFERENT APPROACHES TO THE ASSESSMENT OF COGNITION 
3.5.1. Equitable assessment
3.5.2. The bio-cultural approach to assessment
3.5.3. Cross-Battery Assessment
3.5.4. School neuropsychological assessment
3.6. ISSUES IN EDUCATIONAL PSYCHOLOGICAL ASSESSMENT
3.6.1. Lack of suitable instruments
3.6.2. The rights of the test-taker: Informed consent
3.6.3. To test or not to test?
3.7. EDUCATIONAL PSYCHOLOGICAL ASSESSMENT IN SOUTH AFRICA
3.7.1. The use of international tests
3.7.2. The use of non-verbal instruments
3.7.3. Locally developed tests
3.7.4. Dissemination of information on psychological assessment
3.7.5. The researcher’s adaptation in assessment praxis
3.8. SUMMARY 
CHAPTER 4: RESEARCH DESIGN
4.1 INTRODUCTION
4.2 QUANTITATIVE VERSUS QUALITATIVE RESEARCH
4.2.1. Complex, rich data
4.2.2. Meaning
4.2.3. Understanding/ Interpretation and contextual account
4.2.4. Purposive/representative perspective sample
4.2.5. Accepting subjectivity
4.2.6. Open system (ecological validity)
4.3. THE RESEARCH DESIGN
4.4. THE RESEARCH APPROACH
4.4.1. Phenomenological genre
4.5. DATA COLLECTION
4.5.1 Clarity regarding the phenomenon
4.5.2. The choice of conversational partners
4.5.3. The interviews
4.5.4. Capturing the data
4.6. DATA ANALYSIS
4.6.1. The role of the researcher
4.7. META-THEORETICAL ASSUMPTIONS
4.7.1. Implications of meta-theoretical assumptions for this study
4.8. ETHICAL ISSUES 
4.9 SUMMARY
CHAPTER 5: RESEARCH FINDINGS
5.1. INTRODUCTION
5.2. EXPECTED OUTCOMES OF THE STUDY 
5.3. DATA COLLECTION 
5.3.1 The interview
5.3.2. The conversational partners
5.4 DATA ANALYSIS 
5.5. THE RESEARCH FINDINGS
5.5.1. General
5.5.2. Theme 1: Emotions of conversational partners
5.5.3 Theme 2: Assessment
5.5.3. Theme 3: Language difficulties
5.5.4. Theme 4: Ethical practice
5.5.5. Summary of research findings
SUMMARY 
CHAPTER 6: SYNOPSIS OF FINDINGS, LIMITATIONS,
CONTRIBUTION AND RECOMMENDATIONS
6.1 INTRODUCTION
6.2. LIMITATIONS OF THE STUDY
6.3. FINDINGS FROM THE LITERATURE INVESTIGATION
6.4. FINDINGS FROM THE EMPIRICAL RESEARCH
6.5. CONTRIBUTION OF THE STUDY
6.6. RECOMMENDATIONS
6.7. CLOSING REMARKS
BIBLIOGRAPHY
APPENDIX 1 INTERVIEW SCHEDULE
APPENDIX 2 CONSENT TO PARTICIPATE IN RESEARCH 

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