Handbook of International Development and Education
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Handbook of International Development and Education

Edited by Pauline Dixon, Steve Humble and Chris Counihan

This Handbook considers the myths and untruths that currently exist in international development and education. Using historic and contemporary evidence, this compendium redefines the international development narrative through a new understanding of 'what works', drawn from pragmatic ideas and approaches.
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Chapter 18: Locality, observability and community action (LOCUM) in test development and use in emerging education settings

Elias Mpofu, Thomas Oakland, Kayi Ntinda, Jacobus G. Maree and Elizabeth G. Seeco


Test use and other forms of assessment are universal. Some forms of tests and other assessment methods are used in virtually every country, with new-borns through the elderly, and most commonly with students (e.g., persons engaged in formal education from preschool through graduate school). For example, few if any students can escape ubiquitous teacher-made achievement tests. Tests are used within the behavioral sciences to describe current behaviors and other qualities, estimate future behaviors, assist guidance and counseling services, establish intervention methods, evaluate progress, screen for special needs, diagnose disabling disorders, help place persons in jobs or programs, and assist in determining whether persons should be credentialed, admitted/employed, retained, or promoted. Tests also are used widely in research and for various administrative and planning purposes. Tests may be administered to groups or individually to assess aptitudes, achievement, adaptive behavior, intelligence, language, motor, perception, personality, and other personal qualities (Oakland, 2009). Test use may constitute applied psychology’s most important contribution to society. Although test use and other forms of assessment are universal, their availability is uneven. Most Western countries benefit from the availability and use of a wide array of tests to use with children and youth. In contrast, most emerging countries lack significant testing resources (Oakland, 2009). When viewed internationally, psychological test use is lowest in the seven Gulf States, Central and South America (with the exception of Brazil), and in Africa.

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