Assessment of Roma Children from Socially Disadvantageous Environment

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Abstract

Introduction: Psychological assessment of Roma children belongs to the most controversial topics in recent theory and practice of school psychology in Slovakia. The paper discusses the problem from the three main aspects.

Discussion: The first of them raises into question the usability of “general intelligence” construct in the assessment practice. It is shown that from the psychometric point of view it is improper to represent couple of qualitatively different attributes by sole number. Moreover, intelligence as a construct refers to general mental achievement of child here and now but it says nothing about the causes and reasons of the achievement.

The second part is devoted to the problem of test adaptation. The author draws attention to the fact that Roma people are the minority with own characteristics, including language, style of life, customs and values. Due to this, it is necessary to use in the psychological assessment solely well adapted psychological tests with special norms for Roma children.

The third topic discusses the position of psychologists in decision-making with regard to the type of education of a particular child.

Limitations: Because education is realized in a broad social context (policy, social attitudes and expectations, material and financial conditions, teaching expertise, etc.), many of these factors are out of psychologists´ direct control and competencies. Due to this, the primary task in the psychological assessment of Roma pupils should not be based on the question about the advisability of their special education. Instead of this, the psychologist should be concerned more on the proper description and explanation of children’s psychological functioning and, following this, on formulating individual and particular recommendations how and what cognitive, emotional or motivational elements it is necessary to develop at school.

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