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Psycho-educational assessment of remote Indigenous students in the Northern Territory



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17th November 2011

This research study will seek to clarify and provide an evidence based understanding of remote Australian Indigenous student’s test performance using two nonverbal cognitive assessment tools, the Wechsler Nonverbal Ability Test and the Naglieri Nonverbal Ability Test. Currently there is limited published information available that considers how remote Australian Indigenous students may perform on nonverbal cognitive assessment tools. Cognitive testing with culturally and linguistically diverse students requires careful selection of testing instruments, as well as careful consideration and interpretation of information generated from a range of sources in the assessment process.

Standardised tests can be used positively to reduce subjectivity in decision making within the educational context and when considered alongside other qualitative information about the student from a range of sources, standardised tests can provide valuable information to assist with programming and developing educational goals for the student at school. However, if such tests are to be used, it is essential that the validity of the tests are established with the population for which it is to be used.

This study will also evaluate the extent to which various contextual factors such as geographic remoteness, school attendance, academic achievement and qualitative information gathered about the student may correlate with, or impact on test performance.

I am a School Psychologist with Student Services Division within the NT Department of Education & Training. I have been in this role for 18 years and prior to this I was a primary school teacher mostly teaching in rural schools in the NT.

I have worked in all regions of the NT as a school psychologist and most of my work in recent years has been working in remote schools. My research interest has evolved over many years as a practitioner working in the field of education, special education and psychology. I am currently working full time as a school psychologist and studying with Menzies  / CDU part time.