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ERIC Number: EJ859797
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2009-Oct
Pages: 6
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 27
ISSN: ISSN-0003-066X
Narrow Assessments Misrepresent Development and Misguide Policy: Comment on Steinberg, Cauffman, Woolard, Graham, and Banich (2009)
Fischer, Kurt W.; Stein, Zachary; Heikkinen, Katie
American Psychologist, v64 n7 p595-600 Oct 2009
Intellectual and psychosocial functioning develop along complex learning pathways. Steinberg, Cauffman, Woolard, Graham, and Banich measured these two classes of abilities with narrow, biased assessments that captured only a segment of each pathway and created misleading age patterns based on ceiling and floor effects. It is a simple matter to shift the assessments to produce the opposite pattern, with cognitive abilities appearing to develop well into adulthood and psychosocial abilities appearing to stop developing at age 16. Their measures also lacked a realistic connection to the lived behaviors of adolescents, abstracting too far from messy realities and thus lacking ecological validity and the nuanced portrait that the authors called for. A drastically different approach to assessing development is required that (a) includes the full age-related range of relevant abilities instead of a truncated set and (b) examines the variability and contextual dependence of abilities relevant to the topics of murder and abortion.
American Psychological Association. Journals Department, 750 First Street NE, Washington, DC 20002-4242. Tel: 800-374-2721; Tel: 202-336-5510; Fax: 202-336-5502; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Opinion Papers
Education Level: Adult Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A