Top critical review
6 people found this helpful
Valuable but incomplete
on 17 October 2013
I'm puzzled by this book. It has a nicely accessible overview and introduction to the topic and lots of suggestions for what to recommend when you find a child can't do something, but it has very little to say about the actual 'doing' of dynamic assessment. The back cover blurb says "The first practical resource on how to carry out this popular and innovative form of assessment" - which I feel is misleading. During my first read-through I found myself flicking backwards and forwards checking that I hadn't got a copy with missing pages or a whole chapter gone astray. In fact the authors acknowledge on page 23 that the materials in the book could be equally useful to non-dynamic assessors and that's the nub of it for me - it's a book with lots of useful materials for helping to improve children's learning in a range of areas, regardless of how you discovered those gaps in their skills and knowledge.
Half the value of dynamic assessment lies in its insights into what the assessor should do or needs to do to facilitate better learning for the child during the assessment. There is no corresponding checklist (let alone chapter) in this book for describing the adult mediator's behaviour, to complement the Cognitive and Affective Learning Principles checklists. This is a pity as it gives the impression that it is always the child that needs to change, whereas dynamic assessment can provide powerful feedback to adults about how they might change the ways in which they talk to and work with a child.
So, a good general overview, lots of resources and recommendations to use when you've done a dynamic assessment, but don't expect this book to teach you "how to carry out this popular and innovative form of assessment."