Domain Specific vs Domain General: Implications for Dynamic Assessment

Shlomo Kaniel

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    3 Scopus citations


    The article responds to the need for evidence-based dynamic assessment. The article is divided into two sections: In Part 1 we examine the scientific answer to the question of how far human mental activities and capabilities are domain general (DG) I domain specific (DS). A highly complex answer emerges from the literature review of domains such as intelligence, traits, emotions and working memory. Thus, for each domain we must base ourselves on the research findings in order to decide how far a domain can be generalized. In Part 2, the conclusions of Part 1 are applied to the field of dynamic assessment (DA). The main conclusion is that assessors tend to over-generalize and generate incorrect rules having relied on the premise that DG is the rule, even though the research literature shows the relationship to be complex. Several solutions to over-generalization are proposed: (A) Replace the concept of “domain” with “task”, (B) Establish a relationship between tasks and concepts as part of a theory of mind, (C) Preserve the principle that the burden of proof of generalizibility of dynamic assessment findings rests with the assessor in fact, (D). Make the dynamic assessor the case manager, (E) Base selection and construction of assessment tasks on four principles: (1) Theory-based tasks, (2) Tasks excelled in by the child assessed, (3) Tasks using standardized instruments, (4) Curriculum-based tasks which the assessed child failed the assessment. Although the solutions demand substantial change from dynamic assessors, the moral and ethical implications of flawed dynamic assessment mean that we must try to change them.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)96-109
    Number of pages14
    JournalGifted Education International
    Issue number1
    StatePublished - Jan 2010

    Bibliographical note

    Publisher Copyright:
    © 2010 A B Academic Publishers Printed in Great Britain.


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