Dynamic Assessment The term dynamic assessment is drawn from two main theories: (a) Vygotsky’s Sociocultural Theory of Mind, in particular Vygotskian notion of zone of proximal development (ZPD) b) Feuerstein’s structural cognitive modifiability.
Dynamic assessment refers to a type of assessment which considers individual differences among learners and involves intervention during the assessment procedure. In Lidz’s (1996, p.4) words, dynamic assessment is “an interaction between an examiner-as-intervener and a learner-as-active-participant, which seeks to estimate the degree of modifiability of the learner and the means by which positive changes in cognitive functioning can be induced and maintained.” In the opinion of Lantolf and Poehner (2004) dynamic assessment merges assessment and teaching into an integrated activity which promotes learner development via proper forms of mediation sensitive to current abilities of the individual (or the group). Finally according to Williams and Burden (1997), DA is a process where assessment and learning are seen interrelated and not separate.
As these definitions may indicate, in dynamic assessment, assessment and instruction are dialectically integrated as a single activity that aims to understand development by actively promoting it. Dynamic Assessment challenges the prevalent acceptance of independent performance as the indication of learners’ abilities and calls for assessors to abandon their role as observers of learner performance in preference of a commitment to joint problem solving aimed at helping learner progression. In dynamic assessment, the traditional aim of making generalizations from performance of students replaced by continuous intervention in development (Poehner, 2007).