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Comments, Questions, and Answers by Alan B. Crammatte The Comments, Questions, and Answers department is published as a service to professional readers and parents of deaf children. It is an attempt to provide practical information on the basic aspects of deafness, particularly in relation to education. Although all questions submitted cannot be used, those considered to be of greatest interest to readers will be published. Answers are prepared by competent authorities. Material submitted must contain the writer's name and address. Address questions and comments to: Alan B. Crammatte, 897 Windsong Drive, Arnold, MD 21012. COMMENT—Our neighbors to the north value the educational system for hearing-impaired children in the United States, witness the appeal received recently. "We are graduates of university level programs from all across Canada but, as you may know, innovators in many fields come from south of the border ... As a part of our university program we are organizing a three week practicum in April 1985 that will allow us to visit 15 prominent schools and programs for the hearing impaired along the West Coast of the United States." Donations for this program are being sought by the Program for Teachers of the Hearing Impaired at the Department of Educational Psychology and Special Education, Faculty of Education , University of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC V6T 1Z5. COMMENT—Ingenuity is the word for purveyors of sign language publications. Evidence: Modern Signs Press is advertising books on sports in signs and posters in signs, including the pledge of allegiance. Reviews The Silver Drawing Test of Cognitive and Creative Skills, Rawley A. Silver, Ed.D., 96 pp., Special CMd Publications, P.O. Box 33548, Seattle, WA 98133, 1983. The Silver Test is based on the premise that drawing can replace language "as the primary channel for receiving and expressing ideas" (p. 5), and that this test can, more fairly than conventional verbal instruments, measure three dimensions of cognition in individuals who are verbally or learning disabled. Silver reports numerous tests establishing concurrent validity with established cognitive tests, including the WISC Performance IQ and the Iowa Test of Basic Skills. Silver's test differs from standard instruments in that it asks subjects to solve conceptual problems graphically. There are numerous other cognitive tests that use nonlinguistic indicators, and there are other drawing tests designed for developmental or emotional measurement, but Silver's aim was to blend the two, specifically to use drawing to measure cognitive skills. The instrument tests for three structures that are funA .A.D. I December 1984 443 Reviews damental to mathematics and reading. Its purpose is to identify potential in subjects who otherwise might be thought cognitively deficient , rather than to measure particular cognitive skill levels. The Silver Test suffers from the common tendency to fail to distinguish beyond cognition as the process being measured. The three subtests are designed to reflect different types of cognition —conceptual, spatial, and sequential thinking —but not to distinguish among levels of sophistication . Silver is not to be faulted for the imprecision that attends our limited knowledge of just what is involved in cognition, but there is regrettable generality in any measurement that fails to distinguish between primarily perceptual and clearly conceptual cognitive processing (as in the difference between matching objects by color and distinguishing between two abstract theories). While it is true that the role of language in cognition is unclear, there is no doubt that highly abstract thought depends upon language . Hence an instrument that bypasses language cannot measure language-dependent abstract thought, and the claim of testing cognitive ability is too broad. A second concern arises from Silver's report of four studies in which subtests were significantly better than their pretraining scores while control group scores remained stable. Silver implies that art training facilitates cognitive development , presumably through practice with visual representations and resultant cognitive manipulations, but he does not address a basic problem: If the test measures presumably stable cognitive ability, rather than learned cognitive skills, then subjects' scores should remain stable . Significant improvement in a 3 month period suggests that something more specific than general cognitive capacity is being measured. Silver's failure to deal with this fundamental problem undermines the confidence with which...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1543-0375
Print ISSN
0002-726X
Pages
pp. 443-444
Launched on MUSE
2013-04-22
Open Access
No
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