Ability Tests and Cultural Heritage: The Draw-A-Person and Bender Tests in Aboriginal Australia

Money, John; Nurcombe, Barry
May 1974
Journal of Learning Disabilities;May1974, Vol. 7 Issue 5, p297
Academic Journal
Apparent learning disability, as measured by European/American tests and exam/nations, may, in fact, represent a false positive and an artifact of the testing, when the subjects are members of an ethnic culture in which traditions of skills and knowledge do not match those of the culture of those who devised the test. For an authentic estimate of abilities, one must have tests that fit the cultural traditions of the subjects being tested. This principle is extremely relevant to the testing of members of minority cultures in the United States, as well as of Aboriginal Australians who provided the raw data for this paper. In nonminority cultures, the same principle may also be relevant to the testing of a child with a learning disability; for a learning disability may, unsuspectedly, be the specific response of a particular child to his family's inchoate, covert, and paradoxical tradition, directive, or taboo against a specific facet of learning.


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