The Major Pitfalls (Historical and Current) Associated with Using Psychological Measures in the Multicultural South African Context

3466 Words Jun 15th, 2013 14 Pages
The Major Pitfalls (Historical and Current) Associated with Using Psychological Measures in the Multicultural South African Context
Alaina Kamille Govender
University of Kwa-Zulu Natal

South Africa is deeply embedded in the roots of its past and so it inevitable that psychological assessment today would be greatly influenced by the history of our country. Foxcroft (1997) argued that there is a grave importance to understand the impact that South Africa’s past apartheid policies have had on the development and use of psychological testing. In her paper she addresses the impact of Apartheid policies on test development and use as well as linguistic, cultural and norm factors that would pose a threat to the fair, unbiased and ethical use and
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Under the apartheid regime, there was segregation along racial lines of residential areas and education. Job policies ensured that certain jobs were reserved for certain groups, namely the white population. Claasen (1997) asserts that psychological testing was introduced to South Africa through the British and the development of psychological tests has followed closely to the patterns of tests in the USA. South African tests however, were developed in a context of unequal distribution of resources as a result of apartheid policies and were thus used to exploit black labour and deny black people access to education and economic resources, thereby perpetuating apartheid. It was therefore inevitable that psychological tests would follow the same kind of segregation along racial lines.
As a result, assessment became an asset to the Apartheid regime and was reinforced by those scientists who believed in the Western concept of Intelligence (Foxcroft, 1997). Laher (2012) speaks of tests that were standardized for educated white South Africans but were administered to “illiterate, uneducated or poorly educated black South Africans” without investigating as

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