Measuring and Validating Cognitive Modifiability as an Ability: A Study in the Spatial Domain
Embretson, Susan E.
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Measuring cognitive modifiability from the responsiveness of an individual's performance to intervention has long been viewed (e.g., Dearborne, 1921) as an alternative to traditional (static) ability measurement. Currently, dynamic testing in which cues or instruction are presented with ability test items, is a popular method for assessing cognitive modifiability. Despite the long-standing interest, however, little data exists to support the validity of cognitive modifiability measures in any ability domain. Several special methodological difficulties have limited validity studies, including psychometric problems in measuring modifiability (i.e., as change), lack of appropriate validation criteria, and difficulty in linking modifiability to cognitive theory. In this article, relatively new developments for solving the validation problems are applied to measuring and validating spatial modifiability. Criterion-related validity for predicting learning in an applied knowledge domain, as well as construct validity, is supported.