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White Cloud Journal

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Intelligence tests--United States, Native American children-- US


Previous literature reviews are updated. Recent findings impugn the WISC-R internal consistency and document item bias for American Indian children. A pattern of Spatial > Sequential > Conceptual > Acquired Knowledge holds across ages, tribes, and heterogeneous referral sources, except for acculturated children. Kaufman's three factors are replaced by Verbal and Performance factors for Papago and Navajo children. A culturally-learned basis for intellectual functioning among traditional children supports alternative assessment functions for traditional reservation lifestyle and for acculturation and entree into mainstream society. Performance measures, SOMPA, Piagetian and Luria-derived tasks may ultimately provide less biased intelligence estimates. Recent legislation outlines ethical practice although assessors are still making do with conventional measures that are ethically-questionable and discriminatory. Suggestions for increasing awareness of responsible practice include training in cultural contents and constant monitoring of research findings.


This is the publisher's version of the article. Originally published in White Cloud Journal.

Acknowledgement to Spero M. Manson, PhD
Distinguished Professor of Public Health & Psychiatry
Director, Centers for American Indian and Alaska Native Health, University of Colorado Denver

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