Children as Participants in Psychoeducational Assessment

  • Donald N. Bersoff
Part of the Critical Issues in Social Justice book series (CISJ)


It has been estimated that more than 250 million standardized tests of academic ability, perceptual and motor skills, emotional and social characteristics, and vocational interests and talent are administered by school systems each year (Brim, Glass, Neulinger, Firestone, & Lerner, 1969; Holman & Docter, 1972). Tests are used in conjunction with almost every major educational practice, e.g., screening, placement, program planning, program evaluation, and assessment of individual progress. Because they have such a significant impact on children’s futures and have been criticized as discriminatory tools, denying full realization of the rights of minorities and the handicapped, and as devices fostering impermissible intrusion by the government into the private lives of its citizens tests have come under increasing legal scrutiny (Bersoff, 1979; 1982). Nevertheless, due to the perception and presumption that children are develop- mentally restricted in their ability to comprehend and respond meaningfully, they are generally precluded from deciding for themselves whether they should become a participant in assessment endeavors. Instead, they are enrolled as test takers by proxies, usually parents, who consent for them.


School System Parental Consent Special Education Program Montgomery County American Civil Liberty Union 
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Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1983

Authors and Affiliations

  • Donald N. Bersoff
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
  1. 1.USA
  2. 2.Joint Program in Law and PsychologyUniversity of Maryland School of LawBaltimoreUSA
  3. 3.Johns Hopkins UniversityBaltimoreUSA

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