Pearson Clinical and Talent Assessment is engaged in publication and distribution of assessment related tools and therapy resources. Sushil Eapen, Managing Director, Pearson Clinical and Talent Assessment, in a candid conversation with Pragya Gupta, provides his views on emergence of new psychological assessment techniques
Please share the genesis of Pearson Clinical and Talent Assessment in India? What benefits does it offer to students and teachers?
Pearson owns some of the best known brands in assessments and remediation worldwide. Pearson Clinical and Talent Assessment (PCTA) office was established in India in 2009. The company has been engaged in publishing and distributing the most comprehensive and locally adaptable standardised assessment solutions. PCTA has recently published the standardised Dyslexia Screening Test – Junior, India Edition (DST-J India) to determine if students are at risk of dyslexia. The DST-J India is unique, as it empowers school teachers to assess children for the risk of Dyslexia, after they get trained by our experts in the administration of the test.
How do you see the acceptance of new assessment techniques by students and teachers? Please share with us the details of your tie-ups with schools in India.
Already large numbers of schools have bought the Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children (WISC), Raven’s Progressive Matrices, Wechsler Individual Achievement Tests (WIAT) and the Dyslexia Screening Test Series from us. These tests are typically used by school psychologists for assessment of IQ, achievement or to determine if students are at risk of mental health problems.
We also offer workshops for training and certifying school teachers on the subject of Learning Disability with a special focus on Dyslexia and Working Memory. Hundreds of school teachers across India have attended our popular teachers training programme. Almost all of them have given feedback about the high level of quality of the tests from our company and our teacher training programmes.
How do the use of new techniques and technology offers better learning delivery outcomes?
Our company is progressively going digital in our offering of our tests to our customers. We now offer a remediation programme to improve working memory in children by using a patented and online program called Cogmed. Working memory problems account for many of the difficulties children face during learning. Cogmed is the only evidence-based remediation programme for improving working memory. It is now being offered in India and there is widespread acceptance of this programme, which has changed the lives of many children.
Please shed some light on the importance of psychological assessment and its acceptance in India
While psychological assessments have been used for many years in India, most of the instruments used in our country have outdated test items and norms. Pearson has made a commitment to set up its own office in India to adapt, translate and standardise many of these flagship instruments in India. There are a large number of children in our country who suffer from problems such as dyslexia, autism, depression, anxiety, working memory deficit and related problems. Our assessments help to identify these problems and in many cases we offer remediation for the identified children. It is very important to assess for these problems so that students can be identified early and that would allow opportunities for remediation. More and more schools in India are employing special education teachers and school psychologists who can identify these problems at the school settings and offer solutions. We are helping to train these professionals through development of high quality assessment and interpreting the results.
Please share your future plans for the Indian education segment.
We are committed to improving the quality of assessments being used in the Indian educational settings. In many ways, we are agents of change – we offer application level tests that discourage rote-learning. For instance, there is our solution called Stanford Achievement Test Series, Tenth Edition, India (Stanford 10 India). In future we expect technology to play a big role in the process of assessments and interventions. We will be introducing many such assessments for our customers in India, both in clinical and educational settings