This chapter discusses the recent resurgence of interest in dynamic assessment. The inadequacies of static tests for many teaching purposes will be used as a focus for a discussion of the benefits of dynamic assessment. The development of a scripted prompt form of dynamic assessment by Brown and Ferrara and of a mediated form by Feuerstein will be analysed. The main questions addressed will be:
How far are they compatible with the original thesis on dynamic assessment put forward by Vygotsky?
To what extent do both approaches provide educationally valuable information that would remain obscured by static measures?
The limitations of current practice in dynamic assessment will be discussed. Questions will be raised about the predictive validity of standardized dynamic assessment and about the implicit assumptions of test designs. The chapter will examine the detailed work carried out by the Campione, Brown and Ferrara research group which has made a claim for a strong relation between cognitive processes and intelligence. The definition of one of the cognitive processes studied, transfer, will be considered in the light of others, and possibilities for further research will be discussed.
The chapter will conclude with an appraisal of the future potential of dynamic assessment for the identification of the teaching and learning needs of children with special educational needs.