One of developmental psychology's central concerns is the identification of specific "milestones" which indicate what children are typically capable of doing at different ages. Work of this kind has a substantial impact on the way parents, educators, and service-oriented professionals deal with children; and, therefore one might expect that developmentalists would have come to some general agreement in regard to the ways they assess children's abilities. However, as this volume demonstrates, the field appears to suffer from a serious lack of consensus in this area.
Based on the premise that identifying relevant issues is a necessary step toward progress, this book addresses a number of vital topics, such as: How could research into fundamental areas (such as the age at which children first acquire a sense of self or learn to reason transitively) repeatedly yield wildly diverse results? Why do experts who hold to radically different views appear to be so unruffled by this same divergence of professional opinion? and, Are there grounds for hope that this divergence of professional opinion is on the wane?
Table of Contents
Contents: Introduction: Issues in the Identification of Competence. Part IMetatheoretical Issues. M. Chandler, Alternative Readings of the Competence-Performance Relation. W.F. Overton, Competence, Procedures, and Hardware: Conceptual and Empirical Considerations. J.A. Meacham, The Concept of Nature: Implications for Assessment of Competence. Part II: Issues in Piagetian Theory. L. Smith, Age, Ability, and Intellectual Development in Piagetian Theory. A.L. Dean, J. Youniss, The Transformation of Piagetian Theory by American Psychology: The Early Competence Issue. J. Montangero, A Constructivist Framework for Understanding Early and Late-Developing Psychological Competencies. E. Schr der, W. Edelstein, Intrinsic and External Constraints on the Development of Cognitive Competence. Part III: Beyond Piaget. J. Pascual-Leone, J. Johnson, The Psychological Unit and its Role in Task Analysis: A Reinterpretation of Object Permanence. I. Sigel, Representational Competence: Another Type? M. Chapman, The Epistemic Triangle: Operative and Communicative Components of Cognitive Competence. Part IV: Modeling the Development of Competence. M.S. Aber, J.J. McArdle, Latent Growth Curve Approaches to Modeling the Development of Competence. M. Chapman, M. Chandler, Foreword to Further Debate.
"The editors have done a commendable job of organizing their book in a way that makes its diverse chapters maximally comprehensible and coherent....an excellent reference and a thought-provoking source of new perspectives. Many of the chapters could inspire reflective collegial discussions of the sort that ultimately may lead to useful reconceptualizations of competence."