National Tests and Diagnostic Feedback: What Say Teachers in Trinidad and Tobago? (Part 1)

by Launcelot I. BrownDuquesne University
Laurette Bristol, Charles Sturt University, Australia
Joyanna De Four-Babb, University of Trinidad and Tobago, American University in Cairo, Egypt
Dennis A. Conrad, State University of New York at Potsdam

The authors explored teachers’ and principals’ perceptions of the feedback report from the National Tests in Trinidad and Tobago and the extent to which they used the report in making curricular decisions to impact student learning. The sample comprised 133 primary school teachers (79 from low-performing and 54 from high-performing schools) and 10 principals. Results of the quantitative and qualitative data indicated that while many teachers were uncomfortable with interpreting the data presented in the report, teachers in higher performing schools were more inclined through department-wide collaboration to use the report to make pedagogical and curricular decisions. The major conclusion drawn was the need for teacher training in the use and interpretation of assessment data. Other issues emerging from the data and a possible subject for further research included the branding of schools as good schools and bad schools based on the school performance on the tests.

Keywords: assessment, Caribbean, feedback, national tests, Trinidad and Tobago

Play and Creativity: A Spiritual Side

by Professor James Johnson, CREN Contributor

Research on resilient children reveal that usually having an imagination is far from enough to pull oneself up by the bootstraps. Among other factors research points to how very important having a mentor and role model is, someone who takes a special interest in a ‘hard luck’ kid. But still, having a playful spirit and being imaginative and creative are workable ingredients and can inspire the resourceful teacher who wishes to make a difference in such a child’s life.

Happy New Year!

Happy new year from The UWI Family Development Centre! We were honoured to have our Adjunct Professor, Professor Launcelot Brown of Duquesne University join us as we plan for the exciting year ahead. As always, feel free to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.with ideas or requests for workshops. Stay tuned to and our Facebook page for updates on upcoming events and publications!

cren staff 2018

Parent-Child Play Across Cultures - Advancing Play Research

by Professor Jaipaul L. Roopnarine and Kimberly L. Davidson

In this article, the authors argue for a greater understanding of children’s play across cultures through better integration of scientific thinking about the developed and developing societies, through consideration of socialization beliefs and goals, and, finally, through the use of more complex models in research investigations. They draw on theoretical propositions in anthropology and psychology to describe and interpret the meaning of parent-child play activities in the context of everyday socialization practices in societies in various stages of economic development.

Theoretical Considerations and Cultural Perspectives

Two theoretical perspectives on psychocultural processes in childhood socialisation that have been useful in studying and interpreting play phenomena in diverse cultural settings have their roots in both psychology and anthropology. The early twentieth-century Russian psychologist Lev Vygotsky and the American anthropologists John and Beatrice Whiting were forerunners in stressing the primary importance of the social context and cultural processes (e.g., parentchild practices, belief systems) in interpreting the meaning of children’s social activities and play behaviours (Vygotsky 1978; Whiting and Edwards 1988; Whiting and Whiting 1975).

Join the Caribbean Food Revolution!

by Altaf Mohammed, the CREN Team

Editor’s note: In 2015, The University of the West Indies (UWI) Children’s Centre launched the Caribbean Food Revolution, an initiative to promote healthy eating nationally. CREN Team member Altaf Mohammed recently had the pleasure of chatting with Mrs. Rena Jangeesingh-Nunes, an educator of The UWI Children’s Centre and the creator of the project, about the successes and future plans for the Caribbean Food Revolution.

Is your child paying attention? Inattention vs ADHD

by Dr. Jane Holmes Bernstein, CREN Guest Contributor

"A disturbance in attention is very much like fever. It is not a diagnosis; it is a symptom....Attention is actually very vulnerable to being undermined – by lack of sleep, too much to drink, too many things to think about at once, as well as brain injuries or disorders of all kinds. As a symptom, an attentional problem is sensitive but not specific." 
(Dr. Jane Holmes Bernstein, 2017)

I am a developmental neuropsychologist and a clinician who works with children. When parents come to me they are typically concerned that something is getting in the way of their child being successful in school or the family or in the community. I use available knowledge about how the brain works to help me to understand how this child thinks and learns in all areas of life. I integrate the available findings into a diagnostic formulation and discuss this in detail in a feedback session with the child (when appropriate) and with the parents.