Construct validity of the PANGA MUNTHU Test: A cross-sectional study of early childhood years in Zambia(4-6years)
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The assessment of Preschool age children (age 4-6) on their intellectual and cognitive potentials at school and community levels are discussed in this report in the light of other related empirical studies carried out between 1974 and 2009 on the Panga Munthu test (PMT). The PMT was earlier administered by Kathuria and Serpell (1998) to find out a more accurate and culturally appropriate assessment of intelligence among Zambian Primary School aged children. This study aims at extending and establishing the validity of the test by including children below the age of seven who were sampled to participate in the study. The inclusion of this age group of children is to ascertain the test’s validity by comparing the performance of younger children on the test. Data were collected through the Panga Munthu test instrument and two new instruments: the Body Parts naming (BPN) and Dog Model (DM) check lists. The sample comprised 120 participants drawn from (rural) Lufwanyama and (urban) Kitwe districts on Zambia’s Copperbelt Province. The data collected were analyzed qualitatively by inspection of children’s crude models and quantitatively coded for statistical analysis using analysis of variance and product-moment correlation. The major findings of this study offered the first validation of the PMT with children below the age of seven. The study revealed that the PMT measures some factor which matures with age in children (Mean PMT score for 4 year olds = 5.93; 5 year olds = 8.56, and 6 year olds = 9.90). A three-way analysis of variance showed that the effect of age-group was significant, while the effects of gender (PMT mean score for males 7.97, females 8.18) and residence (PMT mean scores for rural residence 8.23; urban 7.92) were non-significant. Children between 4 to 6 years old scored on average 8- points on the scoring criteria which match the lower end of the average scores reported for 7-8 year- olds by Kathuria and Serpell. The study showed that the Panga Munthu test analyses knowledge of human representational skills through everyday cognition. Findings about the relations between the PMT and DM and between PMT and BPN both revealed a significant correlation. Ratings of children’s intelligence by their teachers correlated well with the PMT scores from the urban sample but a lower correlation was recorded from the rural sample with ratings of intelligence by their parents. The PMT makes an appeal to specific skills in content and instructions. The data reported provide some validation of the PMT as a tool for developmental assessment and its utility for measuring intelligence in an African setting where children play with clay. It can be concluded from this study that the Panga Munthu test can be used in both rural and urban residential settings to test children’s everyday competences.