The effects of quality of education on neuropsychological test performance among Zambian Adults
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The relationship between education and performance on neuropsychological tests has been established (Dotson, Kitner-Triolo, Evans, and Zonderman, 2009). It has also been found that ill-educated but cognitively healthy individuals get lower scores on neuropsychology test than mildly impaired but better educated patients (Lezak, Howieson and Loring (2004). However, it is a great challenge to find an appropriate approximation of educational attainment. Therefore, this study investigated the effect of quality of education on neuropsychlogical tests among Zambian adults. Specifically, the objectives were: 1) To establish if the study participants’ quality of learning affects their neuropsychological test performance; 2) To establish if the educational quality of the teacher affects study participants’ neuropsychological test performance; 3) To establish the extent to which quality of the school effects the study participants’ neuropsychological test performance; 4) To establish if there is a significant difference in mean scores of neuropsychological tests between the participants who received high and those who received low quality education participants. The study was a quantitative one involving 290 participants aged between 18 and 65 years with 8 and more years of formal education from both rural and urban places in Zambia. After screening, the participants were subjected to a series of neuropsychological tests in the Zambian Neurobehavioural Test Battery. The battery assesses seven ability domains: information processing speed, motor dominance, attention/working memory, verbal episodic memory, visual episodic, verbal fluency and executive functions. Standard Multiple Regression was applied to the scaled scores of the seven ability domains and the three indices of quality of education. Then a T-test was used to assess the difference in performance between participants who had high quality of education and those who had low quality education. In this study, on the verbal episodic memory tests, of the participants’ quality of learning predicted 15.3% of the study participants’ test performance and on verbal fluency tests the predictive powers of the participants’ quality of learning was 34.5%. On speed of information processing tests it was found that the predicted value was 24.9% and on executive function tests, the predicted value was 22.0%. For attention/working memory tests quality of learning had a predictive value of 18.1% while on motor tests it predicted 15.6% of the participants’ test performance at a statistical significance level of p<.05. On all the tests, quality of learning predicted 27.8% of the participants’ test performance at a statistical significance level of p<.05.The participants’ quality of teachers had a statistically significant on verbal memory tests with a predictive power of 12.5% (p<.05).Upon analysing the effect of quality of school it was found that on the verbal fluency tests the predictive powers of the participants’ quality of school was 16.7% at a statistical significance level of p<.05 as shown in table 4.4. On the speed of information processing tests, the participants’ quality of school predicted 16.0% of test performance at a statistical significance level of p<.0.5. When all the tests were put together, the participants’ quality of school predicted 14.5% of test performance at p<.05.When all the tests were put together, participants of low quality of education had a mean score of 10.11 while those of high quality of education had a mean score of 11.11. This difference in the mean scores of two groups was statistically significant (p<.0.05).Having found that quality of education does have a significant effect on neuropsychological test performance, it should then be used in the interpretation of test scores to increase specificity in diagnosis.
- Medicine