Testing Tamariki: How Suitable is the PPVT-III?
Degree GrantorUniversity of Canterbury
Degree NameMaster of Arts
In New Zealand, Māori currently experience the "poorest health status of any ethnic group" characterised by high rates of physical and mental illness, educational underachievement, unemployment, criminal incarceration, and low socioeconomic status (Durie, 1998; Ministry of Health, 1999, 2002a, p. 2). Despite attempts to reduce the disparities between Māori and other New Zealanders, Māori continue to have a lower life expectancy than non-Māori (Durie, 1998; Reid, 1999). Māori children show similar levels of disadvantage experiencing high rates of illness and preventable death (Ministry of Health, 1998). Māori children also achieve poorly in educational settings, with literacy levels and overall involvement in education found to be below that of non-Māori (Ministry of Education, 2003a). Research findings have identified that health and educational disparities may be explained in part, by a mismatch between current approaches to practice and service delivery, and the values, beliefs, and experiences of Māori (Phillips, McNaughton, & MacDonald, 2004). In line with such findings, a number of standardised psychometric tests developed outside of New Zealand, have also been found to produce culturally biased results when used with Māori (Ogden, 2003; Ogden & McFarlane-Nathan, 1997). The Peabody Picture Vocabulary Test (PPVT-III) is one such test which is currently used in New Zealand to measure receptive vocabulary skills (Stockman, 2000). This research investigated the suitability of the PPVT-III with 46 Māori children from three different age groups. Results revealed that the PPVT-III appeared to be suitable for use with Māori, although a number of suggestions were made as to ways in which the administration and interpretation of PPVT-III test scores could be adjusted when working with Māori. Additional research is required to establish whether changes to culturally biased items may improve the validity of the PPVT-III for use with Māori.