​​J & M Yeomans Limited Dynamic Assessment services

​​Dr Jane Yeomans is an accredited Dynamic Assessment practitioner. She is trained in Professor Reuven Feuerstein's Learning Propensity Assessment Device (LPAD), which is one approach to DA that uses specific tests. Jane has many years of experience using DA with children and young people, and in delivering training in this approach. Below is some information about DA and the related teaching programme, Instrumental Enrichment.

What is DA?

DA focuses on the processes of learning, rather than the products. The processes of learning are what we might call thinking skills, learning to learn skills or cognitive functions. They are the processes that a learner uses in order to solve problems and learn. Reasoning and creative thinking are the kind of thinking skills that are important for an individual to be able to learn and make decisions.Professor Reuven Feuerstein (1921-2014) spent his lifetime studying cognitive functions and working with children and young people to help them improve their thinking so that they could become successful and independent learners.

Through this work, Professor Feuerstein drew up a list of cognitive functions and devised the LPAD. 

Cognitive functions help us to be effective learners because they can be used in all kinds of contexts. Some examples of cognitive functions are:

  • Comparing
  • Making a plan
  • Being systematic
  • Using logic
  • Making a hypothesis
  • ​Seeing relationships                                                                            

                                                                                                      Professor Reuven Feuerstein (1921-2014)


In contrast, the products of learning are tied to particular subjects or curriculum areas. They are skills such as:

  • Using phonic skills in reading
  • Being able to add or subtract
  • Knowing facts, such as historical facts 

​​Effective learners are able to use their process skills in order to benefit from learning in subject areas. So for example, if I am able to compare I can  use this skill in many different ways; for example

  • I can compare two texts I have read 
  • I can compare what life was like under the Tudors and Stuarts
  • ​I can understand concepts such as more and less
  • ​I can compare two or more pictures to see how something changes over time

​........and so on. The list is endless!

What about the influence of our feelings and emotions on thinking?
Professor Feuerstein thought that our emotions could have a very big effect on thinking.
As well as developing the list of cognitive functions, he also suggested that there were what he called ‘non intellective factors’ that affect people’s thinking. These are:

  • Attention
  • Motivation/curiosity/interest
  • Frustration tolerance
  • Self regulation, including restraining impulsivity
  • Response to challenge
  • Response to mediation/intervention of adults
  • Persistence

Can people improve their thinking?
Yes! The way that we think and the cognitive functions that we have aren’t fixed. Learners can become more effective and independent thinkers. Mediation is one way that can help this to happen. Mediation is a way of assisting a learner to use and improve their cognitive functions.

Mediation is a way of helping someone to learn. A mediator chooses the stimuli that the learner will experience and then interacts with the learner in order to help them to make sense of the stimuli. Through this process, learning takes place. Mediation focuses on the processes of learning (that is, how learning takes place) rather than the content. So a mediator isn’t interested in solving a problem with (or for) the learner but is interested in how the learner solves the problem.
Characteristics of mediation
If we are going to call an interaction mediation, it has to have the following essential characteristics:

  • Intentionality and reciprocity These are related to the ‘what’ and ‘how’ of learning. This means that you intend to use the interaction with the learner in order to bring about change (it isn’t something that happens incidentally). Reciprocity means that you adjust your mediation according to the response of the learner.
  • Mediation of meaning This is related to the ‘why’ of learning. Share what you are doing with the learner, tell them why you are doing a particular activity.
  • Transcendence This is related to generalisation and transfer. The cognitive processes (thinking skills) that you teach should always be applied to familiar contexts. This is also called bridging.  We can bridge to school, home or social contexts.

There are other characteristics too, such as goal setting, challenge and shared participation.               

What do good mediators do?
Good mediators……..

  • Solve problems with the learner not for the learner
  • Help the learner to make connections with previous learning and future learning
  • Explore ideas with the learner rather than just produce the right answer
  • Model tasks and ways of thinking
  • Break tasks down into smaller parts
  • Give feedback related to the processes of learning (‘well done, I really liked the way you made a plan so that you didn’t miss anything’)
  • Make links beyond the immediate context (‘when is another time, maybe at home, when you would make a plan?)

Based on Kathy Greenberg: 10 reasons why mediation is more than good teaching, Cognet handbook.

There are teaching programmes that can help to teach thinking. Instrumental Enrichment (IE) is a programme devised by Professor Feuerstein. Jane Yeomans is an accredited IE practitioner. IE is delivered to individuals or groups of pupils and is suitable for pupils aged 9 years upwards. The minimum delivery is two one hours sessions twice a week. An IE programme can last for between one and three years, depending on the needs of the individual. IE consists of fourteen instruments. The instruments are designed to teach thinking skills but its unique features is the use of the transcendence characteristic of mediation, where links are made between the thinking skills taught in IE sessions and other aspects of the learner's academic and social life. 

IE is most likely to be successful when:

  • it follows up a comprehensive assessment using DA
  • It is delivered twice weekly and runs continuously
  • ​It is delivered by an qualified individual who is able to target the mediation and the transfer of thinking skills to the particular needs of the learner
  • ​It is followed up in other contexts

​If you are interested in setting up an IE programme then please contact Jane to discuss further. Programmes can be delivered to individuals in school or home or to small groups of up to 6 pupils in a school or other educational settings.

Dynamic  Assessment tests

​Professor David Tzuriel's younger years tests can be purchased from him direct. Please contact Professor Tzuriel on david.tzuriel@biu.ac.il

​Dynamic Assessment