System of Multicultural Pluralistic Assessment

Purpose: Designed to assess the educational needs of children in a culturally non-discriminatory manner.

Population: Ages 5 to 11.

Score: Provides assessment in three areas: medical, social systems, and pluralistic systems.

Time: (4-5) hours.

Authors: Jane R. Mercer and June F. Lewis.

Publisher: The Psychological Corporation.

Description: The System of Multicultural Pluralistic Assessment (SOMPA) was designed to be responsive to the mandates of PL 94-142, that is, to assess the educational needs of children ages 5 to 11 years of age in a racially and culturally non-discriminatory manner. Its construction and recommended usage are derived from an explicit ideological view as to what American society should be like, i.e., culturally pluralistic. Thus, unlike most psychometric devices, the SOMPA authors openly express their ideological assumptions, e.g., intelligence and/or learning potential are distributed equally among all ethnic and racial groups, and hopes that its use will promote cultural pluralism.

Scoring: The medical perspective focuses on the presence or absence of organic pathology. Six measure are employed: Physical Dexterity Tasks (sensory motor coordination), The Bender Visual Motor Gestalt Test (perceptual and neurological factors), The Health History Inventories, Weight by Height norms (nutritional or developmental problems), Vision (the Snellen Test), and Auditory Acuity (national norms).

The social systems perspective deals with how the child’s behavior conforms to the social norms of the various social groups in which the child participates. Two instruments are used: the Adaptive Behavior Inventory for Children (ABIC) and the Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children-Revised (WISC-R).

The third perspective, the pluralistic model, is unique to the SOMPA. Its procedures are designed to yield an index of the child’s intelligence or Estimated Learning Potential (ELF) through a "corrected" WISC-R score which is based on a comparison of how well the child performs on that test with other children who have had similar learning opportunities (i.e., from a similar socio-cultural background).

Reliability and Validity: The reliability and validity for the separate measures comprising the SOMPA appear to be satisfactory.

Norms: SOMPA measures were standardized on 2,100 California children ranging in age from five to eleven. The measures comprising the SOMPA were individually standardized upon creation. Consult their respective manuals for details.

Suggested Uses: The SOMPA is a comprehensive child assessment battery that is recommended for educational and research purposes.