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THE LSUA

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  • overview
  • putting the LSUA to work
  • individual report
  • summary report
  • client tools
  • psychometrics
  • FAQ
  • learn more

Overview

who am IThe LSUA is an assessment of how people think about themselves within the context of their relationships. Their responses tell us how they think about these relationships, themselves, and their growth as human beings. We provide feedback that is intended to get test takers thinking about how they relate to others and themselves. The LSUA is based on over a century of psychological research on the relation between life satisfaction and how people understand themselves and their relationships. It focuses on several aspects of thinking about the self that are likely to affect relationships, life satisfaction, or personal growth. These are organized under seven themes: (1) learning and development, the way in which individuals think about and pursue learning and development (2) perspective seeking, the way in which individuals think about their own perspectives and the perspectives of others, and the way they approach seeking and clarifying perspectives (3) relationships, the way in which individuals think about the nature of relationships and what it takes to cultivate and maintain them (4) self-awareness, reflection, and mastery, the nature and degree of individuals' self-awareness, their capacity for honest self-reflection, and their approach to self-mastery, particularly with respect to emotion (5) self-care, the way in which individuals approach self care, including how they think about taking care of body, mind, and spirit, and how receptive they are to receiving care from others (6) supporting or caring for others, and the way in which individuals approach supporting or caring for others, including the way in which they think about the tension between caring for others and caring for themselves (7) values.

the way in which individuals think about and incorporate ethical considerations in their discussion of relationships

For the LSUA, test takers write short responses in which they are asked to describe four self-chosen roles/relationships, then discuss how they see themselves in these relationships—as they are in the present (current self) and as they would like to be in the future (ideal self). They also take two short surveys that focus on optimism and We define optimism as a relatively stable* disposition that leads people to anticipate positive rather than negative events and outcomes or to frame events and outcomes in a positive light. Pessimism is the opposite of optimism. character. We think of character as a set of interrelated qualities that help determine our general approach to tasks, social relationships, and citizenship. It includes qualities like compassion, courage, dependability, emotional maturity, generosity, humility, integrity, perseverance, responsibility, tolerance, openness to learning, and the ability to respond to challenges. The LSUA can be customized by specifying the roles and relationships test takers will write about. For example, if you are a business consultant or coach, you could ask clients to write about themselves in their roles as leaders, business partners, peers, and employees.

Written responses are scored with a rubric a system for awarding scores to written responses that involves choosing from a list of descriptions that represent thinking at different phases of development that's calibrated to the Lectical® Scale, a developmental scale composed of 14 levels—0 (birth) to 13 (Einstein)—each of which is divided into four phases, and a set of coding scales that focus on the current and potential strengths of a given performance.

Select from the tabs on the left to learn more.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Putting the LSUA to work

reportThe LSUA provides reliable measures of several key dimensions of self-understanding that are not captured with conventional assessments, including: (1) learning and development, the way in which individuals think about and pursue learning and development (2) perspective seeking, the way in which individuals think about their own perspectives and the perspectives of others, and the way they approach seeking and clarifying perspectives (3) relationships, the way in which individuals think about the nature of relationships and what it takes to cultivate and maintain them (4) self-awareness, reflection, and mastery, the nature and degree of individuals' self-awareness, their capacity for honest self-reflection, and their approach to self-mastery, particularly with respect to emotion (5) self-care, the way in which individuals approach self care, including how they think about taking care of body, mind, and spirit, and how receptive they are to receiving care from others (6) supporting or caring for others, and the way in which individuals approach supporting or caring for others, including the way in which they think about the tension between caring for others and caring for themselves (7) values.

the way in which individuals think about and incorporate ethical considerations in their discussion of relationships

The LSUA can support your work in a number of ways:

  1. Taking the LSUA is a reflective activity that draws a test taker's attention to ideas and issues that are central to self understanding.
  2. LSUA reports are an objective source of information about test takers' personal development.
  3. LSUA reports support educational efforts by explaining what test takers are most likely to benefit from learning next, and suggesting specific learning activities that are tailored to test-taker needs.
  4. LSUA summary reports make it possible to monitor group results or trace the development of clients/learners over time, with real-time, presentation quality graphics that will enhance your own reports.

The LSUA is designed to function as an embedded, Embedded assessments are used as part of a lesson plan, like a written assignment might be used to help learners organize what they are learning. diagnostic, and Diagnostic assessments are used to find out what individuals already know or have learned, so the instructor or mentor can shape lessons to learner needs. formative Formative assessments are tests that are learning experiences in their own right, often because they provide rich, actionable feedback or support reflective engagement. assessment. By integrating the LSUA into pedagogy and practice, educators can diagnose and respond to individuals' learning needs in real time. It is employed as a formative assessment in one-on-one coaching, group learning and assessment, and large-scale organizational development. It also functions as a summative assessment in research and program evaluation contexts.

Coaches and educators

One-on-one coaching: The LSUA helps consultants customize their approach to fit the skill sets and learning needs of individuals by providing sophisticated diagnostics and detailed information about the quality and complexity of self-understanding, as well as richly educative feedback to catalyze their growth.

Group training and assessment: The LSUA can help you meet the learning needs of individuals, no matter how large the group. Our reports highlight individual differences and provide tailored learning suggestions. They also monitor group-level effects, such as the overall impact of your educational efforts. This combination of individual and group-level reporting provides a multidimensional view of learning, deepening your insights into individual learners while letting you know when it might be beneficial to adjust your learning goals or instructional approach. In other words, the LSUA facilitates what we call instructional dynamic steering™—the ability to shape instruction dynamically to meet the changing needs of individual learners. 

Large-scale organizational development: The LSUA is an ideal tool for measuring the effects of change efforts designed to support individual development.

Researchers

The LSUA is ideal for program evaluation, basic research, and action research:

Program evaluation: Problem- and skill-focused educational initiatives are proliferating rapidly, yet good measures of the skills these programs are intended to foster are more than rare—they are virtually nonexistent. With its focus on self-in-relationships, the LSUA is tailor-made for evaluating programs of this kind.

Basic research: When we code the LSUA, we make several dozen decisions about the content of performances, each of which is recorded as a data point. We use these data to calculate scale scores and populate reports. For researchers, they are a gold mine, making it possible to address many questions about self-understanding. We work with graduate students and other researchers as part of our quest to see that these questions are asked. And if you’re interested in collecting your own data, our flexible client tools and well-organized assessment administration procedures can accommodate a wide variety of quasi-experimental designs with ease.

Action research: Many leadership researchers want their work to benefit the systems and individuals they are studying. By integrating the LSUA into pedagogy and practice, educator-researchers can diagnose the learning needs of individuals in real time while simultaneously conducting research on the development of skills that are the focus of instruction.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The individual report

reportLectical assessments are distinguished by the quality and educational value of their feedback. To create a Lectical Assessment, we work with domain experts to identify core skills and concepts, use what we learn to develop initial research instruments, then study how the skills and concepts targeted by the assessment develop over time, using a research methodology called developmental maieutics. The approach allows us to describe what targeted skills and concepts "look like" in each developmental phase, and to craft feedback and learning suggestions that are specific to each phase of performance.

In addition to general feedback related to the phase of a given performance, LSUA reports, which are delivered online, include comments on strengths and areas for growth, interpretations of scale scores, and targeted learning recommendations (examples shown below).

Sample current strengths

Your responses suggest that you engage in at least 7 behaviors that have been shown to strengthen relationships and support personal development. In particular, you:

  • enjoy learning, which is likely to provide many opportunities to learn more about yourself and your interactions in the world;
  • demonstrate a strong sense of responsibility to others, which is likely to contribute to personal success and help you to earn the affection and respect of others; and
  • strive to be a trustworthy person, which is likely to help you make better decisions while enhancing your self respect and the respect of others.

Sample potential strengths

Your responses also indicate 2 possible areas for growth. Specifically, we think you are likely to benefit from:

  • cultivating humility, which can increase your ability to see yourself as one fallible human being among many, a state of mind that can foster compassion and openness; and
  • thinking about working with a counselor, coach, or mentor, which can make it easier for you to identify areas for growth and learn how to overcome obstacles.

Sample recommendation

  • Given the particular constellation of your strengths and areas for growth, we recommend the following: First, we suggest that you make a commitment to further development an area of current strength—your love of learning—by becoming a more planful learner. Develop a strategy for selecting and getting the most out of learning activities. There are many things to consider: your interests and aspirations, short and long term goals, whether to prioritize breadth or depth, and finding the right balance between building on strengths and addressing weaknesses, to name a few.
  • Second, we suggest that you work on an area of potential strength—your desire to grow as a human being—by finding a mentor who can can help you identify areas for growth, navigate the complexities of life, and realize your goals. Think of this person as a thought-partner who can help you identify areas for growth and support you along the way. To learn more about finding a mentor and being a mentee, read The mentee's guide: Making mentoring work for you, by Lois J. Zachary.

Reports are generally delivered within 10 business days. We send an email notification each time an assessment is finalized.

Check it out

Below are two log-ins that will allow you to view samples of LSUA reports. The first is for a test taker called Jane Smith, a fictional test taker who has taken 3 assessments. If you log in as Jane, you will be able to see her LSUA individual reports. The second is for a fictional client named Ann Brown, Jane's instructor/coach. If you log in as Ann, you will be able to view a summary report (of Jane's results).

Jane Smith: username=janesmith, password=janesmith

Ann Brown: username=annbrown, password=annbrown

Note: These log-ins can be used to view reports and to explore the test-taker and client applications. They should not be used to take an actual assessment.

 

 

 

 

 

The summary report

In addition to providing individual reports for our assessments, we offer a dynamic summary report that shows group trends. This report, which is delivered online, allows you to examine change over time on different constructs, or examine the relation between scores and various demographic variables. The report features presentation quality charts that can be customized in real time, based on your needs. The information in summary reports can be used to guide instruction, monitor program effectiveness, and examine performance across groups.

report

Check it out

Below are two log-ins that will allow you to view samples of LSUA reports. The first is for a test-taker called Jane Smith, a fictional test-taker who has taken 3 assessments. If you log in as Jane, you will be able to see her individual reports. The second is for a fictional client named Ann Brown, Jane's instructor/coach. If you log in as Ann, you will be able to view a summary report (of Jane's results).

Jane Smith (test taker): username=janesmith, password=janesmith

Ann Brown (coach): username=annbrown, password=annbrown

Note: These log-ins can be used to view reports and to explore the test-taker and client applications. They should not be used to take an actual assessment.

 

 

 

 

 

Client tools

We offer a set of client tools that streamline a number of assessment managment tasks, including:

  1. registering test takers,
  2. assigning test takers to groups,
  3. creating and sending out assessment assignments,
  4. monitoring test-taking activity,
  5. maintaining test-taker accounts, and
  6. communicating with test takers.

We can also customize these tools to meet your particular needs. To learn more about client tools, please contact us.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Reliability and validity

Scores on our developmental scale (the Lectical® Scale) are determined with the Lectical Assessment System (the LAS) or with rubrics a system for awarding scores to written responses that involves choosing from a list of descriptions that represent thinking at different phases of development that have been calibrated to the Lectical Scale. This scale is composed of 14 levels—0 (birth) to 13 (Einstein)—each of which is divided into four phases. It is a non-arbitrary research-based developmental scale with excellent measurement properties. The reliability (internal consistency) of Lectical scores ranges from .95–.98, and inter-rater agreement is maintained at a minimum of 85% within 1/5 of a Lectical level. In plain English, this means that the Lectical scale reliably distinguishes 8–12 adult developmental "phases", where each phase represents 1/4 of a level.

validity and reliability

Reasearch on the LAS has addressed four forms of construct validity: predictive, the extent to which performance on an assessment predicts behavior in the real world convergent/divergent, the extent to which one measure of a given dimension does the same thing as another measure of the same (or a different) dimension ecological, and the extent to which an assessment measures things that are of value in real life (The ecological validity of the LSUA is apparent in the relevance of (1) its content; (2) the skills required to complete it; and (3) the scores and feedback provided in its reports.) measure validity. the extent to which moving from one level to the next is the same, no matter which two levels you are looking at (as in, "All inches are exactly the same length", or "moving from level 2 to level 3 is just like moving from level 3 to 4".) The LAS is based on a strong theory of development called Dynamic Skill Theory, and has been submitted to a number of rigorous tests of its ability to capture the developmental construct described in that theory. These tests have shown that the LAS does a very good job capturing this dimension. To view the evidence, see the refereed papers on the articles tab on the literature page and articles by our colleagues on the decision making references page.

For an in-depth explanation of our approach to validity and reliability, we suggest that you read our information page on the validity and reliability of the LAS. To learn more about reliability and validity as constructs, see Dr. Dawson's blog.

The reliabilities of LSUA subscales 2–8 range from .79 to .88 in a sample spanning 6 developmental phases.

 

 

 

 

 

 

FAQ

What is a developmental assessment?

A developmental assessment is a test of knowledge and thinking that is based on extensive research into how people come to learn specific concepts and skills over time. All good developmental assessments require test-takers to show their thinking by making written or oral arguments that support their judgments. Developmental assessments examine how people use their knowledge and thinking skills to solve problems. Typically, there are no “right” answers in a developmental assessment.

Our developmental assessments test thinking in specific areas of knowledge, such as leadership decision making, moral reasoning, or physics. Within each area of knowledge, the ability to work with complexity increases in a systematic way. Over the last 20 years, we have developed a system for measuring this growth reliably and accurately.

Our assessments are developmental because they identify where a person’s current reasoning fits in the sequence of skill development for the area of knowledge being assessed. This requires understanding the sequences and descriptions of successive levels of skill or understanding in a particular area of knowledge pathways the alternate routes people can take toward mastery of a concept or skill through which skills develop. Lectica is able to meet this objective because we have collected and analyzed thousands of clinical interviews and written responses, gradually building the knowledge base required to understand how specific skills develop over time in specific areas of knowledge. This research is widely published in peer reviewed journals, books, and on the web. To learn more, go to our literature page.

What does Lectical® mean?

Lectical is taken from the word, dialectical, which refers to a process for determining the “truth” by exchanging logical arguments. Our reference to this term is a celebration of the philosopher, Hegel, who proposed a dialogical truth building process with three repeating steps—thesis, antithesis, and synthesis. Many scholars think of development as a kind of natural dialectic, in that it results from feedback-rich interactions between an individual and the environment that change the way the individual thinks or behaves.

So, to recognize Hegel and the dialogical nature of development, we named our developmental scoring system the Lectical® Assessment System (LAS), and we call assessments that are developed or scored with the LAS, Lectical® Assessments.

What is a Lectical® Asssessment?

At Lectica, we specialize in designing and administering developmental assessments called Lectical® assessments. Lectical assessments are a major advance over conventional assessments, because they not only determine (1) what test takers know, but also (2) how well they apply their knowledge in real-world situations, and (3) what they need to learn next to advance to the next level of skill.

How does a Lectical Assessment work?

Lectical assessments are designed to measure the degree of cognitive complexity that underlies thinking—how much people can see and hold, and how much and how well they can elaborate, integrate, coordinate, and communicate what they see.

The Lectical Score is an index of the level of complexity demonstrated in a person’s performance. It provides information about the skill with which a person uses his or her knowledge to think about an issue. This is fundamentally different from most assessments, which focus primarily on factual knowledge or the application of learned procedures.

Lectical Assessments include other scores, which we call scale scores. These are based on the particular concepts and ideas expressed in a performance, and allow us to provide specific information about a test taker’s performance on specific sub-skills or themes.

What kind of information does a Lectical assessment provide?

At Lectica we believe that a good test should provide more than an accurate score. It should also support development. Lectical Assessments support development in two ways. First, they are learning experiences in their own right, drawing attention to important ideas and issues, and providing an opportunity for thoughtful reflection. Second, each assessment is accompanied by a report that is tailored to the learning needs of the individual test taker. Your clients (students, employees) will learn what they’ve accomplished, what comes next, and how to get there. And our summary reports allow you to view group results or follow test takers over time, with real-time, presentation quality data and graphics.

Learn more about Lectical® Assessments

To learn more about using Lectical Assessments, please contact us.

For more about our research and methods, we suggest the following links from our In Plainer English collection.

Virtuous cycles of learning (a white paper about the learning model upon which our assessment strategy is based)

How to take a Lectical Assessment (instructions for writing responses to assessment questions)

Introduction to the LAS (Lectical Assessment System)

A comparison of the LAS with other scoring systems

About measurement

Developmental maieutics

Constructing developmental sequences

Our levels and theirs (Table aligning lectical levels with the levels of other cognitive-developmental assessment systems)

If you are very curious (or academically inclined), you may also want to read some of the refereed articles on the "articles" tab on our literature page.