Research Findings of Both Benefits and Limitations of DAP Testing
This paper focuses on research information of Draw A Person (DAP) testing in both its original form of Children’s Human Figure Drawing created by Florence Goodenough, it’s limitations, and it’s current form of function as DAP testing of today. DAP is typically used to identify cognitive strengths and limitations among primary aged youth through the evaluation of the drawn human figure. However, there is some evidence that suggests DAP could be of therapeutic benefit in other areas of function. Florence Goodenough first published findings in 1926 that revealed children’s drawings of a man can be correlated to their level of intelligence. Goodenough spoke of the human figure drawing task as being “useful in the analysis of specific mental functions and in the study of the development of conceptual thinking during early childhood” (Goodenough, 1926). Even though the Goodenough Draw-a-Man test was established as being a good measure of non-verbal cognitive ability, there are elements of this test that suggest:
1. In order to raise test validity, it may need to be used in conjunction with other means of measurement.
2. Lower socioeconomic status and/or limited access to structured programs have a significant effect on scoring outcome.
3. Scoring criteria and interpretation may be devised and utilized depending on the purpose and field of study.
The research that is focused on in this paper covers these three issues.
Goodenough-Harris Draw-a-Person Test Valid?
The Goodenough-Harris Draw-a-Person Test has been criticized by some for being outdated and the scoring instructions have been found to be laborious and imprecise on some items. The DAP Test, developed by Naglieri in 1988, has offered some norms for the self- drawing test. The introduction of the DAP has increased precision in its scoring system with half-year and quarter-year intervals. In contrast, the Goodenough model scored only in one- year intervals. In addition to giving a more accurate score on self-drawing tests, DAP has simplified the scoring system by grouping fifty items of interest, such as length of arms, symmetry of shape and size, finite details of other features, into 14 criteria as opposed to Goodenough’s system of 73 items of interest (Naglieri, 1988). The simplification of the scoring method has increased both time efficiency and human error in scoring. Both DAP and the Goodenough Draw-a-Person test are well correlated and together can be used as a measure of children’s body image and knowledge of their bodies. Ayers and Reid (1966) wrote,
“Ever since Goodenough demonstrated the value of drawing the self as indices of children’s intellectual capacity, variations of her technique have been used as expressions of cognitive, affective, and organic function. It commonly has been inferred that, in contrast to the drawing of other objects, depicting the human...