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Features of best assessment practice - Belgium (Flemish speaking community)

  • Teachers are able to differentiate, remediate, prevent, facilitate, dispensate and compensate adequately during teaching as well as during assessment in order to remediate problems as soon as possible. They are also able to involve the pupil guidance centre as soon as they discover that differentiating and compensating do not work with a particular pupil, in order to plan a more individualised program (adapted curricula)
  • Teachers should take the contextual approach in which pupil, school, parents as well as broader surroundings such as institution, coaches etc. are involved.
  • Expert and mainstream classroom teachers exchange information, knowledge etc.
  • Teacher education has to also be involved in assessing in inclusive settings as well as in using the contextual approach.

Policy that supports best practice

First of all there should be a policy that supports all children and their parents in mainstream education on the levels of (1) financing, (2) classroom organisation and teacher skills (3) curricula and (4) school organisation. We will explain these four features in depth:

  1. Pupils with educational problems and special needs within educational settings should get adequate financial support in both mainstream and special schools. If inclusive education is a goal then a logical consequence is that all pupils with special educational needs from a certain level on, should get the same financing as a special school would receive for this pupil.
  2. In order to offer all pupils the kind of education that strengthens their qualities and helps them to develop themselves, teachers will have to train their skills to SEE the possible problems as soon as possible (early recognition), to ACT (immediate intervention) consciously, in time, well planned and in co-operation with the parents, pupil, guidance centres and the school team and to REFLECT on their actions by talking to the parents, the child and experts and through assessment. Teachers in mainstream schools will thus need a broad spectrum of skills to be able to differentiate, remediate, prevent, dispensate, compensate, facilitate and offer structure in time for those children in a mainstream classroom who need it. They will have to learn to set up and follow up an individual action plan and they will have to learn methods to find adequate information. Most of these skills are well known in special education and thus it is a logical step to use the expertise on acting and assessing from special schools in mainstream education. In the future we will recommend a contextual approach in which school, child and parents all have their place.
  3. Above all, it is necessary that curricula are not fixed but variable for those children who need this as a condition to follow mainstream education successfully. It is obvious that teachers should get support from experts (special education) to define the changes in the curricula and to assess adequately.
  4. The school organisation has to offer support to teachers who have children with special educational needs in their classroom. This means that:
    • the pupil guidance centre should fulfil a central role in communication from and towards special education, mainstream classroom teacher, other involved teachers, parents, school team, child and so on.
    • extra funding should be used to support the pupil and the classroom teacher as adequately as possible (e.g. different reading methods or an extra teacher during mathematics)

Secondly this policy should be supported and executed by teachers and future teachers. This implicates that policy makers should co-operate with teacher educators in order to prepare their students and to inform teachers about methodologies to include and assess as many pupils as possible into mainstream education. Of course teacher educators should also have the possibility to be informed/ trained.

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