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Innovative assessment tools and methods - Hungary

The pedagogy of inclusion has not been widespread in initial teacher training in Hungary. Training programmes linked to pupils with special education needs are run in the framework of special education training, in some cases inclusion can be taken up as a specialisation or as a module in training for a second degree. Some teacher training institutions are open to initiatives for disseminating the pedagogy of inclusion.  However, no unified training module has been developed for all teacher training, through which teacher trainees would learn about competences essential for the effective realisation of inclusion.   

The programme package developed for initial teacher training contains professional, theoretical foundations and methods, procedures, techniques, therapeutic activities, pedagogical and legal background based on them, all this from the aspect of special education needs and presenting the characteristic specialities.  

Developing in-service teacher training programmes and expert training

All teachers undertaking inclusion find themselves in a new situation, in which their existing competences and well tried practices cannot completely satisfy the special needs of development.  The target groups of in-service training are mainstream and special teachers.

Special teachers have to use their professional competences in a situation in which they have not had any experience. That is why the knowledge and the experiences transferred in professional co-operation are most important. 

Developing training increasing social sensitivity

Successful inclusion of pupils with special education needs has impact beyond the walls of educational institutions. It affects areas related to the integration of children, various services and policy areas. The assertion of the rights of those with disabilities and their social inclusion also depends on how many actors know the benefits of effective inclusion.    

In this process local decision makers play a significant role, as they co-ordinate locally the policy tasks in which inclusion appears as an especially sensitive task. Social integration requires the support of local, regionally functioning civil organisations and of professional groups that can provide special services and also the harmonisation of their work. Information necessary for that can be acquired through training.

Developing assessment materials, tools, tests, programmes facilitating inclusion

Developing the know-how of integrated education, establishing a methodology data bank and a service programme package

The teaching programme packages developed in this programme are aimed to facilitate the teaching of particular subjects on the one hand, and the pedagogical works done in cross curricular areas. The special content supplements that enhance the inclusion of pupils with special education needs are part of the programme package.  The programme packages will be stored in a databank and host institutions can apply for adapting them.  

Developing new methods for preventing drop-outs

Considerably fewer pupils with special education needs attend secondary schools in Hungary. Along with the lines of performance centred education at secondary schools, teaching of pupils with special education needs can be realised only with difficulty. To prevent mass failure, and to manage the causes of it, computer programmers are developing a research programme followed by a concept of development.  

Knowledge transfer from special institutions to the mainstream ones

Increasing the readiness of mainstream general schools for inclusion provides new opportunities for the process of social learning for pupils with special education needs and others attending mainstream schools. Seeking new ways accompanying inclusion institutional innovations bring about significant qualitative improvement in the work of the host institution as well. Effectiveness greatly depends on how much the development supply of institutions providing education for pupils with special education needs and of mainstream schools can be linked and harmonised with available professional services. To what extent can new spaces be opened up for children and young people by creating co-operation between their family background and the local possibilities of making contacts? Pupil self-assessment, changing the anti-inclusion attitudes of parents and teachers, the aims, basic principles and methods of differentiated education and division of labour in the classroom can be achieved by presenting and assessing examples. For this the development of supporting assessment material, aids, tests and programmes has begun in the changing of special institutions.  

The above examples presented the special solutions connected to assessment, which appear for the host institutions as tasks to be solved during inclusion.  From the assessment practices the following overview can be drawn:

  • Mainly such institutions undertook to include pupils with special education needs, which already had the professional methodological competences that helped pupils of diverse development so that diverse abilities could progress effectively.
  • Differentiated development of pupils (defining individual learning routes) will naturally bring about differentiated assessment. This can be significantly helped by pupil portfolios being the bases of assessment and development  
  • In some cases assessment is done in report form. Parents are informed about it in all cases. 
  • In many cases efforts have been made for team like assessment, with the aim of strengthening the cohesion of the community.
  • The basic difference between the assessment of pupils with special education needs and those with other specific needs is that in the former cases assessment has to take into account the type of disability. This is done by special exams, performance measurements based on the “Curriculum guideline of teaching pupils with special education needs” and the Act on Public Education.   The achievements of pupils with disabilities are documented in special certificates, compatible with legal regulations, which make it possible that those developing along special routes can progress onto the following year.  

The most important issues of teaching pupils with special education needs in Hungary

Tasks:

  • To establish, develop and support commitment to inclusion (to assist teachers of host institutions, to form supporting attitude of parents)
  • To develop professional and inter-professional co-operation (among teachers, special teachers, mainstream schools; to build up professional services on the basis of special institutions, to encourage co-operation)
  • To personalise learning processes, to individualise the learning process
  • To place secondary education into the focus of attention (issues of pupils with special education needs being admitted or rejected, dropping out, lagging behind)
  • To facilitate career counselling, employment within the institution (career guidance, contact with parents, civic organisations, employees)   

In order to achieve social integration the measurements of the coming years should serve the objective that the ‘standards’ defined according to the needs of pupils with special education needs be suitable and have a ‘wash back’ effect on forming knowledge at school so that the development of competences enhancing the labour market integration realistic for the pupils with special education needs should happen and the real routes for further studies should be built. 

Support to enhance the accomplishment of tasks:

  • To improve co-operation of partners participating in pedagogical development (pupils, teachers, other experts, parents, school maintainers), to organise interprofessional co-operation of various counselling services based on a unified concept.  
  • To create co-operation among institutions of provision, kindergartens, pedagogical counselling services, special schools, mainstream schools.   

A key issue is that the experts had to be found who could lead the innovation necessary for inclusive education and could elaborate the conditions for stronger co-operation. Continuous motivation and development is encouraged.

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