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Assessment in inclusive classrooms - Iceland

How is good or best practice assessment in inclusive classrooms organised?

It focuses on the certain needs of the pupil, such as for instance individual orientation in studies. By that I mean that a pupil who can’t write much gets a multiple choice examination and extended time, or an oral exam. It must be constant, analytical, diverse, it must be connected to the teaching, and be of benefit to the pupil. By that I mean that the pupil learns through the assessment. He or she sees what he/she is doing well, and also the factors that must be improved, and perhaps the way that he/she can go about doing so. Study assessment must help the pupil to take responsibility for their own studies, and to motivate them. In addition bonds with the parents must be established, so that they can monitor, and promote the child’s better performance and well-being, by creating the right conditions for study at home. M. 

In relation to what the role of the mainstream class teacher is in initial SEN assessments and diagnosis, the mainstream class teacher is usually the person who calls for a internal or external (as related to the school) specialist such as a special educational teacher, speech therapist or psychologist to formally assess or diagnose, regarding special needs. The role of the mainstream teacher is to participate with all relevant information concerning the student, to keep a record of all work/assessment done and implement changes, if any, that the teacher, parents or the specialist recommend following the formal diagnosis. 

Procedures and flexibility.

N was given individual oriented studies, and the results were assessed as he went along, using diverse methods. Conventional final assessment and ordinary examinations on paper were only partially used. “When I look back, I feel that the school normally chose the methods, but the school was very receptive to suggestions from parents. I don’t remember suggesting anything without it leading to the test being adapted to N’s needs. Adapted so that he could answer with his eyes, so the tests had to be yes and no questions, or a choice between statements. One thing comes to mind, the setting of objectives in the pupil’s studies, collaboratively by the teacher, parents and child.  I felt it was most effective when that went together. I never had any other feeling than that there was a lot of flexibility, and all options would be tried, in order to meet the need. N didn’t take the national examinations, which made the process rather easier. M 

In D’s case, continuous assessment is used, whereby the teacher assesses whether objectives have been achieved. Ordinary examinations are also adapted so that D can answer using a laser pointer or other methods which he can manage. The examinations are read aloud to him. 

In the individual curriculum, objectives were set by some of the teachers (often determined jointly with parents and N), and when things went well the assessment was linked to them. I especially remember reading being taught by one teacher, who put the reading (the words N read, and the speed) into a bar chart. N observed it daily, and every week the assessment (bar chart) was put up on the wall, and then it went into a file which was brought home regularly. This was encouraging and got him interested in reading. It also worked, so that the study material was neither too difficult nor too easy – but just right. M 

The assessment discussed in D’s case has the objective primarily of examining his study status. In his school report in spring, his status in study subjects is stated, as well as his status and achievement in special needs such as Bliss training and use of computer switches. D’s individual educational plan is reviewed in view of the assessment.

 

Sources: 

  • Interview with a mother. August 2005
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