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Innovative assessment tools and methods - Switzerland

The ICF-based model in the canton of Zurich

The following graph illustrates the process in an ICF-based model for the development of individual education plans and their evaluation .

The model includes two different steps:

  • School-based SEN-Team
  • IEP-Meeting. 

First step: School-based SEN-Team

Step one consists of a meeting of the school-based team for special needs (SEN-Team). Each school is comprised of a SEN-Team. It meets on a regular basis and has the task of discussing cases of pupils with special needs and reaching speedy and un-bureaucratic decisions in order to facilitate the work and establish appropriate solutions. This board normally consists of a class teacher, a SEN-teacher, a school psychologist and the preceptor of the school.

Most of the minor and school-internal problems in combination with special needs education can be resolved at these meetings. But if the problem is more complex or beyond the sole responsibility of the school, the school-board for special needs decides to hold an IEP-Meeting. 

Second step: IEP-Meeting

Step two consists of a meeting with representatives of the school, the parents and, as the case may be, other professionals. The goal of this meeting is to make decisions on the pupil’s education and to establish an individual education plan.

At this meeting, the situation is explored and joint actions are determined, in order to discover new approaches to resolve the problem. Each member prepares for the meeting by recording his/her perspective of the case established by a common, ICF-based standardised tool. So, a common terminology is guaranteed to better facilitate communication between teachers, parents and other specialists. 

ICF-based model in the canton of Zurich 


In the annex (see the following hyperlink), the standardised form for the preparation of the SEN-Team and IEP-Meeting is provided. This form is based on the International Classification of Function, Disability and Health (ICF) and has to be used by everyone involved in the individual educational planning, including teachers, parents and other professionals.

In addition, compendiums are completed to provide an overview of the various existing resources for assessment in inclusive settings. 

Standardised Assessment Form used by the SEN-Team during the IEP-Meetings



  • Hollenweger, J. & Lienhard, P. (2004). Handreichung für die Durchführung von schulischen Standortgesprächen. Ein Verfahren auf der Basis der Internationalen Klassifikation der Funktionsfähigkeit, Behinderung und Gesundheit (ICF) der Weltgesundheitsorganisation (WHO). Manuskript Pädagogische Hochschule Zürich/Interkantonale Hochschule für Heilpädagogik Zürich.
  • Niedermann, A. (2003). Förderdiagnostische Hilfsmittel zum Mathematik- und Schriftspracherwerb. Eine kommentierte Übersicht. Luzern: Edition SZH/CSPS.
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