Country information for Latvia - Assessment within inclusive education systems
The amendments to the Law on General Education of 2011 state that learners with special needs should receive support and rehabilitation for their educational programme, according to their state of health, abilities and level of development.
Learners usually start their schooling in a mainstream environment, except for those who are diagnosed with a disability in early childhood and whose parents choose to place them in a special educational institution.
During the first year of schooling, learners follow the mainstream curriculum. If they show considerable difficulties in mastering this curriculum and their academic achievements do not correspond to the requirements of the National Standard of Basic Education, then – with the parents’ consent – the learner is assessed by specialists (speech therapist, special education teacher, psychologist, support teacher). The school’s support team can suggest support measures and the development of an individual education plan.
If the above-mentioned measures do not work and the learner’s achievements do not improve, the learner may attend the pedagogical medical commission.
According to the Regulations of the Cabinet of Ministers No. 709 16.10.2012, in order for a learner to receive special education provision in any kind of educational setting, the parents must request that the pedagogical medical commission assesses the child. It is up to the family to allow the child to be assessed (Source: CPRA – Latvia Country Report).
Before attending the commission, the learner should be assessed by a psychologist, a speech therapist and a teacher, should have a general health check-up and, if necessary, should consult other medical specialists depending on their special needs (e.g. psychiatrist, surgeon, ophthalmologist, otorhinolaryngologist). The commission prepares a recommendation as to what kind of curriculum the learner should follow. However, the parents make the final decision about the educational institution their child will attend.
According to the Law on General Education, if a learner follows a special education programme in mainstream settings, the school is responsible for providing support measures during learning and an individual education plan should be developed for every learner with special educational needs. Support measures should be used during the educational process and during state tests and examinations.
There are two types of pedagogical medical commissions (PMC): the State Pedagogical Medical Commission (SPMC), formed by the Ministry of Education and Science, and Municipal Pedagogical Medical Commissions, formed by district or town municipalities. The commissions consist of different specialists: special education teachers, speech therapists, psychologists, medical specialists and social workers. They assess different aspects of the learner’s performance. Parents can file a complaint against a Municipal PMC to the SPMC (Source: CPRA – Latvia Country Report).
The PMC’s competences are defined by regulations issued by the Cabinet of Ministers.
The PMC assesses learners’ abilities and analyses their health condition and level of development, as well as documents from educational institutions, doctors, notebooks, achievement sheets, etc. They also:
- recommend the most appropriate educational programme;
- recommend education at home for pupils with long-term illnesses;
- consult teachers, parents, learners and other stakeholders about issues concerning special and inclusive education.
The assessment of learners’ intellectual abilities, academic knowledge and social skills should be done before the meetings of the PMC. The commissions have the right to obtain information from the educational institutions about learners with special needs, such as the support measures and accommodation provided. They also have the right to follow the progress of the learner with special needs in any of the educational institutions.
The PMC can identify the following special educational needs:
- Learning disabilities (difficulties)
- Hearing impairments
- Visual impairments
- Physical disabilities
- Language impairments
- Intellectual disabilities
- Mental health disorders
- Severe and multiple disabilities
- Long-term illnesses.
According to the above-mentioned special education needs, there are nine special education programmes. Seven of them – for learners with visual impairments, hearing impairments, physical disabilities, language impairments, mental health disorders, learning disabilities and long-term illnesses – include the content of the mainstream education programme. The methods of instruction, support provided and additional services differ from mainstream programmes.
According to the Law on Education, parents can choose what kind of educational institution their child should attend – a special school, a special class or a special group in a mainstream school, or a mainstream class.
Last updated 05/02/2020