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Seminar by Professor Graeme Douglas (University of Birmingham) 'Including pupils with special educational needs and disability in national assessment: Comparison of international practice through an Inclusive Assessment Framework'

The assessment of educational progress and outcomes of pupils is important to all concerned with education. This includes testing which is undertaken for accountability and award bearing purposes. This article examines how students with special educational needs and disability (SEND) are included in assessment. An “inclusive assessment” framework is outlined based around three core features: (1) all students are included and benefit from assessment; (2) assessments are accessible and appropriate for the diverse range of children in the education system; and (3) the full breadth of the curriculum is assessed (including curriculum areas of particular relevance to students with SEND). I will reflect upon policies and practice in different countries (especially England, Ireland and the US) to demonstrate how the framework. It is argued that the US and England have highly developed system-based approaches to assessment which seek to “include all” (feature 1) and be “accessible and appropriate” (feature 2). However, the analysis highlights that a consequence of such assessment approaches is the narrowing of the curriculum around topics that are assessed (most notably literacy and mathematics). Such approaches therefore may be at the expense of wider curriculum areas that have value for all students, but often of particular value for those with SEND (feature 3). It is argued that within such systems there may be a danger of neglecting the third feature of the inclusive assessment framework, i.e. ensuring that the full breadth of the curriculum is assessed. A consequence of such an omission could be a failure to assess and celebrate progress in relation to educational outcomes that are relevant to a diverse range of students. The presentation will draw upon a recent paper: Douglas, G., McLinden, M., Robertson, C., Travers, J., and Smith, E. (2016) Including pupils with special educational needs and disability in national assessment: Comparison of three country case studies through an inclusive assessment framework. International Journal of Disability, Development and Education, 63(1), 98-121. This seminar will be recorded.

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Graeme Douglas is a Professor of Disability and Special Educational Needs, and the head of Department of Disability, Inclusion and Special Needs (DISN) at the University of Birmingham. He has carried out educational and social research in the area of SEN since 1993, often with a focus on visual impairment. He is a co-director of the Visual Impairment Centre for Teaching and Research (VICTAR).

A recording of this seminar can be found on the Student Intranet, under Postgraduate Research - Research Training and Skills - College Level Seminar Recordings


Baring Court 114