Assessment in an inclusive education setting is a key component of identifying students’ needs, learning progress, and overall achievement. It can help identify barriers to learning and inclusion and provide a basis for individualized programs.
Inclusive education is an approach to teaching that helps all students feel welcome and included in the classroom. It involves changing the way you teach so that you can meet the needs of a wide range of students. This includes students with disabilities, who may require additional help or support.
When deciding how to include a student with disabilities in your classroom, you’ll need to consider which accommodations are necessary for them to learn effectively. You may also want to decide which goals need to be adjusted for a student with disabilities, but not for other students.
How do you decide what accommodations and goals are necessary. You could just ask the student themselves—but they might not know how to answer this question. And even if they could tell you what they need, they might have difficulty explaining it in a way that’s easy for you to understand.
So instead, many teachers use formal assessments to help figure out what their students need and how best to provide it.
Assessment can help us determine what students have learned so far and where we should go next. It is an integral part of the learning process, and it is important for helping students learn. Assessment in inclusive education has been shown to be particularly effective because it helps teachers tailor instruction to meet the needs of a wide variety of different learners.
The practice of inclusive education, in which students with special needs are educated alongside their non-disabled peers, has been shown to be effective at improving learning outcomes for all students. This practice is meant to better integrate special needs students into the classroom community and promote their social development while they receive instruction and support that meet their individualized needs.
There are many benefits to this approach: it promotes a more positive attitude toward those with disabilities, improves social skills and abilities, and prepares both disabled and non-disabled students for life beyond school. There are also some drawbacks to the practice—for example, teachers have to have a broader set of skills to meet the needs of all their students and may find themselves stretched too thinly.
In order to determine whether or not an inclusive classroom approach is beneficial for students in your school district, you can perform self-assessments using a rubric developed by your district or state. Then you can compare your results against national benchmarks for inclusive education practices.
Instructors in the classroom are faced with the complex task of evaluating and assessing their students’ knowledge. This process is a necessary component to ensure that students have attained and understood course material, and is also used to determine if they need additional assistance to grasp concepts. However, instructors should be aware that assessments may put some students at a disadvantage, particularly those who are not native English speakers or have learning disabilities.
In order to account for these differences, it is first important to understand how assessments work. The purpose of an assessment is to evaluate and aid student learning; it is not a device for grading or ranking individuals in a class. An effective assessment program attempts to gauge whether or not the knowledge being imparted on the student has been learned, rather than focusing on grading an individual’s performance at a given skill level (e.g., writing essays).
Assessments can take many forms, including multiple choice questions, short answer questions, essay questions, and practical demonstrations of skills (e.g., performing a lab experiment). Written tests are typically given at the end of each term or semester; they are usually standardized in order to evaluate all students equally.
In the United States, public education is a right that belongs to all children—regardless of race, physical ability, or gender. This inclusive approach to education was put into place by the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act in 1975. However, more than 40 years later, there are still questions as to how well it is being implemented. When we talk about inclusive education, we’re talking about how well students are being served by their schools—and how schools can serve them better.
Principles of Inclusive Assessment
- Require students to apply concepts in new or unfamiliar situations.
- Avoid relying on memory of specific facts or details.
- Avoid questions that require students to memorize definitions, dates, terms, etc., and instead ask them to apply the concepts.
- Avoid questions that are context-dependent and instead focus on basic principles and concepts.
- Ensure all questions are relevant to the course goals and learning objectives.
- Ask students to analyze information rather than merely recognize it.
- Make assessments relevant to real-world scenarios, so students are more engaged in the process and have a deeper understanding of what they’re learning.
- Consider the full range of student abilities and preferences by incorporating different assessment types.
- Ensure that your tests are accessible by offering accommodations for students with disabilities, including visual impairments, hearing impairments, learning disabilities, and physical disabilities. You can also offer other accommodations based on religious or cultural needs.
- Adjust the context of your questions or prompts to be culturally sensitive—for example, by using examples that represent different people’s backgrounds.
- Ensure that your questions are worded clearly so that students understand exactly what is being asked of them.
Consider your population of students. You may have students who have a variety of educational and cultural backgrounds, learning styles, and levels of experience. Think about their diversity, and consider the different ways that students may approach your assessment.
Your assessment should be accessible to each of your students. Make sure that it’s not too hard or too easy for any of them, and be careful not to introduce bias into the questions you ask. Remember that each student is coming from a different background and has different skills, so think about how you can make the assessment fair for everyone.
For example, if you’re asking multiple choice questions in an exam, choose the number of responses wisely: too few (say two) will lead to obvious right and wrong answers, while many (six or more) may take more time than you’ve allotted for exam-taking.
You’ll also want to consider whether your questions are appropriate for a particular format: it might be hard to answer a question that requires long written responses in an oral exam setting. Similarly, consider whether it’s appropriate to ask students about material you haven’t taught yet—students won’t know the answer unless they’ve done outside research or copied off another student.