Assessments in Special Education

Within Special Education, assessment is an ongoing data collection process to identify students' strengths and needs for optimum programming purposes. Assessments can vary considerably in scope, personnel involved and length of time required and can lead to establishment of specific program strategies and expectations. Some students may require more specialized assessments as well.

WCDSB is committed to guiding teachers in aligning their practice with the principles of authentic assessment and to assist them in extending current practice to include a variety of authentic assessment, evaluation and reporting strategies and to ensure accountability for student learning. This is particularly important when dealing with students with special education needs to address their unique learning challenges. We stress parental involvement throughout the assessment process.

At WCDSB, we believe that assessment should:

  • be an integral part of the teaching/learning process;
  • emphasize the learning style and strengths of the student;
  • increase the self-knowledge and self worth of the student;
  • be appropriate to the developmental stage and rate of learning of the student;
  • aim to maximize the student's learning experience.

Classroom teachers are involved in conducting academic assessment throughout the school year.

Academic Assessment is a process undertaken by the classroom teacher to assist in determining the strengths and needs of a student. An academic assessment may consist of an examination of written school records, discussion with parents and appropriate school personnel, observation of the student and analysis of daily work samples. Board-wide and Provincial assessments are important parts of academic assessment and include:

  • Balanced Literacy Assessment Measures (BLAM)
  • EQAO assessments in elementary and secondary in Mathematics, Reading and Writing (gr. 3 and gr. 6, Math gr. 9)
  • Canadian Cognitive Abilities Test (CCAT)
  • CAT 4 (Canadian Achievement-Test 4)
  • Ontario Secondary School Literacy Test (OSSLT)

Parents should be consulted regarding student performance but no written parental consent is necessary for ongoing classroom academic assessment.

Other Assessments administered by Special Education personnel, are also provided, with parent consultation and consent. These types of assessment can include:

Educational Assessment - an assessment process undertaken by the Special Education teacher which complements the classroom academic assessment. An educational assessment may consist of observation, informal and/or standardized individual or small group tests. A written analysis of the information gathered assists school personnel in determining the strengths and needs of the student. Informed written parental consent is required.

Speech/Language Assessment - an assessment performed by a Speech/Language Pathologist. The assessment usually includes classroom observations, interviews with student, school personnel and parent(s) and both formal and informal testing. Informed written parental consent is required.

Psychoeducational Assessment/Intervention is undertaken by the Psychoeducational Consultant or Psychologist and may include standardized assessment of academic and cognitive abilities, learning styles and social/behavioural/adaptive functioning. The range of interventions may include classroom observations, review of student's work and school records as well as interviews with the student, parents and appropriate school personnel. Informed written parental consent is required.



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