Several questions arise regarding how to assess students with disabilities: “Do the tests need to be different from other students? Should they be more flexible? Should the teacher help the child? ”.
Regardless of the answer to these questions, we know that the traditional model with students lined up in desks, heads down and thoughtful in front of a sheet of paper, is outdated, do you agree?
As much as the child does not have a disability, when a standard is created, the students’ skills and difficulties are not respected or even met.
There are differences in the way of learning among students. Therefore, regardless of whether the children are disabled or not, they absorb the teacher’s explanations in different ways.
In addition to classes , assessments should be designed according to the skills of each student. For this, as the National Curriculum Parameters guide, the curriculum also needs to be adapted.
Pedagogical practice needs to be updated from time to time. After all, society changes and the school needs to follow these changes. So, stay with us to learn more about how to evaluate students with disabilities.
Tips on how to assess students with disabilities
Establish an environment of trust
Being assessed is a cause for discomfort, whether for children, teenagers or adults. The assessment should serve exclusively to verify what needs to be improved and, with that, retrace the route to expand the learning capacity.
It should not serve as punishment, as in this case, it directly impacts the students’ self-esteem and self-image. This makes it difficult to acquire knowledge and develop skills.
Therefore, create an environment of trust through affective work, empathy and establishing positive bonds.
Divide content and rating into small parts
Everything that is seen as an obstacle to learning must be eliminated. If the student is not able to understand the content as a whole, divide it into parts to facilitate understanding. The same goes for evaluations.
For example, if in a math test the student with a disability is having trouble interpreting a statement, separate it into smaller parts until it becomes meaningful to the child. If, even so, understanding does not happen, focus on assessing the student’s mathematical ability instead of considering his interpretive textual ability.
Review content before evaluation
Some contents are difficult to assimilate and need to be revised, often for days at a time. What is natural when the subject is new to students.
Before evaluations, review the contents. Repetition contributes to learning, especially for children with cognitive disabilities.
Adopt different ways of evaluating students
Flexibility should happen both in the ways of evaluating students, and when it comes to passing on the contents. Likewise, it is important to alternate the support materials in the classes so that the limits of each student are respected. Abandon the old blackboard and use other resources such as educational games.
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Get to know the main difficulties and potential of the little ones. When evaluating, consider what the student was able to acquire and advance in the subjects. To do this, check everything he produced in his notebook and in the exercises passed on in the classroom.
With this information in hand, it will be easier to define the most appropriate assessment tools for each student. Try to diversify between tests, assignments, exams and dictations and, whenever possible, avoid comparisons between the results of student evaluations.
Work with different strategies for each type of disability
There is no point in wanting to work with the same strategies for all students with disabilities, as it will not work. Each type of disability requires different adaptations and evaluation mechanisms. Below are some examples.
For students with cognitive disabilities, an efficient way to help them face their difficulties is with illustrations and concrete objects. The texts, alone, are abstract for these children. For example, in order for the student to identify the geometric shape of a square, offer objects with this format instead of writing or drawing it on paper.
In the case of blind or deaf students , reduce the questions by dividing them into parts. This action facilitates the comprehension of the statements for all children with difficulty in communicating.
Allow blind students to count on someone to read the assessment questions. Likewise, it is the right of deaf students to have a Libras interpreter at their side.
Help with the evaluation if necessary
A recurring question is whether the teacher should help students with disabilities in activities and assessments.
If you find that the student is having trouble answering questions, you should provide support. However, you should also note the need for help with the assessment so that doubts are dealt with at another time and the assessment is redone.
According to figures brought by the 2015 Prova Brasil , 94% of education professionals say that the most important factor in student performance is the monitoring of parents in their children’s school life.
Therefore, try to establish continuous communication with the parents of students with disabilities. Talk about your difficulties, but also about your abilities and how they can collaborate in your children’s teaching and learning process.