Assessment of the Student with Communication and Movement Difficulties
The assumption that students with disabilities are developmentally delayed is a misnomer. The P scales have been produced on the basis of this premise and are therefore woefully inadequate tools for assessment or for curriculum planning. I often find myself in classrooms where students who are cognitively capable of learning to read and to spell are being held back by the fact that they have physical disability and communication problems. This leads to them having targets to improve physical skills that they may never achieve and are inappropriate to begin with. An example is a fifteen year old girl with cerebral palsy who I recently assessed. It was plain that she was reading words which she demonstrated by eye pointing correctly. However, the school had not yet provided her with a literacy programme because she had not achieved the target of "pulling a push toy"! Not only was this target inappropriate because of the age of the student, it was also one she will never achieve because of her disability. She was being set up to fail.
It does not help to try to break P Scales down into ever smaller incremental steps. For some students the steps themselves are not applicable.
The Pupil Progress Plan aims to enable schools to differentiate the P Scales horizontally rather than incrementally. This way you can decide which issues are purely physical or to do with communication and address these as separate issues to learning goals which are the cognitive and curriculum issues. It also allows for the school to look at their own needs to ensure that access is available to the student and that their progress is not being hampered by a lack of resource rather than a perceived deficit.
It is designed to follow the format of an IEP. I often fill one of these out for a student as a way of planning for their annual review. We cover this and other issues around assessment on Day 3 of our "Communication for All" course.
Pupil Progress Plan
Copyright: Marion Stanton
May be freely used as long as the copyright is acknowledged in the document.
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