Assessment can be for a variety of purposes. These may include, reviewing and revising Individualised Educational/ Learning /Support Plans or compiling risk assessments as well as monitoring progress in curriculum areas. Information may be required as part of a ‘joined-up’ assessment, towards development of a pupil profile, diagnostic information or for Coordinated Support plans, consistent with principles of GIRFEC to provide a holistic view of the child.
Assessment is an integral part of learning and teaching. It helps to provide a picture of a child's or young person's progress and achievements and to identify next steps in learning (Principles of assessment, Education Scotland). Assessment should identify if particular strategies and supports continue to be appropriate for individual pupils.
Often more specific information can be provided by parents, assessments from other agencies such as Speech and Language therapy, or other commercial, school or teacher produced assessments. These are often required to identify and address barriers to learning in areas, for example, of communication, play, social understanding, sensory issues or behaviour. These may require ‘small step’ planning and additional support for some pupils to provide structured development and understanding of skills. Small steps will also allow more opportunites for positive outcomes, and support positive self esteem. Assessment for some pupils may have a focus on the level of engagement in activities, or in school itself.
It is important that assessment recording formats are manageable and useful.
Many pupils with autism may have no or few difficulties academically, but have difficulty using the skills functionally. It is important therefore to recognise that assessment should identify understanding and level of competency in application. This may require some adjustments to assessment arrangements and approaches.