Assessing students with SEN

For example, teaching blind or deaf learners

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Assessing students with SEN

Unread post by tjdickinson »


I'm new to the forum, and I've been looking for a place to ask other professionals in the field about teaching students with SEN. I'm in sort of a moral quandary at the moment, and I'd be grateful for your support and advice in it.

On the one hand, I feel like my job, as an English teacher, is to assess objectively how well a student is able to understand and to use the language, how well he or she can communicate using the interface of English. And in some ways, that seems to transcend (perhaps certain) SEN. On the other hand, SEN aren't chosen by a student; they're thrust upon him or her (so to speak). Schools offer support and accommodations for SEN students precisely for that reason, so why should the ESL classroom be any different?

For example: I have a student (in secondary school) with a severe speech impediment. (Let me emphasise the severity as well; I'm not talking about a slight lisp or a little stutter. I'm talking probable undiagnosed Tourette's, without exaggeration.) If I assessed his speaking flat-out (and set aside the other issues of pronunciation, grammar, word choice, etc.), I'd have to say that he's not fluent, full stop. He can't speak a full sentence. I don't think giving him an 8/10 for fluency/fluidity accurately represents what he can do. It's telling him that speak conversationally in a way that people can easily understand, which is certainly not the case.

At the same time, a good part of that lack of fluidity is probably caused by his speaking disorder, which is beyond his control. In that case, he's perhaps doing quite well all things considered, and maybe should get an 8/10. After all, he's worked hard, he's improved over the year, and he's trying his hardest. Should I really mark him down because of a speech disorder?

So that's my conundrum. The larger picture is equally as important as the smaller; that is, yes, I'm asking about the specific case of this particular student, but I'm also asking about the broader question of balancing actual objective ability with the subjective reality of students with SEN.

Thanks for your help and support!
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Re: Assessing students with SEN

Unread post by odyssey »

What is SEN?
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