Reasonable adjustments at AAC 2020

Posted on February 24th, 2020

Dr. Louise Karwowski Author: Dr. Louise Karwowski, Head of Science, Cognassist.

As part of my pre-event prep for the AAC, I’ve been looking at the other workshops and plenary sessions. I’ve have been struck by how many are on the hugely important topics of initial assessment and end-point assessment. Hardly surprising though, as I think these are the two most critical points in any apprentice’s learning journey.

In their workshop, Chris Cherry and Louise Doyle from the Strategic Development Network are talking about getting the initial assessment right and how key it is to meeting both the Education and Skills Funding Agency (ESFA) and Ofsted requirements. All good, but it goes deeper than this. A good initial assessment can pave the way for a transformative experience for the learner and a lifetime of success.

My own workshop, on reasonable adjustments and SEND, also looks at the importance of identifying a learner’s starting point and we’re using the latest developments in cognition and cognitive assessment to do this. Being able to identify an apprentice’s learning strengths and weaknesses in the initial assessment allows for individualised support to be put in place from day one, with personalised learning and guidance on reasonable adjustments when it comes to their end-point assessment.

End-point assessment: Quality in engagement and delivery” is the title of Richard Mole and Liz Bennington from the ESFA’s workshop. I’m really excited about this one since I know that Liz was involved in the creation of the guidelines on reasonable adjustments for apprenticeship end-point assessment released by the Department for Education (DfE) last year. So helpful for providers to know exactly what their responsibilities are. One to watch I think.

The key to end-point assessment success, especially for SEND learners, is identifying the learner’s support needs early on. This means they have time to learn the strategies to help them manage their cognitive differences. If that’s not possible of course, put reasonable adjustments in place to give them an equal chance. I’ll be talking about that in my workshop.

Claire Gill and Steve Walker from Ofqual will be asking “What makes a good End-Point Assessment?” in their workshop. From my point of view, I think it absolutely has to be an assessment for which the learner has been properly prepared – right from the start of their apprenticeship programme. Of course, the assessment experience has to be adjusted to allow for any additional needs they may have. It’s a requirement of the Equality Act 2010 and also, quite frankly, the right thing to do as we all strive to level the playing field for all learners and create a fairer society.

I see that there are also several sessions on digital transformation. From personalised learning, to collecting evidence to meet more complex funding requirements. Surely a key factor in implementing these changes is understanding learners better? The DfE’s UK EdTech 2019 strategy is meant to promote the use of technology to ensure success in education for everyone. Part of this absolutely must take into account learners’ different strengths and weaknesses. With this understanding of the learner we can deliver a personalised learning experience, so that learners understand themselves better and tutors can support them better.

Cognassist’s goal goes far beyond just identifying SEND learners, we understand that we are all different and we all could benefit from better understanding of our learning and even working needs. Looking forward to seeing you all at the AAC 2020.

To register for Dr. Karwowski’s workshop just login here with your AAC event registration details.

Posted on February 24th, 2020
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