Literacy is both an academic and a life skill. The main elements of literacy are: reading, writing and oracy (speaking and listening). In order to encourage our pupils to achieve in literacy we deliver a curriculum which is bespoke to the individual needs, abilities and potential of all our students.
In order to ensure that we have an accurate picture of each child's needs, we use the following summative assessments:
Literacy Numeracy Framework
Child Development Profile
Salford Reading Test
Salford Comprehension Test
At Ysgol Ty Coch we believe that a curriculum can only be truly effective if it is not only bespoke, but also inclusive for all pupils. With this in mind we have been carrying out our own action research into the reading abilities of pupils with Autism Spectrum Disorder, with a particular focus on nonverbal pupils.
Delivering reading tests to nonverbal or minimally verbal pupils can be a challenge, as the majority of reading tests currently available are reliant on a person's ability to vocalise as they read. Seventy schools took part in a survey which we had published (Arnold and Reed 2016) in the British Journal of Special Education. Of those schools who took part, none felt happy with the reading assessments available for nonverbal pupils with 100% agreeing that these tests do not provide an accurate ability of reading ability for these students. A result of this discontent was that 30/70 schools were not using any form of summative assessment with their nonverbal students.
With this in mind, we designed a novel digital form of reading test comparable to the Salford Reading Test, which does not rely on a student's ability to verbalise. Results showed that some of our nonverbal students with ASD are also some of our best readers! Having this information has enabled us to adapt the curriculum for these students in such a way as to further foster progress and enhance their enjoyment of reading.
Arnold, S. & Reed, P., 2016. Reading assessments for students with ASD: a survey of summative reading assessments used in special educational schools in the UK. British Journal of Special Education, 43(2), pp.122–141. Available at: http://doi.wiley.com/10.1111/1467-8578.12127.