The Status of Assessment of Children with Special Needs in the Philippines I. Assessment Processess Involved in Assessment a. tests b. measurement c. evaluation II. Assessment of Children with Disabilities in America History of Assessment Purposes of Assessment in Education a. regular education b. special education Process of Educational Assessment III. Assessment of Children with Disabilities in the Philippines Policies and Guidelines of Special Education Process of Educational Assessment Trends and Issues in Assessment
The Status of Assessment of Children with Special Needs in the Philippines Assessment is an indispensable process in the educational system, especially in educating children with disabilities. It is a process of obtaining information for decisions about students, curriculum and programs, decisions and on educational the of policies. of Moreover, goals this involves psychological assessment of children with relevance to making appropriateness instructional at and objectives, assigning management counselling. This process involves the use of tests, measurement, and evaluation. The instruments for the systematic procedure are called tests. These are used for observing and describing one or more characteristic of children using a numerical scale or classification scheme. Paper-and-pencil tests, teacher-made tests, standardized tests are among the other instruments used.
The scores earned in correctly answered items provide the teacher the quantitative and objective information as to how much a student has learned. The procedure for assigning number or score to a specified attribute or characteristics is called measurement. Through this, the order of people in the group being measured is maintained. This measurement provides the value judgement of the student’s score or performance. This process of evaluation serves as the basis for decisions about the course of action to be followed. This gives an objective picture of the status of the child which could be done through either formative or summative evaluation. Formative evaluative involves a progressive monitoring on the quality of learning a child is gaining. Whereas summative teaching strategies, appropriate classification, placement opportunities and guidance and evaluation is done after a period of time which determines the quality or worth of materials a student has gained. Assessment encompasses testing, measurement, and evaluation; it is broader than all the process. However, measurement, in some cases, may not be utilized due to lack of tools. This may lead to subjectivity.
Thus, it would require a deep knowledge of the qualitative and quantitative attributes to arrive at a sound assessment. Assessment in special education dated way back the Medieval Times when people with non-purposive behaviour are considered mentally-ill and were placed in asylum. Maria Montessori, an Italian doctor, once worked with people with this distress. She clarified that many of the cases in the asylum do not possess medical problems but pedagogical problems. Thus, they will benefit from instructional intervention. This was followed by the works of Itard and Seguine who designed a training program to improve visual, auditory and tactile senses. Their objective was to refine the senses.
However, their study did not go on but was continued by Samuel Howe and Edward Seguine who then started an institution for children with mental retardation. In 1838, Esquirol wrote a book on mental deficiency who described the disability in a varying continuum. He explained further that the use of language is a dependable criterion to determine the individual’s level of intellect. John Locke illustrated further the difference between an insane an idiot. The insane talks too much and uses words incoherently while the idiot, on the other hand, when he talks has limited language. But they came to a realization that there is a need for a tool to identify the problems of children who are not learning at the same rate as their peers. During the late 1800s, Alfred Binnet proposed to French Ministry of Public Instruction that there is a need for a further study of children who are failing in school and must not be dismissed. So, the need for special instruction was identified. He, together with Theodore Simon developed a tool with 30 items with ascending order of difficulty during the early 1900s. It has a wide variety of function with emphasis on judgement, comprehension, and reasoning which are the components of intelligence.
This was called Simon-Binnet Test. However, there are still glitches on the use of this tool because most items are verbal and scoring procedure is not available. The second version of the tool added more items and removed unsatisfactory items. Accordingly, test items are grouped according to age level. Scoring was also established by interpreting it through mental level. The third version was done in 1911. There were some minor revision and repositioning of items according to level of difficulty. The tool was brought to America and was studied further in Standford University by Lewis Therman. It was normed and standardized resulting to its name these days as StanfordBinnet Intelligence Test.
However between1920-1950, the prominent tests used to assess children with disabilities are projective tests and personality tests. Unfortunately, it did not gain much fame because of its lack of objectivity. After a century, there was an increase in the use of standardized test on perception. This was influenced by Samuel Kirk’s definition of exceptional children. Intelligence tests during that time focused on perceptual-motor senses. Usually, these tests are accompanied by programs. However, it has not improved the performance of children with difficulty. In the 1970s, Behavioral Model was the trend. It emphasized on observation procedures. In this model, evaluation and value judgement became their basis for instruction. However, children with disabilities do not progress despite the use of standardized tests in assessing; thus, it must not be the sole tool to be used in assessment. There must be a balance between the use of formal and informal models. Accordingly, assessment tools must correspond to the assessment objective. Madeline Will, between the mid-1980 – early 1990s, brought up the idea that children in the regular classroom must not remain difficult but must receive a special instruction. She underscored that assessment is a shared responsibility of the general education teacher and the special education teacher. It must start with pre-referral assessment and pre-referral intervention.
This is the core idea of today’s Regular Education Incentive (REI) in America. In the new millennium, functional-behavioural assessment became the support of REI. Among other purposes, this evaluates student’s behaviour within environmental context that can contribute to an intervention plan. A balance between formal and informal assessment procedure was observed. Generally, assessment helps teachers make decisions about the curriculum and make educational programs for the child. But assessment in special education is more focused on individual student.
It aims to screen and identify the seriousness of the problem; identify and determine the current level of academic performance and educational need of the child in terms of academic area and strengths and weaknesses; determine eligibility in special programs; make decisions about placement in different programs taking into consideration the least restrictive environment (LRE);evaluate teaching program and strategies designed for the child; develop an individualized educational plan (IEP); and monitor and document student’s progress pertinent to the target goals. Assessment in America is guided by the principles present in PL 94-142 Education for all Handicapped. According to this public law, all children must be given free appropriate public education (FAPE) or the zero-reject principle; it stresses the avoidance of discrimination in the assessment procedure used; an IEP must be carefully planned containing important details; an educational setting must be least restrictive for the child to move; each child deserves fairness and accountability of professionals and parents who makes decisions on his assessment; parents would have to know the honest objective of the test.
The process of educational assessment in America follows three stages: pre-referral, referral and IEP development and educational placement. Due to Madeline Will’s initiative, pre-referral stage has been a MUST in the assessment process in America. This process is inexpensive. This is divided into two sub-stages, general screening and problem identification. During the first sub-stage, the teacher initiates the data gathering on the learning problems the child encounters which makes the child significantly different compared to his peers. This entails the use of short tests (individual or group) which is broadly focused on all areas of development or on a specific subject area. From the data, the teacher will identify the child’s difficulty and determine what she will address.
Here comes the pre-referral intervention plan of the teacher. Progress must be assessed after a certain period of time to determine whether the chid needs to continue the plan with some additions or refer the child to a professional. During the referral stage, a comprehensive assessment is planned through referral to the special education team (SPED team). The team will evaluate the intervention plan used and will make some revision to make assessment more formative. However, if a child do not progress in this stage, he/she will be then referred to the multidisciplinary/ transdisciplinary team who will conduct further study and prepare comprehensive and integrated assessment report reflecting important findings. The report will be translated in an IEP. The IEP serves as the framework in which the child will benefit. A special education teacher must implement this. Progress monitoring and evaluation must be done to give feedback to students and teachers.
This must be carefully evaluated at the end of the year so that revisions will be made. Truly, the assessment procedure in America gave an impact to the Philippines’ special education system. In fact, the Philippine constitution and Magna Carta for Disabled Person of 1992 guided the formulation of policies and guidelines in special education in the Philippines. Article XIV, Section 1 of the 1987 Philippine Constitution states, “The state shall promote the right of all citizens to quality education at all levels and shall take appropriate steps to make such education accessible to all.” Magna Carta likewise provides that the State shall ensure that disabled person are provided with adequate access to quality education and ample opportunities to develop their skills; take appropriate steps to make such education accessible to all disabled person; and take into consideration the special requirements of disabled persons in the formulation of education policies and programs.
As stated in Article 3: Identification, Screening, Assessment and Evaluation of Children, identification and assessment of every child shall be conducted as early as possible and shall be conducted by the school and the community utilizing appropriate assessment instruments. The team shall be composed of persons with working knowledge and understanding of special children such as parents, guardians, neighbours, friends, teachers, guidance counsellors, health workers, social workers and others. Aspects to be covered in the identification, screening, assessment and education of children shall cover the following aspects: physical (height, weight, physical deformities, gross and fine motor coordination, hearing, visual acuity, oral hygiene and dental development), psycho-social (family history, personality, bahavior) and educational (learning disabilities, language and speech, medical). As mentioned, appropriate instruments shall be developed or adopted in order to identify handicapping condition as early as possible; it must be on-going; and the synthesis of identification shall be the basis for the appropriate educational placement for the child with special needs.
In a paper presented to the Department of Social Welfare and Development in 2010, it highlighted three (3) phases of assessment in the Philippines: sensing the special need, assessment, intervention. In the first phase, the people involved are the parents, family, siblings, caregiver, teachers, family doctor, the pediatrician and the child. It takes into consideration the impressions, comparisons, reports and complaints, initial assessment and school performance of the child. In the second phase, the diagnosis of the difficulty is given by a medical specialist. Through which, special needs of the child are identified. The child will be then referred to a multidisciplinary team where they consolidate their diagnosis.
The multidisciplinary team may include developmental paediatrician, occupational therapist, speech therapist, physical therapist, reading specialist, educational therapist and music therapist. Intervention of the difficulty start with the formulation of the Individualized Intervention Program (IIP) which is carefully planned by the teacher from the diagnosis under the guidance of case consultants, area specialists, school administrator, psychologist and the parents. The third phase is a continuous process of implementing, monitoring, and re-formulating IIP until such time when the child is able to manage himself and achieve the objectives formulated. However, the country is still at its process in polishing these ideals to conform with the emerging needs of children with special needs. Maria Melisa Rossana C. Sta. Ana, in her article written in 2006 entitled “Education of Children with Multiple Disabilities in the Philippines,” highlighted that though the school curriculum is established, there are still major concerns for the preparation of educational programs and support for children with multiple disability like the lack of available culture-based assessment tools in evaluating students with multiple disabilities. On another note, she points out that many Filipino parents of children with disability cannot see the importance of sending their child to school due to poverty and negative stereotypes.
This gave light to a number of children with disabilities in the Philippines who do not receive proper education support that they need. On another light, there are private schools and foundations catering to children with special needs. One of which is Cupertino Center for Special Education. Their approach to assessment is done through a clinical team approach, special education teachers, occupation and speech therapists and psychologists. Another school which accepts children with special needs is O.B. Montessori Center Inc. (OBMCI). Children with special needs are admitted to OBMCI thru its guidance program where children are identified accordingly (Sta, Ana, 2010). The school gives importance on the professional diagnostic assessment which was made prior to enrolment of assessment to identify the child’s sensory potential, identify the individual needs and development of the individual educational program. This will help determine the child’s strength and limitation which will eventually influence his/her educational program. Filipino parents have very little choice with regard to the education of their special children in the Philippines, especially families in the marginal sector. However, through proper implementation of policies and endeavours in the field of special education, the special education system in the country will progress and each child with disability will receive appropriate education.
Sta. Ana, M. (2010). Education of children with multiple disabilities in the
Philippines. Retrieved February 8,2013 from http://staana.blogspot.com/multipledisabilities Inciong, T. (2005). The development of welfare and education for children with mental retardation towards inclusion: The Philippine experience. Paper Presentation. Retrieved February 8, 2013 from www.deped.gov.ph/regioniva/paper/inciongt Learn more about special education. (2010). PowerPoint Presentation. Retrieved February 8, 2013 from www.slideshare.net/sped/learmoreaboutspedsept19-100920211910phpqapp1 Madrid, M. (2012). A PowerPoint Presentation: Policies and guidelines of special education in the Philippines. Retrieved February 8, 2013 from www.slideshare.net/m_apostol_madrid_s/policies-120427023552phpapp1