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Manchester Institute of Education

Amanda Hipkiss

Previous education / experience

  • MA in Education (Inclusion) 
  • Secondary school teacher for 35 years
  • SENCO for 25 years
  • Advisory teacher
  • Education consultant

Thesis title

Development of a model for the identification and management of student assessment needs: utilising student voice and student experience

Supervisors

Research details

End-of-school educational assessments are a crucial gateway for young people’s future prospects and transitions. Accordingly, assessment ‘access arrangements’ have been developed in many countries in order to enable students with disabilities and additional needs to access the most appropriate end-of-school programmes of study and to complete them successfully. Such arrangements typically include provisions such a reader, extra time, or a rest break; less typically, a student may use a scribe, text to speech software, or receive oral modification of the test paper or a prompt to stay on task.

The range of access provisions available and the criteria for ‘eligibility’ have developed over time, and have been subject to continued critical scrutiny with regard to rationale, manageability, assessment integrity, and notions of ‘fairness’ to different groups of students. Schools’ capacities and approaches to managing needs identification and the making of provisions has been consistently highlighted; accordingly, different approaches to the management of student assessment needs in schools have been adopted. Most recently, technological advances have expanded the possibility for technologically based provisions.

Researchers have taken a variety of approaches to student needs identification, though integration of disability identification, functional skills norm referencing, analysis of student behaviour in assessment, and the student voice on the educational assessment experience, are not clearly justified, present or coherently integrated. Theoretical confusion over needs identification for access provisions has led to professional dissatisfaction, unmet student needs, and vulnerabilities to professional challenge through unreliable student assessment systems.

Research and theoretical development relating to educational assessment opportunities for students with additional needs has been a generally underdeveloped area, particularly outside the United States. This has led to significant local, national and international disparities of practice in making educational assessments accessible to individuals identified within different disability groups. An empirical study has been carried out indicating that work leading to a proposed universal protocol for the management of educational assessment is needed, though there is the need to carry out a feasibility study of the proposed protocol’s operation – this is the basis of the current study.

Research interests

  • Student learning
  • Student voice
  • Student participation
  • Equality
  • Assessment and examinations

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