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Freeman College: Therapeutic approaches to assessment for 14-19 year old learners with complex learning difficulties and/or disabilities

Principal focus of the project

This project focused on developing and implementing an innovative assessment approach for 14-19 learners with SEND within a local authority. It aimed to provide more appropriate placement decisions to match the needs of learners, while also providing better information to inform the commision of provision and development of local provisions. A need had been identified to re-examine assessment processes to define ALS learning requirements against national recommendations. Assessment documentation was produced with an emphasis on the final summative assessment report being in a format that reinforced assessment independence. It was formalised to include practical therapeutic crafts designed to enable learners to take something physical away from the assessment.

Areas of learning
What is this about and what were the main findings?

Learners responded positively to the therapeutic craft sessions, and the research reports them taking pride and joy in making items to take home with them. Due to the nature of the learners' SEND needs, the project experienced difficulty getting the learners to complete the assessment days, with several learners leaving part way through. The research nevertheless indicates that sufficient evidence could be collected to justify learners achieving awards based on NOCL FL credits. The project produced assessment reports personalised to learners, made the assessment reports reader friendly and easier to digest, and shared their summative reports with other local authorities to allow good practice to spread beyond the project's scope. Data was gathered through observation of practiuce and custom tests/assessments. 

Resource form
Number of participants who worked with the project
Name(s) of authors

Freeman College


A report on the development of assessment criteria and materials for learners with SEND through the use of practical skills therapeutic approaches.

Resource Type: Report, Research report
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