Assessment as a Service Not a Place: Transitioning Assessment Centers to School-Based Identification Systems
The World Health Organization and World Bank (2011) estimate that there are more than 1 billion people with disabilities in the world. To address this population’s diverse needs, the United Nations drafted their Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) in 2006. Article 24 (Education) of the CRPD requires ratifying countries to develop an inclusive education system to address the educational needs of students with disabilities alongside their peers without disabilities. Despite substantive improvements and movement toward inclusive education, many low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) continue to struggle with accurately identifying and supporting students with disabilities, including knowing how to effectively screen, evaluate, and qualify students for additional services (Hayes, Dombrowski, Shefcyk, & Bulat, 2018a). These challenges stem from the lack of policies, practices, and qualified staff related to screening and identification.
As a result, many students with less-apparent disabilities—such as children with learning disabilities—remain unidentified and do not receive the academic supports they need to succeed in school (Friend & Bursuck, 2012). This guide attempts to address the lack of appropriate, useful disability screening and identification systems and services as countries look to educate all students in inclusive settings. Specifically, this guide introduces viable options for screening and identification related to vision, hearing, and learning disabilities in inclusive classrooms in LMICs. It also provides guidance on how LMICs can transition from an assessment-center model toward a school-based identification model that better serves an inclusive education system.