LON12/06/18 Looking Beyond the Scores - Assessment of HE and Adults: SASC Authorised

Date: 12/06/2018

Location: Ambassadors, Bloomsbury London

Price (per person): Members £155, Non-members £185

23 Spaces Remaining

LON12/06/18 Looking Beyond the Scores - Assessment of HE and Adults: SASC Authorised

Location: London

Presenter: Rachel Simpson

Booking Ref: LON12/06/18

Day of Week: Tuesday

Course Times:  10.00am to 4.15pm (Registration from 9.30am)

Link to Venue: Ambassadors Hotel, Bloomsbury


The course explores in depth the impact that qualitative information can have on diagnostic decisions when assessing adults. Areas that will be considered include; background information; observation of behaviours and strategies; analysis of responses; test design; and the effects of education and experience on cognitive processes, “intelligence” and language knowledge.

Course Description

When assessing adults, qualitative analysis of test results becomes extremely important because of the range of factors which can potentially mask or exaggerate the extent of an individual’s difficulties. The course will explore how assessors can identify and make use of vital “clues” to develop a deeper understanding of an individual’s profile. It will include a review of research on factors such as the Flynn Effect, Matthew Effect, rapid naming, and average working memory and consider how analysis of responses and behaviours in intelligence tests (with particular reference to WRIT) and cognitive processing tests can sometimes provide a very different picture from that being presented by the scores. It will also take an in depth look at how test design can affect outcomes in reading and writing tests, and how this can sometimes explain apparent contradictions between test scores and the individual’s own report of difficulties.  The day will aim to develop assessor’s skills in identifying and analysing qualitative clues, to enable them to be more confident in making and reporting their diagnoses.

  1. A review of research on the Flynn Effect, Matthew Effect and average working memory.  This will be followed by detailed examination of a range of typical response and error patterns in WRIT, digit span tests, rapid naming tests and symbol/digit modalities - what do these patterns reveal about an individual, what do they reveal about the tests used, and how do they link to strengths and weaknesses in everyday tasks?

  2. Exploration of the role that background information, observation, and error analysis can play in making a diagnosis. This will be done by considering 3 profiles, each with the same set of borderline scores, but with very different background information, patterns of error and behavioural/attitudinal responses. We will evaluate how this qualitative information might influence decisions about whether the individual has underlying cognitive weaknesses and/or difficulties with literacy skills.

  3. What is meant by “reading speed”, “reading comprehension” and “writing speed.” Estimates of reading and writing speeds vary enormously, and apparently similar tests may be measuring very different aspects of reading or writing. This can affect scores and diagnostic decisions (particularly in relation to adults in HE). Delegates will be provided with extracts from commonly used reading and writing tests and we will jointly  consider how the test designs can affect an individual’s performance.

Course Outcome

  • Understanding of some evolutionary changes and constants in human intelligence and cognitive processing. 
  • Enhanced knowledge of qualitative factors that affect test outcomes and how these can be analysed to provide a better understanding of the individual’s profile
  • Deeper understanding of the impact of test design upon outcomes

Pre-requisites: No pre-requisites in terms of resources needed


Delegates are expected to hold a relevant qualification in the diagnostic assessment of SpLD. [Level 7 or equivalent qualification])

Target Audience

Assessors working in HE and with Adults

SpLD Assessment Standards Committee Authorised CPD

[1] SASC – is the national SpLD Assessment Standards Committee. This cross-organisational body sets the standards required for Assessment Practising Certificates and oversees and monitors the awarding process. For those professionals seeking to update an Assessment Practising Certificate, this event will contribute 5 hours to the core assessment practice CPD requirements. If you have any questions on this aspect please contact the Patoss office or see the SASC website at: www.sasc.org.uk 


Rachel Simpson

Rachel Simpson is part of the Oxford SpLD Tutor Group and has worked for the past 8 years at Oxford Brookes University, initially as an In-house Specialist Dyslexia SpLD Tutor and then as a freelance Tutor and Assessor. This experience has given her a useful insight into some of the difficulties of being an independent tutor, whilst also benefiting from the advantages of being part of a highly experienced and supportive team. She has written a chapter on “How to Make the Most of Your Lectures”, and contributed to a chapter on “Reading Strategies”, for the 3rd Edition of Study Skills for Students with Dyslexia: Support for Specific Learning Differences (SpLDS) edited by Sandra Hargreaves and Jamie Crabb.
Prior to becoming a Specialist Dyslexia/SpLD Tutor Rachel had taught History (GCSE, A Level and Access), Basic Literacy and Numeracy, and English as a Foreign Language in FE Colleges and Basic Skills centres in the UK and Cyprus, and in Hong Kong University School of Professional and Continuing Education. More recently she also taught the PG Diploma in Assessment of SpLDs at London Metropolitan University from 2011-2016, with responsibility for updating the course design to meet changing assessment requirements.