LON20/11/18 Assessing Learners (post-16 years old) with EAL and/or Complex Linguistic Backgrounds

Date: 20/11/2018

Location: Ambassadors, Bloomsbury London

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

48 Spaces Remaining

LON20/11/18 Assessing Learners (post-16 years old) with EAL and/or Complex Linguistic Backgrounds

Location: London

Presenters: Caroline Holden

Booking Ref: LON20/11/18

Day of Week: Tuesday

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

Link to VenueAmbassadors Hotel, Bloomsbury

In the UK 438,010 international students (91,215 from China) study in H.E. One in eight 16-18 year-olds at school / college in the UK have an EAL background. This workshop will enhance understanding of the issues involved in assessing students with English as an additional language / complex linguistic histories for specific learning difficulties. 

Course Description

This is a practical workshop linking theory to practice. Participants will work collaboratively to design a screening or diagnostic interview and to discuss critically the use and interpretation of tests in the diagnostic assessment of students with EAL / complex linguistic histories. There will be a focus on distinguishing between literacy difficulties arising from the learners’ language history and risk factors more likely to be linked to a dyslexic / dyspraxic profile. The use of standardised assessment tools will be analysed using case studies, exploring how best to report findings of qualitative and quantitative data. Finally, the course will address the wording of the conclusion and recommendations sections of a diagnostic report.

The participants must be assessors working either in further or higher education. While access arrangements will be discussed, the workshop aims primarily to help assessors implement SASC guidelines for full diagnostic assessments with reference to EAL learners.

This one-day hands-on workshop will cover:

  • Typical variations in the EAL / complex linguistic backgrounds assessors encounter.
  • Using theory and research to help identify the ‘risk factors’ for a specific learning difficulty that an EAL learner may present.
  • Using tests and interpreting test results.
  • Establishing sufficient converging evidence and wording the report.

Course Outcome

The course will enable an assessor to gain confidence in identifying a specific learning difficulty, where appropriate, in a learner with an EAL profile or complex linguistic history. It covers theory and the practical application of theory through developing screening tools, exploring typical language-specific patterns of error and critically discussing test use.


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


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

Target Audience

Assessors working in either H.E. or F.E.

SpLD Assessment Standards Committee Authorised CPD

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


Caroline Holden

Caroline is a qualified teacher with forty years teaching and assessment experience at primary, secondary, further and tertiary levels in the U.K. In 1998  she qualified as a specialist teacher and assessor of students with specific learning difficulties and  now holds a 3- times- renewed practising certificate. Initially working freelance as a tutor / assessor, she also spent 5 years’ working as an external verifier and examiner for the OCR Diploma SpLD course. 

From 2006 - 2017 she worked, at various points, in a range of part-time roles as an assessor and tutor for students with specific learning difficulties at two London universities,  University College London and Imperial, while, for part of that time, being self-employed as a tutor / assessor, teaching students with specific learning difficulties from the ages of 6 to adult from my home, as well as providing full and access arrangements assessments for schools in three London boroughs, Wandsworth, Merton and Kingston –upon Thames. From 2006 her role and post at UCL was gradually extended and made permanent and she provided assessment and tutorial support and, eventually, took on a managerial role, coordinating services for students with SpLDs at UCL until her retirement in July 2017. she continues to work part-time on a freelance basis, carrying out assessments for UCL. 

Caroline has organised and / or contributed to initial and in-service training for assessors in teaching and assessing students with specific learning difficulties, specialising in the assessment, at H.E. Level, of students with English as an additional language. For the past five years, she has been a member of STEC (a sub-committee of SASC) which reviews and recommends test materials for use in the assessment of students for specific learning difficulties at H.E. level. Recently she become a board member of SASC, the SpLD Standards Assessment Committee.  

Caroline has always enjoyed working collaboratively with colleagues to explore issues arising from the assessment of students for specific learning difficulties. Over the past 20 years assessment for SpLDs has become more complex and challenging and she is interested in how best practice in diagnostic assessment can be promoted and supported in this changing landscape.