SpLD/Dyslexia Assessment Training

Practical Skills Outcomes

It is expected that an accredited course, approved by the SpLD Assessment Standards Committee [SASC] or the BDA will enable the candidate to:

  • understand the nature of specific learning difficulties and identify learners with specific learning difficulties
  • demonstrate an understanding of the affective issues observed in learners with specific learning difficulties
  • understand the theory and application of psychometric and educational assessment 
  • identify appropriate methods and materials both for screening learners and for assessing their individual needs
  • select appropriate assessment materials, administer tests correctly and interpret resulting data accurately
  • produce professional reports written in a language easily accessible to non-specialists
  • make teaching and learning and assessment recommendations that are directly linked to assessment findings and subject's needs
  • understand current legal and professional issues, rules and regulations relating to or affecting SpLD/dyslexic individuals
  • complete relevant forms and reports to meet varied individual needs
  • understand all aspects of processing documentation and managing special arrangements for SpLD/dyslexic learners
  • communicate effectively findings and implications of any assessments to relevant individuals both orally and in writing as required, with due regard for building a positive framework.

Evidence Requirements:

  • evidence of practical application of above skills
  • assessment reports stemming from 3 different scenarios, demonstrating the ability to assess students/pupils from different learning situations who present different patterns of ability and difficulty
  • tutors' or mentors' reports on 3 assessments carried out under supervision, one of which is observed (video/dvd evidence acceptable)
  • logs of assessment.

Recommendations for training:

  • practical exercises in data analysis including use of previously videoed sessions performed by others inclusion of simulation exercises making use of:
    1. video/dvd evidence covering appropriate age ranges
    2. genuine raw data
    3. practice in writing specific objectives linked to subject's needs
  • opportunities for tutor-led and peer discussions of genuine case studies relating to special arrangements, Disabled Student Allowances, examination access arrangements, other assessment requirements as may be relevant
  • training in the skills of observing pupils'/students' strategies and listening to their explanations of strengths and difficulties; using these to expand the process of exploration
  • training in highlighting the difficulties in identifying learners who have developed compensatory strategies, but which might not be sufficient for the increased demands of their next level of studies
  • candidates should generate reports on evidence found within the age groups where they are qualified as a specialist teacher and in their own place of work where possible.
  • practitioners must recognise that proper liaison and co-operation with learners/ teachers/ tutors and examination personnel is necessary and that it is wholly inappropriate to produce reports without this candidates wishing to qualify across the age range should carry out a minimum of 3 assessments under supervision, one of which is observed in the adult range and one in each of the other two, one of which is observed.
  • candidates wishing to qualify across in one age range should carry out a minimum of 3 assessments under supervision, one of which is observed.
  • training should include the writing of reports of a professional standard which are accessible to the intended audience.


As part of CPD practitioners will be expected to extend their skills by making use of post-qualification mentoring. The assessment award can be earned within the provisions of a SASC or BDA approved course as long as certain criteria are met:

  • assessments actual and simulated must be carried out with subjects in age ranges appropriate to the candidate's area of work
  • a minimum of 3 assessments must be carried out under supervision, one of which must be observed.


Such training could be pursued with top-up courses of 60 hours, for candidates who have other SpLD qualifications, or possibly SEN qualifications, wanting and needing to move into this field. SENCOs might fit into this category as well as individuals with Approved Teacher Status of the British Dyslexia Association (BDA ATS) or other SpLD Certificate Level candidates. From academic year 2007/2008 assessors have been  required to have a current Assessment Practising Certificate. Assessors are able to apply on the basis of their current qualifications. Those qualified as psychologists or specialist teachers (for specialist teachers, those qualifications approved for Full Membership of Patoss or for AMBDA are suitable for this purpose) will be eligible for a current Practising Certificate from their relevant professional body. Individuals who do not hold such qualifications may apply to their professional body to have their qualifications and experience considered based on Accreditation of Prior Learning and/or Experience (APL/APE) or pursue further training. SASC maintains registers of individuals holding current practising certificates. Patoss provides lists of Tutors and Assessors who hold relevant qualifications. See About Tutor/Assessor Index on this website.