This workshop is designed for assessors working with learners who do not have English as a first language, at any stage of the education system. It explores the ways in which working with multilingual learners is different and how the validity of many assessment tools is compromised in that situation. Three main themes are explored during the day-long workshop: assessment issues, communication issues and cultural issues.
'Cognitive Assessments for Multilingual Learners' (CAML) is presented as a suite of materials that assesses a comprehensive range of cognitive functions, without conflating them with English language proficiency, and participants have the opportunity to try out the materials and discuss them in the context of their own settings. A full set of these materials is included in the workshop fee, for participants to take away.
Communication strategies are suggested that can overcome the language barriers that reduce reliability in the assessment of multilingual learners, and participants can take away a set of materials that supports these strategies, related to the CAML assessment suite.
Cultural issues pertaining to perceptions of difference and disability are explored in the context of how to present the findings in the assessment report. Participants have the opportunity to share experience and best practice and to discuss a range of scenarios in order to consider the most appropriate approach to take in their contexts.
This is an intensive day, covering a considerable amount of material, but previous participants report that they have left the workshop feeling 'empowered' and 'inspired', and ready to tackle the perennial problem of distinguishing between difficulties caused by the on-going language learning process, and those that stem from an underlying cognitive difference, such as dyslexia.