SpLD assessment tools
The list of suitable tests for the assessment of specific learning difficulties (SpLD) in Higher Education is a key part of the National Assessment Framework for Applications for Disabled Students' Allowances. The purpose of the list is to promote quality and consistency in the Disabled Students' Allowances (DSA) process.
STEC - SpLD Test Evaluation Committee
STEC serves to review this list periodically and consider new tests for inclusion.
STEC updated guidance and other relevant documents can be accessed from here. Updated guidance has been released, September 2013 and is downloadable from this page. Interim updates are below.
Wechsler Abbreviated Scale of
Intelligence® - Second Edition (WASI®-II) The WASI
II is acceptable for DSA assessments in all areas the WASI I was listed. The
WASI II is an updated version of the assessment battery. The WASI I is still
acceptable as long as the forms are available.
Woodcock-Reading Mastery Tests: 3rd Edition (WRMT-III). Pearson. 5-75+ years
STEC approve the revised edition of this test battery with the following cautionary note:
In the absence of the publishers/importers providing (a) a re-standardisation to accommodate UK culture and normative standards and (b) guidance/substituted materials on word/picture/phrase substitutions for Americanisms and other cultural features, STEC advises users to apply the necessary caution when administering the test. Notwithstanding this point, it is STEC’s view that it considers this test useful and appropriate to administer for the purposes intended.
STEC response to recent debate about WRIT
The purpose of an ability test is to eliminate general learning difficulties and to examine potential – the WRIT can do both. A comparison between the WRIT and the WAIS is not particularly helpful as Verbal Analogies and Similarities are not measuring the same thing. Most people using the WRIT are well aware that there is some cultural bias as the test was not developed in the UK.
Tests don't diagnose, people do'. An assessment is a differential diagnosis which uses a battery of tests to come to a conclusion about strengths and weaknesses and does not rely on any individual test for a diagnosis. Specialist Dyslexia Assessors do not only rely on the WRIT scores or a working memory deficit to make a diagnosis of dyslexia. They use data from other tests and take into account the verbal abilities of the student throughout the whole assessment process, noting receptive and expressive language skills. The assessment will also look at difficulties with working memory, phonological weakness and speed of processing, literacy weaknesses and specific skills associated with reading and writing. Additional testing may be carried out if supplementary evidence is required.
Terms of Reference and Minutes of STEC meetings are accessible from the downloads page.