Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently asked questions about SASC and assessment practising certificates.

Frequently Asked Questions

SASC aims to respond to current matters relating to the assessment of SpLD. Guidance documents are provided for qualified practitioners so that they may use these to assist them in their practice. A list of current documents can be found by following the links on the right hand side of this page.

Frequently asked questions

The SpLD Assessment Standards Committee (SASC) is a representative organisation for professionally qualified  assessors of specific learning difficulties (SpLD). SASC members work to agreed standards of practice, established collaboratively by the organisation. See About SASC for further information.

SASC is a voluntary body of representative organisations that oversee standards for SpLD assessment. SASC is a not for profit body. See About SASC.

SASC sets standards which are implemented and monitored by the professional membership bodies (BDA, Dyslexia Guild and Patoss); the authorised issuing bodies for Assessment Practising Certificates.

An Assessment Practising Certificate (APC) recognises not only professional achievement but also a commitment to continuing professional development (CPD) and has to be renewed on a regular basis. Therefore, those wishing to hold or renew an APC will be required to demonstrate this commitment by showing how they have regularly updated their professional skills and competence through study, professional discussion, training and practice.

The Assessment Practising Certificate for Specialist Teachers should not be confused with Chartered Psychologist or Practitioner Psychologist registrations. See also FAQs relating to psychologists below.

Patoss, the Dyslexia Guild and the British Dyslexia Association currently award APC certificates for fully qualified specialist teacher assessors.

Assessors must belong to one of these three membership bodies in order to obtain an APC from them. You must also maintain your membership throughout the 3-year issue period to maintain validity of your APC certificate.  

Pressure for effective monitoring of standards in assessment grew both from bodies such as the Department for Education (DfE) and the Joint Council for Qualifications (JCQ) who use assessment reports to make important decisions, and from within the professions themselves.

In 2005 a (DfE approved) working group was set up to consider the whole question of assessments that conferred eligibility for a Disabled Students' Allowance.  The working group recognised and emphasised in its report the need to monitor the quality of assessments, by ensuring that assessments were carried out by people who possessed requisite knowledge and skills to do the job to the highest professional standards.

Assessment Practising Certificates (APCs) were developed in response to this report. They:

  • encourage continuing professional development in the skills of assessment
  • recognise and award these skills
  • are valid for a set period of time only and then will need to be renewed
  • provide a focus for training to enable specialist teachers to achieve the requisite skills.

You will need an Assessment Practising Certificate (APC) for a diagnostic assessment you produce to be used as evidence for a Disabled Students' Allowance. 

However an APC is also recognised as a benchmark standard for all SpLD assessment reports.

You will first need to obtain membership as a specialist teacher assessor with one of the relevant professional bodies (BDA, Dyslexia Guild or Patoss). 

You will then be able to apply for an APC. However, if you completed your qualification over 5 years ago you will need to undertake updating training as  authorised by SASC.

Yes, the SpLD Assessment Practising Certificate is recognised by the JCQ as an approved standard for the provision of reports and evidence for candidates requiring Access Arrangements for school-based and further education examinations.

To be accepted as qualifying evidence  for the Disabled Students' Allowance, an assessment report must be written by:

  • a Specialist Teacher Assessor holding a current APC 
  • OR a Practitioner Psychologist registered with the HCPC

and must follow SASC’s report format and guidelines. SASC also provides guidance on appropriate assessment tests.

No the APC is not relevant for Chartered Psychologists who are recognised by the British Psychological Society (BPS). 

The BPS is no longer overseeing psychologists' practice. Chartered Psychologists must now be registered  with the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC) as a practitioner psychologist.

No, the Assessment Practising Certificate (APC), is for specialist teachers who have followed a SASC approved course of study and can demonstrate their knowledge and competence in both Specific Learning Difficulties and assessment. It is issued by either the BDA, the Dyslexia Guild or Patoss.

A Practitioner Psychologist is a legally registered title certified by the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC). Psychologists should therefore apply to the HCPC.

Professionals other than specialist teachers (e.g. psychologists, speech and language therapists, occupational therapists) wishing to gain the Assessment Practising Certificate (APC)  in SpLD Assessment would need to provide evidence of training in SpLD teaching.

Such training must include synthesizing theory and practice in assessing SpLDs in order to qualify for an APC.

No this is not an approved pathway. While the Test User modules of the Certificate in Occupational Testing (CCOT) are about relevant assessment theory and statistics.  The CCOT is only relevant to occupational testing and not to SpLD assessment leading to an APC.

Continuing Professional Development (CPD) may take place through study, professional discussion, training and practice. It is important to maintain a CPD log containing evidence of ongoing learning and practice in order to build up a CPD portfolio. A CPD log should answer the following
'What have you learned? What would you change as a result? What has been the impact on your practice?'

There are requirements for additional SASC authorised CPD in the first 3 year certification period. This is aimed at better supporting those holding an APC for the first time to encourage the development of assessment and reporting skills for new assessors. Mentoring is strongly recommended. Mentoring could be SASC authorised and meet some of the required authorised hours.

For details of requirements for first time holders of an APC see:
CPD Requirements for all NEW APCs. 

SASC approved courses are listed on the website under CPD Events. Only courses that are currently approved are listed. All providers are required to meet CPD evaluation criteria which are determined by SASC.

Our SASC events do not count as SASC authorised CPD. SASC has a policy to support development of additional quality training from other providers and therefore does not authorise its own conference and presentations.

SASC produces regularly updated lists of assessment tests which are reviewed annually by the SASC Test Evaluation Committee (STEC). See: Test Lists

Lists produced by the SpLD Test Evaluation Committee (STEC) for SASC are designed for assessments which diagnose SpLDs and which may be used as evidence of disability for DSA and other SpLD assessment purposes.

The lists are not designed for Access Arrangements but may be used for reference. Individuals do not have to have a disability to have access arrangements in school examinations.

Under government guidance on Parental Rights and Responsibilities separated parents retain parental rights and responsibilities

“If you have parental responsibility for a child but you do not live with them, it does not mean you have a right to spend time with your children. However, the other parent must include you when making important decisions about their lives.

You do not always need to get the consent of the other parent for routine decisions, even if they also have parental responsibility.

If it's a major decision (for example, one of you wants to move abroad with your children) both parents with responsibility must agree in writing.”

It could be said that to commission a diagnostic assessment, which has the power to identify a long term (life-long) impairment (dyslexia) with a substantial impact on everyday life, would be considered an important decision in a child's life.

It should be the responsibility of the parent to the other parent, and not the responsibility of the assessor to probe into the nature of the parents' relationship. However, it would be advisable to put a question on background questionnaires around this.  For example:

  • Please delete any question if not applicable. Name of commissioning parent/s or guardian/s:
  • Do all those with legal responsibility for the child agree to this assessment?

Did you know?

SASC works closely with representatives from a wide range of professional groups working in or for primary schools, secondary schools, teacher training institutions, local authorities, multi-disciplinary health and learning support units, higher education and further education institutions, prisons and workplace HR. SASC also holds regular consultations with an even broader range of academics, specialists and professionals.