Scrap Standardised Testing! UN General Comment on the Right to Inclusive Education 2017
Had you noticed this paragraph (25) in the UN General Comment on the Right to Inclusive Education?
It’s the section where they are noting what they perceive to be some of the barriers that are impeding access for persons with a disability to inclusive education(they mean mainstream or what they call ‘regular learning environments’).
IT”S OFFICIAL- standardised testing is the wrong thing to do if you want inclusion – time for a bonfire of all the tests – the UN says they ‘must be replaced’ – how ‘official’ do you need it to be?
“Curricula must be conceived, designed and applied to meet and adjust to the requirements of every student, and providing appropriate educational responses. Standardised assessments must be replaced by flexible and multiple forms of assessments and recognition of individual progress towards broad goals that provide alternative routes for learning.”
In paras 16 they amplify this when they caution against what they call a ‘deficit’ approach:
The education of persons with disabilities too often focuses on a deficit approach, on their actual or perceived impairment and limiting opportunities to pre-defined and negative assumptions of their potential. States parties must support the creation of opportunities to build on the unique strengths and talents of each individual with a disability.
And in para 18 they caution against excluding anyone because of the degree of their impairment:
Paragraph 2 (a) prohibits the exclusion of persons with disabilities from the general education system, including any legislative or regulatory provisions that limit their inclusion on the basis of their impairment or its “degree”, such as by conditioning their inclusion “to the extent of the potential of the individual”, or by alleging a disproportionate and undue burden to evade the obligation to provide reasonable accommodation. General education means all regular learning environments and the education department. Direct exclusion would be to classify certain students as ‘non-educable’, and thereby ineligible for access to education. Non-direct exclusion would be the requirement to pass a common test as a condition for school entry without reasonable accommodations and support.
Finally this part (Para 10c)of their definition of what they mean by inclusive education is brilliant
(inclusive education is to be understood as) …”the primary means by which persons with disabilities can lift themselves out of poverty, obtain the means to participate fully in their communities, and be safeguarded from exploitation. It is also the primary means through which to achieve inclusive societies.’