Differentiated Assessments for Learners with Neurodevelopmental Disabilities in Inclusive Elementary Schools in Tanzania
Keywords:Differentiated Assessments, Neurodevelopmental Disabilities (NDD), Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD), Learning Disabilities and Inclusive Education.
AbstractDifferentiated Instructions and modifications in curriculum and assessments are considered a prerequisite for the successful inclusion of learners with disabilities in general education. This qualitative study assessed the current provisions and the aspired changes in the curriculum, assessments, and transition plans for learners with Neurodevelopmental Diversities such as Autism in Tanzania. A total of 21 participants partaken in this study. The participants were obtained through purposive and snowball sampling methods. Data collection methods included in-depth interviews, documentary reviews and non-participant observation. Data were analyzed thematically, aided by the vivo 12. Participants were of the opinion that there is a limited provision with regard to only time (an additional twenty minutes in every hour for mathematics and ten minutes in each hour for other subjects) within the subsidiary legislation of the Examination regulations released by the National Examination Council of Tanzania (NECTA) in 2016. The provision, however, does not mention any neurodevelopmental disabilities in the categories of disabilities and the special provisions entitled to them. Lack of reasonable accommodations in the type and structure of questions, rigid modality of responses to the examination questions for learners with learning disabilities and limited flexibility in time and room arrangements have been mentioned as barriers to proper assessments for such learners. The study concludes that there is a need to embrace the evidence-based practices of responsive education, instead of the “one-size-fits-all” kind of education. This will help to improve the curriculum for all learners instead of the approach to “fix” the deficits of learners with neurodevelopmental disabilities.