An investigative study regarding the Assessment Procedures for students with special needs in private schools in Dubai

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The British University in Dubai (BUiD)
The United Arab Emirates is a relatively young country progressing towards the inclusion of students with special educational needs (SEN) in regular classrooms in the K-12 educational system. The UAE Vision 2021 ensures equal access for students with SEN to general education. The KHDA, a UAE government body responsible for private education sector, revised its guidelines for K-12 education advancing its support for inclusion of children with SEN. The provision of an early intervention can be improved with a comprehensive diagnosis of the children. This helps in the identification of each child’s needs, strengths and problem areas. Additionally, a vast repertoire of assessment processes are utilized in a variety of contexts including the identification procedure of the specific needs or disability, formative and summative tests, informal or standardized examinations in different grades in educational institutions. Appropriate accommodations and modifications form a significant component of these assessment procedures. The present study investigated the identification procedures of children with SEN and explored the assessment procedures including the accommodations or modifications used in private schools in Dubai. In addition, this project examined the obstacles faced by educators in practicing special assessment procedures, and made a few recommendations to enhance the support services available to children with SEN. The identification of SEN involves significant understanding of the need for diagnosis, validity of assessment practices, criteria on which the identifications are based, and professionals involved in the diagnosis. Student engagement in the academic context needs to be recorded and assessed for evidence of learning as well as enhancing further learning formatively. Assessment accommodations alter the way the student is instructed or tested, whereas modifications change the learning outcomes. The assessment procedures including the accommodations or modifications do not give any unfair advantage to these students but only safeguard the participation of children with SEN. An international concern about equal opportunities and the basic educational rights of children has promoted legislation regarding these issues by the national governments over the past two decades. The UAE federal law gained momentum from the 2006 UN Convention on the Rights of persons with Disabilities. The UAE federal law no 29/2006 caters to the basic educational rights of all the children. These national laws constitute the legal background for provision of equal access to regular schools for children with disabilities.
private schools, Dubai, United Arab Emirates (UAE), K-12 educational system, Special Education Needs (SEN), educational institutions