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Tudástár >> Sajátos nevelési igényű tanulók >> A befogadó iskolák értékelési gyakorlata >> III. rész: Country Report on the Assessment Policy of Students with Special Educational Needs in Hungary

Country Report on Assessment Policy Concerning Pupils with Special Educational Needs in Hungary – An Overview of Good Practices

2009. június 17.

Country Report on Assessment Policy concerning Pupils with Special Educational Needs in Hungary – An Overview of Good Practices

prepared by the Centre for School Development and Integration of the National Institute for Public Education on the commission of the Ministry of Education

1. Overview

1.1. The system of the special education institutions

In Hungary education for children with special educational needs is traditionally provided in segregated, often boarding schools organised according to the type and degree of a given disability. The concerned pupils are brought up being far from their families. In primary education there are separate schools for the blind, the partially sighted, the deaf, those of hard of hearing, the physically disabled and the mentally disabled. These segregated special schools – while they can provide education at a good or excellent level – often place obstacles in the path of those concerned thus making it difficult for pupils with special educational needs to fit in with others. Pupils brought up segregated from the whole of the society find their ways around hard, they find it difficult to get around in the world of the unimpaired, in their social career they are at disadvantage as from their very early years they had got used to being segregated from the majority of the society.

1.2. Inclusive education – integration of pupils with special educational needs

The Act on Public Education made inclusive education possible for the first time in 1993. In addition to regulations, providing the conditions for the integrated education of pupils with special educational needs requires the use of many other instruments as well. The most important ones are: creating the material, technical and environmental conditions of integration, developing the pedagogical methodology for integrating education, introducing initial integrating teacher training, providing in-service training for teachers with the aim of increasing their social sensitivity and attitudes, and creating a material interestedness which is greater than at present.

1.3. Supportive educational policy

In the Hungarian system of public education integration is present as an educational policy, social and pedagogical objective. Public education policy puts emphasis on financing; the regulations favour the integration of those with disabilities. The aim of integrated education is to achieve that all children, regardless of the fact that they are impaired due to some damage or other reasons could participate in institutional education without being discriminated or segregated.

The Ministry of Education has developed comprehensive integration reforms. The amendment to the Act on Public Education is to have the effect that in the process of education and in the work of the related organisations anti-discriminative efforts will be stronger, exclusion of groups of weaker lobbying power will be less frequent and their participation in achieving the objectives of public education will be strengthened. With the interests of pupils from both disadvantaged background and with special educational needs in view, the medium-term measures of the public education strategy are aimed at reducing the inequality of chances.

To enhance social integration and equal chances is priority in the Government programme is as well. A strong educational policy stance is presented by the sub-measure 2.1 of the Operational Programme for Human Resource Development of the National Development Plan "Providing equal chances in thy educational system for pupils at disadvantage”. In accordance with the strategic objectives of the Operational Programme for Human Resource Development the programme contributes to creating chances on the labour market and to preventing social exclusion by ensuring access to quality education and supporting services. The main objective of the process of development is to create an integrative school system, in which schools adapt to the diversity manifested in various cultural, intellectual and learning needs among children. The development programme of public education measures (by the Hungarian acronym HEFOP 2.1.) reconsiders the educational objectives in order to ensure equal chances for children with special educational needs.

1.4. The present practice of inclusive education

At institutional level

The development of the information society makes it possible that disability stands not for inability, lack of abilities but for a situation, in which the quality of life – also that of children with special educational needs – can be improved by changing the environment. Although it is a generally accepted that children with special educational needs attending mainstream schools are partly or wholly exempted from going to school, this situation has started to change in the past ten years. The access to special equipment and medical aids makes it possible to avoid exemption.

In the past ten years as a reaction to parents’ initiatives but also to those of mainstream and special institutions individual, incidental solutions connected to certain institutions have appeared. Many of the special institutions have turned into methodological centres and by their services, active cooperation, exploiting spontaneous relations helped inclusion to become effective. In the absence of active support these initiatives remained discrete and could not give general solutions.

At classroom level

In addition to summative assessment the role of diagnostic and formative assessment has strengthened. This change is decisive from the aspect of integrated education.

According to legal regulations assessment in report forms has become practice at schools.

Research has been carried out to reveal good practices at schools and how curriculum, teaching material, classroom processes, achievements in individual development of pupils and assessment can be connected.

The role, importance, values and everyday practice of pedagogical evaluation processes other than assessment, monitoring diagnostic-formative assessment can be illustrated by examples of institutions. This denotes a pedagogical assessment practice, which realizes the equal management and mutual respect of normative information (curriculum requirements) and the empirical information manifest in pupils’ products broken down according to the phases of the learning-teaching process.

Pupil portfolios suitable for individual monitoring of pupils are accessible for special institutions and they seem to get used by the host institutions as well.

The integrated education of pupils with special educational needs and the adaptive organisation of the learning process as well as the assessment practice of the school are inseparable. Flexible, differentiated, adaptive organisation of the learning process and arrangement of teaching material, which take into consideration individual features and ensure the possibility for individual development, a well-structured assessment system are essential institutional conditions for inclusive education. The presented good practices support this.

1.5. Aspects for selecting good practices

In Hungary, in the early 1990s several schools were involved in innovation, sought ways for modernizing their institutional practice and for becoming an institution that focuses on individuals. It was at that time that alternative schools with reformed pedagogical attitudes were founded. These schools placed the learner and not the teaching material into the centre of their educational philosophy, they broke with the rigidity of uniformity, of expectations being the same for each pupil and developing individual skills. Similarly to some mainstream general schools they developed their own pedagogical systems in their own way. In Chapter 2 the practice of such host schools are presented that have a several-year history of inclusive education of pupils with special educational needs and of an untraditional, personalized assessment practice and have publications on their experiences and achievements.

We have no comprehensive research data on how inclusive assessment is carried out in public education institutions in Hungary. Therefore based on data from action research and analyses of pedagogical programmes we present the assessment practice of the host institutions that officially undertake to educate pupils with special educational needs. Among them there are alternative schools, innovative general schools and secondary schools. In these institutions the procedure of inclusive assessment is defined in the pedagogical programmes and in practice assessment by grades is replaced by assessment in report forms.

While analysing best practices it is always the most characteristic institutional practice that is presented.

2. Assessment in inclusive classrooms

2.1. General features and pedagogical programmes of the institutions

Children House

This alternative school has worked since 1991. Its main objective is to provide a safe, naturally inclusive environment for all children, irrespective of their individual abilities, development paces, motivation for learning. In this spirit the program has undertaken the total integration of pupils with special educational needs since the school year of 1993/94. In 22-24-member groups 2 or 3 pupils with special educational needs learn together with their healthy classmates. In this work teachers are helped by several permanent and if needed by travelling special education teachers.

In order to achieve effectiveness teachers in this programme use differentiated procedures of adaptive organisation of learning based on cooperation with children and on their active, activity-based learning. Differentiated arrangement of learning material is practised and the task and activity lines are set up continually. In the first six years pupils get personalized assessment reports in which feedback is given on their development in learning, performance as well as the development of their personal and social competencies.

Istvánffy Miklós General School

This school has worked since 1997. In the school year 1989/90 the teachers of this school launched a programme of developing activities aimed at the modernization of their school. As a result a model individual-centred, comprehensive pedagogical system was created, which provided possibilities for individual development of pupils, for catch-up programmes and support for gifted pupils. Its main features are a flexible curriculum, a well-structured assessment system, differentiating adaptive organisation of learning, accurate diagnosing.

Since 1996 they have been consciously integrating pupils with special educational needs. During the adaptive organisation of the learning process they adapt not only to disabled but all pupils. This individual-based, flexible organisation is the basis of successful integration. This makes it possible that the integrated education of pupils with mild mental disabilities (learning difficulties), physical disabilities and hearing/visual impairment be successful. Practice shows that inclusive education is effective when the proportion of pupils with special educational needs is 10 to 15 percent. In this work teachers are helped by a special education teacher.

Their assessment system is diagnostic, flexible and one that reveals processes. In years 1–3 there are no grades given but pupil performances are assessed in a report. As a result of more than 15 years of innovation the institution has become the basis school of the region, a scene for in-service trainings, professional visits and internships.

Neumann János Secondary General and Technical School with advanced programme in Informatics

This school has worked since 1988. Integrated education was started then as well – in the very first years of their operation they already accepted pupils with physical or sensory disabilities. Today more than forty pupils with special educational needs (with physical disabilities, visual or hearing impairment) attend the school. According to the teachers’ staff the idea of inclusion was suggested by the social environment. A part of the pupils attend secondary school classes, while the others study in vocational classes.

A general principle is that the teacher undertaking inclusive education on a voluntary basis organises the lessons and testing in a way that the development of all pupils are ensured. In this work teachers are helped by special education teachers as well. The conscious undertaking of integration in secondary schools is not common in Hungary: legal regulations in force do not make it possible to assess students’ performances in reports. The institution adapts to special needs by using formative assessment and by the flexibility of assessment. The motto of the teachers is: a minimum of allowance and a maximum of help in all situations, in assessment as well.

Selecting the applied assessment methods

Children House

The choice was made along the basic principles formulated in the pedagogical programme of the institute – with the agreement of the teachers’ staff. Their aim is that assessment should not classify but give an account of the state of development; it should give an account of how much the student has developed compared to the previous stage of their development and how much they exhausted their own abilities.

The assessment system was elaborated by the teachers of Children House. As a basis they used the assessment practice of alternative schools. Having become familiar with and having analysed those practice the teacher at Children House elaborated their own assessment practice. The system is flexible and constantly modified on the basis of feedback from teachers, parents and students. A long period of analysing work preceded the extension of assessment in report forms until the sixth year. The assessment system of Children House is described in detail in the Pedagogical programme of the institution. Having collected adequate theoretical and practical experiences the practice of assessing student performances in reports has been used since 2001/2002, made possible by the amendment to the law in 1996.

When students change schools, the assessment in report forms could be changed into assessment by giving grades starting from the fourth year. In practice it happens by getting to agreement in interpreting assessment aspects, interim measurements, and monthly feedback from teachers and expressing all this in grades. From the seventh year they would use normative assessment thus ensuring the smooth transition to higher classes.

Istvánffy Miklós General School

By developing methods for assessing pupils’ performances descriptions in pedagogical works were taken into consideration. This was the basis of the assessment system that initially was developed for restricted use but later became part of the pedagogical programme.

The practice of pedagogical assessment is an important element in the twofold regulation of the teaching-learning process. The basis of assessment is the equal management and mutual observance in the phases of the teaching-learning process of both the normative information as stated in the objectives and the empirical information manifest in achievements.

While developing the assessment procedures the teachers paid special attention to observe the methodological requirements. They assess how pupils develop compared to their previous development stages. In this process they do not relate performance to standards but the standards are broken down to stages by empirical approach based on psychological theories. This represents the "average level” as a point of reference.

The applied methods are selected by the community of teachers in accordance with the Act on Public Education. The principles of assessment are described in the pedagogical programme of the institution. At school the assessing behaviour of teachers and the self-assessment of pupils are characterized by relying in positive features, and confirmation of the achievements, successes. Accomplishable activities adapted to individual abilities make joyful, failure-free learning possible. At the same time the actual abilities of a given pupils cannot be neglected while assessing their performance, it should be assessed to what extent they used their own abilities to accomplish the task. Discussing and correcting errors is done together. Accepting errors and considering then as a part of the learning process provides an atmosphere of security and free pupils from distress.

Assessment in the first place serves diagnostic monitoring and development and its system is unambiguously not norm- but criterion-oriented, i. e. quality-centred. The aim of diagnostic assessment is not to quality (mark) performances but to explore who are the ones who have already accomplished a concrete activity element and who are the ones who have not. Individual development plans are based on this.

Instead of marking assessment in report forms revealing the process character and delicate structure of the development of abilities was used first in years 1–3 and later in years 4–6 as well.

In the framework of formative assessment used in the process of learning it is the motivation basis of learning that is aimed to be developed. Checking and assessing of each work of the pupils is done together in a group and this assessment is based on finding positive elements, acknowledging and rewarding achievements but also revealing errors and their causes and suggesting ways of improvement. In this way in errors pupils see the possibilities of achieving better results and not an experience of failure. As a summative assessment pupils and their parents are sent a letter at the end of each term. In this letter the achievements are described in details. The possibilities for progress are left open making sure that the time necessary for development will be given.

Summary

In the assessment practice of the analysed institutions the qualifying function of assessment remains in the background. The importance of diagnostic and formative assessment is emphasised. The need for individual development, relying on positive features, joint exploration of the causes and correction of errors characterize the presented assessment systems. Instead of marking in the first three or six years assessment in report forms is used. The developing, formative function of assessment can be traced in secondary school practice as well within the boundaries of marking.

There is no uniform recipe for selecting assessment systems; schools themselves have to develop their own systems. In doing so existing good practices can be used as a basis but these models always have to be adapted to the aims and tasks of the given school. If the assessment concept of the school places diagnostic, formative approaches in the foreground instead of a result-oriented approach, it will find the assessment system suitable for that. In searching for that system models, literature and professional cooperation can be of assistance.

2.2. The extent of flexibility, adaptation to diverse abilities

Children House Alternative Grounding Programme

In the pedagogical programme of the institution the first four years are regarded as one unit. The institute does not make any selection when enrolling pupils and accepts that there may be very big differences among children according to their cognitive development, pace of development and also knowledge brought from home and the level of motivation for learning. The main objective of the Children House is to provide a safe, naturally inclusive environment for all children, irrespective of their individual abilities, capacities and pace of development. The credo of teachers in this programme is that the primary and essential task of the general school is to develop solid basic skills for all children. Therefore they provide as many opportunities and as varied activities for their pupils as many and as varied they need for developing solid skills. Their main objective is to achieve that each pupil could achieve the optimum level of development appropriate for their individual abilities and pace of development.

In this sense the curriculum of Children House does not prescribe requirements, conditions for going on to the next year for the first four years broken down by years. Diverse aims, contents and requirements – observing the curriculum guidelines for pupils with special educational needs – are printed in different typographies for each year. Differences in the pace of progress are dealt with differentiated adaptive organisation of the learning process, differentiated arrangement of teaching material and tailored assessment. Pupils do not compete with each other, they are rather encouraged to cooperate and help each other. To achieve this co-operative teaching methods are used. These classroom management procedures provide opportunities for flexibly adapting learning to the actual level of a given pupil irrespective of borders set by school years. By using assessment in report forms individual development can be assessed and individual differences can also be managed – as opposed to uniform, normative assessment.

Istvánffy Miklós General School

In their pedagogical programme the teachers agreed the main function of the first 4 years is creating solid foundations, to acquire, practice and apply the instruments, techniques, personality features, attitudes necessary for later learning and education. Therefore in this institute 3, 4 or 5 years are considered as the grounding phase – for the exceptionally quick ones it could be three years, for the exceptionally slow ones five years. Within this the phasing would be determined by the pace of acquisition of curriculum norms (requirements).

The grounding phase is broken down to school years according to the legal regulations in force, similarly to traditional organisations. A very important principle is that pupils should go on to the next phase (from one grade to the other) when it is sure that they can do effective work there, lack of skills, activities insufficiently practized do not hinder them in progress. Therefore it is essential that teachers could use as much time for certain areas as necessary for meeting curriculum requirements (within four years and with flexible minimum and optimum levels).

The grounding and skills-developing functions of the first phase are considered to be primary. Their experiences show the pupils who progress slowly need extra time in these very first years. Slower and quicker paces of development are both regarded as normal. By avoiding or at least reducing psychological damages caused by failure the necessary extra time is provided for pupils developing at a slower pace. At the same time such conditions are created for pupils progressing at a quicker pace that do not restrict but facilitate and encourage quicker development. The especially gifted students, if they are gifted in a certain field, "certificates” are given to certify that they have met the requirements of the given grade in one or more subjects.

Neumann János Secondary General and Technical School with advanced programme in Informatics

The institute regards as its significant task the integrated education of visually impaired (blind and partially sighted and hearing-impaired (deaf or hard of hearing) as well as pupils with physical disabilities in an integrated way. Pupils with disabilities take part in all classes together with their healthy classmates, no separate training or lessons are organised for them but by adjusting the learning environment to their needs they can follow the learning processes, can actively join the work carried out in the classroom (they can use computers for taking notes, use Dictaphones, there is enough room and tools for moving around or from one place to another). There is special equipment for teaching informatics for the blind pupils, which are adjusted to individual needs. Hearing-impaired pupils are exempt from learning foreign languages – not automatically, each case is decided individually – during the lessons of informatics they work sitting opposite the teacher. When they are tested their difficulties in information transfer are taken into consideration. When they ask they can communicate in writing even in cases when oral performance would be required. At school-leaving and vocational exams they have the possibility for taking the otherwise oral exam in writing. In the afternoon catch-up classes are offered for those who need them and extra classes for the exceptionally gifted.

The technical (informatics) curriculum summarises the different materials of three levels. In everyday practice choice from these three levels and thus individual progress is facilitated this way. A special time frame is provided for pastoral care.

Summary

The practice of host institutions reflect the fact that adaptation to individual characteristics and flexibility can be achieved by differentiated treatment monitoring individual needs.

The importance of the grounding phase the unity of the four years, the assurance of individual pace of progress are equally emphasised. Differentiation during classes, making sure that each pupil can progress according to their individual abilities and knowledge, differentiated arrangement of the teaching material, the flexibility of the borders of school years make it possible to adapt to individual abilities, i. e. inclusion.

The practice of the secondary school also supports this. All help is there for the ’integrated’ pupil to meet the requirements. Differentiation is present not in the content and method of assessment but in the process of acquiring knowledge and developing skills that lasts until testing.

2.3. Resources available for the institutions. Professional assistance

In developing the assessment system the institutions relied on literature on the subject, learning the assessment systems of other schools and on their own experiences. They can also rely on the acquired knowledge of their teachers, on possibilities immanent in constructive thinking. It is important that feedback on the assessment practice and the analysis of the teachers’ own experiences be built in further development.

In developing the system for assessing pupils with special educational needs assistance was given by special teachers helping inclusion, experts of special schools. The most recent form of professional assistance is that at the special institutions there are opportunities for in-service teacher training, for discussing and facilitating the quality and content of communication with parents, for professional and servicing work. This shift of task was made possible by the Act on Public Education, which rules that unified special education methodology institutions can be established if this activity is carried out in the interest of pupils with special educational needs. Thus the former segregated institutions can become professional centres, training-servicing institutions where professional support systems can be set up.

Along with the shift in the proportion of integrated education special services facilitating learning and educating are strengthening at the former special schools that have become unified special education institutions. This provides opportunities for the host institutions to strengthen the role of diagnostics, counselling development and therapy. Renewal of the practice of teaching is helped by special pedagogical services like preparatory courses for teachers, programme and tool development.

Aims, plans of the institutions for further development of their assessment systems

Children House Alternative Grounding Programme

The next task is to develop the system of assessment in report forms for the grades 5–8. Feedback from pupils, teachers and parents prove that in this stage of life concrete assessment is expected instead of one referring to the level of skills and abilities improvement. Developing and piloting a criteria-oriented assessment-inreports type practice will be the next development task.

Istvánffy Miklós General School

The assessment system is being improved to be used at skills development levels arising from the requirements of pupils with educational needs. The formerly applied tools are continually piloted and modifications are done in accordance with their pedagogical system.

By using Bloom’s taxonomy special task sheets are designed for testing the abilities of pupils with special educational needs, which take into account different development levels of thinking. Thus the individual, general development requirements revealed and defined in the opinion of the Expert Committee can also be examined in addition to the degree of acquisition of subject requirements – for the sake of further individual development.

In designing task sheets for pupils with special educational needs opinions formulated by the Expert Committee are taken into account and assistance from special teachers is accepted. An accentuated aspect is the personal development pace of the child – as it is an important aspect in the case of pupils as well learning according to the mainstream curriculum. The task sheet prepared in this way enhances the development that makes the interpretation of and filling in the diagnostic test sheet possible for the pupils with special educational needs.

Connecting assessment to individual development plan for pupils with special educational needs

Children House Alternative Grounding Programme

In developing and assessing pupils with special educational needs individual development plans drawn up by special teachers and teachers are most important. Flexible assessment in report forms give opportunity for evaluating the areas of the individual development plan. Emphasising achievements, defining further tasks is part of diagnostic and formative assessment. In assessing pupils with special educational needs the special teacher also participates.

Adaptation to the type, various degree and individual development features of the special educational need has a significant role in assessment.

Individual monitoring of pupils is helped by pupils’ portfolios, in which existing knowledge, competences are revealed and while assessing aims, success criteria and expectations are formulated. Defining areas to be developed, adjusting learning to individual pupils’ needs and feedback help in finding comprehensive relations, which later, in assessments will constitute the basis for further improvements.

At the end of the first half of the school-year children and their parents get a report of personal development. Assessment criteria are complex, concentrating not on distinct subjects but on the development of the whole personality of the child. They comprise the degree of development of the factors influencing learning, communication and reading skills, applying personal learning techniques, numeracy and mathematical skills, evaluating art and movement activities, emotional-volitional life and the main features of the pupil’s social relations.

Assessment sheets at the end of the school year give the optimum level and thus the development of the pupils related both to this level and to themselves are seen together. A special assessment sheet is prepared for pupils with learning difficulties (mild mental disabilities) in accordance with the Guidelines.

Istvánffy Miklós General School

The individual development of pupils with special educational needs is continuous. Improving, developing abilities help them to meet the curriculum requirements set for them to the extent as their capabilities allow. Individual skills development is built in the process of assessment in a way that allows for continuous monitoring, diagnosing their development. Special attention is paid to the skills that play a significant role in the given subject. Regular diagnosing and improving of individual skills will prepare teaching of the material defined in the curriculum.

Neumann János Secondary General and Technical School with advanced programme in Informatics

Checking-assessing pupils’ performances is done mainly continually and when having completed certain teaching units. It can take the form of oral presentation (recitation in class, presentation prepared at home, a small lecture, mock exam, etc) written test (survey, test, essay, outlines of a comprehensive topic, etc) or practical activities (informatics, economic, management, etc tasks, programmes; physical education, music, art tasks, etc). Important elements of the assessment criteria are motivation, activity and diligence. The learning-teaching process needs to be modified and corrected according to the signals of permanent measurement-assessment. It is stated in the quality assurance programme of the institution.

In summative assessment of pupils’ performances the 5 grades set in the legal regulations are used. Giving grades is of educational character; it serves the aim of encouraging pupils to do good or better work, to learn. Its qualifying function is of second importance.

Summary

In all institutions the individual development plans comprise the basis of assessment. The assessment of pupils with special educational needs is based on the contents and requirements to be met as set in the development plans. The process is characterised by diagnosing, formative assessment. In summative assessment the requirements defined in the development plans are decisive.

2.4. Actors of assessment

Participation of pupils, parents in assessment. Forms of cooperation among parents, teachers and pupils

Children House Alternative Grounding Programme

The institution strives to involve the most possible actors in assessment.

Classroom assessment is continuous, achievements are confirmed and no external rewards are given. When closing a lesson, the teacher assesses the work done. This assessment is always personalized, differentiated, taking into account individual capabilities and the work accomplished.

Pupils’ participation in evaluating their own work can be observed at several levels. They evaluate their own capabilities when making a choice from among differentiated tasks of diverse difficulty. Cooperative task solving is always followed by an account of pupils of the work done and how they cooperated with each other. In order to develop proper self-evaluation pupils evaluate their own work at the end of each lesson.

Assessment in report forms is formulated by teachers. While assessing the common areas (observing rules, cooperation, learning techniques, etc) the teachers teaching the given pupil discuss their experiences and give a common assessment. As of grade 3 pupils assess their own work in writing at the end of the first half and at the end of the school-year. This assessment is also recorded in the assessment book of the pupil.

The programme provides opportunity for parents to discuss their questions, reflections with the teachers following the assessment period.

Istvánffy Miklós General School

Description of the assessment system of the institutions is part of the pedagogical programme – approved of by parents, pupils and teachers as well. Diagnostic, formative and summative assessment is based on this.

Pupils are directly involved in the process of assessment. During the lessons there is indirect differentiation, the pupils assess their own capabilities by choosing a task sheet. At the end of the lesson they give an account of the work accomplished in the form of self-evaluation.

Teachers use assessment cards, which are children-centred, aesthetic and motivating. The assessment cards reflect not only the achievements in certain subjects but adaptation to school life and peers.

Parents can get an insight of assessment at teacher/parent meetings. Teachers strive to achieve common interpretation and to involve parents in pedagogical work. Further possibilities of development are sought by discussing the system of diagnostic tests.

Pupil, parent and teacher opinions on assessment. Approval of the assessment system of the institution

Children House Alternative Grounding Programme

In the first 4 years parents welcome assessment in report forms, emphasising that it gives a personalized picture of their children’s development. In the years 5–8 the same parents tend to have doubts and believe that marks would motivate their children more. In continuous communication teachers try to convince them that the desirable attitude is when children learn not for marks but for knowledge. Parents demand more frequent assessment, which would cover performance in certain subjects as well. This kind of assessment is given on a monthly base as of grade 4.

Experiences show that parents can be convinced about the formative effect of assessment in report forms in higher grades as well once they are involved in the assessment process.

Pupils accept assessment in report forms. They indeed learn nor for external motivation but for knowledge. Their task consciousness is of high standard, their self-assessment and acceptance of their peers is also good. In grade 7 transition to marks does not cause any problem, they have ’matured’ for that.

For teachers assessment in report forms gives extra work but a teacher of a personality-centred school undertakes this task and experiences prove that pupils benefit from it greatly.

Istvánffy Miklós General School

Parents give positive feedback on assessment letters that contain a totally personalised, motivating assessment building on positive features. The areas to be improved are defined by the teacher and they try to work accordingly together with the pupil and the parents. The letter stresses the pupils’ positive features that have a decisive role in determining their role in the classroom and facilitate self-assessment.

Summary

The experiences of the institutions show that the diagnostic assessment systems focusing on the individual development are considered to be good, effective and humane by a majority of pupils, parents and teachers. Appropriate preparation and permanent communication is necessary for getting to common interpretation. One reason for that is that achievement- and performance-centredness characterizing the school system is very much present in pedagogical thinking as well as in parents’ expectations.

For the pupil assessment partly certifies their outcomes and partly influences their further development. It has an impact on motivation for learning as pupils themselves are partners in assessment, they are familiar with the assessment criteria, understand and interpret the assessment and their bearings on practical work. For the teacher the results serve as short and medium term sources of information and provide opportunities for analysing the teaching process and for changing or retaining its priorities in the future. For the parent assessment has an informing function as well as an interpreting function requiring partnership, facilitating learner’s development.

3. Learning and teaching

3.1. Pedagogical assessment and improving teaching methods

Effectiveness of inclusive education of pupils with special educational needs mainly depends on the applied elements of pedagogical-methodological culture. Pedagogical culture is renewed in learning-teaching strategies, methods, instruments, procedures of organising learning. Inclusion is accomplished in empathy towards children, a change of attitudes, integrated approach, applying differentiated pedagogical methods that take into account the personality of the pupil as well, diagnostic approach, procedures of organising learning, everyday use of the culture of differentiated education.

Inclusive practice cannot go without disability-specific methodological procedures.

In inclusive education the host institution is given an active role. In the teaching-learning process the individual development of all children in the class is emphasised, taking into account the special needs, pace of work and abilities of each pupil. Instead of relating information and checking the development of learning skills are in the foreground. A child different from others can more easily be included in a class that is seen as a community of individuals as school work is designed not for average students.

The National Core Curriculum assigns standards not to certain grades but to a wide time interval. Therefore pupils – at whatever level they may be – are given tasks at the appropriate level of requirement. Individual development plans for all pupils that need them get more and more appreciated.

Textbooks, task sheets, tests, activity systems assigned to given development levels are not available for teachers; they are being developed by the teachers of the host institution in cooperation with special education teachers, institutions.

Research data prove that in the best host institutions there is univocal commitment in the institutional practice, teachers’ approach to their role has changed, teacher competencies have enriched. Teachers of host institutions regard as important:

  • To create, activate the (personal, community) motivation basis for education-development.
  • To find individual methods, techniques suitable for differentiated teaching and development of pupils with special educational needs.
  • To design and run classes with the participation of pupils with particular disabilities.
  • To interpret pupil diagnoses from pedagogical aspects and to find development procedures in view of them.
  • To give alternative solutions for a given teaching-educational problem and to manage classes in an effective and efficient way. To be able to stay in the background and to encourage pupil activities.
  • To be able to cooperate with parents, social partners, other professionals.

3.2. Initial and in-service teacher training

The central programme plan of the 2.1 measure of the Human Resource Development Operative Programme of the National Development Plan Creating equal chances for pupils of disadvantaged background refers mainly to the initial training of professionals involved in teaching of pupils from a disadvantaged background, mainly of Roma children and pupils with special educational needs and to developing teaching packages connected to integrated education.

The main objective of the development programme facilitating the equal chances of pupils with special educational needs is that following the expansion of inclusive education children could learn in schools which are suitable for inclusion by the force of their operation, where the organisational and content frames of inclusion as well as the conditions necessary for satisfying the educational needs of all children have been created. To achieve this, a support system has to be created, which will facilitate the development of the pedagogical systems of the institutions, teacher training, adaptation of programme packages, the change of attitudes of the inclusive and the outside environments.

The package of measures designed for assuring equal chances for pupils with special educational needs provides support for institutions undertaking the inclusive education of pupils with special educational needs through competitions and central programmes.

Developments to be realised in the framework of the central programme enchance the creation and renewal of a pedagogical support system that provide support for institutions at the level of the concrete pedagogical practice and activity. As a result of this programme packages, the conditions of a well functioning integration will be developed.

Programme packages
Developing programme packages for initial teacher training

The pedagogy of inclusion has not been widespread in initial teacher training in Hungary. Training programmes linked to pupils with special educational needs are run in the framework of special education training – in cases inclusion can be taken up as a specialization or as a module in training for a second degree. Some teacher training institutions are open to initiatives for disseminating the pedagogy of inclusion. However, no unified training module has been developed for all teacher training, through which teacher trainees would learn about competences essential for the effective realization of inclusion.

The programme package developed for initial teacher training contains professional, theoretical foundations and methods, procedures, techniques, therapeutic activities, pedagogical and legal background based on them – all this from the aspect of special educational needs and presenting the characteristic specialities.

Developing in-service teacher training programmes and expert training

All teachers undertaking inclusion get into a new situation, in which their existing competences and well-tried practices cannot completely satisfy the special needs of development. The target groups of in-service training are mainstream and special teachers.

Special teachers have to use their professional competences in a situation in which they have not had any experiences. That is why the knowledge and the experiences transferred in professional cooperation are most important.

Developing trainings increasing social sensitivity

Successful inclusion of pupils with special educational needs has impact beyond the walls of educational institutions. It affects areas related to the integration of children, various services and policy areas. The assertion of the rights of those with disabilities, their social inclusion also depends on how many actors know the treats of effective inclusion.

In this process local decision-makers play a significant role, as they coordinate locally the policy tasks in which inclusion appears as an especially sensitive task. Social integration requires the support of locally, regionally functioning civil organisations and of professional groups that can provide special services and also the harmonization of their work. Information necessary for that can be acquired in trainings.

3.3. Developing assessment materials, tools, tests, programmes facilitating inclusion

Developing the know-how of integrated education, establishing a methodology databank and a service programme package

The teaching programme packages developed in this programme are aimed to facilitate the teaching of particular subjects on the one hand, and the pedagogical work done in cross-curricular areas. The special content supplements that enhance the inclusion of pupils with special educational needs are parts of the programme package. The programme packages will be stored in a databank and host institutions can apply for adapting them.

Developing new methods for preventing drop-outs

Considerably fewer pupils with special educational needs attend secondary schools in Hungary. Along with the lines of performance-centred education at secondary schools teaching of pupils with special educational needs can be realised with difficulties only. To prevent mass failure, and to manage the causes of it, programme developers undertake to develop a research programme followed by a concept of development.

Knowledge transfer from special institutions to the mainstream ones

Increasing the readiness of mainstream general schools for inclusion provides new opportunities for the processes of social learning for pupils with special educational needs and others attending mainstream schools. Seeking of new ways accompanying inclusion, institutional innovations bring about significant qualitative improvement in the work of the host institution as well. Effectiveness greatly depends on how much the development supply of institutions providing education for pupils with special educational needs and of mainstream schools can be linked and harmonized with available professional services. To what extent new spaces can be opened up for children and young people by creating cooperation between their family background and the local possibilities of making contacts. Pupil self-assessment, changing the anti-inclusion attitudes of parents and teachers, the aims, basic principles and methods of differentiated education, division of labour in the classroom can be achieved by presenting and evaluating examples. For this the development of supporting assessment material, aids, tests, programmes has been started in the changing special institutions.

4. Conclusions

4.1. Summary of presented assessment solutions

The above examples presented the special solutions connected to assessment, which appear for the host institutions as tasks to be solved during inclusion. From the assessment practices the following overview can be drawn:

  • Mainly such institutions undertook to include pupils with special educational needs, which had already had the professional-methodological competences that helped pupils of diverse development diverse abilities could progress effectively.
  • Differentiated development of pupils (defining individual learning routes) will naturally bring about differentiated assessment. This can significantly be helped by pupil portfolios being the bases of assessment and development.
  • In some cases assessment is done in report forms. Parents are informed about it in all cases.
  • In many cases efforts have been made for team-like assessment, with the aim of strengthening the cohesion of the community.
  • The basic difference between the assessment of pupils with special educational needs and those with other specific needs is that in the former cases assessment has to take into account the type of disability. This is done by special exams, performance measurements based on the "Curriculum guideline of teaching pupils with special educational needs” and the Act on Public Education. The achievements of pupils with disabilities are documented in special certificates, compatible with legal regulations, which make it possible that those developing along special routes can progress onto the following year.

4.2. The most important issues of teaching pupils with special educational needs in Hungary

Tasks
  • To establish, develop and support commitment to integration (to assist teachers of host institutions, to form supporting attitude of parents)
  • To develop professional and inter-professional cooperation (among teachers, special teachers, mainstream general schools; to build up professional services on the basis of special institutions, to encourage co-operation)
  • To personalize learning processes, to individualize the learning process
  • To place secondary education into the focus of attention (issues of pupils with special educational needs being admitted or rejected, dropping out, lagging behind)
  • To facilitate career counselling, employment within the institution (career guidance, contact with parents, civic organisations, employees)
  • In order to achieve social integration the measurements of the coming years should serve the objective that the ’standards’ defined according to the needs of pupils with special educational needs be suitable and have a washback effect on forming knowledge at school so that the development of competences enhancing the labour market integration realistic for the pupils with special educational needs should happen and the real routes for further studies should be built.
Support to enhance the accomplishment of tasks
  • To improve cooperation of partners participating in pedagogical development (pupils, teachers, other experts, parents, school maintainers), to organize inter-professional cooperation of various counselling services based on a unified concept.
  • To create cooperation among institutions of provision, kindergartens, pedagogical counselling services, special schools, mainstream general schools.
  • A key issue is that the experts had to be found who could lead the innovation necessary for integrated education and could elaborate the conditions for stronger cooperation. Continuous motivation and development is encouraged by giving support to best practices.

A honlapon található tanulmányok, egyéb szellemi termékek, illetve szerzői művek (a továbbiakban: művek) jogtulajdonosa az Oktatáskutató és Fejlesztő Intézet. A jogtulajdonos egyértelmű forrásmegjelölés mellett felhasználást enged a művekkel kapcsolatban oktatási, tudományos, kulturális célból. A jogtulajdonos a művekkel kapcsolatos anyagi haszonszerzést azonban kifejezetten megtiltja.