Testing SEND and EAL students
Is Rapid suitable for use with pupils with very low general ability?
Rapid’s probability scale is derived from standardised national norms, which means that the assessments compare the performance of children with that of others of the same age. If the children being screened have low general ability there will be an increased likelihood of false positive results because Rapid does not take general ability into account.
In this case, we would recommend using LASS, which has more tests than Rapid, providing more information about children with complex learning needs. LASS also includes a test of non-verbal reasoning that provides a comparison between a child’s actual performance and the performance that would be expected based on their intelligence.
Testing EAL students
Assessment of any student who has limited proficiency in spoken English is often problematic. However, Rapid is less problematic than many conventional methods of assessment.
- Rapid has a strongly visual format and minimal reliance on spoken instructions
- It does not include any direct measures of reading and spelling – skills which would be expected to be significantly affected by limited proficiency in spoken English.
- The subtests in Rapid are attempting to identify students who display deficits in various aspects of phonological processing, because the principal weight of research evidence on dyslexia supports this approach. There is good evidence to support the use of such tests with students speaking English as an additional language.
- Teachers should still exercise caution when interpreting the test results of such students.
PLEASE NOTE: The student will, however, need to know the English animal names (for 4-7 year olds) or the digits 1-9 in spoken and written form (for 8-15 year olds). The practice items enable most students, even those with very little English, to understand the tasks, and where there is uncertainty a teacher or assistant who speaks the student’s first language can help with explaining instructions.
Animal names for pupils under 7 years old (spoken)
Animal names for pupils between 7 and 8 years old (spoken)
For further information and discussion of research studies, please see ‘Assessing students who have limited English’ in the User Manual in the Downloads section.