Out of tune with inclusivity

30th May 2003 at 01:00
The Royal National Institute for Deaf People, the British Deaf Association and the British Association of Teachers of the Deaf have received many complaints regarding the content of this year's key stage 2 short writing test for 11-year-olds.

Teachers of the deaf are concerned that the paper included a compulsory question requiring pupils to write a radio advertisement for a new toy.

Obviously the task was unsuitable for many deaf children who don't have the experience of listening to radio and therefore had no model for answering the question. Professionals are concerned that deaf pupils cannot be fairly graded, and schools' results will be adversely affected.

The Qualifications and Curriculum Authority claims the question aimed to test persuasive writing abilities and the choice of the radio medium was "incidental". However, children with profound hearing loss (and many with severemoderate losses) will have been immediately disadvantaged through lack of experience of radio, which has nothing to do with their literacy skills.

This incident highlights some of the issues raised by the move towards inclusive education.

For inclusive action to be effective, all aspects of the school and curriculum must be accessible, including testing. This test highlights the need for clearer understanding of the range of disabilities and special needs now presented in schools.

Clarinda Cuppage Royal National Institute for Deaf People 19-23 Featherstone Street London EC1

Log-in as an existing print or digital subscriber

Forgotten your subscriber ID?


To access this content and the full TES archive, subscribe now.

View subscriber offers


Get TES online and delivered to your door – for less than the price of a coffee

Save 33% off the cover price with this great subscription offer. Every copy delivered to your door by first-class post, plus full access to TES online and the TES app for just £1.90 per week.
Subscribers also enjoy a range of fantastic offers and benefits worth over £270:

  • Discounts off TES Institute courses
  • Access over 200,000 articles in the TES online archive
  • Free Tastecard membership worth £79.99
  • Discounts with Zipcar, Buyagift.com, Virgin Wines and other partners
Order your low-cost subscription today