Training on learning disabilities

for parents and teachers.

New strategies and methodologies

and ICT contribution.


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1. Continuous evaluation:

  • Continuous evaluation allows us to control and value the progress, no matter how little or how slow it is.

  • Evaluation tasks should be short, frequent and diverse, because the allow us to have a better knowledge of what they are really learning, and also about how they learn better, what is most useful for them. Doing it this way also helps them maintain motivation and persist on their work.

  • Self-evaluation should be a constant process that accompanies work and learning processes. Between teacher and pupil there has to be an exchange of information that allows them to come to agreements, to set aims, etc.

  • Value their effort to learn as much as the actual «results».

2. Quantity and time: When we do use exams to evaluate

  • If possible do not programme more than 3 exams in a week.

  • Try to programme exams in the first hours of the school day.

  • Do not programme more than one in a day, especially if they are long exams or very important (e.g. a final exam).

  • Give them the time they need to do it, remember they need more time to answer and they perform slowly.

  • Make sure that they read properly and know exactly what they are asked to do. Allow them to ask questions about their doubts at any time during the exam.

  • Reduce the exam content and give them time reminders during it.

  • Give them each question at a time and allow them to walk to you to hand it in and get the next one. Monitor the time they have for each one. Use extended time when needed.

  • Give some extra minutes to get organized before they start.

  • Decide if they would do better if they do the exam in more than one session, since their attention can be so weak sometimes.

  • Always help them to control the time they have, remember they do not do well at it and need reminded.


3. Evaluation context:

  • Reduce the number of questions on each sheet of paper.

  • Read for them the exercise and make sure they understand what they are asked to do before they start the exam.

  • If needed, combine oral and written test, and different types of written test (multiple choice, graphics, fill-in gaps, matching sentences, etc.). In general we could say they find easier to answer short-questions and well differentiated parts of complex questions.

  • Highlight the important information in the exercise or underline in different color each part of it.

  • Adapt the time they need to do each exercise, and monitor them as they go along since they have a weak sense of time and get easily distracted.

  • Choose a place for them where it is more difficult to get distracted. Using headphones could be useful to isolate them from oral distracting stimuli, even if they listen to music that helps concentration.

  • Use formal exams often avoiding the accumulation of large information to study. Better often and short exams.

  • Do previous practice of exams with the pupil so they get used to the type of questions and the format of the actual exam.

  • If there is comorbidity with other learning difficulties (such as dyslexia or dyscalculia) allow the use of a PC or a calculator to do the exams. Guarantee they have previous practice in the use of these tools and know when and how to use them in exams.

  • Allow the use of headphones or other devices to reduce the stimulation that gets them distracted.

  • If they need to do a long answer exam combine oral exams with written ones but always give the pupil the questions one by one, monitoring the time given to do each of them.

  • Be careful with the font, size, colour… of the script you use. Avoid accumulating information or beware that the less information possible helps them focus and perform better.

4. Supervision:

  • Make sure the pupil understands the questions before they start answering them.

  • Allow the pupil to make questions or to have access to the initial instructions at any time during the exams, since quite often they forget part of the instructions or get confused or disorganized.

  • When the pupil also has writing difficulties or is very slow at writing we need to simplify this task or even change it for another one to be able to find out what he knows and not “how difficult it is for this pupil to answer the questions the way I make them”.

  • Supervise they have answered all the questions before handing in the exam, beware sometimes they forget to turn over the page or they get disorganized and leave questions unanswered by mistake even though they know the right answers.

  • Train the pupil to “double check” their exams before handing them in.

  • Help them to keep concentrated during the exam without calling their names aloud: touch them in the shoulder if you see they are distracted, stop beside them and give them “short reminders” that can be useful such as “point at a question they have left unanswered”, “remember to stop and think before answering”, “I am sure you know that so breath in and read it again”, etc.

  • Do not penalize them for spelling mistakes on written exams. It is something we can work on and evaluate in a different and specific way. When pupils with ADHD focus on a complex task such as “answering exam questions” they tend not to pay attention to “minor” aspects such as spelling that they should be able to do correctly and automatically but have not yet achieved.