Autism and Educational Assessment: UK policy and practice

Liz Twist , Kath Wilkinson

13 September 2010

Over the past two decades UK government legislation has led to an increased focus on inclusive education. This research, funded by NFER, investigated UK assessment policy and practice for mainstream-educated pupils who are diagnosed with an Autistic Spectrum Disorder (ASD). The report considers the role of educational assessment in relation to inclusive education in mainstream settings, with a specific focus on the assessment of pupils with ASD.

Further research and more specific guidance are needed to ensure that education assessment policy supports a system that is inclusive of all learners.

Key Findings

  • higher school exclusion rates and greater gaps in attainment for ASD pupils compared with their typically developing peers, demonstrating a need for improvements in educational provision
  • a need for clearer evidence-based guidance and increased teacher training to enable teachers to make confident and consistent accommodation judgements for summative assessments, specific to pupils on the autistic spectrum
  • a lack of specific guidance and little research investigating the impact and effect of Assessment for Learning strategies on the assessment and inclusion of pupils on the autistic spectrum. Teachers need to know how best to practically implement these strategies with autistic pupils in their classrooms if inclusive educational practice is to be achieved.

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