Assessing Specific Learning Difficulties
Course Outline

Course Fee: $270
Course Numbers: EED x701 31278, SED x701 31397
Standard Course Time: 45 hours
Semester Credits: Three (3) academic credits at the post-baccalaureate level (available for an additional fee)
Credit Issued by: Cal Poly Humboldt (refer to our Graduate Credit page for credit pricing and details)
Subject Area: Special Needs

This course has been developed and optimized for online delivery using the licensed title Assessing Children with Specific Learning Difficulties, published by Routledge and authored by Gavin Reid, Gad Elbeheri and John Everatt.

Introduction/Course Description:

In this course we have decided to use the term ‘specific learning difficulties’. This is a broad term and we have deliberately gone for this as it incorporates literacy, movement and numeracy as well as issues with attention. These areas are reflected in different sections in the course.

We hope you will obtain some fresh insights and be able to embrace the ideas and strategies within the modules of this course. We have always indicated that communication is the key to successful assessment and intervention and we hope that this course paves a way for us to communicate with you to assist in the development of ideas and strategies that you can utilize in your professional work.

Course Objectives/Program Outline

Module One: SpLD in Context

Learning Objectives:

  • Define three specific learning difficulties and what identifiers to look for in learners.
  • Recognize attention deficit disorders and their symptoms.
  • Identify learning barriers and there connection to the learner.
  • Support the link of assessment and intervention.
  • Assess key aspects of differentiation in assessment.

Project 1: Assessment and Intervention - Creative Problem Solving
Quiz: Multiple-choice questions that pertain to objectives above.

Module Two: The Assessment Process

Learning Objectives:

  • Describe the process of assessment and its importance.
  • Differentiate between diagnostic and informal assessments.
  • Demonstrate different ways to assess the metacognitive strategies of the learner.
  • Evaluate three main components of information processing.

Quiz: Multiple-choice questions that pertain to objectives above.

Module Three: Teacher Assessment - Literacy and Movement

Learning Objectives:

  • Name the importance of assessment in literacy.
  • Examine the literary assessment process and its factors.
  • Describe the importance and role of curriculum-based assessment.
  • Illustrate literacy difficulties and how to guide students to be owners of their own learning process.
  • Summarize the importance of motor skills in the learning process.
  • Recite the connection between literacy and motor skills.
  • Support the importance of early intervention and tips for classroom teachers.

Project 2: The Connection of Literacy and Movement
Quiz: Multiple-choice questions that pertain to objectives above.

Module Four: Numeracy - Mathematics Learning Difficulties

Learning Objectives:

  • Identify the features and define mathematical related learning disabilities.
  • Interpret the process of mathematic assessment.
  • Expand after assessment what intervention needs to be planned and implemented.

Quiz: Multiple-choice questions that pertain to objectives above.

Module Five: Behavioral Problems

Learning Objectives:

  • Correlate the relationship between learning and behavioral problems.
  • Define emotional behavior disorders.
  • Validate the connection of learning difficulties and attention deficits. (ADHD)
  • Demonstrate the process of behavioral, emotional and social assessment.
  • Explain after assessment what intervention needs to be planned and implemented.
  • Verify the difficulties of labeling.

Project 3: Which Came First...the Chicken or the Egg?
Quiz: Multiple-choice questions that pertain to objectives above.

Module Six: Self-Esteem, Motivation and Emotional Needs

Learning Objectives:

  • Determine the importance of self-esteem and self-perception for the learner.
  • Differentiate the connection of self-esteem and self-perception in motivation and achievement.
  • Represent how to plan and deal with learning barriers.
  • Illustrate how to match a learner to their zone of proximal development.
  • Evaluate the connection between intervention, affect and motivation when working with children who experience learning difficulties.

Project 4: Self-Esteem Infusion
Quiz: Multiple-choice questions that pertain to objectives above.

Module Seven: Developing an Assessment Framework

Learning Objectives:

  • Apply how to link assessments to practice.
  • Recognize the learning process and what can be done to support the learner.
  • State key points in developing a framework for assessment.
  • Integrate the value of assessing processing skills.
  • Validate the problem to solution approach.
  • Outline the areas that need to be considered throughout the assessment process.

Project 5: Assessments for All
Quiz: Multiple-choice questions that pertain to objectives above.

Final Exam

Multiple choice questions taken from each module

Final Learning Statement

Learning statements should be in a narrative format – as opposed to an outline format. Depending on individual writing styles Learning statements should be 2-3 pages. The learning statement can vary according to individual style. Your learning statement should answer the broad question of "what did you learn?". To help get you thinking, here are some suggested questions:

  • What are the major concepts of the course that you have learned?
  • What new professional language have you acquired relating to the topic?
  • What teaching techniques for implementing new strategies in the classroom did you come away with?
  • Thinking back to your project reflections, were you surprised at the outcomes?
  • What new resources did you find in the study of the content?
  • As an educator, what new concepts will you now integrate into your teaching?
  • Are there any ideas that presented themselves as enlightening and useful?

--- Sample Course Project ---

Project #1 Overview

Learning Objective: Identify a student or person showing signs of SpLds and choose a proactive assessment and intervention for this individual.

In this module, you've become familiar with types of SpLDs, their indicator and barriers to learning. As we shared, it is essential to consider the link to assessment and intervention at the outset. It should not be an add-on but, in fact, one of the main purposes of the assessment.

For this Project:
  • Think of a student or person who came to mind while working through the first module of this course.
  • Write a descriptive narrative about how this student presents in class academically, socially and emotionally through your observations.
  • Write what indicators are present and what your concerns are and address if co-morbidity is present.
  • Take a moment to identify any specific barriers to learning.

For Your Written Project Reflection Submission

Take a moment to reflect on your findings for this project, using the questions below as a guide:

  • What is the purpose of your chosen proactive assessment?
  • As part of your plan, how will you effectively differentiate for this student/person? Be specific.
  • What is the most advantageous learning style for this student/person? How will you choose to communicate this with the student/person?
  • Share any elements of creativity that you plan to incorporate in your assessment and intervention strategy.

Visit the "Module Projects" section located within the Course Dashboard, and take a moment to share your findings by submitting your written project reflection.

Cal Poly Humboldt Credit Specifics

  • Academic Credit at the Graduate Level through Cal Poly Humboldt (CPH) is offered after successful completion of this course.
  • The 700 series semester credit is post-baccalaureate level appropriate for credentialed teachers which do not require admission to a graduate program.
  • 700-level classes are graduate level classes meant specifically for credential purposes, and are appropriate for license renewal or recertification.
  • Courses are letter graded on official transcripts from CPH.
  • CPH is the northernmost and westernmost institution in the 23-campus California State University (CSU) system.
  • CPH is accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges Senior College and University Commission (WSCUC), a regional accrediting agency serving a diverse membership of public and private higher education institutions.

Summer Option

If you are not currently teaching (ie. Summer break, you are a substitute teacher, etc.), each class offers you the ability to complete coursework independent of a classroom assignment.