Handwriting research – invitation to join

At Helen Arkell, we use a test called DASH-2 (Detailed Assessment for Speed of Handwriting, second edition) during our dyslexia assessments. Pearson Clinical UK, the publishers of the test, alongside academics at Oxford Brookes University, are developing a new edition of the battery of tests that the DASH test is part of. They are currently particularly interested in recruiting children and young adults with dyslexia to take part in their research. Could you or your child take part?

This is the message from Pearson Clinical UK:

At Pearson Clinical UK, we develop and distribute assessments for professionals in psychology, allied health, general education, special needs education, and other areas serving people of all ages and cultures.

What is happening? Pearson Assessment is collecting data for a new project involving the development of the Movement Assessment Battery for Children – Third Edition (MABC-3) and the Detailed Assessment for Speed of Handwriting (DASH-2). For this project, we will measure children’s movement ability and handwriting speed. By testing a large number of children and adults, we can understand how they typically perform. The results from this project will help develop the new assessments. The published assessment will then enable professionals to identify children who require intervention and support with movement activities and handwriting. We welcome your/your child’s participation in the project.

What will the project involve? If you agree to be involved, Pearson Assessment will first determine whether you/your child fit the criteria for taking part based on the demographic information you provide. If you/your child are chosen to take part, we will contact you via email to arrange an assessment session. This should take around 45 minutes, although this will depend on age and ability of the person being tested. The assessment will take place either at home or at a convenient public location. The tests will be conducted by a trained professional (with an enhanced DBS check). They will ask you/your child to complete some movement activities such as throwing, catching and jumping and/or handwriting tasks. 

Being part of this research means that you can help make tests more accurate for those being assessed so that they can get better and more directed intervention and support. If you would like to be part of this project, please follow the links below. By clicking on the links, you are not committing to taking part in the research.

Children aged 3-15 years

Young adults aged 16-25 years

Thank you!

By |2022-11-22T16:25:47+00:00November 22nd, 2022|Latest news, Research news|0 Comments

Tips for testing in the classroom by Bernadette McLean

Pearson Clinical Assessment has published the following article written by Bernadette McLean on their website:

Tips for Testing in the Classroom

by Bernadette McLean – former Principal of Helen Arkell Dyslexia Centre

More and more teachers and teaching assistants are being required to use testing in the classroom. This can be a daunting task if they have not had training or previous experience. Standardised test manuals can be scary and the language unfamiliar particularly with regard to scoring and administration.

Tests are very useful for measuring progress and providing you with feedback on the success of teaching.

The following are some tips on assessing and a guide to potential pitfalls.

  1. Consider carefully the need and reasons for testing, and whether the proposed test serves the need. Ensure that the test actually tests what it claims to. A test that gives you a reading age is a reading age for that kind of reading e.g. single word/ sentence /passage and should not be compared over time with another kind of reading test. Test only if necessary and if the appropriate test is available.
  2. When possible arrange optimum conditions of time and place.
  3. Study and practise test instructions.  You should be familiar with the test manual and you should have checked the instructions, timing, when the test should end, how the responses are recorded.  Double-check necessary materials, such as stopwatch, paper, score sheets, etc. Even if you have administered a test many times, it’s a good idea to read the manual regularly, so not to forget particular points of administration. This is very important if you are using tests scores as they have been worked out on numbers of pupils all using the exact instructions in the manual.
  4. Put your learner/s at ease and encourage best efforts.  Explain what the test requires, if appropriate.  Explain in advance that you may not be able to help or indicate if answers are right or wrong.  You may wish to offer to discuss performance at the end of testing.
  5. Follow instructions exactly, maintaining an impartial attitude.  Encourage but do not over praise; respond similarly to correct and incorrect answers.  Do not coach or give non-verbal cues such as looking at the correct answer.
  6. Keep as full a record of responses as practicable if you are testing children individually (how the child arrived at his answer, if he was slow, any comments made, and any self-corrections).
  7. Double-check the scoring; check that raw scores are correctly converted into standard scores. Make sure the child’s/children’s name/s and date are on all of the test material for future reference.
  8. Consider the results critically and remember that any score simply tells you the minimum that your pupil/s could achieve, on one particular day.
  9. Do not repeat the test too soon. Check the manual for information.

See our CPD and Specialist Assessor Training Courses here.

© Bernadette McLean, Helen Arkell Dyslexia Charity

By |2022-12-08T16:17:37+00:00May 8th, 2021|Team blog|0 Comments


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