Improving Early Years Screening For Learning Difficulties

03 April 2016

The Andrews Labor Government is improving how Victoria screens for learning difficulties at the start of school, with a new early years literacy assessment tool for all Prep children helping teachers identify and support children with learning difficulties.

The Labor Government is delivering the improvements as part of its Special Needs Plan, which aims to ensure that students with disabilities and additional needs get the same chances as other students.

The early years of schooling are crucial to building lifelong learning, wellbeing and success, and the improved process will be the first step in the early detection of learning difficulties, so that children could get the support they need sooner.

Literacy is widely understood as the foundation of learning and development in the early years. As a required literacy assessment tool for all Prep children in government schools, the English Online Interview is a key first step in identifying potential learning difficulties.

Improvements are being made to the English Online Interview tool, based on world-leading research on child development, which will help teachers get a better understanding of an individual’s literacy abilities and potentially identify learning difficulties and disorders.

New resources for teachers to support the English Online Interview are also being developed, containing information on additional assessment options and further steps in screening processes to recognise learning difficulties, such as dyslexia.

The revised and improved English Online Interview and supporting resources will be part of a suite of tools for teachers to assess and monitor learning in the early years of school.

The enhanced tool will be ready for schools and teachers in Term 4 of 2016, ahead of the 2017 school year.

For more information on the Special Needs Plan visit: Link

For more information on the English Online Interview visit: Link

Quotes attributable to Minister for Education James Merlino

“The Andrews Labor Government is delivering the Education State, and that means properly supporting students with additional learning needs so they get the opportunity at a great education.”

“To improve our English Online Interview tool, we examined the latest thinking and best practices from around the world to ensure our kids get access to the best assessment tools as possible as part of a screening process for learning difficulties and disorders.”

Quote attributable to ACER Chief Executive Officer Professor Geoff Masters AO

“We know that students start school with very different levels of literacy knowledge and understanding. Improving the English Online Interview will provide additional important evidence, which used among other data, can help teachers identify students with potential learning difficulties.”

Quote attributable to President of SPELD Jason Henham

“SPELD Victoria is delighted to see the English Online Interview being improved to better identify students at risk of having learning difficulties, such as dyslexia. The potential benefits that early identification of risk factors provides for students, and their families, teachers and schools supporting them, are many.”

Reviewed 19 August 2020

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