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SENCO Assessment: Techniques for Supporting SEND

by | Apr 8, 2023

SENCO Assessment: Tools and Techniques for Supporting Students with SEND

Assessing the needs of students with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) is a critical part of the SENCO role. But finding the right assessment tools and techniques can be a challenge. In this article, we’ll explore some of the most effective assessment strategies for SENCOs, as well as some tips for using them in practice.

The Importance of SENCO Assessment

As a SENCO, you’re responsible for ensuring that students with SEND receive the support they need to succeed. This starts with accurate and effective assessment. SENCO assessment can help you identify a student’s strengths, weaknesses, and learning needs, as well as any barriers to their learning.

Types of Assessment

There are many types of assessment tools and techniques that SENCOs can use. Here are some of the most common:

  • Observation: Observing a student in their learning environment can provide valuable insights into their learning style, behaviour, and interactions with others.
  • Standardised Tests: Standardised tests can help you compare a student’s performance to national or local standards and identify areas where they may need extra support.
  • Parent and Teacher Feedback: Feedback from parents and teachers can provide important information about a student’s behaviour, attitude, and progress.
  • Adaptive Assessments: Adaptive assessments use technology to adjust the difficulty level of questions based on a student’s responses, providing a more accurate and individualised assessment.

 Tips for Effective Assessment

Here are some tips for using assessment tools and techniques effectively:

  • Be Flexible: Adapt your assessment approach to meet the individual needs of each student.
  • Be Inclusive: Ensure that your assessments are accessible to all students, including those with physical, sensory, or cognitive disabilities.
  • Be Collaborative: Involve parents, teachers, and other professionals in the assessment process to ensure that you have a complete picture of a student’s needs.
  • Be Comprehensive: Use a variety of assessment tools and techniques to gain a well-rounded understanding of a student’s strengths, weaknesses, and learning needs.


Q: Do I need special training to use assessment tools and techniques as a SENCO?
A: While some assessment tools and techniques may require specific training, many can be used with basic knowledge and understanding. It’s always a good idea to consult with colleagues or professionals if you’re unsure.

Q: How often should I assess a student’s needs as a SENCO?
A: Assessment should be an ongoing process. Regularly reviewing a student’s progress and needs can help ensure that they receive the appropriate support.

Assessing the needs of students with SEND is an essential part of the SENCO role. By using a variety of assessment tools and techniques, SENCOs can gain a well-rounded understanding of a student’s needs and provide the appropriate support. Remember, effective assessment should be collaborative, comprehensive, flexible, and inclusive. So don’t be afraid to experiment with different approaches and find what works best for you and your students.


Abigail Hawkins FCCT

Abigail Hawkins FCCT

Director of SENDCO Solutions

Abigail Hawkins was a SENCO for over 25 years and has worked with pupils with all types of needs.  Abigail has worked with Ed-Tech companies on developing their software and also been chair of governors for a multi-academy trust. Abigail now runs SENsible SENCO and SENDCO Solutions, with the aim of working with SENCOs and inclusion leaders across the UK to improve their support for SEND pupils. See our school services for more information.

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