Last year, I had child with cognitive disability in my classroom, who was constantly struggling with concentration and, therefore, could not write an ordinary exam on the lessons. I knew that his abilities are beyond the results he shows on exams, since he demonstrate good knowledge when he is asked verbally. Thus, as an alternative solution for him, I proposed to use alternative assessment approach, which was also part of my work-based project last spring. The results of my students significantly improved after application of alternative approaches, especially in Mathematics, which was a motivation for me and the turning point to change my research topic to “The alignment of Mathematics curriculum and assessments applied for students with special needs and its connection to student performance in one of the schools in Astana, Kazakhstan”.
According to the legislative documents, students considered as having special needs should be taught by individualized programs. Nonetheless, due to vague instructions, students with special needs and disabilities studying at mainstream institutions are taught and assessed in accordance with state standards. As a result, they mainly show underachievement and poor performance, which negatively affects their personal esteem and motivation to study. Thus, I would like to suggest making a study on the alignment of national curriculum, instruction and assessment for students with cognitive disabilities, and observe how performance of students changes after using alternative assessment methods. I believe that in this way Kazakhstani curriculum and assessment could be modified and accommodated according to the needs of students, and it will show progress in results as well.
Though, I have very limited experience in the field of education, work-based project I made and the research studies conducted before show that this area needs further study. Especially, in Kazakhstan, where child oriented approach and inclusive education in general are on their initial steps. To conclude, I am very excited about my thesis work, and hope that it would be beneficial in the inclusive education field.