Being an Assessor is not always an easy role. With there being so many different types of learner, it can be challenging to create an assessment plan to meet everyone’s needs. Some people learn best using visual stimulation, others learn best by listening. If you have a learner with a visual impairment, you need to be prepared to modify your teaching in order to accommodate them.
What is Visual Impairment?
A learner who has a visual impairment is someone who has a sight defect that can’t be corrected by glasses. The level of impairment can vary from person to person. So, it’s important to understand exactly how your learner is affected to begin with. It may be that your learner is sensitive to light, and would therefore need to be assessed in a darker room than normal.
Legal blindness is something to be aware of too. This is when someone hasn’t lost their sight completely but has lost enough vision that they have to stand up to 10x closer to an object to see it, in comparison with someone who has perfect vision.
Steps you can take
In order to make a success of the assessment, here are some things you could try in order to help your visually impaired learner:
- Take the time to phone your learner before the assessment so they will recognise your voice when you turn up.
- Carry out an initial assessment of your learner; make sure you have all the tools they need to feel comfortable to carry out their assessment to the best of their ability.
- Discuss what difficulties your learner may have within particular environments, and adapt your methods of assessment accordingly.
These preparatory steps will help to put both yourself and your learner at ease from the start. It is always a good idea to keep written evidence of the initial assessment so you have a record.
Consider the assessment environment
If you are qualified to carry out assessments within the learning environment, you will have taken the Level 3 Award in Assessing Competence in a Work Environment (or CAVA). If the learner will be assessed within their place of work, they should be very familiar with the surroundings already. It is important that you don’t move any furniture without telling them, and also remember to make room for a guide dog if your learner has one.
You will need to be extremely clear with your verbal communication when it comes to assessing a visually impaired learner. If they are partially sighted they may not be able to read PowerPoint slides, or be able to distinguish between certain colours. Allow for extra time for the assessment so that the learner doesn’t feel rushed to complete it.
Your learner may want to use assistive technology in order to help them with their assessment; particularly if there are written or reading tasks they need to carry out. By planning ahead you will already be aware of these allowances, making the whole process much smoother.
Talk to your learner
Remember, your learner is the one who will be able to advise you best on the adaptations they will require for their assessment. Assume nothing, and be ready to think on your feet. You may find that your learner’s vision fluctuates and is worse later on in the day. If this is the case, try and plan the assessment for a morning session.
We hope you have found this blog article useful, and if you have any other tips on how to meet the needs of learners with visual impairments please email us on firstname.lastname@example.org