The Future of Education

Edition 14

Accepted Abstracts

Inclusion of Young Learners with Disabilities in International Assessments

Pei-Ying Lin, University of Saskatchewan (Canada)


Studies in neuroscience, psychology, and education have strongly endorsed the idea that high-quality early education and positive learning experiences for children under five can have immediate and enduring benefits throughout a person’s life (e.g., McCain et al., 2007; Mustard, 2006, 2009; National Research Council and Institute of Medicine, 2000; Sternberg, 1985). The OECD (Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development) has shown a growing interest in early childhood education, most notably with the recent introduction of the IELS (International Early Learning and Child Well-being Study). However, it is evident that over time, students with special needs have been excluded from international assessments such as the OECD’s PISA (Programme for International Student Assessment) due to their disabilities. This paper presentation discusses the potential benefits that the IELS could
provide to young children with special needs, drawing on a range of theories and viewpoints from educational assessment, measurement, and early childhood special education. It also recognizes the potential challenges and issues associated with using the IELS for these special education populations in Canada and other countries. Finally, it discusses the adaptions that
could encourage inclusive assessment practices and establish equal opportunities for young children with special needs.
Keywords:Accommodations, early learning, young children, disabilities, international assessment
[1] McCain, M. N., Mustard, J. F., & Shanker, S. (2007). Early Years Study 2:
Putting science into action. Council for Early Child Development.
[2] Mustard, J. F. (2006). Experience-based brain development: Scientific
underpinnings of the importance of early child development in a global
world. Paediatrics & Child Health, 11(9), 571–572.
[3] Mustard, J. F. (2009). Canadian progress in early child development –putting science into action. Paediatrics & Child Health, 14(10), 689–690.
[4] National Research Council and Institute of Medicine (2000). From neurons to neighborhoods: the science of early childhood development. Committee on Integrating the Science of Early Childhood Development. Shonkoff J. P. & Phillips D. A. (Eds), Board on Children, Youth, and Families, Commission on Behavioral and Social Sciences and Education. National Academy Press.


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