On this page you will find information about what a Needs Assessment is, how to arrange one, and what preparation is necessary before attending.
What is a Needs Assessment?
The Needs Assessment is a meeting between you and an assessor, a person qualified by their experience and knowledge of the equipment and support that students with disabilities (including dyslexia) need to study successfully at university. These assessments take place at a DSA-QAG approved Assessment Centre.
At the meeting, your study needs and the demands of your course will be discussed. The assessor will aim to agree with you all the equipment and support you will need for your studies that can be paid for from the DSA. The assessor will produce a written report of what was agreed, and copies will be sent to you and your funding authority (e.g. Student Finance England) for their agreement.
The assessment will also help you and your university or college to discuss and agree important study strategies that can help you to get the most out of your course. You should ask for a copy of the Needs Assessment Report to be sent to the Disability and Dyslexia Service at Queen Mary University of London (QMUL).
DSA-QAG Approved Assessment Centres
The Disability and Dyslexia Service at QMUL has an ‘outreach’ arrangement with the University of Westminster’s ‘CLASS’ (Central London Assessment Services) assessment centre which means that QMUL students can have their needs assessments carried out at QMUL through the auspices of the CLASS assessment centre.
For information about the CLASS centre, please visit http://www.class.org.uk
This centre, like all organisations carrying out Disabled Student’s Allowance needs assessments, has to meet the quality assurance criteria of an organisation called the Disabled Students’ Allowances Quality Assurance Group (DSA-QAG).
Students are free, however, to attend any assessment centre of their choosing.
How is a Needs Assessment different from an Educational Psychologist Assessment?
If your screening for dyslexia is positive, you will be sent for a diagnostic assessment with an Educational Psychologist. This will confirm whether you are dyslexic or not.
If you are applying for the Disabled Students' Allowance (DSA), the Educational Psychologist assessment report is used as evidence of your dyslexia, but you will also have to have a Needs Assessment to work out how the allowance can be used to support your studies.
When can I have a Needs Assessment?
The Disability and Dyslexia Service offers Needs Assessment appointments on Mondays and Fridays with DSA-QAG accredited assessors from the University of Westminster’s CLASS Assessment Centre although it is possible to arrange appointments on other days, subject to the availability of the assessors we use. For more information please contact us on 020 7882 2756 or email us.
How do I arrange for a Needs Assessment?
- You must have confirmation in writing from your funding authority that they agree for you to have a Needs Assessment.
- You can ask the Disability and Dyslexia Service to help you arrange the assessment. Alternatively, simply get in touch with the Assessment Centre and book an assessment yourself.
We are able to offer some of these assessments on-site, subject to availability.
How do I prepare for the assessment?
Think about the course activities that you are expected to participate in:
- How the course is delivered (lectures, seminars, labs)?
- How you are assessed (exams or coursework)?
- Will you need any particular equipment or software?
- How might the workload change over the course?
- How much reading will you need to do?
- How many teaching hours are there every week?
- Are you expected to use on-line resources?
- Will you go on a placement or undertake field trips?
- Think about your previous study strategies. Did you have help from family, friends or teachers - people who might not be able to help now?
You can help the assessor by:
- Bringing along any relevant medical information, or other information, such as a dyslexia report, to your assessment.
- Bringing a copy of the letter from your funding authority.
- Speaking to your tutors and disability advisor in advance about your specific needs. They may have useful suggestions!