The Curriculum Access Tool for Students with General Learning Disability (CAT-GLD) is a framework to assist teachers in implementing the curriculum for students with general learning disability as outlined in the Guidelines for Teachers of Students with General Learning Disabilities (GLD) of the National Council for Curriculum and Assessment (NCCA).

Currently, the curricular area of Communication and Language, Mathematics, Social Personal Health Education (SPHE) and Physical Education are available and it is planned to make Science available soon.

In this phase, as in the NCCA Guidelines for Teachers of Students with General Learning Disabilities, the content of each Curricular Area is presented as Strands. The detailed elements of some Strands are presented as Strand Units.

Strands and Strand Units are further detailed into individual skills. A Skills Checklist with each curricular individual skill of the NCCA Guidelines is made accessible in the Curriculum Access Tool and uses a hierarchy of phases of skills attainment (see ‘Attainment Progression’ section).

These Skills Checklists are designed to support teachers in recognising the needs of individual students, in curriculum planning to address these needs, in teaching appropriately, and in monitoring and recording student learning.

As stated in the NCCA Curriculum Planning Tool (GLD-Mild), the aims and objectives for students with Mild General Learning Disabilities are the same as the core aims, broad objectives and content of the Primary School Curriculum. Therefore, the Strands and Strand Units outlined in the CAT-GLD (Mild) are taken from the Primary School Curriculum.The Guidelines for Teachers of Students with Mild General Learning Disabilities support the teacher in mediating the objectives of the curriculum for these students. Therefore it may be useful to use the CAT-GLD (Mild) in conjunction with the Guidelines for Students with Mild General Learning Disabilities.

In the CAT-GLD, the Strands of the Guidelines for Teachers of Students with Severe and Profound Learning Disabilities are also presented in the format of Skills Checklists. To facilitate this, the skills outlined in the \'Initiating\' section of these Guidelines are presented as headings and the related elements of the \'Attending\' and \'Responding\' sections are included in the individual Skills Checklists. For ease of use, some skills have been combined.

 

Guidelines for Use

The Skills Checklists can be used by teachers in a variety of flexible ways as part of the normal assessing, recording, planning and teaching processes.  For example, the checklists can be used:

  • to record a student’s skills competencies in curricular areas at a particular point in time
  • as a guide to what skills and elements of skills to assess as part of the assessment for learning process
  • as a running record of a student’s skills competencies, achievement and learning progression
  • as a source of teacher self-reflection from reviewing the learning progression recorded (see \'Teacher Reflection\' section)
  • as evidence-based information on student progress and achievement which can contribute to school self-evaluation process  and the school improvement plan.

It is recommended that the following limitations be applied to the use of the Skills Checklists - they:

  • should not be used exclusively as an assessment tool  nor in isolation from other assessment processes
  • should not be used exclusively as a planning tool nor to set learning targets
  • should not be viewed as a set of skills to be taught in a sequential, linear way and their layout is not designed for this purpose.

It is also recommended that CAT-GLD be used in conjunction with the NCCA\'s Guidelines for Teachers of Students with General Learning Disabilities which are available for three levels in both Communication and Language and Maths:

Communication and Language Guidelines

Maths Guidelines

SPHE Guidelines