Effective Leadership for Inclusionary Practice: Assessment Considerations for Cognitively Challenged Students

  • Elaine FournierEmail author
  • Shelleyann ScottEmail author
  • Donald E. Scott
Part of the The Enabling Power of Assessment book series (EPAS, volume 3)


This chapter focuses on leadership for effective inclusion for students with cognitive challenges. As leadership is pivotal to enhancing student outcomes, we explore how leaders influence teachers and promote inclusionary practices in terms of facilitating professional development and differentiation in instruction and assessment. Deconstructing two case studies in relation to the literature, we illustrate the complexities in addressing teaching and learning for inclusion, and highlight the importance of principals having an ethic of care and an appreciation of diversity. An inclusive leadership framework is proposed which articulates the essential knowledge, skills, and attitudes/beliefs principals and system leaders must acquire and refine in order to effectively lead in diverse schools and systems. In the exploration of the research, it was overtly evident that educators are grappling with differentiation and its implications for them as leaders of learning due to an inherent lack of preparation and pragmatic professional development. We therefore created two models designed to address the demand for building leadership capacity at the system and school levels that encompass leaders, educators, as well as paraprofessionals in the pursuit of enhanced outcomes for students with special needs. The foundation of the capacity building models is the development of a pool of expert leaders who can engage in peer coaching relationships, thereby influencing professional development and team-based case management. We advocate for closer community engagement between university experts and school systems, as well as a greater nexus between inclusion theory and practical pedagogical differentiation in preservice programmes.


Inclusion Disabilities Exceptionalities Differentiated instruction Differentiated assessment Authentic assessment Differentiation Leadership development Professional development Knowledge, skills and attributes/values Capacity building Peer coaching System leadership School leadership Principals Community partnerships Case management Student voice Paraprofessionals Advocacy Ethic of care Appreciation of diversity 


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.BancroftCanada
  2. 2.Werklund School of EducationUniversity of CalgaryCalgaryCanada

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