Establishing a University-based assessment centre
As independent DSA needs assessment centres continue to open in every town and city in England and Wales, it may be seen as an unnecessary use of precious space for universities to have an assessment centre located within their institution. However, this option does still offer major advantages:
Increased DSA numbers – students are more likely to attend needs assessments the easier it is to get to the centres. This means more students will access the support available through the DSA.
Income generation – both setting up a centre through the university or working with an external assessment centre provider to set up a centre on site offers a valuable income stream.
Source of expertise – with assessors available nearby, both university staff and students have an opportunity to benefit from their technical knowledge far more easily if they are onsite and embedded within the student services provision.
Closer links – a good needs assessment should understand the specific nature of studying at a particular university. This can mean understanding how courses are delivered, knowing about internal exam and assessment policies, being aware of local NMH providers and so on. Being based within a university means that this information can be shared more easily, ensuring better quality and more tailored assessments can be carried out.
What we offer
Quite simply, we can set up an assessment within a University so that needs assessments can be carried out on-site. All we need is a dedicated, accessible office space to lease within the University.
We would then submit an application to DSA-QAG to establish a new outreach centre within the University. We would equip the centre with all the equipment needed and provide full administrative support. Students would be provided with access to an online booking system and needs assessments would be carried out within the DSA-QAG require timescales.
From this come the benefits listed, but these are just the starting point – what we can then offer is something much more comprehensive to really help meet the needs of your students and Disability Service staff. The following are some examples of what this could be:
DSA clinics – we can provide a regular drop-in session for students to get help with applying for the DSA, getting the necessary evidence, booking their appointment or answering any questions about the process. Students who have had their assessment with us can also come along to ask any questions about their support or equipment.
Technology workshops – its long been known that the uptake of training is relatively low, and that many students do not subsequently get the full benefit from their equipment. The range of online training options that have emerged over the last few years offer a useful alternative, but can supplement this by running regular workshops to show how the different software options can support aspects of studying. These can then be attended by students who have the software, by students who want to see what the DSA funding may provide, and by staff who want to have a greater understanding of the software.
Non-DSA services – we can provide assessment services to students not eligible for DSA funding and make recommendations that fit within existing frameworks for supporting these students, whether that’s using an existing loan back of equipment, working within a certain budget, or recommending no-cost solutions.