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How to become a Dyslexia/Dyscalculia assessor

AMBDA Dyscalculia APEL Criteria

The main route to become a Dyscalculia Teacher and Assessor who is eligible for AMBDA Dyscalculia and maths difficulties is through the BDA accredited courses offering the first year at either Level 5 or 7 and the second year at Level 7.

However, to enable experienced Dyslexia assessors to bring their experience and knowledge to gain AMBDA Dyscalculia and maths difficulties, the APEL route will be open until 30th June 2023.

The APEL route recognises some qualified Dyslexia assessors might wish to assess for Dyscalculia and maths difficulties and be recognised as such by gaining AMBDA Dyscalculia and maths difficulties. They will have secure knowledge of conducting diagnostic assessments and the skills involved, but are unlikely to have the formal qualifications related to the current specialist skills needed for diagnosing Dyscalculia and maths difficulties since the new definition for Dyscalculia was only recently adopted by SASC in 2019.

The SASC guidance for the assessment of Dyscalculia is as follows:

Who can assess for difficulties with mathematics and what training/qualifications will they need?

It will be evident from the above guidance that difficulties in mathematics should not be assessed and evaluated purely based on a score derived from one test of arithmetic skills (in the same way that literacy skills would not be assessed purely based on a score derived from one test of single word reading). Assessors should have the knowledge and expertise in mathematics that is necessary to be able to perform the range of investigations listed in “What should be included in an assessment of difficulties with mathematics?”. This does not mean that one needs to have a degree in mathematics to assess mathematics, but to assess mathematic skills within a diagnostic assessment, assessors should have knowledge and training from both categories A and B below:

A - Knowledge and experience of holistic diagnostic assessment

  • Training in, and knowledge and experience of the process of performing a holistic diagnostic assessment which synthesises and evaluates qualitative and quantitative evidence gathered from detailed history-taking, psychometric testing, observation and error analysis.
  • Training in, and/or experience of, applying this knowledge to the assessment of mathematics.

This knowledge and experience can be acquired through:

  • A Level 7 qualification which explicitly trains and assesses the assessor in the full process of diagnostic assessment, including extensive coverage of diagnosing difficulties with mathematics or mathematical cognition (for example a Master’s in psychology, or a Level 7/PG Dip qualification in SpLD Assessment in maths).
  • If the assessor’s original Level 7 assessment qualification did not cover mathematics explicitly and extensively, it is expected that a top-up Level 7 course in mathematics and Dyscalculia will be undertaken (60 credits, plus 20 hours experience of mathematics teaching) unless the assessor has acquired the required skills and knowledge through extensive CPD training, mentoring, personal research and experience and can demonstrate competence in applying that knowledge to diagnostic assessments of mathematics or mathematical cognition.

B - Knowledge of mathematical skills development, including

  • The impact that domain specific and domain general deficits may have upon learning and performance in mathematics in education, the workplace and everyday life.
  • The range of strategies and procedures an individual might use to perform calculations and solve mathematical problems at the individual’s current level of mathematics experience and training. An understanding of which strategies and procedures are least/most efficient and effective in different situations.
  • The stages and processes by which mathematics skills are developed and the normal range of variation that might be expected for the individual’s age and/or level of mathematics education.
  • Typical error patterns for individuals who are struggling with aspects of mathematics.
  • The impact that mathematics anxiety may have upon learning and performance in mathematics.

This knowledge can be acquired through:

  • Experience of teaching mathematics skills (for example: as a Primary Teacher, a QTS/QTLS teacher, SpLD Tutor, Basic/Functional Skills Tutor, Mathematics Teacher);
  • And/or a Bachelor Degree or postgraduate qualification which explicitly and extensively covers how maths skills and/or maths cognition develop (for example: a BEd or PGCE in a mathematics related subject; a BA/BSc or Masters in Psychology which includes extensive coverage of mathematics and/or mathematical cognition; a postgraduate qualification in SpLD tutoring which includes extensive coverage of maths difficulties within SpLDs) and subsequent professional practice and CPD.

The BDA will therefore offer the following 2 routes for gaining AMBDA Dyscalculia and maths difficulties. The first, by completing an accredited course in Dyscalculia and maths learning difficulties at level 7, and the second, by APEL with the submission of a portfolio.

This APEL route will be available in the short term until 30th June 2023. Thereafter the AMBDA Dyscalculia and maths difficulties award will only be gained through Level 7 courses accredited for AMBDA Dyscalculia and maths difficulties such as those currently offered by The University of Chester and Edgehill University and soon to be offered by the BDA.

APEL/ Portfolio Route for AMBDA Dyscalculia and Maths Learning Difficulties.

The following describes a route for AMBDA qualified professions who have previously completed or run courses, or they may have acquired extensive knowledge, experience of maths difficulties and have been assessing for Dyscalculia and may want to access AMBDA Dyscalculia and maths difficulties. They will need to meet the SASC guidelines highlighted in the table below by evidencing their personal research, study, CPD etc. and present these to the BDA panel for individual consideration. A maths background which includes a minimum of 2 years recent specialist maths teaching experience and/or undergraduate or post graduate degree in maths and/or maths cognition is essential.

You must demonstrate the following:

That you have acquired the required skills and knowledge through extensive CPD training, mentoring, personal research and experience and can demonstrate competence in applying that knowledge to diagnostic assessments of mathematics or mathematical cognition.

This can be submitted as an extended CV or portfolio and supporting evidence.

Evidence together with a Dyscalculia Assessment Report (new report format) to be submitted to the BDA Dyscalculia panel responsible for awarding AMBDA at a cost of £350.

Portfolio Requirements
Details of CPD training related to maths teaching, assessment and cognition including personal research and mentoring - a minimum 20 hours
A full diagnostic assessment for Dyscalculia carried out in the past 12 months - format meeting SASC guidelines
A record of specialist maths teaching over the past 2 years - including evidence of planning a scheme of work covering 20 hours of specialist teaching and samples of lesson plans and student work
A record of experience in maths teaching - including one to one support and class teaching
A record of diagnostic assessments for learners with Dyscalculia in the past 2 years - use only the date of assessment and age of learner with brief overview of assessment outcome
A current, up to date CV

How to apply

Please email with your intention to apply for AMBDA Dyscalculia by the APEL route, you will be sent a link to upload your evidence to and a link to pay the £350 fee by credit/debit card.