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« Educating Education Writers: Great Article on Special Education | Main | Presuppositions vs. Reality »

Monday, April 17, 2006

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Lisa

Having experienced this firsthand with my own students, it does make me angry. The legal documents I fill out for them each year clearly state that they are reading, calculating, problem solving, spelling, and writing significantly below grade level - because if they weren't, they would not be eligible to attend our school, and the state wouldn't be paying for the extra staff and facilities that our school requires. It does not take much thought to realize that a child reading on a 2nd grade level will not pass a 4th grade level reading comprehension test. We have wasted entire days' worth of instruction, not to mention the state's money for testing materials and scoring, on this sort of nonsense.

There ARE ways to measure our kids' progress so that the school is held accountable and provides necessary services. We administer yearly normed achievement tests 1:1 with every child. We also produce a 20 page report card that lists not just the grade level and pass/fail, but detailed breakdowns of all the necessary skills and information that the child has learned. And we fill out IEPs that set yearly goals and short-term benchmarks.

In order to be "at grade level", our slow processors and delayed developers would need to make several years' worth of progress in a year's time. Since we don't even require that of typically developing students, I don't see why special educations should have that expectation. Most of my kids can make a year's progress in a year's time. That is how I judge whether my instruction is working for them.

Thanks for your kind words about my blog, by the way!

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