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WHAT WORKS IN EDUCATION The George Lucas Educational Foundation

Welcome to your Special Education group

Welcome to your Special Education group

Related Tags: Special Education
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35 Replies 279 Views
Hi, and welcome to your group. I say your groups because, while I'm the moderator, you get to determine what we talk about. This is a place to get to know each other, share ideas, resources, problems, joys and frustrations. If you're classroom is anything like mine there will be a lot of all of those. I hope you will enjoy the time you spend here and benefit from joining this learning and sharing community.

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Nan Barron's picture
Nan Barron
Speech-Language Pathologist from Loveland, Colorado

What's a continuation school? I, too, am a Special Educator at the high school level.

Carol Locke's picture
Carol Locke
Middle school, special education teacher from Pasadena, CA

Hello!
I'm delighted to be a member of this group! I must admit it's not always easy to be a special ed teacher in a predominantly general education school--especially one in which academics are strongly stressed. Ever since NCLB has been implemented, data has driven everything that we have done, whether that makes sense or not. Correctly bubbling in answers does not work well for many of "my" students. They work well in a group, interactively, but, when given a paper and pencil, it's as if the material was written in an ancient language and they simply cannot perform successfully. When they receive their results in the mail, both they and their parents often cry. It is so hard to watch. And much of the community understands so little about what they are going through and actually resents the fact that the school's overall scores are lowered by the special students' marks. What a tragedy! And now, we're being told that our evaluation as educators should be at least partly dependent upon our students' scores! I don't mind being held accountable for my work; I welcome "transparency." But I think we've gone a bit too far!
Forgive my ranting, but this whole testing debacle is a very raw point for many of us here in CA...

Maria Vandermey's picture
Maria Vandermey
Special education teacher from Smyrna, Georgia.

Hello!

I'm glad to find this community. I'm a special education teacher at the high school level and still looking for answers to a lot of questions.

Deven Black's picture
Deven Black
Middle school teacher-librarian in the Bronx, NY

[quote]Hello!
I'm glad to find this community. I'm a special education teacher at the high school level and still looking for answers to a lot of questions.[/quote]

This is a good place to ask your questions, Maria. It looks like we have a lot of experienced people here and my guess is we're willing to help each other out. I know I am.

Shirley McKinney's picture
Shirley McKinney
Special Education: K-6 Inclusion Resource Teacher from Phoenix, Arizona

AIMS is the name of our state test and stands for Arizona Instrument to Measure Standards.

In February 2010 the AZ Dept. of Ed. will be field-testing the first administration of the AIMS EA. This test will be for reading and math and has been designed for special education students.

It will make the state test more accessible to students with learning disabilities, and will have enhancements that will allow greater access to the performance objective that is being assessed. (Yea Arizona!!!) Specific criteria will be necessary for test eligibility and the team will make that decision.

Testing a student at grade level when we already know that we have a federal law saying that we have to teach and test at their level of performance is an act of stupidity that sets these children up for failure. (My 2 cents worth). There is no validity in that.

The AIMS EA is actually an accommodated test and will help a student demonstrate better what they actually know.

Some of the enhancements are:
- Simplified questions and directions
- Greater white space
- Boxed items and answer choices
- Mathematics formulas within the items
- Reading questions embedded within passages
- Additional graphics where appropriate
- Elimination of a separate answer document

Spring 2011 is the target date for the first 7th, 8th and high school AIMS EA assessments. Spring 2012 is the date for elementary school students.

Hopefully this is a step in the right direction for assessing students with learning disabilities.It's been a long time coming.

M. McHenry's picture
M. McHenry
Special Education Teacher, Virginia

Hello there! I'm on an elementary level. I am also having major ethical issues with the demands of testing, AYP, and NCLB. Hope to get to know you all better!

Deven Black's picture
Deven Black
Middle school teacher-librarian in the Bronx, NY

Thanks for the information about the new Arizona AIMS EA exams. Are teacher/proctors allowed to read the questions on the math exam to the students?

Shirley McKinney's picture
Shirley McKinney
Special Education: K-6 Inclusion Resource Teacher from Phoenix, Arizona

Yes, they are, providing that the student qualifies for reading and the student is given that accommodation in the classroom as well.

Shirley McKinney's picture
Shirley McKinney
Special Education: K-6 Inclusion Resource Teacher from Phoenix, Arizona

There is not enough money in the state budget this year to field test the AIMS EA for special education students. The dates up above of course will not be valid now.

Frequently special educators talk about accommodating tests for special needs students in the classroom, but how often is this actually done?
The accommodations used to construct the AIMS EA can be used for the testing of students in general education classrooms, as their use does not modify the curriculum at all. It only provides a way for students to demonstrate their learning. Social Studies and Science are academic areas where unit topics are usually static. I have begun to take unit tests, accommodate them for sp needs students, and then give them back to teachers to use when testing students that are allowed, in their IEPs, accommodations for classroom testing. You would also want to keep a copy of them on file. These tests can be filed and used again each school year as needed.

Accommodated tests can be used for almost any subject area. Yes, it takes a little time to structure them, but whether done as a team or individually it could be accomplished over the course of a year and could be done as a team project, or individually.

I would really like to hear other ways that sp ed teachers accommodate for their students in inclusive settings.

Erika Saunders's picture
Erika Saunders
6th-8th Special Ed, LS & Mentally Gifted teacher

Hello all! I'm so happy to have a place like this! My school has recently switched to an inclusion mode with co-teaching. As you can imagine, it's not exactly a "perfect" model! I vary from a really good "aid" to a competent "student teacher".

I truly believe in co-teaching and believe it can help reach so many students - beyond those with IEPs. I struggle to have my co-teachers accept me as a fully certified teacher (2 certificates by the way!) with something to offer. It gets really frustrating for me and I hate seeing students struggle when there are things that can help them.

It's hard to offer suggestions when people aren't receptive. I'm wondering if there's anyone else out there in my position. And how you get through it!

Thanks!

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