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WHAT WORKS IN EDUCATION The George Lucas Educational Foundation

Should special education students participate in standardized testing?

Should special education students participate in standardized testing?

Related Tags: Special Education
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75 Replies 6694 Views
We differentiate instruction, teach the students at their proximal level of learning, and accept a variety of ways of demonstrating learning in our classrooms, but our students have to take standardized one-way-of-assessing tests. Is this fair? And if not, is it ethical? And if not, what do we do about it?

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Rebecca Sebring's picture
Rebecca Sebring
Special Education Teacher Middle School from Louisiana

By basic definition of Special Education (student can't generalize) standarized testing is wrong because every standarized test I've ever seen asks the student to generalize information. I guess we are lucky in LA we have LAA1 and LAA2 for special education if a student has failed the LEAP (our standarized test) three times and is below grade level in two subjects they qualify for taking the LAA testing. With the LAA2 tests theys tudents can still earn a high school diploma as long as they earn the carnegie units. The LAA tests are also used to show progress in the subjects that the student is deficient in. Therefore holding the teachers accountable for teaching the students at their own rate. So far this has worked out to be a better assessment of the special education students. The LAA1 is for the severe or profound students and is based on functional skills students who take this test get a certificate of achievement instead of a diploma.

Lorraine Henson's picture
Lorraine Henson
Resource K-6

It is not fair for them to take the test at grade level if they are not at grade level. They should take the test at their reading level or math level. I am working with my school district superindentent to fix this problem in my state.

cjallen's picture

Ok i am going to put it this way on your comment... I am a father of a six year old son, who has autism. You made the comment that it starts with 3 year olds... I am not a teacher just a dad who likes to see what people think about our kids. It does not start at three it starts when you know your children and can see. (so to say) If it was not for people like you and your fellow teachers, AND MANY OTHERS. my son would not be where he is today, so thank you... just don't forget it is not easy. Thanks for listening.

cjallen's picture

My son is now 6, he was told or i should say we were told he had autism... That was at one year old. We had so many people help us even on there own time. We love you all for what you do, and THANK YOU Again.

Heidi's picture

We are responsible for educationing our student and working on the IEP goals. Although the IEP goals may not line with regular education curriculum, therefore curriculum may need to be modified or alternative curriculum presented. It is the role of both the regular and special education teachers to education the students.

JB's picture
Intervention Specialist

[quote]I work with students with mild/moderated disabilities in a K-3 setting. We have good success deliviering the grade standardized tests with accomodations. These accomodations are used all year long with the student in the regular ed and special ed. classrooms and are allowed on the CRT tests without negating the validity of the CRT tests. Our students can show what they know and do quite well.[/quote]

I believe students in the primary grades DO test more closely to their grade levels, however, the older they get, the wider the gap between actual grade level and functioning level. I teach 7th grade special ed, a combination of inclusion and resource room periods. Accommodations and modifications are made daily for my students- and when it comes to taking the "test"- it is saddening to see my students with a 2nd/3rd grade reading level attempt to read 7th grade passages and be expected to pass. It's wrong!

Melanie Olsen's picture
Melanie Olsen
7th and 8th grade self-contained special ed teacher from New York

Isn't that why they are in special ed. I am a special ed school, and teach middle school. You are asking a 16 yr old who reads on a 2nd grade level to take a test designed for someone who reads on grade level. Even with mods, you can't read it to them, and they can barely write a sentence. OUr principal would rather not have them take them, but until they change it......

Melanie Olsen's picture
Melanie Olsen
7th and 8th grade self-contained special ed teacher from New York

There's a reason why these kids are special ed. Giving them a reading test, when they can't read it is ridiculous. Most of my students got frustrated and just guessed. They didn't understand the question, so they couldn't answer it. Most of them jsut restated the question. They did do okay on the NYS science test, since part of it is hands on. Forget the social studies. Isn't it supposed to be least restrictive? Well aren't these tests restrictive

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