In Robyn Rennick’s post on Florida’s McKay Scholarships for Students With Disabilities last week, she argued that standardized testing measures are “inappropriate,” even “cruel,” for disabled children due to their diverse levels of achievement and in some cases immeasurable levels of progress. But this assumes that standardized testing is a “one size fits all” accountability measure. In reality, there are dozens, even hundreds, of standardized assessments that are designed for every segment of the student population – whether children are learning self-care or calculus. The choice of test can be left to the private school, not the state. More importantly, standardized testing is perhaps the only way to [...]
RtI is a 3-tiered process of increasingly intensive research- based instruction which is part of federal law (IDEA 2004). At the end of the process (Tier 3), students who are still struggling in reading, math and/or behavior will be eligible for special education services (an "IEP"). The theory of RtI, which is to catch struggling students early and provide high quality research-based instruction, is great.
Once the psycho-educational evaluation of your son or daughter is complete (See this post for more details on getting an evaluation), if a disability is found the next step will be to have a school meeting to determine if that disability significantly impacts his or her educational performance. That sounds simple enough, but can actually be a great sticking point, particularly for gifted and disabled students. I covered that topic in detail in an article reprinted on the ISER web site. One thing is for sure that a student does not have to be failing in order to qualify for [...]
Getting accommodations from the College Board (which administers the SAT, AP exams and others) or from any other standardized testing or professional licensing boards, is even more difficult, and is governed by a whole different set of laws, than getting accommodations in public grade school. When a parent of a disabled child come to me for help getting accommodations on these exams, here are some of the key questions I ask (none of which are determinative in and of themselves): 1. When was your child diagnosed with a disability? 2. Has your child been getting accommodations for tests in school? 3. [...]