No ELA or MAP tests for special education students.
This petition had 498 supporters
Special education students have Individualized Educational Plans with goals and objectives that have been developed for them at their own instructional level. The state's special education teachers are doing a wonderful job teaching to those plans and helping these kids make progress at their own rate.
The special needs students are then required to take the same tests as their age-mates, no matter what their level. This unfairly stresses them and results in frustrated kids who become disheartened and upset about school. It also forces the teachers to send a mixed message to the kids. They can learn at their individualized level all year, except for the weeks right before the tests, where the teachers are forced to present material and test material that the student with special needs does not yet have the foundational skills to understand.
Additionally, the teachers are "graded" on their students' performance on these tests and this grade affects their performance evaluations at the rate of 40%! These are fabulous teachers taking on a tough job where they cannot predict the outcomes of each student. Complex medical problems as well as certain disorders with a tendency to become more involved over time can prevent students from achieving to the level the state deems "adequate yearly progress".
The state will say that there is already a method of providing "alternate assessment" to students with IEP's, but this provision is reserved for only the most complex special needs student, with the district cap on using this provision capped at 8% of kids with IEP's!! That means 92% of all kids with documented special needs will be forced to take the tests for the grades they are in, however symbolically.
Students should be assessed by the system they already have in place, the IEP. The goals and objectives are already formulated and can be used as the method of determining progress. If achievement of a goal is not attained, the teachers have to figure out what prevented the progress and modify the goals and teaching strategies accordingly. This also allows for flexibility in modification to whatever needs or learning challenges arise and collaboration with the students' medical teams to determine the best ways to teach a student with a particular diagnosis or presentation. This system was developed to respect the individual needs of kids. It already works! Do not try to force our kids with IEP's into the state's round hole!
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