Callie Shipley IRIS Center Module:Accessing the General Education Curriculum 1.
Whatare some important steps in interpreting data from high stakes assessments? After obtainingdata and determining information such as which types of accommodations were used,how many alternative assessments were taken, and which scores were not includedin the school’s improvement index, educators should examine the data toidentify expected results, unexpected results, and common errors amongstudents. The educators should determine how many students with disabilitiestook standardized tests and evaluate their scores. The educators should alsoconsider more detailed information such as how many students with certaincategories of disabilities were tested and how many students receivedaccommodations in each category of disability. Comparison of scores throughouta single year at each grade level, in a single grade across several years, orin multiple groups in multiple years can provide valuable information to showthe areas in which students are improving or struggling.
Educators must addresschallenges in interpreting data that include small changes causing largeimpacts within small groups of students, the lack of clear differentiation ofscores in state score reporting, and the transfer of students between generaland special education. The final step in interpreting data is the creation ofteams of teachers that will develop strategies for future improvement based onthe students’ performance. 2.
Whatdoes the law say about the instruction and assessment of students withdisabilities? According to theIndividuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), educators must create anindividualized education program (IEP) for students with disabilities. Sincestudents with special needs are required to have access to the generalcurriculum, the IEP describes how the student will be involved in generaleducation. The IEP includes information such as the student’s currentperformance and needs, goals to be measured on an annual basis, progress data,and a description of the student’s participation in extracurricular andcurricular activities alongside children with and without disabilities.
Students with exceptionalitiesmust be included in assessment programs but may be provided with accommodationsas necessary. States and local districts should create accommodation policiesthat include guidelines for alternate assessments for students withdisabilities who are unable to take part in general assessments. Scores ofstudents with disabilities must be reported along with the students’ peers. 3. Whyis it important that students with disabilities have access to the generaleducation curriculum? What are some ways to help these students to access thegeneral education curriculum? The generaleducation curriculum follows specific content standards and subject matter, andstudents with disabilities have the right to access the same standards. Throughaccessing this curriculum, students with disabilities move towards learning thesame critical information and abilities taught to all students.
If the statehas mandated that certain content is important for students to learn, thiscontent is also important for students with disabilities to learn. Providingthese students with access to general education benefits these students and helpscreate high expectations for students with disabilities. While some studentswith disabilities may need no changes to the general curriculum, other studentsmay access the general education curriculum with assistance outlined by theirIEPs in the form of accommodations, modifications, or alternate assessments. 4. Whatare accommodations? Modifications? Alternate assessments? When should each ofthese be used? An accommodationsupports the student and helps the student access the subject matter andinstruction so that he or she can demonstrate what he or she knows.Accommodations do not alter the content of instruction or expectations.
Forexample, a student with motor, sensory, or information-processing deficitscould benefit from accommodations such as sign language interpreters, Braillematerials, or tape-recorded books. These accommodations “level the playingfield” for students with exceptionalities. If all potentialaccommodations have been considered and students need additional assistance,modifications provide students with a change to the assessments or instruction.For example, assignments could be reduced in length or the student could read atext at a lower reading level.
Alternateassessments are used for a small percentage of students who have moresignificant cognitive disabilities and who cannot participate in generalassessments. Students who take alternate assessments often follow a curriculum thatfocuses mainly on life skills. An example of an alternate assessment could be astudent portfolio.