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Re: testing the vulnerable among us



----- Original Message -----
From: "Teresa Saum" <teresak@PRAIRIE.LAKES.COM>

> I work in a special education school. We call it an alternative education
> setting but our students are all clients of a residential treatment
program,
> kids from eleven to nineteen years old, away from their families and their
> homes and the schools they know, many suffering from severe emotional
> disturbances or mental illnesses that make the simplest school tasks very
> difficult. Last year, in February, eighteen of our students took the
> Minnesota Basic Standards tests, some for the first time, some for the
> second time, some for the third time. Most of them didn¹t pass.
>
> Jerry, a boy with a significant intellectual handicap got 25% the first
time
> he took the test, he says by coloring in all the D¹s. Because the things
he
> learns in school are very different from the things on the test, his
> teacher wanted him to be exempt from further testing. The principal from
his
> home school, a member of Jerry¹s IEP team, insisted that Jerry should have
a
> chance to take the test and pass it. The rest of the team disagreed; the
> chance of Jerry getting the 75% required to pass was slim. He insisted
Jerry
> should take the test. The rest of the team finally relented and Jerry¹s
IEP
> stated that he would need 15% to pass the test. But he couldn¹t have that
> modification retroactively, so he had to take the test again, trying to
get
> 15%. Is that a good use of educational dollars? Does it tell us anything
> useful about Jerry?


I completely understand your frustration. We have some students who aren't
special ed but are slow learners who will also never pass TAAS or Son of
TAAS. It's great to raise the bar of expectation for our children, but we
have to be realistic in expecting all children to pass these tests.

BTW, why did the IEP team relent? If only one person was in opposition, I
don't understand what happened.

Kathy
kaeads@wt.net

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