What questions should Ms. Flores and Mr. Ericson ask the general and special education teachers?
Page 14: Summary
Although the wide variety of changes that can be made to instruction and assessment for students with disabilities can be confusing, it is helpful to think of them as a continuum.
- Of course, for some students, such as those receiving only speech and language services, no changes may be necessary to the content or the instruction that is provided within the general curriculum.
- For other students, instructional accommodations are made, but the student is expected to learn the same curriculum content as his or her peers in the classroom.
- Increasing in intensity, curricular modifications begin to change the expectations regarding content as well as learner achievement and outcomes.
- Finally, for some students, teachers may need to define a totally individualized set of content goals. These students usually do not participate in general assessments but instead receive alternate assessments.
Although you have just learned that changes to instruction and testing are critical for students with disabilities, it is not uncommon for other students or parents to complain that such changes seem unfair.
Listen now as Virginia Richardson describes how she responds when she hears complaints that accommodations or modifications received by students with disabilities aren’t “fair” (time: 1:01).
PACER Center (Parent Advocacy Coalition for Educational Rights)
Parent Training Manager
Transcript: Virginia Richardson
I think it’s certainly problematic for those children who don’t look like they have a disability. If we have a child in a wheelchair, we really don’t expect that child to get up and walk in the room, okay? Some children come with disabilities — expecting them to sit still for an hour and take a test is as much of an unreal expectation as asking a child in the wheelchair to get up and walk in the room. And I explain to parents that the testing accommodations are not given for unfair advantage. It’s just given to level the playing field, because children are different. And the children in special ed have been tested to determine what their needs are, and people aren’t pretending these are needs. They are real needs.
The following table outlines this continuum of changes that can be made to instruction and assessment for students with disabilities:
|No Accommodations or Modifications||Accommodations||Modifications||Alternate Assessment|
|Individualize all instruction
Instruction in general education
Full participation in state and district assessment
|List standards & special accommodations
Instruction with accommodations in general education
Individualized skill instruction
Participate in state and district assessment with accommodations
|Different or modified curricular goals
Describe supplemental services and supports
Individualized skill instruction
Goals and Objectives based on modified content standards and or access skills
Document reasons for alternate assessments
Participate in state and district assessment or alternate assessments
|Design Individualized Instruction
Document compelling reasons for exemption from state and district assessments
Describe alternate assessment
(Nolet & McLaughlin, 2000)