This post was written by a student, Jennifer Burnett, in the College of Education.

When it comes to state mandated testing, there is no such thing as “one size fits all.” Students with disabilities face enough obstacles on a daily basis without having the fear and anxiety that state mandated testing may bring. Passing a state mandated test is a challenge for many of our students, with or without a learning disability. Why must we add to the stress of being a child? Is it necessary to require this measurement of all students’ knowledge? All of the accommodations in the world are not enough when you are an 11th grade student who has reached his/her peak reading ability at a 1st grade level or whose Individualized Education Plan (IEP) goals are to obtain basic life skills and daily living skills. Teachers work tirelessly to build a trusting relationship with students, and then have to ask the impossible of many students while watching them lose trust in teachers as well as self-confidence in themselves and their abilities.

When measuring the ability of our students, there has to be a sense of reality; it is not all about the numbers and accountability. The fact is that no matter the grade level, no two students learn in the same manner or perform on assessments in the same manner. Those of us who teach students’ daily do not expect the impossible: we simply expect their individual best. The law allows for us to instruct a student with a diagnosed disability within the guidelines of an IEP, but the same law requires these students to be assessed, often in the same fashion as a student without a disability. There has to be a better way. I do not believe the answer is an Alternative Assessment. An Alternative Assessment is a performance-based tool used to assess students working on an applied studies diploma.

I believe we should assess the individual students on their “individual” level. Then, “the size will fit” each student. Teachers could use the individual students’ goals in their IEP to compile a portfolio of their work and mastery of the skill created just for them. This could be done by using tools such as the Brigance Comprehensive Inventory of Basic Skills, Edmark, VBMAPP, TTAC, or the K-TEA 3. There are many tools available for students of all learning levels; choosing the one that best fits is the key.

discoursED HOME

<< Previous

Next >>