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Test Scores Dropping – What Can You Do?

07/24/09
by Wrightslaw

Did you receive academic test results for your child that were much lower than you expected?

In some cases parents say they received no scores for certain subjects or were told their child “either scored so low she could not be graded or she was not given the test.”

What can you do? First, focus on three things.

1. What information do you have about your child’s progress or lack of progress?
2. How can you collect this information?
3. Once you have accurate information about your child’s progress, how will you use it?

A group standardized test is not a great way to measure a child’s progress.

How does the IEP say your child’s progress will be objectively measured? This is the testing you need to focus on.

If a group achievement test was what the IEP team planned to use and the group test was not administered, ask the IEP team to use an individually administered educational achievement test to measure your child’s progress. Make sure the test(s) selected will measure key academic skills – reading, writing, spelling, math.

Take another look at your child’s IEP and answer these questions:

  • Is the IEP based on complete, current testing?
  • Does the IEP include all legally required components?
  • Does the IEP follow the recommendations of the evaluators?
  • Are the goals and objectives measurable?
  • Are the objectives appropriate?
  • If your child is not making progress, did the IEP team increase the intensity of instruction?
  • Are the instructional methods research-based?
  • Are the teachers trained in the research-based instructional methods that your child needs to meet the goals in her IEP?

You need to get a comprehensive evaluation of your child by an independent evaluator in the private sector. A comprehensive evaluation will give you a roadmap for the future. The IEP may need to be changed to meet your child’s needs and more closely follow the evaluators’ recommendations.

Remember, special education is a service, not a place. To reach her goals, your child may need to receive instruction from a teacher who has different certifications and training.

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6 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Sharon 03/24/10 at 10:25 pm

    Darrell:
    My ADHD son was acting out and was getting suspended, etc. We requested in writing from the school a Behavior evaluation by a behavior specialist. This specialist evaluated my son by talking with him, his teachers, and by observing. After the evaluation the IEP team met and discovered the “triggers” that caused the bad behavior and solutions to counteract it. These behavior modifications were added to the IEP (do not let them just attach the behavior modification form but to actually write it in the body of the IEP because it does not count legally if only attached to the IEP). We added the behavior plan to the IEP. The person who did the plan taught the teachers what to do and not to do. It worked well. Good luck.

  • 2 Linda 03/24/10 at 12:00 pm

    Help! Our son is an 11 year old autistic. We have had success with Rapid Prompting Method. He is at grade level at home and at a 3 year old level in school. They continue to teach him colors, shapes and basic math every year, changing the IEP to make it seem like they are teaching him something. We asked for an eval and they say he is cognitively impaired because they don’t know how to teach him.

  • 3 jp 03/23/10 at 1:39 pm

    As a teacher and a parent of a special ed student I want to remind all of you out there YOU the parents are the number 1 educator! Your child and student is the second person in the equation and the teacher/sp educator is the third. Unless parents and child are willing to put 110% into their studies and this means more work than gen ed students then the greatest iep in the world means SQUAT! It is your child you’re talking about and you CARE MORE about the future of your child than anyone else. I have to drill my son every one on notes and make him read and write even when there isn’t an assignment. I instruct him on his moral duty to give his best effort on everything. In the real world after HS there won’t be sp ed support so start pushing now before its too late! Sometimes you have to ask yourself, is sp ed helping or hurting?

  • 4 Darrell 03/23/10 at 9:58 am

    My son is having a terrible time at school. Even with the IEP in place the special ed counselor in his school thinks what he does in class is a chosen act, one that he does on purpose. Therefore he has been suspended and kept after school for things he does under stressful situations he is put in. We just can’t get them to change anything. He has been suspended for what they say is being disrespectful, passing gas and not doing his work. What can we do????

  • 5 Marcus 08/27/09 at 1:48 pm

    How can I help a student that has a brain injury that is enrolled in a public community college get the help he needs? He has tried special populations to no luck they send the responsibility back to the instructor where he is told to get a student enrolled in the same class to help him & take notes! That is not right!! The instructor also talks openly about his disability & flat out says he will not give him the same privileges he gives other students. I can’t just take what i know to be fact & let the instructor keep getting away with this.. Please help! Thank you

  • 6 Cathleen 08/27/09 at 4:45 am

    I am a Special Ed Teacher in one of the largest elementary in CA.
    Long story short: I had 3 students diagnosed with mental retardation, autism and ADHD. They were in my class which is labeled mild/moderate Special Day Class. The School Principal violated the rights of the parents by having another Sped Teacher administer the writing protion of the CMA without holding new IEP meetings.The original IEP Teams agreed to give them the CAPA. I refused to administer the CMA because of this. She lied and mislead the parents about the testing. CA state of Ed. is changing monthly regarding the suggestions they have provided.

    The parents are overwhelmed from losing their jobs & homes. My job is on the line for advocating for the families & covert harassment is taking place. My union is of no help & attorneys won’t help, Advise, please.