Cold Hard Numbers & Successful IEP Meetings

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February 5 , 2008

ISSN: 1538-3202

Issue: 421
Subscribers: 56, 866

In This Issue:


Cold Hard Numbers and A Successful IEP Meeting

Success Story: The Numbers Do Not Lie

Using Test Scores to Determine Eligibility

Coming Soon! Understanding Your Child's Test Scores

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starHelpful Resources from Wrightslaw

Tests and Measurements for the Parent, Teacher, Attorney & Advocate
Testing: Myths & Realities
Assessments & Evaluations
Independent Educational Evaluations
High Stakes Tests
 

Contact Info

Pete and Pam Wright
Wrightslaw & The Special Ed Advocate
P. O. Box 1008
Deltaville, VA 23043

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Copyright 2008, Peter W. D. Wright and Pamela Darr Wright. All rights reserved. Please do NOT reprint or host on your website without explicit permission.

Here is a fact about your child's test scores.

All important educational decisions - eligibility, services in your child's IEP, educational progress - are based on test scores.
Not grades, not subjective observations - test scores.

There's no way around it. To be an effective advocate, you need to know what tests measure and what test scores mean.

"But I'm just a parent. I didn't finish college. I can't understand this stuff!"

Some parents believe they can't understand test results. If you are in this group, it's time to change your beliefs!

In this issue of the Special Ed Advocate, we explain why it is essential that you understand your child's test scores. We include some amazing success stories from parents who used their children's test scores - and were able to negotiate with the school for good programs.

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Cold Hard Numbers and a Successful IEP Meeting

"I thought I would have to do a lot of persuasive arguing at the IEP meeting.

"I DIDN'T HAVE TO SAY A WORD!

"The IEP team had reviewed the objective data I sent before the meeting."

Does this sound too good to be true? This is exactly what can happen when you learn to present objective data on your child, the cold hard numbers from tests.

A therapist's notes say your child is "Doing better." The teacher says, "He's passing. His grades are good." What happens when subjective observations are not supported by test data? What happens when objective test data shows that the child is making little or no progress?

Read Cold Hard Numbers and a Successful IEP Meeting to see how one parent learned, then taught the IEP team that you can't argue with cold hard numbers.

The Numbers Do Not Lie

Still not convinced that parents must understand test scores? In The Numbers Do Not Lie - Charting Test Scores, you'll meet a parent who used test scores to make charts that documented her child's lack of progress. Then she asked the IEP team to explain these scores.

IEP team considering test scoresThe numbers didn't lie. The IEP team agreed with her and offered one-on-one services during the summer to improve her child's reading skills.

Remember: All important educational decisions - eligibility, the services in the IEP, educational progress - - are based on test scores.

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Using Test Scores to Determine Eligibility

consultation with evaluatorA parent writes,

"The school retested my daughter and said she was 'no longer LD' because her IQ is 'solidly average' and she makes good grades. They want to terminate all special ed services.

I disagree. She still struggles with reading and needs help. Is the fact that her IQ is average and she makes good grades sufficient to make this decision?"


Sue Whitney Heath, author of Doing Your Homework, answers:

If the school's criteria for determining a child's eligibility for special education are IQ scores and grades, this is incorrect and inappropriate.

Before the school determined that your child was eligible for special education, they were required to do a comprehensive evaluation and assess all areas of suspected disability.

Before the school can determine that your child is not eligible for special education, they are required to do a comprehensive evaluation and assess all areas of suspected disability.

Because grades are so subjective, the IDEA does not even mention "grades" or "passing grades" as a factor in determining if a child is or is not eligible.

To learn how eligibility decisions must be made and other legal requirements for determining if a child is or is not eligible for special education, read
Can the School Terminate My Child's Eligibility for Special Ed? Evaluations, IQ Scores and Grades.

Read more Doing Your Homework articles by Sue Whitney Heath.

Remember: All important educational decisions - from eligibility, the services in your child's IEP, how progress is measured  - are based on test scores. To be an effective advocate, you must learn about Tests and Measurements -What Your Child's Test Scores Mean.

Isn't it time you stepped up to the plate?

If the answer is "yes," you'll find a good tutorial in Chapters 10 and 11 of From Emotions to Advocacy. You can also read the article, Tests and Measurements for the Parent, Educator, Advocate & Attorney by Pete and Pam Wright.

We have more help. Because you need to master this material before the next IEP meeting, a new Wrightslaw multimedia training program, Understanding Your Child's Tests Scores, will be available soon. For more information, read on.

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Coming Soon! Understanding Your Child's Test Scores

Why are test scores so important? When you understand your child's test scores, you can -

  • identify your child's strengths and weaknesses
  • identify your child's needs
  • determine if your child is making progress
  • create charts that document progress or regression

And, all important educational decisions - eligibility, services in your child's IEP, educational progress - are based on test scores.

graphs on computerIn the new Wrightslaw WebEx training program Understanding Your Child's Test Scores, Pete Wright teaches you about standard scores, percentile ranks, subtest scores, composite or cluster scores, and subtest scatter.

Pete will teach you about the bell curve, mean, and standard deviations. You'll learn how to draw the bell curve and how to use your child's test scores to create powerful progress graphs.

Don't believe it? Every year, we train thousands of parents in our live programs. By the end of the day, they can draw the bell curve, with the mean, standard deviations, and percentile ranks. With Wrightslaw WebEx programs, you can go over the material until you master it. You want to master this material before the next IEP meeting!

Coming Soon! The newest program in the Wrightslaw Special Education and Training Series, Understanding Your Child's Test Scores, will be available soon.

If you subscribe to The Special Ed Advocate newsletter, you'll receive an announcement about the Special Introductory Offer for this new program. Watch your email this week!

Wrightslaw WebEx Training Programs

"This is advocacy training at its best..."

"As my husband drove home from the program, I pulled out my laptop and learned how to make the bar graphs you demonstrated during the program. What an incredible difference this made in the letter I was writing about my son’s test results. His strengths, weaknesses and needs were so much more apparent than in a list of numbers! "

Read more reviews of the CD-ROM training series.

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What People Are Saying About The Special Ed Advocate Newsletter

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Great Products From Wrightslaw

Wrightslaw: Special Education Law, 2nd Edition, by Pam and Pete Wright Wrightslaw: No Child Left Behind

Surviving Due Process: Stephen Jeffers v. School Board

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