Accommodations on Tests: CAN “RE-TAKE TEST” BE AN ACCOMMODATION?

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Ellen:  My daughter has had an IEP since Early Childhood for initially LD but now for ADD too. She is currently a Junior. I want to ask for test retaking abilities as a accommodation. Our school district is really horrible with implementing her goals. Her GPA is taking a huge hit. An example is in her math class she was getting a high B first semester. The teacher went on maternity leave Oct. 30th. The long tern sub was “locked out” of the grading system for 5 weeks. He “was not able to” put scores into the system until Dec. 10th. I was e-mailing him and asking about scores and he was telling me he was going to do it but waited until 6 days before the end of the semester. Her grade was dropping like a rock and no one seemed to care. I asked if she could re take a test and they told me it was going to be a department decision which of course has been a nightmare to try to navigate. I feel if I have this listed as an accommodation I would not have to go through this process. I am filling a complaint with the state over the lack of progress reports but that’s a completely different issue.

  1. Is it an accommodation or a modification for a high school student to be allowed to retake a math test?

      • Thank you, Chuck! The test is not modified at all. The content is the same for the entire class. The school states the problem is that he would be retaking the same test and it is not fair to the other students. He has working memory difficulties and attention challenges. The other teens do not have these difficulties so I don’t think they can compare…. He is still demonstrating math mastery if he retakes the test and gets a better grade.

  2. Ellen, it sounds as though the sub wasn’t grading the work in a timely way — if he had, he could have emailed you the scores and the current grade.

    I suppose you may be concerned about the gpa for college applications, and about next year’s math course building on the knowledge and skills gained from this course, and about the effect of the lack of support on your daughter’s morale. (I can relate to all of these.)

    I have two practical suggestions: find out when Math Help is available — suggest your daughter attend regularly; and request an IEP meeting to address her lack of progress toward her goal(s). I suggest proposing weekly home-school communication, with alerts about any problems. A shared google doc, or email, can work well for this.

  3. Ellen, I sympathize with your frustration. You say that that your child’s school did not implement her goals so her grades dropped.

    From your description of the problem, the teacher went out on maternity leave. The substitute was locked out of the system by a technology-related issue. The sub didn’t input her grades in time so human error played a role. For reasons that aren’t clear, the problem was not resolved quickly and efficiently but has become a “department decision” with an uncertain outcome.

    If I understand the facts, the problem wasn’t caused by failure to implement her IEP. I don’t see how a repeat could be avoided by writing another accommodation (she can re-take a test if a teacher loses it or a dog ate it). The school messed up. The adults who work in the system need to fix this problem. A computer problem CAN be fixed.

    I hope you have been documenting your attempts to resolve the problem since you learned about it. I would request face-to-face mtg with the special ed director. Prepare an agenda with the facts and dates as the problem was not resolved. Ask how the sped director will resolve the problem and how long this will take.

    After the meeting, write a follow-up letter documenting what you were told, and if your understanding of the solution is incorrect, please advise.

    • So in other words, there is no law that says special education students get to retest whenever they want. It is at the discretion of the teacher, correct? I am talking about students without modified tests who are taking the regular state assessment and have to be taught the same standards as other students.

      • Victoria, you have to look at state laws, and rules to know the answer to this. In TX the IEP team is to consider if the child should retake the test, & supports, & instruction they should receive, if they fail the test. And parents are part of the team.

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