IMO, Passing from Grade to Grade Means Little

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The district evaluation and our IEE show my 8th grade daughter has regressed and is falling far behind. Reading – 5th grade level. Math – 4th grade level. Verbal score 122 (93rd percentile) and performance score 72 (3rd percentile). She has had an IEP since 5th grade.

The district says she does not need to be at grade level because her report card grades are passing. What do I do next?

IMO, passing from grade to grade means little.

I see high school students all the time who are passing from grade to grade, who cannot pass the high school exit exam, and who cannot read.

Don’t pass exit exam=Don’t graduate!

As a parent, I would be concerned that my kid might have “given up” because her disability had never been remediated adequately.

Questions to Ask

Ask “What type of scientifically research based remediation has been used in order to address her deficit areas?”

Something else that I see is troublesome. There is a huge discrepancy between her performance score and her verbal score (50 points). I’m no psychologist, but to me that seems statistically significant.

Put it in Writing

Next. Ask the school to put into writing what they said.

Write a letter to the school.  Ask what Research Based Instruction (RBI) they are using.

In your letter

  • restate your concerns
  • restate the school’s response to your concern.

Ask the school to confirm what they said – that “your daughter does not have to be on grade level because she is passing from grade to grade.” Perhaps you “misunderstood.”

You Can Do This!

You are headed in the right direction. Make yourself the expert on your daughter, her disability and the IDEA.

No one has more to lose here than you and your daughter. You are her best advocate.

Read everything you can get your hands on regarding scientifically research based instruction, the IDEA and your daughter’s disability.

Document in writing everything that is said and done. Be businesslike and polite.

Good Luck!

  1. My child graduated w/ a standard degree, but only having an average of 3rd grade vocabulary and off/on up to 6th grade for reading. (on an IEP) didn’t get services, did not meet goals for last 2 years. She passed the reading SOL (VA) on her 8th and last time and she was out of the school system. Here they have many “alternate” test they can use and seniors get a different version(water downed) of the SOL to begin with and has 4 chances to pass in order to graduate.
    She is trying college now in prep/remedial classes and making F’s in English/writing and only C’s in Art.
    I would stay on it and keep asking questions and start learning the Education laws of your state and city/county, they do vary. At least here they do.

  2. I’m a little confused about your child’s scores because I’m not sure what test was used. Was this an older edition of a test that used Performance scores”? Is this test still used?

    Your child’s scores really vary. Often the verbal and “performance” scores (composite scores) don’t give you a good picture of where your child is – so you really need to look at the subtest scores to find out more about where her weaknesses (or strengths) are.

    When there is a big difference in scores, I thought it was called subtest scatter (not confidence interval). I used the Wrightslaw article to learn about tests and test scores. I think they have a CD about tests also.

  3. Just a thought: Currently you are arguing about grade levels, and who gets to decide what they are. And the school has deflected your concern. Try to rephrase the disagreement. Get all scores in percentile rankings and then ask why her delays are what they are and if the school has plans to address the delays. It is essentially the same information but expressed in a different way that allows for less interpretation.

    If you want to know if the scores are statistically significantly different, ask for the person doing the scoring to give you the confidence intervals on the scores. Although you can get into arguments over what they mean, if the confidence intervals do not overlap, then you are correct.

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