Modifications: MODIFYING THE CURRICULUM FOR ALL STUDENTS

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Phil:  I would like to know if it is legal for a regular education teacher to modify the curriculum for a struggling student who is not on an IEP.

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Martha

Please explain to me the difference in a differentiated curriculum and accommodations that are available on an IEP?

Maria

I was always taught that if you have modifications for a student that has an IEP, then it was considered resource which is outside of the classroom. And that if you were an inclusion student, then you do the same work w/o change in curriculum but can have accommodations to help support the student.
But now I am being told that you can modify work inside the classroom if it’s on their IEP. But how is that supporting inclusion only?

Chris

One more point of clarification: yes, teachers may need to address gaps in skills by re-teaching skills from lower grade levels and/or providing academic interventions, however that approach is meant to be temporary, not long term, and is not considered “modification”. In the field of education and special education there are many educators using the term “modify” to mean different things. In this context, to modify means to significantly alter, lower and reduce the expectations for a student within the curriculum. The decision to do so has serious implications for a student long term, especially around earning a diploma to graduate high school. Hope this helps.

Chris

Hi, technically the answer is no. All teachers in every state are required to teach the grade level standards for each subject area and may not lower the outcomes or expectations for students unless specified legally in an IEP. “Modified” curriculum in its truest definition means to lower the complexity of the content, and is usually only implemented (per IEP) when a student has a cognitive disability or intellectual impairment. What you may be talking about however is “adapting” the curriculum or perhaps using UDL approaches (Univeral Design for Learning), which would require a student to learn the same grade level content but students would have options to show the content skills in varied modalities and methods (for example, verbal task vs paper and pencil tasks).

Tracy

My son is deaf, but does not have a cognitive disability or intellectual impairment. His IEP team is attempting to modify his curriculum. I have filed for due process and have the resolution session Thursday (4/4/19) and I have been desperately seeking information on modified curriculum and when it is appropriate. Can you assist me in my search?

Peter

This is a lot to work through with so little time, but modifying a curriculum is not always a bad thing, and doesn’t always mean the student cannot eventually earn the same diploma or graduate with his peers. Hopefully your State has a similar process to mine where a student can work with a significantly modified curriculum based on what the Ohio Dept. of Ed. calls “extended learning standards”. Testing still ensures students demonstrate the same knowledge as typical peers, and they can earn the same graduation diploma.

To me, the outcome is the more important element (graduating with an equal diploma). If this means the school assists with accommodations, modifications and/or specially designed instruction, I’m okay with that.

Good luck today!

Morning

Modifications have their place depending on the student’s needs. However, my child with an IEP in middle school advocated against modifications. My child asserted that less was being expected of him with the modifications as he would compare his work and assignments to that of his peers. He had the same goals as his peers towards college and advocated towards that goal. He is now in college. That self advocacy made the teachers at that middle school take note and raise the bar. What are your son’s goals and plans? Remember also, some schools track lower performing students in the same classes together which also may result in different expectations and class wide modified content.

Tracey

This seems to contradict Differentiated Instruction which is a part of all good teaching. The content could be supporting varying ability levels, along with different expectations for the outcomes. As I am a special education teacher I have to fight this battle on a daily basis with general education teachers who do not want to differentiate their instruction. Our students with disabilities end up having behaviors because after all their efforts they end up with a D or F because the outcome expectation is the same as their peers. This is not okay. And it doesn’t mean they should be placed in a special education environment.

Cheryl

My son has 504 plan for ADHD. He has always struggled with math and this year has physics. By law can we ask for modified tests for him in that class? The school is suggesting he switches to the easier physics class referred to as ” applied physics ” however he would have to drop out of his band elective to do so. Being in band gives him a social element we feel is important although he seems to be considering the idea. Input is greatly appreciated!
Cpon

Marcus

Cheryl,

Your son can stay in his physics class. A 504 will have all of the modifications he needs. You can request for these. He needs band because that is a great way to give him that social element he needs. I would request in writing a meeting with the principal, his physics teacher along with his caseworker to list the modifications that he needs. The school can suggest but if he has the 504 plan they have to follow that so he has the right to be in the harder physics class.

jackd

504 can only get accommodations. but schools kinda do whatever they want anyways… so… go have meetings and see what theyll do for you.
if you can convince them a modification is an accomodation… its all good.

Sophie

I will answer for the state of New York — I’m not completely certain this would hold in any state. Yes, a regular education teacher may modify the curriculum informally, as long as the student gets exposed to the regular curriculum.
Please ask your parent center to be sure.

Sandra

Not “modify” but give accommodations…correct?