Your Child's Test Scores & FAPE
Training Shamu
Special Ed's Lighter Side

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March 21, 2007

ISSN: 1538-3202

Issue: 382
Subscribers: 46,227

 More From Wrightslaw

Law Library

IDEA 2004

Training Schedule
April 13-14: Nashua, NH - Two-Day Special Education Law and Advocacy Training
April 14: Knoxville/
E TN - IDEA 2004 & NCLB: What You Don't Know CAN Hurt You!
April 26: Jacksonville, FL - Special Education Law and Advocacy Training
April 26: Russellville, AR - From Emotions to Advocacy Training
Yellow Pages for Kids with Disabilities
 Contact Info

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



Copyright © 2007, Peter W. D. Wright and Pamela Darr Wright. All rights reserved. Please do NOT reprint or host on your website without explicit permission.

At Wrightslaw, our mission is to help you gain the knowledge and skills you need to navigate the confusing, changing world of special education.

Special Ed Advocate is the only weekly e-zine with up-to-date, accurate information about special education law and advocacy, cases, tactics and strategies.

Published continuously since April 1998, subscribers receive alerts about new decisions, events, and special offers on Wrightslaw publications and products. Sign up free today!

In This Issue:
How to Use Test Scores to Measure Educational Progress and FAPE
We Can Train Shamu but We Can't Teach a Child to Read?
Last Week’s Poll Results
The Lighter Side Of Special Ed: Parents and Kids by Aimee Gilman, Esq.
Recommended Resource: Daily EdNews

How to Use Test Scores to Measure Educational Progress and FAPE
Assume your child began receiving special education services three years ago. Is your child making progress? Is your child catching up with the peer group? Has your child fallen further behind? Is your child receiving a free appropriate public education (FAPE)?

How do you know? Do you know your child’s standard scores, percentile ranks, subtest scores, and age and grade equivalents on the most recent evaluation? Have you compared these scores with earlier testing?

Parents, teachers, and advocates must learn how to measure educational progress. If you do not learn how to use information from tests to track your child's progress, you will not be able to play an active role in planning your child's special education program. Your biggest obstacle is likely to be your own fear that you can’t understand this material. You need to overcome that fear.

What can you do? Read “Tests & Measurements for the Parent, Teacher, Advocate and Attorney” -- three times. Use a highlighter. Make notes in the margins. Reading the material three times is the key to success.

After you have read the article or chapters three times, get the evaluations and tests on your child. Compare tests that have been administered more than once. What's the verdict? Is your child learning and making acceptable progress? Has your child fallen further behind?

NOTE: Because this information is so important, we included two chapters about Tests & Measurements in our book, Wrightslaw: From Emotions To Advocacy. The book also includes “Homework Assignments” to help you master this material.

Learn more about evaluations and assessments

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We Can Train Shamu but We Can't Teach a Child to Read?
Dr. Bill Matthew, director of special education in California, offers this memorable description of educational decision-making and effective educational programs:

“We can train Shamu but we can't train a kid to be compliant or to read? Give me a break! Educational decision-making should be empirically driven - not driven by intuition (or tarot card reading) . . .”

In We Can Train Shamu! Educational Decision-Making, Testing, and Advocacy, Dr. Matthew shares concerns about special education, assessments, projective personality testing.
He also discusses advocacy issues and psychological treatment for kids with emotional disorders.

Dr. Matthew also offers advice about assessment issues:

  • Age & grade equivalents
  • Subtest scatter
  • Inappropriate use of projective tests
  • Use of psychometrically sound tests

Learn more about research based instructional programs.

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Last Week’s Poll Results

Last week, we asked our readers to answer a quick poll question related to Draft IEPs.  The question was "Can the IEP team prepare a draft IEP before the IEP meeting?"

Fifty-two percent of you chose the answer "Yes, but the IEP team needs to provide the parent with a copy before the IEP meeting" - the correct answer. Congratulations!

We have a new question for you this week. See the Quick Poll on the left side of this newsletter. If you don't see the question, your email program may have blocked it. Check the newsletter on the web site to take this week's poll.

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The Lighter Side Of Special Ed: Parents and Kids
Before you read The Lighter Side of Special Ed: Parents and Kids by Aimee Gilman, be warned. As Aimee says, "If you are among those humor-challenged individuals who believe THERE IS ABSOLUTELY NOTHING FUNNY ABOUT DISABILITIES, I urge you to stop now and go back to biting your nails down to your elbows. I understand how you feel."

Aimee Gilman is an attorney who represents kids with disabilities and the parent of a child with a disability. She is also very funny.

Read Aimee’s view of The Lighter Side of Special Ed: Parents and Kids.

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Recommended Resource: Daily EdNews
U. S. Dept of Education Sued Over Student Loans

“A computer glitch apparently causes more than 3 million borrowers to be billed hundreds of millions more than they owed. The U.S. Department of Education has overcharged millions of Americans with student loans during the past decade despite repeated warnings that it was breaking the law, according to a lawsuit filed yesterday.”

How did we learn about this new lawsuit against the U. S. Department of Education? We subscribe to Daily EdNews, a free e-zine that’s delivered to our email box every morning.

Daily EdNews covers top education news, current education issues, and offers an analysis of events and policies that affect education. Daily EdNews is a great resource!

Sign up for Daily EdNews at You can learn more about Daily EdNews at

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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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