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Alternate Assessments and School Reform: The Apple, The Serpent, or Eve?

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Presentation on theme: "Alternate Assessments and School Reform: The Apple, The Serpent, or Eve?"— Presentation transcript:

1 Alternate Assessments and School Reform: The Apple, The Serpent, or Eve?

2 What Do Alternate Assessments have to do with School Reform? KnowledgeTemptationMeaningful Student Instruction, Curriculum & Assessment

3 What We Found 1. Benefits of high academic expectations for students and teachers 2. Benefits of grade level content standards 3. Difficulty in implementing pedagogy to create equality in the classroom 4. Concern about the direction of special education pedagogy 5. Worry about “coming out” for Alternate Assessments

4 Students Benefit From High Academic Expectations Instruction/Day more like peers Less isolation More accountability for grade level standards Scaffolding of concepts, year-to-year A step towards inclusion Life-long skills being taught Teaching students how to think

5 A Step Towards Inclusion 7 th grade students attend A Night At the Museum in Chicago with their peers.

6 Teachers Benefit From High Academic Expectations More opportunities for collaboration with other teachers Included in the mainstream of school life Less isolation Many challenges in instruction Common language with general education teachers

7 Students with SCD are responsible for putting up and taking down the flag everyday at our school. (Beats doing laundry!)

8 Students Benefit From Instruction of Grade Level Content Standards Increased student learning Increased generalization Increased inclusion Increased non-targeted learning Increased independence Increased problem solving skills

9 Students are a part of grade level teams. Students listen as their Language Arts teacher describes a reading activity during a day in the park.

10 Teacher Editions are mandatory Come to class prepared (the “c” word) Get assignments ahead of time and modify Know what you want your student to learn Get what you can and leave the rest Remember, it is a building process Scaffold instruction from year to year Teaching in the General Education Classroom

11 Behaviors that increase success Teach students how to problem solve. Teach students to ask questions. Teach students how to take tests. Teach students to be organized.

12 Difficulty in implementing pedagogy to create equality in the classroom

13 The BIG Question – How Do I Teach Grade Level Standards? Pictures Actual objects Multi-media Reduced number of questions Cliff Notes of the Cliff Notes Leave out the fluff Teach the big ideas Repetition

14 Presenting the Information Visually (pictures, actual objects, text) Auditory (listening skills, e-texts) Pair visual and auditory Tactically (see it and touch it) Question students to see if they are getting it Repeat! Repeat! Repeat!

15 What Does it Look Like? Student work A typical question on a 6 th grade unit test question is – “Sam” and “Martha” are the local names for two lighthouses that guard a particularly dangerous part of the coast. Sam blinks every 12 seconds and Martha blinks every 8 seconds. They blink together at midnight. How many seconds will pass before they blink together again? Big Idea

16 What Does it Look Like? Use pictures to help students “see” the question. If one lighthouse blinks every 12 seconds and the other every 8 seconds. If they blink together at midnight, how many seconds will pass before they blink together again? 12, 24, 36, 48, 60, 72, 84 8, 16, 24, 32, 40, 48, 56, 64, 72, 80 Pictures If the student can match, they can answer the question Multiples of 12 and 8.

17 What Does it Look Like? A typical math journal entry “Margaret is throwing a surprise birthday party for her best friend on July 6 th. If she wants to send out the invitations exactly four weeks before the party, on what date does she need to mail the invitations?” The essence of the question.

18 What Does it Look Like? By making the question visual, students can figure the answer with minimum support. JuneJuly If student can count to 4, they can do this activity.

19 Use cue cards to help students problem solve “?” Words Put a “?” when these words begin a sentence. Can How Is May Do Did Are What Will Was Were Has Have Had Would Does This cue card helps students decide how to punctuate their sentences Cue cards help students think about the question and come up with a logical answer.

20 Assess Students with Pictures 1. What happens to the mud in a river when there is little or no water movement? a. mountains are built b. particles are deposited c. it rains 2. What forms when carbonic acid dissolves limestone underground? a. a cave b. a sand dune c. a tornado

21 Pair Pictures and Words to Improve Reading Skills Use picture software to help students understand and remember key concepts. Capitalization rules

22 Social Stories Social stories help students learn and practice the behaviors they need to be successful.

23 Make Learning Hands-on Student graphs data gathered by the class. Student uses digital camera to take pictures of different shapes around the school. These pictures are put into a Power Point about shapes.

24 Make Learning Hands-On Students learn to formulate sentences using word magnets.

25 Put Technology in Students’ Hands Student gathers data, graphs data using Excel, then prints her graph.

26 Students use the white board to practice weekly spelling words. They also practice their words with a spelling program on the computer, letter magnets, and letter stamps.

27 Some Great Technology Ideas Boardmaker, Writing with Symbols Word, Excel, Power Point Scanners E-texts Smart classrooms Document cameras Digital cameras Living Books

28 Concern about the direction of special education pedagogy “There should be standards but there should also be life standards. If we are preparing them for the real world then their curriculum should reflect that.” “special education teachers have had far too much autonomy and no curriculum. The IEP is a charade because its really just one person’s idea of what one student needs and it tends to be the same.”

29 Worry about “coming out” for Alternate Assessments

30 Call to Action Research must be done on how children with significant cognitive disabilities learn Professional development and teacher training has to change. Review the IEP process and requirements

31 Contact Information Melissa E. Hudson Deborah Taub, PhD


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