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Assessment of Special Education Students

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1 Assessment of Special Education Students
By Zach Nash

2 What is Assessment? Assessment is simply defined as the act of making a judgment about something or the act of assessing something. Educational assessment is the systematic process of gathering educationally relevant information to make legal and instructional decisions about the provision of services. How can this be applied to students who need special education? What are the different ways to assess special needs students.

3 Types of Assessments Children may go through many different types of assessments such as psychological evaluations, speech and language tests, behavioral assessment and occupational therapy screenings. These tests have been modified over time to try and accurately assess children.

4 IDEA and NCLB IDEA – All students with disabilities have the right to a free appropriate public education and schools must have an IEP for all students with a disability. No Child Left Behind (NCLB) – Requires stronger accountability for children who need state educational standards. The school must also specify state wide objectives to help each student especially those with a disability.

5 Parents and the Assessment Process.
The parents must be involved through every step of the assessment. If a parent does not consent to assessment then assessment does not need to take place and an IEP does not need to be written. A parent has the right to bring a lawyer to these meetings to negotiate terms of the IEP.

6 Rules that follow with IDEA
IDEA includes language that allows either a parent, the SEA, another state agency, or school district personnel may initiate a request for an initial evaluation and assessment. Along with assessment he IEP and other qualified professionals review existing data, determine if additional tests are required, interpret all evaluation data and determine eligibility based on the data.

7 Any Questions?

8 Reliability The extent to which it is possible to generalize from an observation of a specific behavior observed at a specific time by a specific person to observations conducted on a similar behaviors, at different times. These tests need to be reliable to get an accurate assessment on a student.

9 Validity The extent to which a test measures what its authors or user claims it measures. Validity can be measure by its content, how it is criteria related and how it is constructed in a test. To appropriately assess a student the test given needs to be valid other wise the student may not get the proper education needed.

10 Tools used for Assessment.
There are several different assessment tools that are used to help students who may need special education. Norm-referenced,- is used to measure the child's ability in relation to typical children of that age. Criterion-referenced - which allow for measurement of specific skills learned. In addition to these, the child may be assessed using performance assessment, which requires the child to demonstrate the use of a learned ability, or through a portfolio assessment, which is simply a collection of the child's work to date. For children displaying challenging behaviors, a functional behavioral assessment may be used to determine the antecedents and consequences of the challenging behavior, as well as the purpose of the behavior.

11 Types of Assessments Tests
Battelle Developmental Inventory– This type of assessment determines whether the child, from infancy to primary grade levels, is meeting developmental milestones. Through the measurement of cognitive, motor, social, and language skills, developmental delays can be identified. Child Behavior Checklist – This type of assessment relies on the input of the parent or the guardian and primarily focuses on the child’s behavior, especially one who is suffering from ADHD or ADD. The assessment, which is applicable for children from preschool age to young adulthood, is supposed to quantify social competencies. Peabody Developmental Motor Scale– This type of assessment is used to examine the gross and fine motor abilities of a child. It is applicable only to children from age zero to eight. The high reliability of the results of this assessment makes it the preferred test for therapists and psychologists who are treating children with cerebral palsy.

12 Types of Assessment Tests (cont.)
Peabody Picture Vocabulary Test – This type of assessment measures a person’s language and comprehension abilities, communication skills, and auditory processes. Unlike most assessment tests, this type can be used for individuals with a wider range of ages, beginning from preschool all the way through to late adulthood. Stanford-Binet Intelligence Scale– This type of assessment is typically used to measure a person’s general intelligence. It is administered on individuals between the ages of 2 and 23. The general intelligence measured also includes the individual’s memory retention and basic cognitive abilities. Vineland Adaptive Behavior Scale– This type of assessment focuses on the social abilities of an individual, from preschool age to 18 years old. The measurement of social abilities includes fundamental socialization skills, communication skills, basic motor skills, and daily living adeptness.

13 Steps leading to and after Assessment
There are many steps that go along with the assessment process. Referral – This is a teacher, parent or doctor recommending assessment for a student. Assessment – the act of testing a student to see if they need special needs. Results – Evaluating the assessment to see if the student needs an IEP.

14 Any Questions?

15 Types of Assessments Vision and Hearing Screening – Done by a nurse to see if a student has a vision or hearing impairment. Cognitive Assessment – Done by a psychologist to test for cognitive impairment. Academic Assessment – Done by a special education teacher that usually involves a standardized test.

16 Types of Assessments (Cont.)
Developmental, Medical and School History – This can be looked over by a psychologist to look at behavior problems in the past. Speech and Language Assessment – Done by a speech and language pathologist to test for language processing or communication problems. Motor Skills Assessment – Done by an Occupational Therapist to check for motor skill problems.

17 Ways to support and enhance assessment of learning disabled students
Presentations - This is a verbal demonstration of skill/knowledge and can be done in groups or by the child individually. Conference – A one to one talk between the teacher and the student. This is to determine the student level of understanding. Interview – The teacher prepares questions to ask the student to make sure the student is at an appropriate level of knowledge.

18 Ways to support and enhance assessment of learning disabled students (cont.)
Observation – The teacher just observes the student in a natural classroom environment. Performance Task – This is a learning task in which the teacher asks a question and sees if the student has a basic level of understanding on the subject. Self-Assessment - The student fills out a questionnaire asking about his/her learning strengths and weaknesses.

19 Things to consider Special education students in the United States make up 13 percent of public school enrollment. There are 6,612,752 students classified with disabilities in the fifty states and the District of Columbia. Almost every teacher will teach a student with a special at some point in their teaching career. Some teachers may have to assess a student and recommend assessment for special needs.

20 Resources

21 Any Questions?

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