Thursday, October 20, 2011

Test to the Teach: A blog post on Education Week today discussed alternative assessments for special-education students and lamented an amendment that would increase the number of kids exempted from standardized testing (the amendment failed shortly after the post went up, it appears). I understand why disability advocates don't want special-education students shunted off to an evaluation system that offers no accountability, but the standardized tests are such a bad bet for a lot of our kids, especially those who have not been in state-of-the-art inclusion programs and are not being taught at grade level. Testing kids on things they've never had a chance to learn offers no sort of accountability either. I would have loved for my son to take the standardized test for the level he's being taught at and then see the progress from year to year, but that apparently can't be done.

Most parents I know of kids in special education hate the standardized tests and would prefer the alternative assessments. Most teachers I've talked to about it hate the testing but hate the assessments more because they are horrifically time-consuming. Would be nice to find something that is really meaningful for these students, because I believe strongly that accountability is important. All of the current choices fail.

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