bold text+ DIRECTIONS FOR ALL WIKI ENTRIES: Please type your name in bold before your contribution.

EDUC 401/ASSESSMENT/Unit 6: December 9 - 16

"Carousel Brainstorming", a cooperative learning strategy.

STEP 1: Think of a response to the posted topic starter AND read what was written by the previous person or people.

STEP 2: If you have something new or different to add please put a bullet and your name before your entry. NOTE: Can be on the same line as theirs, just bold your name. OR if you concur with a comment already posted put "DITTO and bold your name" AND add an example or situation to piggy back what the previous person wrote.

TOPIC STARTER: It's time to Celebrate all the you have learned! Please take some time to reflect upon your new knowledge in phonemic awareness, phonics, and RtI for Literacy and Behavior (FBAs and BSPs). Then share your Greatest Learnings and New Insights from the semester. Share one of your favorite "Student Success Stories" as we Celebrate together.

Mark Tingler My favorite topic we've studied this semester regards the teaching of phonemic awareness and the importance of building a phonological foundation for our students. I feel fortunate that I am doing this now as opposed to just a few years ago when the debate between whole language vs. phonological instruction was raging. That battle has been settled at least here in Colorado. I'm from Illinois and it is still a problem — profound differences in reading philosophy still exist among schools to the detriment in many cases to students. Colorado has set the policy from the top down a few years ago. I'm also so impressed with the textbooks, many of which I will use as references for years to come. Before this semester began I had no idea that with pretty fair precision a teacher can use orthography to identify problems in phonology. This ability I am very excited about because as a K-3 resource teacher all of my students are, to varying degrees because of age and disability, in the midst of struggling with spelling issues as well as certain phonological deficits, some fairly mild and some quite severe. I am not nearly as good at identifying the specific phonological problems when reviewing spelling tests and writing samples as I intend to be; for right now every spelling test involves a mini research project afterward to determine the need for instructional re-adjustment or re-emphasis in some way. My favorite success story is fairly recent. I have a 1st grade girl who was retained a year ago in kindergarten, but in part because of a non-English speaking background as well as a suspected diagnosis of dyslexia, she still struggles in reading/language arts. By the way, before I forget to mention it, her math calculation ability is impressive, an obvious strength with her. She does pretty well day-to-day but has been terrified of spelling test. She almost broke down and cried during the first one I presented — she was so visibly disturbed that I stopped the test after 8 words instead of the planned 15. My mentor and our school's literacy coach recommended I switch spelling test emphasis to word families. Her next spelling test was little better unfortunately — she erased her attempts at answers and held her hand over her erasers and looked distraught. We spent several days practicing the next set of word families (about three different families per test) with air writing and individual writing on the dry erase board. When the next spelling test came I was plenty more nervous than she. This girl, I'll call her J., wrote responses for all 15 words with a smile on her face! The blank piece of paper no longer panicked her! J got 6 correct out of 15, and I am just as pleased with the 9 she got wrong as the 6 she spelled correctly. J's shame reaction had been replaced with self-confidence.
Maureen Elliott I have learned so much this semster (as everyone has stated). I did not know that teaching was such a challening job. I am thankful that the courses have aligned with my job. I love all that I have learned about phonics, phonemic awareness and reading in general. My mentor and I just talked about the beginning of the year and how much confidence and tools I have gained since then. I love learning about RTI. I think it is so important to make sure interventions are happening and working. I have luckily been able to test two children out of special education, which I see as a huge success. Other than that, I have taught a first grader that came to school not knowing any letters, numbers, sight words, or letter names to read and do addition problems. It is exciting to have a job that helps children that are set up to fail elsewhere. I had his mother break down and cry becasue of everything I have done. It is rewarding and thank you for making it all possible.
Nicolle Lewis | What a semester it has been. I truly believe I have not only grown professionally but personally as well. Being equiped with such new, creative and useful knowledge is very empowering. I have learned more about phonics then I knew even existed. I have also found that quote on quote fun activities can address so many areas of the standards in a creative way.
| On another note a personal student success. I have a very aggressive fifth grade autistic student. Through out the last semester with constant, daily, hourly behavior modifcation is now able to maintian in a regular education classroom 80% of the day. Also I began this year with a non-verbal autistic child who is now communicating wants and needs in a complete verbal sentence. This may all sound small, but it make everything worth it.

Brenda SmithAs I sit and think about all of this my mind is spinning! I cannot ever recall a time that I learned SO much…OK, maybe kindergarten. I remember sitting in the classroom in Gunnison with everyone this summer, getting that big box of books, and being bombarded with all of this information…I did not think it would ever fall into place! Somehow it is all coming together and making sense. After all of the whining and complaining, staying up late to finish my assignments, missing out on a social life…I realize none of that is as important as the students that we impact daily. For some of these students we are the only stability that they have in their lives, the idea of this humbles me and I can only hope that the small things that I do on a daily basis will have a BIG impact in the end. After many attempts at a "career" I think that I have finally found my calling. However, if I would have approached this in my early 20's without the life experience that I have (especially being a mom), I don't think I would be having the success that I am having. On that note, I feel that all of this has made me a better mother. I look at my children with a new found respect…they have so much to deal with in their little lives…way more than generations that came before them. As for my success story…there are so many good ones to tell, but I will share one. This particular student is not a SPED student and I did not having any dealings with him on a regular basis. He is in the 4th grade and I noticed him because everytime I would go out into the hall for something I kept noticing that he was there…standing against the wall or sitting at a desk that had been moved out there for him. I kept seeing him there. Finally, I found the guts to inquire about him with the classroom teacher. She said she simply could not handle his behaviors and she did not know what else to do with him.
To make a long story short I finally talked with Mom and found out that he had a diagnosis of ADHD (which the classroom teacher knew). Mom did not want to make a big deal about it because she did not want him to become a SPED student. He had been homeschooled from grades 1-3 before enrolling at my school this year. I told Mom there were some simple things we could do without him becoming a SPED student. After some observation and simple accomodations he is not spending near as much time in the hall. It turns out that the littlest distraction would cause him to get out of his seat. We moved his desk away from the window and now the classroom teacher shuts the door to the hallway during independent seat work time to block out noise in the hallway. I had some short conversations with him asking him about what his likes and dislikes were, what his favorite subject is…just chit chat. Now whenever I go into his classroom he has a stack of A+ assignments he has saved to show me. I make a huge deal out of the assignments and the classroom teacher shares with me in front of him how pleased she is with a certain behavior of his. I see him in the hall occassionally, but I have to let it go…I want some of my colleagues to talk to me:-) Sandy O'Banion It is amazing what some simple observations and accommodations can do for a student. It's great that you're using all that your have learned to help ALL kids and teachers too. Part of it too is being brave enough to step out offer help and suggestions where needed… the sign of a true teacher :-) s

Jennifer Tagtmeyer I have learned so much this semester. Four months ago things such as phonemic awareness, RtI, FBA, BSP, etc. were a foreign language to me, but now they are everyday terminology. I'm glad to be getting such a strong foundation—at a recent training, an English teacher of over 25 years asked ME what she could do to learn about syllabication and phonology among other things, and I was able to suggest LETRS at our local BOCES this summer. I'm glad I didn't spend years teaching without knowing the basics, but these past four months have also shown me how much more I want and need to learn. My greatest insight this semester has been that reading in not natural for us, even if most people seem to learn it easily. ILearning to read takes so much time and practice for EVERYONE, which means that I must give my sped and title 1 students extra time, extra practice, and a lot of respect and encouragement. Everyday, I have to try to put myself in their shoes. As for my success stories, I don't have one student to write about, I have to say I must see the small successes in all my students and build on them. Last week I realized that the best sound in the world is when a student says, "OHHHHHHHHHHHHH!" I love it when something clicks for them, and it is so much better when they realize that something clicked so they can own their accomplishment.

Anthony StupnikWell, to be honest, I felt a bit overwhelmed this semester! I learned a great deal about phonics and phonemic awareness, along with RtI, in which I attended 3 different professional development seminars on. All three of these courses were extremely informative and I commend CDE for pulling in such great speakers. My greatest success has come in the form of a second grade student with autism. We had a very rough transition from the summer/coming back to school routine. But, here we are four months in with an entirely new student. The first component to our success was a behavior support plan that the school psychologist and myself put into place. This was followed with a positive reinforcement system which has worked beautifully. This students' aggressive behavior has stopped all together and his in class productivity has increased dramatically. We are still working on the time he spends out of his seat, but all in all, we have improved this students' learning environment dramatically. Next semester, I hope to improve upon my time management skills. There were countless times I was so stressed out and just couldn't balance everything out between home, work, and school. Hopefully, I can pull it all together and finish the program on a positive note!

Mary Anne Champa One thing I have definitely learned through this semester is how much I have learned and how much more I need to learn. Many times this semester, I have felt tremendously overwhelmed with the amount of content to learn and the amount of work involved in all of the assignments. I do however; find myself feeling more and more confident in IEP meeting and grade level meetings as I learn more. I feel like I need some time to reflect and review all that I have learned. I’m hoping, as I work on my work sample during break, I can use the opportunity to revisit some of my work! I feel a “Student Success Story” would be the Behavior Support plan and interventions I have put into place with one of my fifth grade students. She seems to be responding positively to the interventions (not every day is a great day however) but for the most part she is improving. I will continue, along with the classroom teacher, to monitor her behaviors and change interventions as needed.
** Pamela Tate** I have learned so much this semester in the way of literacy, especially phonics and phonemic awareness. The term phonemic awareness was not in my vocabulary until this August. I also really enjoyed the book Overcoming Dylexia, as that really brought home for me the difficulties and some answers regarding one of my students and their reading abilities. I have been so overwhelmed with balancing it all at times, but have noticed it is getting better over the last four weeks- I am interested in news outside of school and home now! What I think is the biggest part of our jobs too is not only being a teacher and planning lessons but also the second part of being a supervisor to in my case four paras. I have definitely had to pick my battles with this, and am amazed by the difference in people;s work ethics. We have two jobs to fill at the same time in contrast to that of a general ed. teacher. One of the greatest things I have learned outside of this program is to ask questions and communicate, because there is no one there saying this is what you need to do and how to teach this. I had my meltdown with a reading teacher this fall and I so appreciated her taking the time to go over Houghton Mifflin with me- she talked and handed me a kleenex box and I listened and blew my nose. I have had small successes- one of the most apparent is a first grader that when she came to us last spring cried all the time, wouldn't eat and hardly spoke any English. With the help of the homeroom teacher this year the crying stopped by the third week of school We allowed her to be independent in the afternoons among other things and she is now happy, at times talks too much and is blending phonemes to make words, counting etc.. , so am very glad to see this change and be a part of it. I also want to improve my data collection for me as well as my paras- our program ahs changed so much since last year that I feel we are still working out the kinks of monitoring and recording data. This has been a very challenging semester for me and my family, but we have made it this far and with a good sense of humour, a glass of wine at night I think I'll make it to June!

RaechelleSalas Happy Holidays and Happy New Year!! I can not believe how quickly the time passed. As I look back over that last few months and all that I have learned and all that I still want to learn the thing that stands out most is that I can not believe someone hired me to teach. That week in August it felt like I was going to learn so much. I had no idea how much I needed to learn to be able to really help my students progress. Between Phomenic Awarness, Phonological Awarness, FBA, BSP, RtI, CSAP, IEP"s, parent conferences, and every other training I have attended I realize there is an ocean of information to access and learn. I have also learned that I am so fortunate to be part of an incredible team from my paras to my mentor teacher and all the support staff in between. I have several success stories none of them big but all of them rewarding. One such story is one of my students whom has Downs was not "interested " in learning or so I was told. When I started to the phonemic awarness activities every day from the " Hungry Thing" to the "Rhyme Away" she became suddenly interested and last week she got all four of her phonemic spelling test words right. Like I said, not a big acheivment but it seems that every day now there are more moments filled with learning and less moments filled with inappropriate behaviors. So, I look forward to this upcoming break and for another opportunity to learn next semester more skills to assist my students.

Sandy O'Banion Yes! It has been crazy and we have all learned a ton! You can now all be LEADERS in your schools using the more current methods and assessment practices for literacy and behavior. I know that it was stressful… It was stressful for us too… These were new classes for us, but you never progress if you never try anything new. We will be making accommodations and modifications in the classes, based on all of your feedback this semester. I can't tell you how proud I am of EACH AND EVERY ONE OF YOU! Even though you're adult learners, you are still my "students." I have always said… Sandy always said… That teaching is teaching… it’s all the same… Kindergarten through College (and I have taught them all)… Please remember to use ALL that we have learned and most importantly… remember to teach every child how to CARE FOR THEMSELVES, CARE FOR EACH OTHER AND CARE FOR THE ENVIRONMENT… Tell them each and every day how much you appreciate their EFFORTS to learn in your classrooms. Thanks again and again for all of your hard work and understanding. Please take good care have enjoy the Holidays. We’ll be back in touch in January  s

EDUC 401/ASSESSMENT/Unit 3: November 5 - 11

"Carousel Brainstorming", a cooperative learning strategy.

STEP 1: Think of a response to the posted topic starter AND read what was written by the previous person or people.

STEP 2: If you have something new or different to add please put a bullet and your name before your entry. NOTE: Can be on the same line as theirs, just bold your name. OR if you concur with a comment already posted put "DITTO and bold your name" AND add an example or situation to piggy back what the previous person wrote.

TOPIC STARTER: After "getting your feet wet" in the river of Assessment for Reading and Behavior (DIBELS, WJ III, and the FBA). Discuss your new insights, learnings, and ideas for implementation regarding this VAST watershed of… Assessment in the SPED World. In your writings, address how the Strength Model as outlined in Overcoming Dyslexia can be used to improve the instructional cycle of assessment and instruction.

Sandy O'Banion "In your writings, address how the Strength Model as outlined in Overcoming Dyslexia can be used to improve the instructional cycle of assessment and instruction." The Strength Model is a time tested concept in SPED. It is one of the first concepts that I learned over 30 years ago when I was learning how to be a SPED teacher. When assessing students, it's important to test, observe, and collect data/information on the student's STRENGTHS as well as needs. Then, when planning instruction, you can use the strengths of a student as a foundation or an avenue on which to address the needs. For example, if a student as a strength in the arts and needs in writing… Write about the art that they have produced… write a play…. research and write about art or artists…. Now we're talkin…. This is why SPED is so EXCITING…. :-) - s

Sandy O'Banion Do any of you have some great stories to share about how the STRENGTH MODEL worked for one of your students? If so, it would be great to hear your success story :-) This is what keeps us going…. and going… :-) s
Mark Tingler My school's I.E.P. form and meeting protocal directs the first part of all discussion toward the strengths of the student, regarding not just academics but also with regard to personality traits, social abilities, and any other characteristic that one would consider a strength in life. It is not merely a formality because when discussion progresses to problems/skill deficits any strengths that in any way relate to the problem being discussed are brought back into the conversation to both temper or provide a "bigger picture" regarding the problem as well as to help identify possible solutions or supports. I come from the human services world prior to becoming a teacher/TeachNow candidate — I am happy to report that the strenghs model is very common in planning sessions for children or adults with disabilities who are served in any variety of programs (vocational, residential, foster care, etc.). The focus on strengths to identify in which to build on during planning sessions needs to be protected (in both school and non-school service organizations) because of the human tendency to dwell on what frustrates us. People love to complain; I have that tendency just like anyone else and so I have to continually keep it in check. One of the reasons I like the strengths model is because it so normally and naturally mirrors what occurs in the post-school, adult world. Don't we all try to work in fields we like and are good at? We don't direct our paths toward our vocational weaknesses so we "can improve ourselves". My favorite part of "Overcoming Dyslexia" regarding the references to the strengths model is where the author theorizes as to why people with dyslexia tend to have tremendous creative strengths in other endeavors in life; she wrote that it is because people with dyslexia have to do more than memorize, that they are forced to dig into and get underneath a concept to master it at a deeper level (I'm paraphrasing, but that was the basic idea). I have a personal story to share from my teaching regarding personal strengths — one of my kindergarteners is a five year old boy whose family has a history of autism; the jury is still out as to whether this is a correct diagnosis for him (I have my doubts). What is clear is that he has certain interests (komodo dragons, dinosaurs, Spiderman) that he both fantasizes about to perhaps a greater degree than his peers and in some instances understands at a deeper level than a typical kindergartener. His fascination with dinosaurs is the best example. Several weeks ago he mentioned to me casually that brachiosaurus "is a dinosaur that doesn't eat people". He knew it was herbivore! — and I doubt that is part of the kindergarten curriculum. He comes across with all sorts of stuff like that. The down side of this is his tendency to daydream during instruction. I use his high dinosaur interest (strength) to bring him back into focus on the instructional topic at hand. E.g., instead of providing the group with a smiley face or star on the dry erase board for doing good the work the previous five minutes I draw a simple dinosaur and announce it as such, and he's back with me. Future writing topics are already picked out and will certainly elicit greater enthusiasm in this boy than something of a more mundane or general nature.
Jennifer Tagtmeyer My school uses DIBELS for all students K-3 and for targeted students in 4th and 5th. As many others have said, I think DIBLES is great because it is quick, easy to understand, cost effective, and rather user friendly. Our teachers use it to progress monitor, so we have an easy way to compare growth (or see there isn't growth) and we can compare apples to apples. I administered the WJlll to my daughter last week. It felt so strange and unnatural to give the test for the first time. Practice is definitly key to making sure the test is valid. I like how it tells you when to start for some of the tests to cut down on time because it seems to be a time consuming assessment. The Sped director has had a number of referals this year, so the test is being used frequently here. The WJlll would have to be somewhat intimidating for a student—or an adult (my husband refused to let me test him!). DIBELS and the WJlll are useful for documenting certain skills and driving our support and instruction, but unfortunatly, they don't use the strength model. I constantly find myself trying to point out to my students what their strenghts are and how they are so much better than me at sports, art, telling jokes, etc. I just happened to talk to my superintendant yesterday about how it's unfortunate that the CSAP doesn't measure other skills. Maybe the kids would enjoy the CSAP more if they knew one part let them be creative or express their strenghts in a different way. As far as using the strenght model do drive my instruction, I always try to relate things to their world, hobbies, family occupations, and other areas they can relate to. Time is a factor, and I have 30 minutes a day to help a student with reading, so I struggle with how to use my time wisely. Do I let the student paint and not gain AYP? It's a balancing act and I would love to know how to do it.

MICHAEL COTT- At the school I am at currently, we use the DRA-2 very extensively. Every one of my students has had the this administered since the very beginning of the year. It is an okay test, but I think there are some things that it lacks. The thing about the DRA-2 is that is just does not seem to accommodate my students. I have to really change things a lot, and that isn’t exactly looked upon positively. I think that it shows a small portion of what the students really can do. Another assessment that is very widely used at our school is the DIBELS. This seems to really be more of a child by child basis when this given. The Woodcock Johnson is given write frequently as well, but this is not as wide spread within the school, and it usually only happens for certain students once again.
The bad part of those tests is that they really don’t follow any kind of strength based models. They really don’t seem to care to much about what the child’s strengths are. I have a lot of visual learners that are autistic in my class. They are reading specialized reading programs, but this doesn’t even really seem to matter in any of the assessments. I think that special education students rarely get tested to their greatest strength. Some accommodations that I have made with regards to students taking assessments with their greatest strength are the use of a laptop to get visual cues and more colorful descriptive pictures. Also the use of a verbal speaker system. It think that the most important thing is to not look at just the assessment, but all of the things that are involved. This includes classroom teacher observation, work samples, and the input of all the students that work with this student.

Maureen Elliott Our school has become extremly interested in DIBELS this year. I think that it is great. Kindergarten has been using DIBELS for a few years, but just this year everyone from K-3 will be tested. I think that all of these tests provide great data, yet I believe that all of these tests need to be accompainied by classroom observation and district assessment data. I think one great thing about DIBELS is tht you can graph the child's progress and use the graph to show parents how the child is doing in relation to the end of the year goal. I am lucky enough to have the palm pilots that also give you different activities to use when a child is at risk in a certain area. I think the WJIII provides great information also, but I feel bad giving it to one of my 1st or 2nd graders because it is challenging, I would prefer to give a test like the Brigance that I give to my Kindergarteners. Yet, I believe the assessments do provide us with information we otherwise would not obtain. I love that DIBELS is an early indicator of latter reading success and that it is so quick and easy to administer. DIBELS is also great because it provides a teacher with important information. It tells us if the interventions are working or if they need to be intensified or changed. It also tells us how to focus our instruction. All of this information is gathered from a test (probe) that you can give to your children during a short period of time. I am always reminded that the progress monitoring tests are a dipstick to see which skills are developing for the child and which intervetions are working.
I do agree that the strengths based model is important. If you focus on a child's needs and disability, the family may become discouraged. Instead it is important to focus on the strengths and successes of the child and build on those. One example would be a child that is very kinestetic and hands on learner needs to be taught in that way so he will be engaged in the learning. Another way is to build on what the child enjoys because they can associate the learning with something they enjoy. If a child is a great speaker, but not good at writing, you could have them give a speech over writing a report. It is always important to be positive when working with families with a child with a disabillity, to show them you appreciate the baby step accomplishments and positives along with the challenges associate with the child. I have also learned that many parents of children with disabilities want to hear how their child is doing in realtion to thier strengths and needs, not comparitive to the grade level norms. It is important to inform them of how their child is doing in both of these areas.
Stacie Kallsen I am so excited by the information on the DIBELS. I have to admit that I am so excited by what I have learned in the last couple of months. While I had heard of the WCJ III in my psychology classes (my undergrad major) when I walked in for my first day of school and began trying to figure out what was in the room I had no idea what I would use it for or if I administered the test etc. Next, came the word "DIBELS," which was entirely new to my vocabulary. I never dreamed that by this point in the year I would have learned so much about either. As others suggest they are assessments that are used to test students with more differences than can be imagined. But, it seems that DIBELS is a very strong indicator of reading success in later years and is a strong indicator of areas that need intervention. I have not yet administered DIBELS, but work closely with the reading teacher who does and have plans to work with a couple of my SPED kids who need "dibbeled down." I am excited to do more. I like the part of LETRS that discussed which reading program may work at which Tier of the triangle.
Sandy O'Banion DITTO to All Above:-) What I am now seeing is that Regular Education Teachers and Special Education Teachers can now work more collaboratively on Assessment and Instruction… As they are both using the same assessments like DIBELS, DRA, MAPS, CSAP etc…. The field has been pushing for Inclusion and Collaboration for years, but the assessment practices and approaches were so different for SPED and Regular Ed, that it was hard to do well… Now, Assessment Practices are bringing the two together. - s

As for the WJIII, I have not yet administered it to one of my students and have only plans to administer it to my son and a nephew. I do have a triennial coming up in December, but am not allowed to administer yet. I will be watching my mentor administrate that WCIII.

In regards to the Strengths Model, I am consistantly being surprised and amazed at the reality of this model. It is highly accurate and have seen many examples of where students may rely on an area of strength to help them get through a project or an assignment. What is difficult is getting the rest of the world on board. There are some students who have not yet discovered their strengths and lack the self confidence to even try because they have so often failed in an environment driven by writing and reading. There are fewer options for giving oral reports or creating projects that don't involve writing. One of my students has dysgraphia and struggles mightily with ever getting words onto paper. His science fair project is going to be recorded on video instead of requiring him to write the 10 page paper. But, it took a lot of talking to get the teacher to agree to try it different.

Stephany FritzI have been using DIBELS for the past several years in first and second grade. I found it to be very helpful in planning reading groups and other strategic interventions with my kids - the interventions I implemented myself, as well as those that involved other teachers around the building. These screenings were so helpful in identifying students who had "holes" in their knowledge and skills that we may not have otherwise known about and therefore addressed. The students I work with now - 4th and 5th graders with learning disabilities - have actually done quite well with the ORF and retell fluency tests as long as I "off level" test one year below.
With regard to the WJIII, some of the tests seem helpful and informative, while others don't. My building and district uses only those tests required by the state, rather than the full battery. It sure is time consuming!
I agree with Regina that the strengths model is great and allows us to focus on what kids with learning disabilities CAN do and build upon that to close the gaps in other areas. I find it helpful to tell parents all of the information about strengths and creativity ( pgs 57-58) to ease their anxiety about dyslexia. Sandy O'Banion Good for you! Yes, share the Strength Model with parents at IEP meetings… - s

Regina Chezik The district I work with uses WJIII and DIBLES. I had never heard of theWJIII before this class. I found out our district trainer works in my building! I have given DIBLES testing to 4th and 2nd graders but never tried with my students. I am trying now with low success due to the nature of my students disabilities. Assessments are not for everyone and do not accurately measure every students true capabilities but for most students they do work. I'm all for helping students succeed. There have been to many children "falling through the cracks" of our education systems. I think assessments are helping districts focus on these kiddos that really need the support of additional instruction.
The Strengths Model is great. Let's not focus specifically on our weaknesses but use our strenghts to repair those weaknesses. Assessments are tough for most students but for those with disabilities, their true knowledge is not seen without appropriate accommodations. Every child deserves to succeed. We don't have to let disabilities, dyslexia or any other, get the better of us.

Brenda SmithAs I read the responses of others I can hear the frustrations that many have knowing that even the best assessment often does not meet the needs of our very special Special Ed students;-) However, if you have the opportunity to work with regular ed students, assessments such as DIBELS are such a wonderful tool in helping those that need just a little extra boost, thrive and succeed. I love DIBELS because it can tell you so much in such a small amount of time and it is so cost effective that administrators don't gripe about it. If you are a good teacher you will not just plug in numbers and spit out information to other teachers and parents, but truly evaluate the information that assessments offer you. I have never heard of the strength model until this unit. However, I see it in all of my students. Not one single student is weak in all areas. They all have their strengths. And if you don't mind me gushing I would like to share my son as an example. He is two and significantly speech delayed, so much so that initially the pediatrician thought he was autistic. Now that he is getting the much needed services of a speech therapist we are seeing his many strengths in other areas. His motor skills exceed those of others his age. Even though he can't speak his words his vocabulary is amazing. His memory astounds me! Just today he was grunting (which he often does when he gets frustrated that he cannot verbalize something). I could not figure out what he wanted to do with this certain toy he had. Finally, he took me to his room and pointed to a bag of his we have not used in weeks or longer. He dumped it out and found a piece that was missing to the toy he was playing with. I could not believe it. I see little miracles like this with my students all of the time. Usually, it is just when I am feeling like everything I am doing is not working and I am failing as a teacher they do something amazing with one of their many other talents they posess! Sandy O'Banion I love your example using your son… It really are moments like this, that make us better teachers… and parents :-) s

Karen FordI have learned a lot about assessment and found that DIBELS can really work well to reveal strengths and weaknesses in students. Last year the reading specialist at my school worked with the student that I assist. she found that he needed to improve his reading fluency and comprehension skills. This year she tested him again and now has him working in Read Naturally which is helping to improve these skills. The Sea of Strengths model illustrates how a fundamental weakness can be surrounded by many related strengths. I have known of students that have had trouble with writing. Knowing that it's not a strength wouldn't motivate them to practice the skill. When they were allowed to combine their writing with illustrations, they were motivated to write more.

Nicolle Lewis | Assesment are truly just tests. In sped we need to understand that the usefulness of assessments (DIBELS) is as varied as our students. For some students the data can halp to drive instruction and interventions whcih can help to establish the students goals and objectives. However with other students we simply use it as a venue which they can practice basic problem solving skills. For my students (elementary level autistic boys) DIBELS often does not show their true potential and skills. We have to take the assesment with a grain of salt and continue to make the impact in their lives that truly matters.

Ashley YoungMy district has used DIBELS now going on three years. This form of assessment is wonderful for the regular students that are in a classroom to figure out what area of phonemic awareness is weak. For Sped students, we already know that they many lack reading skills. I teach the profound Sped students and most of the testing done in our room is through observation. I did administer DIBELS in first grade one year and it was great to know what students needed the help. The progress monitoring also allow the teacher and the student to know if progress was being made. The WJIII was stressful the first time I did it. I learned alot about the test and realized how much the information would be helpful for future learning of the child. The strenght models are great to show that the we as educators can find their strenghts to help work on their weaknesses.

Hilary Franco-Seifert- I feel fortunate that my district uses the DIBELS. After reading the high level of predictable value gained in showing future reading difficulties, this screening assessment is an essential to designing a program of instruction that best fits the needs of all students, but especially when formulating goals and objectives for IEP students. The constant progress monitoring piece allows for a close following of how the student is responding to the instructional strateiges in place, thus driving the direction of future instruction. I am a culprit in criticizing assessments, especially outcomes based assessments used by the state relative to special education students. However, each assessment has its purpose and I feel screening and progress monitoring serve our special needs kids best.

In reference to the Strength Model, I believe we can capitalize on our special ed students' strengths in order to achieve their goals. Though students with dyslexia have decoding problems, they have an intact system with strengths in critical thinking, general knowledge, problem solving, and comprehension. Cashing in on the systems that work to offer confidence to students in their learning, allows for students to show what they can do rather than get hung up on what they struggle with. Allowing time is so important for these students to gather their thoughts and process what they know they know, but cannot produce under pressure.

AimeeI have learned a lot about assessments since I have recently learned how to administer the WJIII assessment. I thought this assessment was very universal since you could use it for virtually any age. I liked the fact that the assessment had different starting points depending on the age of the student being tested. I agree with Stephanie Colgan in the way that assessments cannot measure what a person’s future will be like, but I feel that they can gave a good representation of the student’s skills and can be used to give teachers a good benchmark to base their lessons off of. I think the Strength Model for dyslexia is great to focus on the student’s strengths and use their strengths to work on their weaknesses. I believe the model really accentuates the student’s strengths and that students gain confidence when their teachers focus on those skills and qualities. The strength model can be a great and valuable source of information for teachers.

Stephanie Colgan I think it is very important that we understand that these assessments are just assessments. They do not accurately measure what a persons' future will be like. But, they do give us, as teachers a very good idea of which skills need to be focused on for students to succeed. During school, the assessments are the most important hard data that we can obtain from students to place them as accurately as possible on the learning scale. On the sea of strengths model of dyslexia, each area is of critical importance. They all relate to one another. A deficit in one area will show up in another. I think the Strength Model does a very good job conveying that information to us.

Sharon Mauch - Our district has used DIBELS for a few years now. It is a reliable measure that is fairly quick and easy to give. If you are lucky enough that your district purchases the second level of training, it shows you how to analyze the answers given and be able to judge what specific skills the child is struggling with. It was very accurate but a little time consuming. It was great when we had a resource person whose job was to do those kinds of things. The constant progress monitoring keeps both the teacher and the student focused on whether or not improvement is really taking place. It also spots immediately when a student falls behind. This allows specific instruction and intervention to take place immediately to help fill that gap.
The Strength Model described in our Dyslexia book was a great example of how and why we need to know our student's strengths and weaknesses and work to with them to allow our students to tell use what they really know. Allowing a student the extra time to use those critical thinking, problem solving and comprehension skills to take that big picture and figure out the details is only fair for that student. Hopefully that student has been allowed accommodations in the classroom before testing, such as text on tape, so that general knowledge has been developed

Mary Anne Champa I work with a sixth grade student who is “at risk” in DIBELS testing in ORF. He is in a 90-minute replacement core reading group and a 30 minute intervention group. After weekly progress monitoring he still was not making much progress. Our team decided to have him rejoin the core reading group. However, instead of having him struggle reading his anthology book we are having him listen to the stories and follow along in the book. We will continue to progress monitor him weekly and adjust instruction as needed. Writing is extremely difficult for him. Recently he was asked to write about his favorite day. He tried to write about a day at Elitch Gardens, he wrote three words and gave up. One of his accommodations/modifications is use of a scribe. His teacher sat with him and wrote as he told a wonderful story about his day at the amusement park with a clear beginning, details, and a conclusion. He used a variety of descriptive words (ex: winding down the lazy river) and many other details. We are going to work with him with keyboarding, tape recordings and other accommodations to help him build on one of his strengths.Sandy O'Banion This is a great example of the strength model for your student. - s

Pamela Tate My District has not begun to use DIBELS as much as other, although we do have a literacy assessment similar to those shown in LETRS Module 8 that are given to students at the beginning of each school year and then at the end of the quarter. I think it is very important to progress monitor our kids in the area of phonics, phonemic awareness, comprehension and fluency. After reading about the strength model and its components I can relate to a student that may not be able to totally grasp phonemic awareness, but through vocabulary and life experiences he can still find enrichment. He just went through a whole schpiel of tests which has helped for the IEP team to guide their instruction for the next year. I just would like to have a step by step guide to setting up measurable ways to progress monitor phonemic awareness- I'm still feeling a little lost at this point. Sandy O'Banion In Unit 5, you will get to use AIMs web or another on-line tracking system to enter student data and set goals… This should help your understanding… it's coming :-) s

Anthony After administering the WJ111 for the first time I felt a bit relieved. I was a bit nervous at first, and I was even giving it to my own niece and nephew. However, it did provide a great experience and allowed me to see the areas in which I need to improve upon. Moving on, my school also uses DIBELS and I do see it as a solid assessment. There are still areas that I wonder about in showing students' true potential though. Assessments are only assessments and sometimes you can draw more out of the students by focusing on their strengths like Sandy said. My example comes from a second grade student with Autism. LG loves to read! His fluency and comprehension are very solid. However, his greatest weakness is writing. I provided LG with a writing assignment that was linked directly to one of his favorite readings. I could not believe the shift in attitude toward writing that he displayed when it was something that he had a great deal of interest in. Of coarse he still displayed poor handwriting, but the ideas that he put out were amazing! This actually tied in to our staff meeting last week, where the main area of focus was 6 trait. We came up with a variety of ideas to engage students in writing by providing them with topics and settings of greater interest.

Kezia The WJII is nightmare for me right now. First is not relevant for the population of students that I am currently working with, and the material is so vast and intricate that it difficult to wrap my head around it all. I realize the importance of teacher knowing how to administer the test effectively and efficiently; however, in my district we have an assessment team who are extremely qualified to administer these tests. I believe that this assessment can be a very valuable tool for most of the population, but it lacks tremendously for students with multiple developmental disabilities. DIBLES is also lacking for students with multiple developmental disabilities, but being in an elementary school and working with many students whom are not on my caseload, DIBLES is extremely valuable tool, especially when used school-wide in conjunction with the core reading program. I feel very fortunate to be working in a school who has an entire team just for these purposes. As a special education teacher, I LOVE FBA's. They are fanatstic. Not only can one identify the frequency and purpose of a behavior, but it gives you tools to find an approprate replacement behavior and help a student learn and have control in a proactive way; helping them fufill their needs appropriately. I love the strength model in relation to FBA's, especially my population of students. You have to find out what they are good at, and what motivates them, in order to give them power to improve their weaknesses. It works for all of us. Sandy O'Banion I see how the FBA would be much more valuable for your students. It's good that you're learning about all kinds of assessments as you may teach as a resource teacher at some point. Also, what I'm now seeing is that Regular Education Teachers and Special Education Teachers can now work more collaboratively on Assessment and Instruction… As they are both using the same assessments like DIBELS, DRA, MAPS, CSAP etc…. The field has been pushing for Inclusion and Collaboration for years, but the assessment practices and approaches were so different for SPED and Regular Ed, that it was hard to do well… Now, Assessment Practices are bringing the two together. - s

Kim The district I am working in also uses the DIBELS exams. The district went a step further this year and had an inservice on how to interpret data gathered from DIBELS. I like the exams they give you a good base for information gathering. I also use the Criterion to gather data. The first time I used the WJIII it was overwhelming but I think after giving it three times I am getting better. I think it is important to find the student strength and use them to build the students confidence. We can always adjust our lessons to meet student need and limit behavior problems when student feel confident with lessonsbased on their strengths.

Donna Guinn Our district incorporated the RtI model about 4 years ago which rather dramatically changed the way our learning disabled special ed. students receive services. Along with RtI, we adopted DIBELS as a screening tool for identifying students who struggled in reading as well as to monitor the progress of those students receiving intervention services. Because some of the students needed Tier 3 interventions previously provided to SPED students in a one-on-one or two-on-one basis, these groups became and continue to be larger than intended. I like the RtI model if there is funding available to implement it properly. Unfortunately that has not been the case (not enough staff to provide small group instruction) so we do the best we can. I learned how to DIBELS students last year when they did the end of the year assessments. We assessed the entire school. I agree with those who commented on the fact that collecting this data is a meaningless waste of time unless the results are both analyzed and used to provide appropriate instruction for those students who need extra help. Currently students receiving Tier 3 (Red Zone) interventions are progress monitored on a weekly basis, while the Tier 2 (Yellow Zone) students are monitored every 2-3 weeks. It was interesting giving the WJIII test this week. I gave it to my sixth grade niece and it took about 2 1/2 hours! Normally we do not give tests 3, 4, and 12 in the standard test book so that was new to me. We only use the WJIII as an assessment for qualifying students in SPED so it is not given as frequently as before RtI. With regards to the strength model, one of the first things I try to do when working with students is get to know what their likes are, particularly in reading material and use that along with their learning styles to plan lessons that support their IEP goals. My own son, who is now 20, loved to be read to but hated to read. I took advantage of his love for video games and ordered those kinds of magazines. He also would read stories from the Readers Digest, because they were short and high interest. I always made sure there was plenty of reading material in both bathrooms, my favorite place to read! :) Sandy O'Banion TMI… about the bathroom reading :-0..just kidding. It's very interesting to hear from a teacher whose school has been into RtI for a few years…. When RtI fist come out, many SPED teachers thought that it would eliminate the need for SPED teachers in the schools… Actually, it sounds like your school could use MORE SPED teachers .. That's good for us :-) - sn

Michael Zimmerman I absolutely loved the points the text made about weighing students' strengths with the formal testing we give (Sea of Strengths Model of Dyslexia). It is disheartening how often special educators and teams sit around a conglomeration of data regarding students and discuss the severity of their weaknesses while choosing intervention programs that will best "fix" those deficits. It makes since why students then do not enjoy or make progress with those teaching situations. I have a dyslexic student who despite her tremendous difficulty with short term memory learning phonics rules and decoding text has great abilities in comprehension, creativity, and inferring from context. I find it best to provide error correction in applying phonics rules and decoding text through her own discoveries as she finishes a sentence or thought and then realizes something needs adjusted. Moroever, I believe this makes using a "canned" program in tier III even more difficult and unfair to a student as it is not specially designed instruction around that individual's strengths and weaknesses equally. Once in the mist of one of those programs, you begin teaching to the scope and sequence rather than to the student's strengths and needs. Ultimately, this again reminds us of the importance of our role as an advocate for students' with disabilities. Sandy O'Banion Your insights are amazing. There is a balance between systematic and sequential (which a canned program can provide) and being creative… and using student strengths.. Effective teachers are skillful and Creative…. Just as you have indicated. _ s
Raechelle I have had to do several IEP's and was at a total loss at why I should determine from a huge goal and objective bank and just a couple of weeks observation what my students should focus on for a year. Granted I had just learned about the components of reading but how was I to know where each student was. The DRA2 which is like the DIBELS(but not quite as good) was a life saver. It allowed me to look at the skills that would put them on the road to reading. Of course there are students of which it has no bases but then the skills I am teaching are developmentally appropriate and teaching reading to a child who is developmentally 6 months would be silly. It seems there are some gaps in our state in addressing the severitiy of some of the students we are working with and what is appropriate when assessing them. However, because there is so much research about the potential of special education students we need to be held accountable for their progress. Often times the school, district or state can't find the monies yet with data and research we can hold them also accountable for assisting us in helping ALL students.
The FBA's are very helpful in that the data can be used right away. On several occasions I have made a small change based on the data and seen huge improvement. One change was based on a student refusing to go to the bathroom and wash his hands before lunch. After looking at t he data we realized it was his free time he was losing. So we cleaned up in the bathroom on the way to the lunch room and now have no problem (at least not with him washing his hands before lunch.)
The sea of strengths model holds true for children with special needs and holds true for regular ed students. We all learn better when we work from our strengths. I have a student that has a very difficult time paying attention. He loves football and for his age is very good. I am using everything I can to relate his high interest in football. We use a drawing of the field to count (How many yards?) to counting by tens. In my token economy we have football cards and other football related items. It has been amazing to see him light up when we get out the football field to do math. He loves that he knows more about something then me.
Finally, the WJIII. Well that was just overwhelming and took a lot of time. I had to do the test in several sittings and am not sure why it is used for determing special ed services. I now undertand all my students dismal scores. My daughter who is a regualr ed kiddo was very frustrated when she knew she had got several answers wrong then would get one right then have to answer several more in order to end the session. It seems like and old school instrument in its wording and some of its questions. Also, it seems in direct conflict with the Rti in that it focuses on failure and not does offer much in the way of instructional goal setting. Sandy O'Banion I understand your comments about the WJIII… What I am now seeing is that Regular Education Teachers and Special Education Teachers can now work more collaboratively on Assessment and Instruction… As they are both using the same assessments like DIBELS, DRA, MAPS, CSAP etc…. The field has been pushing for Inclusion and Collaboration for years, but the assessment practices and approaches were so different for SPED and Regular Ed, that it was hard to do well… Now, Assessment Practices are bringing the two together. - s

heading level 1

Unit 1/401 Assessment
After reviewing the websites for CSAP, CSAP Accommodations, CSAPA, and CBLA, discuss the PROS and CONS of the state assessment programs for students in special education… remember to address BOTH the PROS and CONS equally :-)

Jennifer Tagtmeyer The pros of state assessment programs are they give us a baseline to use with the student, it can be used as one part of a more comprehensive documentation, accommodations are allowed, the sped kids get to do something like their friends (although the accommodations may still make them feel different), they test multiple skill areas so the sped kids have a higher chance of getting to show an area where they have strengths, and special tests such as CSAPA can be used in very special situations. The cons of state assessments are they are stressful for everyone involved, they are timed and require extended periods of focusing, they don't test for other strenghts such as art or music, some accommodations are hard to get or aren't documented soon enough to be used, most students can't see the importance of them so they don't try their hardest, and they are trying to level the playing field, but we know that being fair isn't being fair to sped kids.

Mike Cott special education teacher
shows you real data on what to expect from students
shows that you have real, high expectations
makes the students feel more in tune and in touch with their peers
provides students to be with the general education students
allows them a chance to be succesful and use accomadations.

provides stress
often inconclusive
shows the differences in learnind ability
singles students out for ridicule
Does not really adress many of the students needs
Its a tricky question that one cannot just say there is a right or wrong answer to.
Just like everything else in special education, it goes student byt student and there should be no generality involved in it.
Donna Guinn
PROS of state assessment programs for our special education population:

  • Provides high expectations for all students
  • Allows parents to see how their child is performing with regards to the model content standards
  • CSAPA provides a format for assessing those students otherwise incapable of participating in CSAPs
  • Accommodations help students to participate on a level playing field with their peers
  • CBLA provides a format for identifying students at risk, who are not on an IEP beginning in kindergarten. Interventions can be administered early on and if needed, documentation exists to refer students who are not responding to those interventions, to special ed.
  • CBLA provides a way to monitor the progress of students, including those on an IEP, in reading acquisition
  • CBLA provides a format for identifying weaknesses within the 5 reading components so that targeted instruction can be delivered.DITTO Sandy O'Banion** I'm glad that we can start to see the PROS and how these practices actually promote Inclusion of our SPED students in the gen ed curriculum. - s

CONS of state assessment programs for our special education population:

  • CSAPs can be frustrating for students with cognitive disabilities who are not eligible to take CSAPA
  • Testing may have little or no significance in the lives of some SPED students
  • Assessment does not show a childs personal growth in learning.
  • Skills necessary for quality of life are not necessarily measured on state testing
  • Overtesting of students takes away valuable instructional time.
  • Students that are ineligible to take the CSAPA are required to take the CSAP, which may be beyond their capabilities. DITTO** Sandy O'Banion** I also see the CONS for our students in SPED. - s

Stephanie Colgan*DITTO If testing is not done correctly or to much, it takes away instructional time for learning. If the test takes too long or it there is not sufficient brakes, then behavior problems may take place. It's wonderful to know how many accommodations are offered to students who engage in the CSAPA. Several students in my school can only take the CSAPA because these kid's are unable to take the regulare CSAP. These kid's need more time, quiet time, some need scribes, or technological aids. One of our students needs a sign language aide by her side when she takes the test. One is nonverbal and does not possess any fine motor skills for writing. Several student need help reading and more time. Several accommodations are provided to prevent any modifications to test material. It is wonderful to know that everyone is out to help these children succeed.

Brenda Smith
I was a parent long before I was an educator, and I used to hate talk about CSAP. It worried me that my kids seemed to be a bit stressed about performing well on the tests. Now that I am an educator I do see the importance of the CSAP. We have to assess to see what our kids are learning and what they need help with! In relationship to Special Education I agree that our SPED students have a right to be able to work towards achieving model content standards. They need to be able to show us what they have learned! I too have a student that always scores proficient in reading. However, in math he does not fair so well. Because of his reasoning skills he probably never will be able to. A con about CSAP for a student like this, is that it does not show the achievements that he has made in the classroom. A PRO is that he is able to participate like everyone else and even if students and parents can see the slightest improvement from year to year this is reason to celebrate. Something else about CSAP is that Special Education students just do not test well. Something I see with all of my students regardless of their disability is the difficulty to stay on task. It is very hard to engage these students in any type of testing!Sandy O'Banion Even my son, who is a 'typical" 5th grader (if there is such a thing :-) just kidding) Has trouble engaging in the CSAP. His teacher last year did a great job of asking parents to bring snacks for the whole class everyday of the CSAP and she gave the student extra recess. This really seemed to help my son's attitude. - s

Mary Anne Champa A PRO of state assessment programs for students in special education is they like the general ed students are working toward grade level acedemic content standards. Most of the students can achieve the standards as long as they have teachers who can teach in content areas and are willing to accommodate diverse learners, that IEP's provide specialzed instruction, and students have appropriate accommodations for the test. Five of the six third grade special ed students I work with were either proficient or partially proficient on last years Reading CSAP. A CON is even with accommodations some of the students I work with just are not very good test takers, some, the anxiety of taking the test shows in the test results.

Karen Ford A pro about CSAP testing for students with disabilities is that they are assessed like their classmates. The student that I work with, he has cp, has more of a sense of belonging when he does things like his classmates. At the school where I work they have a great big CSAP party after the test. The kids get points for the test taking skills that they remember to use and then rewards at the party. It's real motivating for the kids. I think that they sometimes lose track of what's really important, getting more points for the party or doing well on the assessment. Anyway, a con would be that the student I mentioned before usually doesn't test well on the CSAP even with accommodations. Several issues come in to play with this student and testing. I'm hoping that this year his assessment will reflect his true abilities more.

Ashley YoungI feel that a pro to the testing is that it brings equality to all the students. All students must take the test and even if a student with a disability usually does something different, they still know that this test is being used just like all the other students to help find the grade level they are performing. A big con of the testing is that many students are not good test takers and them knowing how important the test is could cause a lot of stress. It is the teacher that must then find the happy medium between the test taking and the stress to let the students know that doing their best and keeping them interested in the content will allow for the students to reach their potential. **DITTO **Raechelle

Michael Zimmerman I agree with Mary Anne that students in special education have the right to receive instruction guided by the standards in order to attain grade level. By taking part in these state assessments, special educators are held responsible for teaching towards the standards and knowing/selecting/administering appropriate accommodations/adaptations. I see it as a type of accountability system for our students. It also allows our students to participate fully in the general education like their peers. Furthermore, it provides useful data to teachers when differentiating for special needs students in order to teach at their level. A task which already seems to be extremely difficult for teachers….imagine if they didn't have any comparable data to use in doing so. The cons of state assessments for special needs students include the impact little improvement on CSAPs has on students' confidence despite the slow, steady growth they might be making in their intervention program. For the most significantly disabled learners (i.e. severe dyslexics, autistic, etc.), accommodations/adaptations often do not allow them access to appropriate standards according to their developmental level (i.e. not being read the material section of the reading test as a dyslexic, lack of research in successful interventions for autistic students). This can then be an unfair representation of the student and district. I would think that there would be fewer cons of state assessment as evidence based practices in teaching become more prevalent.
Anthony DITTO to all of the above. I was happy to learn the difference between adaptations, accommodations, and modifications. I guess before they all seemed to run together for me. I knew that modifications were not allowed, however, there was still a bit of gray area between the adaptations and accommodations. I have already been implementing a variety if accommodations with my students with autism. I mainly use time extensions and cover directions verbally as many times as needed. DITTO to Michael for the lack of successful interventions with these students. I am having the best results with these students by building a rapport and my results get better by the day. There are no set right and wrong ways to intervene, and every student requires a different approach. Sandy O'Banion Adaptations are like the umbrella term including accommodations and modifications… That's how I remember it. - s

Sharon Mauch - Like many others, I too have a better understanding of accommodations, adaptations and modifications. It is amazing how many educators who work with SPED students do not fully understand those terms and their differences. I fell that some pros are; a)Students with disabilities are allowed to receive some familiar and acepted accommodations during the actual CSAP and CSAPA presentaion. b) Students with significant cognitive disabilities may qualify for the CSAPA which is designed to test more access skills. This gives these students a chance to show growth also. c) There is a rather large and varied lisgt of acceptable accommodations that will cover most disabilities and a process to request consideration for non-standard accommodations for special cases. These are improtant considerations so that SPED students can show their accomplishments also.
Cons: I feel that it must be very stressful for students who struggle with accessing classroom knowledge to have to take an unfamiliar timed test of that magnitude. So many of the SPED students do not process very fast and even though they get extra time, if that is an accommodation for them, just trying to process that format, multiple skills and the importance placed on doing well on the CSAP will make it very frustrating for them. As it has been stated sevaral times, they are typically not good test takers anyway.

Regina ChezikStandardized tests are not my favorite form of assessment. From a parents point of view, I had to tell my daughter they weren't really testing her, they were testing the teachers to see if they were teaching what they are supposed to. She is a straight A student and is advanced in every area on the CSAP so she had nothing to worry about. When I was a substitute, I saw on a regular basis come CSAP time, every teacher at every grade level teaching to the test. That's not the way things are supposed to be taught but with so many demands on teachers that is what happens all too often. I also do not understand why students with severe needs are tested when even with the CSAPA, answers are not given. Tests stress most students but even with accommodations, students below grade level are hit hard when it comes to assessments. On the other hand, I do agree with teachers and districts having guideliness for what students need to be taught and be held accountable. I like that students with special needs are allowed to participate in the same assessments as their peers with accommodations. The accommodations for assessments help students to do their best even if they remain below their peers. Standardized assessments allow teachers an idea of what area their students need help in and can provide interventions where necessary. The assessment strive for equality of all students and to prevent the "unsatisfactory" students staying "unsatisfactory". I think the intentions of standardized testing are wonderful and have come a long way, but I think we need to continue striving for a better way to assess our students. Sandy O'Banion I agree that we need to find better ways to assess our students.. This is part of the state process. - s
Raechelle Salas Their are so many pros and cons mentioned already but I stongly believe there are students that are not given meaningful instruction and I believe that the CSAP allows for accountability for the teachers. Sometimes schools just do the same thing year after year and hopefully with the RTI's progress monitoring and the CSAP for aligning with the standards we will some great progress with some students. With all the research based practice avialble are students have a great future.
Maureen ElliottI do agree with what others have said about the pros and cons of the assessments. One pro, is that the children feel a sense of belonging becasue they are testing like their peers. Another, is that the teachers are accountable for teaching students with disabilities grade level academic content standards. Children are held accountable and this also holds teachers accountable for the students. A con of the tests is that they are hard and draining for children without disbilities and even more stressful and draining for children with disbilities. Some children have anxiety from test situations and it is hard for them to take them. Some children will be unsuccessful even with accommodations and that ruins their self-esteem. There is one girl who we believe will either flip out and have a melt down or destroy her test and anything around her. She does not do well in school or on assessments. She only comes to school 2 hrs a day becasue she is so stressed out with life. It is going to be interesting to see how we can get her through it.
Hilary Franco-SeifertSince I am probably the last to comment this week, I do have many reiterations of what others have stated. A pro for the CSAP state wide assessments for special education students is that they are, though at a slower pace, working towards the same grade level proficiencies, so having a measure of their progress as compared to their peers can be helpful. As a con though, these students are considerably lower than the average individual in his or her cohort, therefore the CSAP is more challenging for them even with accommodations. This can be an element of frustration when a student is working at a level far above their current capabilities. This can also be a sore spot for parents when their students are continually showing up as far below proficient. The reality is that this disparity will probably continue and all we can do as special educators is keep these students motivated and engaged and they will make gains. Accommodations do allow for a leveling of the playing field, however, if the capabilities are well below what is being tested, proficiency will still be a pitfall. Sandy O'Banion Hilary, my friend who is a SPED teacher here takes all of her SPED students who participated in CSAP out to lunch after the tests are all over. She really goes wild telling everyone how wonderful it was tha they tried their hardest. The kids ove the group lunch at Pizza Hut. - s

Stacie Kallsen
Ditto others. Most of the teachers support accomodations for those students that I work with that are more severe and have even had to be the leader in making some of them happen since I am a quite behind the curve for learning this year (the seventh grade teacher was just able to pull from a first grade book for a child to get some classwork to do when she is in during inclusion time without my support, I have pulled in some information for some practical recognition of signs/etc for her spelling word list, but had not been on top of getting grammar work from another level that would work (we tried 2nd grade, but it is Shurley Grammar and even the 1st grade materials have to be read to her at this point). The struggle seems to be more with those students who are getting it done without the obvious need for accomodations. Some of the teachers I encounter think students are just being lazy or are capable of more. The trick for all of us is to assess that reality, but also keep in mind an IEP or 504 may exist and that an LD may be in the middle of all of it. Most students that I have encountered want to learn but have developed certain habits or attitudes that prevent teachers from always being able to assess whether or not a student is capable of the work and choosing not to do it or really unable to process the work in the same way. At any rate, my response is that the PROS of assessment are that we can likely determine the rate at which a student is progressing and the areas that our curriculum can and is addressing the content areas of the standards. A PRO is that because the data comes back at such a disparity, it remains difficult to teach to the varying levels and needs of learners in the classroom and to know exactly what to do with the results when we get them. This is true for all students, but students in Special Education already confront the challenges of being pulled out of classes of which they are likely already struggling to receive support in the areas addressed in IEPS, etc when CSAP information further suggests that they are behind, I wonder where we go from there and how we go about building a confidence around taking tests. I am pleased to know that accomodations are allowed for students who need them, I have yet to see what it looks like in practice and how the tests are actually administered in small groups, etc.

****PAMELA TATE ** Ditto to comments above on accommodations. I learned a lot on the differences between adaptations, modifications and accommodations. I too have a fourth grader that is way below grade level, and will now put it on a list to discuss with my teaching partner to ready this child for testing. I am not aware of my two students in fourth and fifth grade of their past performance on the CSAP-A so feel a little behind in that area, and test readiness. I do feel the CSAP-A can be positive for my students in Severe Needs in that we can allow adaptations for them. But, as far as answering the questions for my autistic students I feel this could be a very laborious task, and is it the assessment these kids and their parents really need? What about social skills, functional life skills for these kids is their an assessment for this?

MWTingler Response to Brenda Smith - Even though I know the sort of thinking you describe goes on all the time, it is always shocking to hear about teachers who display apathy or disdain for simple accommodations on behalf of students with disabilities — it reminds me of that school psychologist from New England who created that training, the video of which is called "Fat City — or How Difficult Can this Be?" when he said, "Fairness is not everyone getting the same thing, it is everyone getting what he/she needs." I wonder if the CDE could come out and do a faculty staff development training on accommodations for your school Brenda. What is your administration support like on this issue? Brenda Smith It is just one teacher that is really difficult. She is not mean she just will not budge. Everyone does the same in her class! Small school politics are difficult (we have less than 100 students K-12). I have to carefully pick my battles, so I just work around minor roadblocks;-)! Thanks, though!

MWTingler Response to Michael Cott - I enjoyed reading about how you use recorded text in support of your students with dyslexia for whom you or your para record stories. I am wondering if you've seen improvement in students' comprehension of the texts with which you've done this. Have you considered Books on Tape? I do not know if that outfit records books that are at the elementary level. There is also a middle school level (6th grade I believe) programmed curriculum called Read 180 that our middle schools have purchased in our District (Delta) that incorporates multi-media instruction including recorded grade level stories. It is used in special education resource rooms in our middle schools. I wonder if other people know of other resources along this line. Sandy O'Banion Read Naturally is another computer-based intervention progarm that is good for SPED. I think that it was reviewed in the sites we used in the Reading Core assignment in 400 - s

Kim With in the last month our district had a meeting to go over the accommodation which the student can recieve. I better understand accommodations now after hearing discussion on the what you can an can't do. The accommodation that gives me trouble using is Oral presentation. The student has trouble reading so we read the directions and the questions, yet they have not achieved the skills to read or interpret the reading material. This is the hard part on students and why they don't like test. The good thing about oral presentation is student have an idea what to do with dirctions and problems so that they can work out what information is being requested

Unit 8: October 15-21

"Carousel Brainstorming", a cooperative learning strategy.

STEP 1: Think of a response to the posted topic starter AND read what was written by the previous person or people.

STEP 2: If you have something new or different to add please put a bullet and your name before your entry. NOTE: Can be on the same line as theirs, just bold your name. OR if you concur with a comment already posted put "DITTO and bold your name" AND add an example or situation to piggy back what the previous person wrote.

TOPIC STARTER: After reviewing the exercise and Chapter 23 in Overcoming Dyslexia, include in your discussion at least 2 specific accommodations that would help your student/students with dyslexia when engaging in decoding/phonics tasks. Discuss your “hopes for the future” in our schools for students with dyslexia who are faced with the challenge of learning to read.

Maureen Elliott Two specifc accommodations that would really help my students with dyslexia are a quiet environment and more time, as other people have stated. One of my children with dyslexia, always asks to leave the classroom and go to my room for tests and big assignments. The teacher and I have agreed to modify his assignments because otherwise he does not finsih anything. I hope, as others have said, that children with dyslexia are understood better. I hope that they can succeed in school because they are understood and specific accommodations are made to make them be successful. I wish that genral classroom teachers, would stop saying that the accommodations are not fair becasue they take more time and no one else gets them. I wish they would understand how difficult school can be for children with dyslexia and other disorders.
One of the greatest gifts that we can give to a student with dyslexia is to truly understand the make-up of the disability…
Both the weaknesses and the STRENGTHS!!!!!
Dyslexia is a LANGUAGE-BASED READING LEARNING DISABILITY and about 80% of the students that are staffed as PCD/SLD will have a LANGUAGE-BASED READING LEARNING DISABILITY. According the International Dyslexia Association and from Shaywitz (pg 132), "Dyslexia is a specific learning disability that is neurological in origin. It is characterized by difficulties with accurate and/or fluent word recognition and by poor spelling and decoding abilities. These difficulties typically result from a deficit in the phonological component of language that is often unexpected in relation to other cognitive abilities and the provision of effective classroom instruction. Secondary consequences may include problems in reading comprehension and reduced reading experience that can impede the growth of vocabulary and background knowledge."
Students with Dyslexia also commonly display a "SEA OF STRENGTHS" (Shaywitz, pg 57). These strengths include: reasoning, problem solving, comprehension, concept formation, critical thinking, general knowledge, and vocabulary. As SPED teachers, one of the greatest accommodations that we can make for students with Dyslexia is to highlight their strengths as we address their weaknesses.
I have the greatest respect for our students with Dyslexia as I realize how hard they really do have to work in order to succeed in our schools on a daily basis. I also realize how truly brilliant they are… In our next class, EDUC 401, you will have the opportunity to develop reading intervention plans for your students. As you do this, please keep this “SEA OF STRENGTHS” model in mind… my vision and hope for the future… - s

Michael Cott I am a SSN teacher for k-6th grade students. Many of my students have pretty severe diasabilities that make reading diffiuclt for them. Several of them have dyslexia. One of the very interesting ways that I have found that has really helped one of my students to blossom is borrowed from Edmark. In this program, they have students indentify things by selecting it from other words, sounds, or graphemes. I have started using this. How it works is that there will be three choices, and instead of the student having to read something, he picks the one that I ask him. I have found this to be very very effective.
A second and less impacted thing that I found is recorded texts. Whatever my student is asked to read, decode, comprehend or recall is recorded for him. Either I, or the paraprofessional will record this. It really helps him. I can tell that he feels as if hes a burden when he has to have a teacher read it to him.He does not like this at all.With the recorder, it is put in his hands. This really makes him feel more in control.
I think that my hopes for the future are simple. Students should be able to be tell people what has benefitted them, and the teachers and resource people should be able to give them the chance to use whatever is possible. Maybe, everyday, students are given the chance to go to a learning lab, and use whatever device the feel helps. The teachers will work together to coordinate and give all kids the chance to do so.
I MW Tingler I am a K – 3 resource special education teacher. My students with disabilities do not, as yet, carry the diagnosis of dyslexia, although reading difficulties are common among all my students. Accommodations to support their learning are continually explored. In fact, part of the whole point of resource services is to accommodate students with disabilities through small group instruction; preferred seating, another fairly common accommodation, is automatic with small group teaching. Our text, “Overcoming Dyslexia”, highlights extra time as the accommodation of paramount and universal importance for students with dyslexia in order to allow the longer and different processing necessary to take meaning/comprehension away from text. The accommodation of extra time is evident in the educational life of many students in special education in two ways – one is through the formal I.E.P. listing of accommodations for test-taking, often through un-timed standardized testing (such testing is otherwise always time-limited). The other way the accommodation of extra time is provided to students is through the day to day slowing of a reading lesson to allow for the slower processing; this is easier to do in resource than in a full-size general education classroom. The need for quiet within the learning or testing environment was also mentioned in our text. There is an accommodation sometimes provided to students with ADD – that being, headphones to both dampen extraneous noise/auditory distraction and, less often, to provide a wireless microphone voice connection from teacher to student. Many churches have this sort of wireless FM audio system for their older, hard of hearing congregants. I’ve only heard of it being used in the classroom with very easily distracted students with ADD but, reportedly, it is effective. It is possible that this could be of benefit to certain students with (diagnosed or suspected) dyslexia. I can think of a couple of my students who could probably benefit from such a system. My hopes for the future include that this sort of technology would be more readily available to experiment with in the classroom. I also hope that the diagnostic systems would become available to determine or rule out the presence of dyslexia early on and for everyone as routinely as schools have done visual and auditory testing for many years for all students. The early chapters of, “Overcoming Dyslexia” describe in some detail the technological discoveries of the actual neural pathway and brain center abnormalities that are used to medically diagnose dyslexia. Such technology as functional MRI is quite impressive and just as expensive.
Regina Chezik+ Working in Special Education has taught me a few things about myself that many of you may agree with. I tend to gravitate towards the "slow, overly active, physical disabilities" kind of kids no matter where I go. I also think I have become an advocate for them. I went to a seminar last June where they were discussing accomidations for Special Ed. kids in general and it amazed me to hear about how Regular Ed. students, teachers, and the parents felt accomidations were unfair. How is having a learning disability fair? The accomidations for dyslexic students are not that time consuming and pretty easy to implement. I think that the use of a computer is a great outlet if the student is ready for that. Verbal testing and quiet testing areas, as well as providing extra time, are great ways to allow students to exceed. My hope for the future is that all students have the opportunity to do their best and succeed in Education. I hope that teachers of every grade and subject are on the same team, all students can succeed, and accommidations for dyslexic students (and others with special needs) are no different than someone who wears glasses so they can see.

Marcus Appleton 95% of my day is spent with students with very severe disabilities – none of whom are engaged in a systematic and explicit program. However, I do work with six students for one period during which I teach our district’s intervention program – Language! All six of these students have extra time as an accommodation – including the fact that we do not move at the regular pace that the Language! program wants – these students simply cannot move that fast. In general terms, our teaching staff is very open to accommodations and work hard at implementing them along with any support staff that are present. I am sure that what Ashley and others have said about having a more controlled learning environment, is one of the most helpful accommodations that a student with dyslexia could have. I currently do not work with any students with dyslexia, so this is an assumption and not from experience.

Stacie Kallsen I feel fortunate that most of our teachers are on board with providing accomodations for students and that I have been included in the loop for helping some of those students who struggle with tracking, fluency, etc by allowing them extra time and a quiet place to take their tests (though sometimes I fear my room gets even louder than a regular classroom with 6 sixth grade boys in close proximity to one another). On one or small group instruction for students who are working on decoding/phonics tasks are very important. Perhaps even providing some lessons for them to hear on tape would be appropriate (as the text suggests for stories/books on tape) that are around the phonics lesson that will be provided next in class or as a review of what was in class. It seems allowances for tape recording such a lesson would allow that student a chance to learn at his/her pace.

My very simple hope for the future is that students who have dyslexia are better understood. I think they will be better understood when teachers/school staff better understand dyslexia and how it affects a learner. Annual training around the brain/dyslexia/accomodations, etc that is required for new and continuing teachers would be my hope for the future. Sandy O'Banion DITTO** We at WSC have been involved in an intensive effort to improve our reading instruction in our classes. The use of the LETRS Modules and the text, Overcoming Dyslexia, for SPED have been great additions to our program this year. Our hope is that we are helping to improve knowledge and understanding. - s

StephanieDitto In my school, I am very fortunate. All of the teachers are willing to accept accomodations for students that we help and are in their classrooms. Most of the accomodations take the form of allowing more time for students who know the content but are slower readers. Even during a test for a student, that student may have help sounding out and reading the words. On a timed, multiple choice test, the questions and the answers may be read aloud to the students. If writing is involved during an assignment or a test, the use of a type writer or the a word processor on the computer can be benificial. Another accomodation that my school uses extensively, and one I use as much as possible, is allowing a student to work in a room that is closed off and quiet. It is free of distractions. Most of the children I work with desperately need this!
My hopes for the future are that all teachers everywhere realize how important accomodations are to dyslexic students. Teachers' need to know why it is necessary to provide accomodations so they can accurately measure what it is that a student knows and not their reading and writing skills that may be exhibited during a test or a high stakes tests.

Brenda Smith Accomodations are a very touchy subject at our school. Many of our regular ed teachers (mainly in the middle and high school) feel that these are "special favors" and not fair to the other students. I remember in one of our earlier readings the question was asked, " Is it fair that a person has a learning disability?" No, it is not. For the most part, the "other" kids simply do not care if "Johnny" gets 15 extra minutes for a test or gets to take it some place else. Two accomodations that I use all of the time with any of my students with learning disabilities are extra time and alternative test settings. These very simple tasks make the world of difference. I had a discussion with our Middle School English teacher the other day about a student of mine. We have been noticing that his homework grades are going up, but his tests scores are not improving and in some cases they are getting worse. I told her we could coordinate so that he could come into my class to take his tests to see if that helped. She said, "It is very quiet in my room at test time and I can't imagine that he would be distracted by anything." :-) Students with disabilities are distracted if another person is in the room, or by the wind blowing outside or the painting on the wall! I am giving weekly spelling tests to a first grader that simply needs more time taking his test. He went from getting 1-2 spelling words correct every week to consistent 80-90%. If the need is there I would use these accomodations in any task! My hopes for the future are more understanding about dyslexia in general education teachers. I would like general educators to realize that if a child is dyslexic it does not necessarily mean just more work for us as teachers, but greater success for our students and us. Also, if dyslexia is a clinical diagnosis where do we send our kids to be diagnosed? In Colorado, do they have to go to Children's Hospital? Donna I wonder about that too. Do students need a clinical diagnosis in order to state dyslexia on their IEP? Is dyslexia part of the Specific Learning Disability?

Sandy O'Banion There is NOT a separate category on the IEP for Dyslexia and there doesn't need to be one. Essentially, your students who are SLD (staffed in the schools) and who have a learning profile for Dyslexia (see the Definition for Dyslexia in my first posting) could be considered to have dyslexia. You do NOT need a clinical diagnosis to determine if a student has SLD with reading problems that have a phonological basis… the testing that the IEP team does can determine this. And you can teach these students using the knowledge and strategies that we are learning in this program. - s

The single most important accommodation for students with dyslexia is to provide extended time for them to read using the secondary reading pathways. Because their reading process requires so much concentration and focus, the noise level should be at an absolute minimum. These are fairly easy accommodations to make. I like the idea of having books on tape that include expository, fiction and non fiction. I have not had any experience with teachers not willing to give students any accommodations necessary for that student to succeed. Students with dyslexia should be using a program that emphasizes word patterns, structure and meaning that allows them to use the high level thinking skills that are their strength. Although we don't offer a foreign language at the elementary level in our district, it only makes sense to allow an exception to the foreign language requirement. In my short experience, it seems to me that we (as a district) look to various programs that are a good fit for the specific needs of students that have phonological processing disorders and then expect a quick fix. When they don't show adequate progress, the search is on for another approach. My district invested a great deal of money on training and materials for the Wilson Reading System 4-5 years ago and then didn't support it because it is so time intensive and requires too much one on one devotion. We are using it in bits and pieces but will never see the progress that could be made if it were properly implemented to those students who really need it. It is exciting to see how much research is being done with the brain and what we have learned about what goes on physiologically when we are reading. As research continues, I'm sure we will see even more ways we can accommodate students with dyslexia that allows them the same same opportunities everyone else has. I really like the fact that some colleges are using bodies of evidence other than just the ACT/SAT scores.

Celeste Kellenberger As stated in the text, the accommodations are a bridge that connects the dyslexic student to their strengths and in turn allows them to reach his/her potential. To me this is very important to keep in mind as I make accommodations. I want to make sure I am doing what is necessary for each individual dyslexic student to tap into their strength and reach their potential. It reminds me of Howard Gardner model of Multiple Intelligences, identifying individual learning styles, likes, dislikes, strengths and weaknesses. The dyslexic stuent has the potential to read like his non-dyslexic student but special considerations and accommodations must be made. Additional time and a quiet environment are a major accommodations to compensate for the phonological weaknesses. These students read much slower and with greater effort. They also rely on their higher level thinking skills. In addition, I like the recorded text as an accommodation. Having books on tape, hearing the text would be comprehended and remembered whereas reading leads to frustration. Little effort is needed on the student's behalf when listening to their text on tape. Text on type provides independence, as stated in the reading the dyslexic student no longer has to depend on parents, peers or teachers to read the text with them. Additional time, a quiet environment and text on tape are wonderful accommodations we as teachers can make to support the dyslexic student. Helping the dyslexic student reach their potential will be empowering to the student and propel their success.

Ashley Young I also loved the beginning statement in this chapter that Celeste posted. The students that I work with need many accomodations and I feel that through those accomodations are the quickest way to help them reach what is being taught. The dyslexic children can read just as good as any other child but they may need those accomodations. I think the extra time and the quiet environment are the best accomodations for the dyslexic children. These children read much slower usually and it is a lot of work so having the quiet room and the extra time allows these students to not worry about getting behind or feeling embarrassed from reading. They have to use their higher level of thinking, figure out the context, and then the extra time or quiet will lead to the meaning of the reading. For the future, I would like for all the staff to know more about dyslexia. Make sure that staff knows that accomodations are not a burden on them, they are actually helping one more student reach a higher potential.

Aimee Withrow Two specific accommodations for dyslexic students are extra reading time and a quiet environment to read in. These can be difficult when the students are in a general classroom, as I have been observing in some classrooms at the middle school; as soon as one student starts talking during a quiet work time, the entire classroom is soon distracted and off task. This can be especially difficult for a student with a learning disability who needs that quiet time to concentrate. Another accommodation is using recorded texts. These can be extremely helpful and can increase learning for a dyslexic student. My hopes for the future are that every student that has trouble reading has the opportunity to learn to read to the best of their potential. I have seen the effects of early and intense intervention for a dyslexic student. She now loves reading and reads constantly. I hope that every student has this chance to overcome dyslexia and be able to enjoy reading throughout their life. Dyslexia can be very frustrating so I hope that students have understanding and patient teachers who will not give up when they have trouble reading, but will help them and give them the confidence they need to continue learning, and help them acquire those essential skills needed for reading.

Jennifer Tagtmeyer Two specific accommodations for dyslexic students engaged in decoding/phonics tasks would be MORE TIME to read and process what they read and a QUIET ENVIRONMENT so they can focus their energy on decoding instead of filtering out distractions around them. My hopes for dyslexic students in our schools are many. I hope they get diagnosed early, the stigmas associated with dyslexia are reduced or eliminated, children learn how to self advocate, accommodations become accepted universally from elementary through graduate school, and that admission requirements change to help dyslexic students get accepted for their skills and intelligence instead of their standardized test scores.

Cecelia Kern
I agree that time and having a quiet environment are key accomodations for kids with dyslexia. Along with those accomodations, education of teachers, parents, and the public of the value and need for these accomodations is necessary- as well as that these things aren't giving dyslexic readers an unfair advantage. I have so many hopes for the future! Most importantly that early intervention will become a reality so that many of these kids can overcome the phonological deficit and that we will truly get past the wait and fail approach to interventions. I also hope for a day when all students get accomodations for their learning style and can demonstrate their learning with an appropriate task. I also hope for a day when recorded books are available easily for any student who can use them. And laptops are in every classroom. And that all kids get more support for their learning with graphic organizers and visual aids, and recorded books, and being taught big ideas….So much of what's good for special ed students is good for all students…And last, but not least, I hope for a day when a test score does not carry the weight that it does now for so many areas of education.

Sharon Mauch- I was so excited to read that colleges were making such wonderful accomodations for Dyslexic students. I know that many of those same accomomdations would benefit our students also. The two that I think would help the most would be a quiet place to work and the opportunity to use alternative testing formats. I can't tell you how many times as a teacher I have watched students, who know a subject area, get blown away by a standard written test form. It is so frustrating when you read a test and you see understanding written under the wrong question or so jumbled by the time they try to write it down that it makes little sense. But you can ask that student to tell you about that area and they will respond with a knowledgable answer put together and delivered in a way that makes sense to them. I think extra time and have materials on tape are very important also. My hopes for the future is that we can get to a place where we can meet each childs need when, where, and how it needs to be met without the restrictions of time, place, format, and procedure penalizing those students that have disabilities of any kind. I have a student now that they believe might be "non-verbal" disabled". I know that a written test for him is a disaster but if you have a conversation with him you will find out he know the subject well. I also believe that recorded books or written material of any kind should be an offered part of a childs learning process. Not to replace the act reading but to supplement it for those that struggle with the reading process. Let them develop the love for the knowledge while they work at becoming better readers.

+PAMELA TATE- After reviewing Chapeter 23 the accommodations I will be making will have to do with lessening this child''s writing time as this can be a laborious task for him. I would like to use the computer more with intensive phonics instruction. I have an extra Alpha- Smart that I may have him use for spelling tests, which will then help to improve his keyboarding skills. Also, for journal writing have the Alpha- Smart available to him. I agree with the above that a quiet place for these students to work is very important, and with overcrowding in our schools that I think will always be a challenge. Also, I hope for laptops for every kid as I am learning about so much that is out there just waiting to be accessed not only for the Special Ed students but everyone, teachers included. DITTO*Mary Anne Champa** I think the most important accommodation for the dyslexic reader is extra time. The dyslexic reader has the capacity for learning; they just need the extra time to access it. The dyslexic reader must spend more time retrieving information from the context of reading material. Another important accommodation for the dyslexic reader is a quiet reading environment. To figure out the text the dyslexic reader must rely on vocabulary and reasoning and uses a slower secondary neural path way. Recorded texts for listening are another essential accommodation. I have a questionon on a related topic I could use some input. I am working with a third grade student. This student has a diagnosis of developmental dyslexia from Children’s Hospital. The student’s handwriting is illegible. The teacher wants the student to work harder on both printing and cursive handwriting. Would it be better for this student to spend more time on keyboarding and less on the handwriting? Opinions ? Ideas? Suggestions? Sandy O'Banion Some students with SLD have so much trouble with Visual Motor Integration, that writing just does not work well for them. Teaching them keyboarding skills and allowing them to use the computer is a good accommodation to use.. You are just giving the student a different way to show what they know. - s

Hilary Seifert: "Far and away the most critical accomodation for the dyslexic student is the provision of extra time." This quote for the most necessary accommodation for dyslexic readers parallels my hope for the future in our schools as well. Learning capacity is completely intact, it is only the time factor that impedes success. Schools need to see this accommodation as a necessity not an option. We have come a long way in this throughout the state of Alaska. All of our standards based assessments and our exit exam for high school juniors is untimed. Many of our students are slow readers, some due to dyslexia, and others due to lack of print from an early age and low fluency. Comprehension seems to carry over, but time is a true hampering effect for slow fluency. Untimed tests can truly be valid since they do not test quickness, but rather they offer the time for the student to access the knowledge and show their skill at their own pace.

I also feel that the futility of requiring a foreign language for dyslexic students should be an allowable accommodation or in this case a warranted waiver situation. Students who are not even skilled at decoding their first language should not be required to garble their minds with the compounded complexity of learning another language.

Pocket dictionaries are another support for dyslexic students that can aid in identifying words in text for later use. Teaching the habit of looking up unfamiliar words is a key skill. Overall, my hope is that dyslexic readers are shown support and understanding that their issues pertain to language and not intelligence and that their academic confidence is built up rather than diminished.

Kezia Zuber At an elementary level, I believe the most important accomodations for my students, other than extra time and a quiet space, would be obataining reading material on tape or digitized form, finding ways to reinforce and visualize the material, and using adaptive software when asking student to retrieve content. Fortunately, finding a preparing accomodations for elementary students can be easier than at a high school level.

I have found that teachers and schools are growing and expanding, and advocating for accomodations is becoming easier in most schools, espcially when you throw in the factor of raising test, specifically state standardized, scores. I am excited about the future, because the whole of how we approach education and assessment is changing. And while shifting attitudes towards the education and support of dyslexic readers, we are, at the same time, benefiting all students. In reading this material, I continually refer back to the high school where I used to work, and I wish that I could go back and apply some of the thoughts that I am currently having. However, with my current position, I keep thinking about students whose secondary language is English. My school, like many schools in Colorado and across the country are growing with this population of students, and I think many of these accomodations could benefit these students. My hope for the future, is that while all students come with their own unique needs, schools are becoming more open to accomodations and in turn expanding theories in what it truely means to educate.dittoRaechelle SalasI especialy agree with Kezias' point that as we make accomodations for students with dyslexica we are at the same time using practices that benifit all students.

Susan R. I have been reminded once again on how important it is for me as the instructor to know what it is that I am assessing. Do I want to know what the student knows? Do I want to know how well they process? Do I want to know if they can navigate their Augmentative devices to the correct spot? Do I want them to have the opportunity to participate? Sometimes we ask our students to demonstrate what we want, but they have to do three or four different steps to be able to demonstrate and one of those steps may actually mask or hinder their ability to show us what we really want. Such as multiple-choice test show us how well someone performs at taking multiple-choice tests and not necessarily what they actually know. The number one accomodations for me is giving students the time they need to process. I also like the accomodation of recorded text, so that the student can get the big picture and read along with the recording. Additionally, I like the accomodation of giving an oral report or doing a project to show what they know. I am hopeful for the future. I'm excited that they are looking at accomodations for the SAT. I'm hopeful that as more educators become aware of how dyslexia is manifested, that more children will be diagnosed early, and as technology continues to expand that all students will be able to take advantage of whatever means possible to help them become successful in their educational opportunities. Donna Dittos on your comments about focusing in on what it is we are assessing. We work so hard to differentiate lessons to accommodate the different learning styles of the students and then have all the students turn in the same thing to assess the learning. I think a lot more emphasis is being placed on methods of assessing student learning now.

Tricia Johnson I too feel as though are school is on board with providing many of these strategies for students who need them however I feel the effort is inconsistant. I know that there is so much that goes into managing and teaching in the general ed. classroom. We need to provide supports to teachers and demand that these accomodations always be provided. Much easier said then done I'm afraid. My hope for the future is for just that. I also hope that dyslexia will be better understood and the misconceptions laid to rest.

Kim Hawkenson I work with a student that is dyslexic and he is given time accommodations. With out these accommodations he would shut down and stare in to space. I can see where he needs extra time. He is also given oral presentation accommodations. When students are given accommodations it takes longer to take test, its like using a translator. When reading this material I realized that students are given time and ahalf for the CSAP test and I belive that student with dyslexia would need more time. It is very important to have the accommodations meet the need of the students. One other accommodation that was brought up in our school SAT team meeting is that the student use an Alpha Smart and computer when necessary. I know this will help him with his writing because he works faster when on the computer. in the future I hope that our students can have access to technical equipment quicker and that the accommodations will fit the needs of students.
Anthony Stupnik
GLEN MEYERS I like the idea of having the student use alpha-smarts or lap top computers. I understand it would be difficult for younger kids to use this technology, but once a student is diagnosed with dyslexia they should begin typing. Student's with dyslexia are notoriously poor spellers and spell check would be a great anxiety reducer. It is particularly embarassing as one gets older. Since hand writing is often an issue, typing responces is a good alternative.The chapter also encouraged teachers to avoid mulitple chose tests and use oral or essay examinations. I believe these type of skills(oral presentations, written responses) should be encouraged early on. Since dyslexic student are not detailed oriented and are poor with rote memorization, the above skills could be beneficial over a life time of learning. One other observation. We have known for a while that standardized test scores don't always translate into the beat physicians, for instance. But the man power and effort that was put into that med. student with dyslexia seemed extreme. Public schools and institutes of higher learning have budgets and we need to be practical.
Raechelle SalasThe students I work with all benefit from the two standard accommodation, that of time and a quite enviroment but the two accomodations I am looking forward to using are www.inspiration.com which the book says will help the student organize ideas visually and contacting my computor support team SWACC and seeing about instaling cowriter for one of my higher students. For teaching phonics I am using word sorts that require no writing and I have the students work in groups. I also use maniuiplatievs to lessen the requiment of writing and have ordered letter tiles ( I have paper ones and they are too hard to pick up and seem too flimsy.)
I think my "hope for the future of students identified with dyslexia" is the same for all my students, that we create an enviroment that allows them to not "test well" but instead reach their full potential. I think Celeste Kellegberger said is well when she wrote that Howard Gardners' model of Multiple Intelligences, identifying individual learning styles, likes, dislikes, strengths and weaknesses allows us to meet the individual needs of all students and for them to reach their potential. I would like that to be the goal of education.
Michael Zimmerman There are two accommodations for students with dyslexia that I think are especially important when students reach the upper elementary and middle school years. The first is obtaining books on tape or in digitized form. Teachers at these grades often try to avoid this modification by stating that they choral read as a class, therefore, it is unnecessary and burdensome for them and the student. I agree that this is a great tactic for teachers to use inside the classroom. However, the content areas require a lot of reading outside class in which taped texts would allow students to enjoy and be successful reading at home (especially when parents do not have the time to read it to their children). These can be ordered ahead of time for all types of reading tasks (i.e. AR books, Book reports, to prepare/review for tests). Moreover, I believe it is equally important to grade written work on content rather than on form especially spelling since dyslexia carries over into students' writing. I have several teachers that are particularly compulsive about mechanics. This is an absolute disservice to the dyslexic student. When a student has not yet mastered the processes of decoding/phonics/spelling, it does not necessarily mean that they do not have good comprehension skills. They should have a chance to prove themselves by being assessed objectively. It also does not further impact their confidence/eagerness to read for a variety of purposes. My future "hopes" for students with dyslexia are that we can teach self-advocacy skills early in their academic career. If we can teach them to be the ones who demand accommodations for their disability without being intimidated and knowing how the accommodations truly help them, then they will fight for what they know is right and just. Surely our schools are not in such a condition to refuse something requested by a student in order to keep them eager to read and learn!

Unit 7: October 8-14 (OPTIONAL WIKI)

"Carousel Brainstorming", a cooperative learning strategy.

STEP 1: Think of a response to the posted topic starter AND read what was written by the previous person or people.

STEP 2: If you have something new or different to add please put a bullet and your name before your entry. NOTE: Can be on the same line as theirs, just bold your name. OR if you concur with a comment already posted put "DITTO and bold your name" AND add an example or situation to piggy back what the previous person wrote.

TOPIC STARTER: Reflect upon your school and classroom instructional practices for reading and SHARE IDEAS with your peers…. Are there structures in place for providing students with systematic and sequential instruction in the foundational skills for reading?… Are scientifically-based reading programs (core, supplemental, and interventions) being used?…. Are scientifically-based instructional strategies being used with consistency?… What needs to be done to improve the SBRR practices in your school or classroom?… What is your ACTION PLAN to help improve the SBRR approaches in your school and classroom?

Hilary Seifert: I am so excited about our new reading curriculum. My district has just implemented the new Harcourt School Publishers: Story Town. It has a very explicit, systematic program for use in our literacy block. It covers all of the five components that the National Reading Panel recommends for reading instruction. Plus it incorporates the Six Traits model for the writing component. It even has an intervention component to be used by the special education teachers to re-teach and reinforce concepts. The vocabulary introduced is reviewed and repeated in the literary selections as well. I am finding real success with some of my low readers in 2nd grade with learning the vocabulary in the selections even though the level is above their current status. We also use Read Naturally as a supplemental program which is shown to really increase fluency in low readers. I use it with several of my sped kids and it is a wonderful way for low readers to build reading confidence with repeated readings that are timed for fluency. It is very individualized so students feel comfortable with their level and goals. We are very consistent with the programs we use. K-6 classroom are all utilizing the 90 minute reading block with focus on Story Town, Read Naturally, and in the upper elementary we use Read 180. I don't necessarily want to improve, but rather continue the strong reading program we already have in place. I think the key driving force for our school is a principal who was a former elementary teacher and who believes in the core reading, writing, and math focus. Plus this also comes all the way from the top (superintendent and district as a whole) on down into the classrooms. That is the best way to have consistent practices going on for students to make the most progress.
Mary Anne Champa I believe our school has, with the help of a grant from Read First, definitely provided our students with systematic and sequential instruction for reading. We use the Houghton Mifflin core reading program. The Houghton Mifflin reading program was reviewed by the Oregon Curriculum Review Panel and the Oregon Reading First Center. Our supplemental and interventions (ERI, Reading Mastery, Read Naturallyand others ) are all scientifically based programs.We work as a team(Classroom teacher, Literacy coach, Title teacher, Special Ed teacher and principal) weekly reviewing each grade level DIBELS progress monitoring and testing. We make adjustments for each students individual needs(regular ed & special ed students). The reading program has been proven efficient through our CSAP scores rising yearly as well as DIBELS scores.

Susan R.Our school is using Harcourt Brace's Collections for our core reading program in all grades. We are supplementing it with F.A.S.T. Learningin the primary grades to give the students phonology, phonics, and fluency which are lacking in the Collections program. Our literacy coach does an excellent job in providing us with the resources our students need. We have many interventions that are available to us in house. Our school team is dedicated to doing whatever it takes to provide our students with a good foundation in reading. I believe that we are doing everything we can to make sure that we are a standards based school in reading. I am proud to be a part of this team that cares so much about the students and is so knowledgeable of programs that are available and which one is best for students who may need intervention to accomplish their goals.

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