Educational Debate Persuasive Paper AED/200 Contemporary Issues in American Education June 6, 2010 Mr. Henry Bos The debate that has been occurring for years is whether or not special needs students should either be included or excluded from exiting assessment testing for graduation. There are facts that show that these students should be exempt because the tests that are being used to not test the students true knowledge. The standardized tests are based on normal student knowledge on what was being taught and that their comprehension skills are normal.
Special needs student should not be exempt from testing to graduate as this will give the student a higher level of self esteem. The bureaucrats and politicians are directing on what students have to due to pass to each grade or to graduate. They are not taking into consideration the special needs student like student that have English as a second language. Bureaucrats and politicians have placed on school some unreasonable requirement that no child be left behind but they do not given the school districts the freedom to achieve this.
Schools have to show improvements in such a short time frame that it places undue stress on the principles, teacher and students. All special needs student need to be included in testing for advancement and graduation to make these students able to obtain jobs in the future. According to Hurren, B. L. , Rutledge, M. , & Garvin, A. B. (Feb 2006) the way to help these student the skills is assess the student during the year and determine what needs to be changed in the classroom.
In this study a teacher Matt noticed that his student knew the information if he would read the question to them, but was unable to take a written test about the material. Matt noticed that testing anxiety is higher when the students were taking tradition and their knowledge of the subject would disappear. Matt decided to become creative and developed the team testing for the students to improve their knowledge. With this new type of testing Matt saw an improved in his students on the traditional testing. Amanda another eacher heard about group testing that Matt had develop to improve his class scores and improved the self esteem of his students. Amanda decided to use Matt’s basic idea of team testing, but she has done this is a different way. She only pairs the students where one student reads the question and the other student discusses the answer and then marks the answer on their paper. Than the role is reversed on the next question and the other student will have to explain the answer and then mark the answer. Amanda saw an improvement in her class scores and in the knowledge of her students increase.
The other benefit is that student also developed the skills to work with other and develop the flexibility that will benefit them in college and work. An Oklahoma school teacher for a fourth grade special education student noticed that based on the tests this student could not recognized letters. Like most teachers assumed that this is why he was in a special education class. But as the week went by she discovered that the student was quite intelligent so she adjusted her testing for him to find out that it was a phonics issue.
She worked with the student and by the end of the year the student was reading at a first grade level. This just proves that not all special need students are slow and they will not be able to take that assessment tests. We have to look at each individual student and find out what is the true reason they are in these classes. That is why teacher and programmers of school products are now focusing on the needs of special education. With the development of computer programs that can tutor as well as assess the student’s skill we can see improvement in the state and national testing scores.
We cannot just keep saying these students will not amount to anything just because they have special needs. Students today have special needs to start with as English is a second language to them and they are learning English at the same time. Schools in Oklahoma have started using CTB/McGraw-Hill’s Acuity which is an online plus paper and pencil assessment that is in alignment with the state standards and the scores improved from 35th to 70th percentile. Another state-aligned computerized test is the Measures of Academic Progress (MAP) which tests K-10 students.
This system was designed to accommodate students with special needs to where this is not a timed test. This system can read aloud the questions to the students who have difficulty to read them independently. Plus the benefit of the MAP is that the questions can even be read aloud in Spanish as to help the ELL students. With the research that Amos (1980) did on the pros and con’s to testing the LD student is that this competency test should not be used as a requirement for graduation. These test need to be used to promote the basic survival skills of reading and mathematics for these students.
McDonald (1978) believes emphasized the main asset to a minimum competency test will improve the literacy rate in the schools, plus give creditability back to the schools. When the students know and understand what needs to be learned to graduate it will motivate the student to try harder to master these skill they need to graduate. So what we are seeing from all these studies regarding the testing of special need student it that we need to look at the complete student. Once we have determined the correct form of training we need to give to these students we can equip them to succeed.
What has to be done is modify the way we test special need students, by using the technology we have available today. Most of these students just need to have minor changes to tests like larger print so they able to comprehend the information. Computer based testing to help the student with a motor skill issues. No one has said that this competency test has to be done on paper and use a pencil and student with special needs can benefit with them being done on computers. With the computer based testing the computer can read the question to the student and the student will either write the answer down or enter it into the system.
This is the same as giving an oral examination and it already has been proven that student improve their knowledge. We need to adjust the way we test the students whether they have special needs or not to make sure we are giving them the best education possible. We modify the curriculum for the everyday lessons to assist special need student in the diverse classrooms. What needs to be done is a complete overhaul the testing system that we use to determine if a student can be promoted to the next level or even graduate. The bureaucrats and Politian’s needs to back out of the decision aking on how students should be tested. School districts need to be giving the control of the school systems and get back to teaching the basics for all children to learn at equal levels. School districts and teacher are so concerned about the number students that need to pass in order to keep their school from being marked as a low scoring. What has to be done is get the input from the students themselves on how they feel about exit exams. What will be discovered is these students what to take these exams to prove what they have learned and that they deserve the diploma that they worked so hard for.
Special needs student have the right to be tested like any other student be fair to them and given the all the opportuniies as the other students. The changes we would have to make to these test would be minor at best. If we can accommodate a person in a wheel-chair to attend school we can accommodate all special needs student with testing. Special needs students can be some of the most intelligent people that have been given a label due to some issue they have in learning. Our goal should be that all children grow and become a vital part of society. References Amos, K. M. (1980).
Competency Testing: will the LD student be included?. Exceptional Children, 47(3), 194-197. Retrieved from Education Research complete database. http://search. ebscohost. com. ezproxy. apollolibrary. com Hurren, B. L. , Rutledge, M. , & Garvin, A. B. (Feb 2006). Team testing for individual success: why do creative teachers who want to help all their students learn in meaningful ways have to use high-pressure testing methods that work against that goal? The authors propose a system of testing that serves the need for evaluation while contributing to students’ intellectual and social growth.
Phi Delta Kappan, 87, 6. p. 443. Retrieved June 06, 2010, from General OneFile via Gale: http://find. galegroup. com. ezproxy. apollolibrary. com/gps/start. do? prodId=IPS;userGroupName=uphoenix Starkman, N. (Nov 2007). Special consideration: year-end testing can produce a false picture of students with unique challenges. They need individualized, frequent assessments–thanks to technology, they’re getting them. T H E Journal (Technological Horizons In Education), 34, 11. p. 36(5). Retrieved June 06, 2010, from General