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Reading and Writing and Chocolate

Standardized Testing - The Dementor of Education Part II

July 29, 2008, 02:52 AM

Guest blog from Kadi: A very special thanks to Kadi, who despite the reputation of being the "evile one" amongst her friends, is really an awesome teacher to a very wonderful group of kids. Thanks Kadi for helping me round out this blog topic from the point of view of an elementary teacher who teaches student's with special needs.

In some Skyping with Doris the other night she told me she called standardized tests the "Dementors of Education" which… maybe you have to be a teacher to really appreciate it but seriously *dead* That's right. She slayed me with that.

I recently finished out my school year as a gypsy Special Education teacher. So let me just lay down my own 2 knuts on standardized testing, a direct result of No Child Left Behind aka Voldemort's Decree.

Say a third grade special child is reading on a first grade level. This student has an Individualized Education Plan (IEP) and modifications for everything they do in the classroom and YET they are required to take the same third grade level test as every other student. If they fail said test and have never failed a grade before they must repeat the grade, no matter what their grades reflect (or so it goes in my state, I imagine other states vary).

I can hear your reaction. I know. I KNOW.

Anyway, onto a far more amusing thought… What if Dudley had a 504? A 504 would not put Dudley in Special Education but it could provide him with some support for his deficits...

We can all probably agree that Dudley was clearly spoiled rotten but his inability to sit for more that 5 seconds without entertainment or food would also probably be diagnosed these days as some form of Attention Deficit Disorder. His tendencies towards bullying and lack of empathy were most likely created by environment and not of his natural disposition but still… sociopath? LOL ok, a total stretch… but seriously, if we tried hard enough we could attach some sort of disability to this kid in order to provide him with a 504? Methinks, yes.

Which begs the question; would providing him accommodations at school have made him a better student or possibly a better person?
Every one of us has had "that teacher" that to this day you remember. For some small action, some effort, some wisdom they left with you. I mean, that's partly why I became a teacher. Supposing though that Dudley had had "that teacher" write and enact his 504. Imagine the possibilities…

* Some example accommodations:
* special seating away from other students

* a safe place for him to go be angry without repercussions

* separation from other students known to adversely affect him

* behavioral shaping (rewarding the behaviors you want and ignoring the unfavorable behaviors)

* use of a timer to expand his time spent on task

* use of a behavioral chart

* use of food as an incentive for on task behavior

* alter tasks by shortening them or providing breaks

The list goes on and on.

Of course all the help a teacher could give couldn't replace the home environment fostering the crazy. At least though being at Smeltings, it would have kept him out of his house and in a place where said miracle worker could do some magic.

So, what do you think? Anyone forsee some scenarios? Am I just typing this way too late at night?
>br> > Slytherbites from,


P.S. Kadikins is the Director of Academic Programming, aka Head Nerd, aka Slytherin for Smarts, for the upcoming LeakyCon Conference in Boston 2009. She thinks you should seriously consider writing a proposal when submissions open!

P.P.S. Kadi would also like to thank Doris for letting her blather on her blog!! :D

Kadikins (lounge name Kadi - Darth Kadar to her friends) is the Director of Academic Programming, aka Head Nerd, aka Slytherin for Smarts, for the upcoming LeakyCon Conference in Boston 2009. She thinks you should seriously consider writing a proposal when submissions open!

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Blogger Bio

Name: Doris
LeakyName: DorisTLC
House: Ravenclaw

Doris is a mom, a teacher and the Project Coordinator here at Leaky! While watching her children grow up she discovered a love for teaching students about her favorite things, reading and writing. (and chocolate, hence the title) You'll find this blog will be her thoughts (and the thoughts of a few guests) on her favorite things!

While this blog is primarily about HP and education, once and a while I might surprise you! If you have a subject you'd like us to talk about, please e-mail me!

If you want to check out what I'm reading, take a gander at my Shelfari Book Shelf. I'm sure you'll see some of those books pop up in my blog.

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