Saturday, November 28, 2009

Is This Even Legal?


In place of giving ISS students extended time on exams, the AP suggested teachers shorten exams for them. I have problems with this for several reasons.

1. It is difficult to decide which questions to eliminate. A question that is easy (or hard) for one child might be difficult (or easy) for another and in trying to help, I might be making the exam harder (or easier) to pass.

2. Fewer questions means each question is worth more points and wrong answers will be penalized at a higher percentage and grades might be unfairly lowered. (Or made higher if the student gets most correct.)

3. ISS students will not be required to show the same level of performance as non ISS students which doesn't seem right as they are both getting credit for the same course.

4. By handing out different exams in class, ISS students are being immediately identified to the entire class, which seems like a breech of privacy for those that would like to keep their classifications private.

5. Shortening exams for the ISS student is creating extra work for the mainstream teacher.

Am I making too much out of this just to be difficult? I hope not. My overall goal (see, I used the word!) is to do what is right for all my students.

11 comments:

Anonymous said...

Shortening a test is NOT a "test accommodation". It has NEVER been on an IEP. It's just a way to "get around" having to give the kid with the IEP the correct accommodation. It's not legal and is nothing but expeditious. Whoever is allowing this is not only shortchanging the kids involved, but is flagrantly violating the entire intent and purpose on the IEP. Time to call the complaint number, (212) 598-9546 to speak to someone in Carmen Alvarez' office.

Pissed Off said...

The UFT special education liason will be at our school this week and the issue will be brought up then.

mathman42 said...

What if you give a test and use an E, M, or H to indicate easy medium or hard and tell the kids what the letters mean. Tell them that there will be more credit of medium and hard problems but also more credit if more problems are attempted but work must be shown. Or something like this, right now my head is splitting. You can grade the test diffrently for different students. If you make it complicated enough who can figure it out, but you will do it in a equitable way.

jd2718 said...

What do the IEPs say? (I think we know the answer)

In the past, I could get really stupid directions rescinded by asking for them in writing... but since this is a compliance issue, better to send it to the liaison who will be there anyway.

Part of what is going on, clearly your admin is treating special education as a burden. That mindset needs to be changed. It may be extra work (and then they have to arrange for it) but that's not a burden.

Jonathan

Pissed Off said...

I have read every IEP in my posession and none mention shortening exam.

Anonymous said...

Shortening an exam is not the answer but rather it is what you explain, not a true measure of performance on the students part. I see this as an easy way out for that AP. It is likely that the AP is shoving her workload off!

Anonymous said...

The AP can't be bothered doing her job, and expects you to write an extra test so she doesn't have to. Typical. What were they thinking when they picked her? Out of department, no experience, and good at nothing but passing the buck and blaming everyone else.

Anonymous said...

Lisa Mendel is the Liason person to Carmen Alvarez. Bring it immediately to her attention. I also suggest that you file a sp.ed. complaint online at uft.org website. Special needs students must take the regents and none of the state exams are shortened. They get extended time not exam examples elimination time.

Anonymous said...

can't wait till monday!

Sonja said...

In WV both shortening and extra time are legal accommodations that are available to be used on an IEP. However, they are not interchangeable - if the IEP calls for one, the other isn't an acceptable substitute. When "shortening" an exam is requested, this translates to something like instead of 30 matching questions, having maybe 20 matching and those broken down into two groups of 10 sets. Shortening tests and assignments is difficult as it does call for a judgment call as to what of the curriculum is "more important" than the other which brings into question why we are even teaching the "other". I feel it also short changes the student opportunities for practice - whether it's math problems or writing assignments. How does one get better without practice?

Pissed Off said...

It is not legal. Lisa Mendel, the UFT special education rep was in the building today and she is going to make sure the memo is rescinded immediately. Shortening exams is not an option unless itis specifically on the IEP, which in most cases, it is not.