Details, Details, DetailsWritten by Sandy Gauvin
I have a dear friend who, as our Consulting Resource Teacher, does much of special education testing in our school district. Recently, I asked her what information teachers can give to help her know exactly what to look for in each child she tests.
This is what she told me:
Most of teachers do a wonderful job with referral forms. However, it is NOT helpful to me when a teacher writes, "... is below grade level in reading," or "... is not working up to his potential in math." This is too general. I like it when a teacher gives me specifics such as, "The child...
a. ...cannot follow more than a two-step direction." b. ... seems to know his sight words one day, but then next day, it's like he's never seen them before." c. ... is easily distracted." d. ... has a very short attention span, especially when it comes to his written work, but during show and tell or read-aloud, he's very attentive." e. ... seems to have a better visual than verbal memory." f. ... does not know letter names, but when given name and asked to point to them, he is able to do so (It could be numbers instead of letters). g. ... is well liked and has many friends (or opposite)." h. ... functions best in morning (or afternoon)." i. ... understands what he reads very well." j. ... contributes a great deal of information during class time."
The more detail teacher can give me better.
a. Does he notice number and letter reversals, inversions, etc.? b. Can she follow print? c. Does he get mixed up when doing addition or subtraction on an unlined piece of paper? d. Does she rub her eyes, squint, turn her head to one side or other?
This is all helpful information.
To Test or Not To Test - That Is the QuestionWritten by Sandy Gauvin
Little Suzy has really been having a hard time getting some of her assignments done. When she reads in class, she struggles with many words, and her mother reported at conference time that Suzy spends hours each night on homework.
At same time, Suzy carries on intelligent conversation, and when you ask her about what she learned from class, she has some good feedback. She is getting excellent grades in math class and, when she does experiments in science class, she knows exactly what to do and gets great results.
Youíve thought about referring her for testing, wondering if a learning disability is getting in way of her reading Ė a skill that underlies everything a child does in school. You know she struggles with reading, yet she does so well orally and mathematically. Should you test her?
Little Johnny canít remember his multiplication facts. Much of time, he struggles with subtraction facts as well. His reasoning skills for determining whether he should add or subtract, multiply or divide, are faulty. And when he writes a math problem on paper, there are no columns. The numbers are all over place. He gets very confused with entire process as well.
But, boy, can he read. He reads books that are way above what other students in his class read. The words in them are harder, and they are more difficult to understand.