Progress monitoring can give you and your child’s teacher information that can help your child learn more and learn faster, and help you make better decisions about the type of instruction that will work best with your child.
Our children’s progress is being monitored constantly at school, through the steady stream of homework assignments, quizzes, tests, projects, and standardized tests. On first hearing the term “student progress monitoring,” our initial reaction may be “they’re doing this already!” or “more tests?”
But do you really know how much your child is learning or progressing? Standardized tests compare your child’s performance with other children’s or with state standards. However, these tests are given at the end of the year; the teacher who has been working with your child during the year will not be able to use the test results to decide how to help your child learn better.
Progress monitoring can give you and your child’s teacher information that can help your child learn more and learn faster, and help your child’s teachers teach more effectively and make better decisions about the type of instruction that will work best with your child. In other words, student progress monitoring is not another way of assigning a number to your child; it is a way of helping the child learn and the teacher teach.
Before scheduling an IEP meeting to discuss your concern, do some homework. Your initial concern may not be the primary cause of your child’s difficulty.
1. List each of your concerns. Next, look for data to support your concerns. Talk with the teacher informally if this feels comfortable.
2. Gather your child’s IEP and any assessments. If you aren’t sure you have everything, write a letter asking the school to provide you with copies. The school has 5 days to provide you with the information that you requested.
3. Review the assessments and IEP papers and make sure you understand these documents. If you need help with this, call PRN.
IMPORTANT: The IEP is developed from assessment information. If something is missing or incorrect in the assessment, it may be the cause of why the IEP isn’t working well.
The Individualized Education Program (or IEP) lays out the school’s commitment to provide special education and related services to your child. Developed annually, an IEP must be tailored to the individual needs of your child, with your involvement and input. Once formulated, the IEP becomes your roadmap to track your child’s progress throughout the year.
Here Are Four Important Signs That Your Child’s IEP Is Working:
1. Your child’s IEP has been reviewed by all teachers and related service providers.
All school personnel involved with your child’s education should be aware of and have access to your child’s IEP. This includes general education teachers, special education teachers, and any providers of related services such as speech/language.
Everyone should be knowledgeable about your child’s learning disability and its impact on all aspects of learning and behavior. Everyone should be clear regarding any instructional support, accommodations, or other services that must be provided your child and the role each must play in making certain they are provided consistently.
We have been hearing from more parents about issues with schools about their child’s absences. There is a Guidance document on this topic (Temporary Absences of Children with Disabilities) on the Texas Education Agency’s (TEA) special education webpage, http://tea.texas.gov/index2.aspx?id=2147496874
The Guidance document begins by addressing the recent law that allows students with autism to attend school and also leave for an appointment with a health care professional. (TEC 25.087(b-3)
It notes that this is an exception to TEA’s position “that regularly scheduled daily or weekly absences to obtain ongoing treatment for a chronic health condition related to a student’s disability cannot be considered “temporary” absences within the meaning” of the TX education code 25.087(b).
The Texas Virtual School Network (TxVSN) provides Texas students and schools with equitable access to quality online courses and instructors. It is a valuable resource for interactive, collaborative, instructor-led online courses taught by state-certified and appropriately credentialed teachers trained in effective online instruction.
The Texas Education Agency (TEA) under the leadership of the commissioner of education, administers the TxVSN, sets standards for and approves TxVSN courses and professional development for online teachers, and has fiscal responsibility for the network. Education Service Center (ESC) Region 10 oversees the day-to-day operations of the TxVSN network. The TxVSN is made up of two components—the TxVSN statewide catalog of supplemental high school courses and the full-time TxVSN online schools program.
Parents are often confused about the rules regarding course credits, graduation programs/plans, and what a school can do regarding course accommodations and content modification. The Texas Education Agency (TEA) develops a Minimum Standards for the AAR document each year. The information in this post, much of it quoted heavily from the TEA document, can assist parents during ARD/IEP meetings to explore available options, if standard high school courses and/or content do not seem appropriate.
Chuck Noe, PRN Education Specialist, shares excerpts of interest from the Texas Dyslexia Handbook (available online at https://www.region10.org/r10website/assets/File/DHBwithtabs10214.pdf)
“Texas has a long history of supporting the fundamental skill of reading. This history includes a focus on early identification and intervention for children who experience reading difficulties, including dyslexia.” and determining a student’s reading and spelling abilities and difficulties “In Texas, assessment for dyslexia is conducted from kindergarten through grade 12.”(page 6)
By Chuck Noe, PRN Education Specialist
I recently ran across a very interesting document on the Education Service Center (ESC) 13 website. It contains a Texas Education Agency (TEA) Q & A document on Prior Written Notice. There is no date on it, but a 2008 U.S. Department of Education letter is attached. What is interesting is a one page list of “Additional Information from TEA” – it says: “The bottom line on Prior Written Notice is that there are very rare instances when a change in a student’s IEP would not need to be documented by the LEA through Prior Written Notice provided five days in advance of the change unless the five‐day waiting period is waived in writing by the parent.”
Federal regulations refer to an IEP team. In Texas, this team is referred to as the Admission, Review, and Dismissal or ARD committee. This committee meets at least once a year to develop, review and/or revise a student’s Individualized Education Program (IEP).
IDEA says that the IEP meeting serves as a communication vehicle between parents and school personnel, and enables them, as equal participants, to make joint, informed decisions regarding-
- The student’s needs and appropriate goals designed to enable them to be involved in and make progress in the general education curriculum;
- The extent to which the student will participate in the regular education environment and State and district-wide assessments;
- The supplementary aids and services needed to support that involvement and participation (including in extracurricular and non-academic settings), and to achieve agreed-upon goals; and
- The program modifications or supports for school personnel that will be provided to enable the student to advance toward their goals and to be involved in and make progress in the general education curriculum.
Parents are considered equal partners with school personnel in making these decisions, and the ARD committee must consider the parents’ concerns and the information that they provide regarding their child.
The effort to understand Response to Intervention (RTI) has occupied many thousands of hours and hundreds of position and policy statements, white papers, consensus documents, and research articles. RTI is a process intended to shift educational resources toward the delivery and evaluation of instruction, and away from classification of disabilities. RTI is not a particular method or instructional approach. The success of RTI depends on the timely delivery of research-based instruction by highly qualified instructors. Although RTI can be implemented at any grade level, it is likely that the development of language and literacy skills will be addressed most prominently in the early grades, kindergarten though third grade.
The sheer volume of information that is available on RTI, much of which poses more questions than answers, makes it difficult for parents, educators, and other interested parties to develop a basic conceptual understanding of the process. The following is a brief guide to RTI and reading; it does not reflect how RTI will be implemented in all cases. The guide avoids detail on such issues as the changing roles of school professionals and parents; the need for reallocation of human and economic resources; staff development; or how to choose among methodological alternatives. However, this “nutshell” framework may provide a foundation upon which the interested, albeit not profoundly involved, individual can gradually build a working understanding of the process.