Special education's purpose is to give every child a chance at an equitable education, yet many administrators, teachers, parents, and even students want less work, no work, modified curriculum, easier work, and lowered expectations. Simplified and reduced engagement in curriculum leave students further and further behind.
65 million students chances at academic, career and or entrepreneurial success. Low expectations are systemic, they are built into the scripted basal curriculum and the push for a one size fits all education mentality. Common Bore! We must do better and learn how to develop high expectations with real results. We need to stop trying to turn our children into battery hens.
Not Surprisingly, many of the 6.5 million US students with disabilities in this country leave high school without the academic skills necessary to thrive in a constantly changing economy. While the vast majority of students in special education do not have significant cognitive impairments that prohibit them from learning rigorous academic content, fewer than 10 percent of eighth graders with disabilities are proficient in reading and math based on the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP Data AND Reports http://www.ed.gov). 90% of students with disabilities are not proficient in reading and math, they are failing to thrive and succeed academically!
Teachers need great training, more autonomy, less scripted basal curricula, more pay, smaller classes, more support and zero teacher-bashing by politicians and the media. That paradigm will not change anytime soon so teachers need real information they can use.
My first few years of teaching special needs students taught me the power of diagnosing academic problems using Diagnostic screens and assessments. The Brigance Comprehensive Inventory of Basic Skills and The Woodcock-Johnson® III Tests of Achievement are the two I was trained to use. The school also used the Success For All reading system and extensive progress monitoring protocols. My self-contained special education class included students who receive special education and related services, my class contained children with educable mental retardation (EMR), Traumatic Brain Injuries, Autism Spectrum Disorders, and unrecognized or undiagnosed comorbidity conditions. 80-90% of the students were performing above ability level and many students were reading at grade level. My students received two intensive 90 minute SFA literacy blocks every day.
The Woodcock-Johnson® III Tests of Achievement includes 22 tests for measuring skills in reading, mathematics, and writing, as well as important oral language abilities and academic knowledge
My primary academic diagnostic tool that I still use today is the used 1999 Brigance CIBS R that I bought from Amazon.com. I have used the information gleaned from years of testing to guide instructional planning. The knowledge gained from these diagnostic instruments and academic screening tools have been used with great success for the past16 years. 80-90% of my special education students read at or above grade level by the end of the year. Recent revisions of the Brigance academic screens and inventories have included Common Core Standards, normed and criterion assessments. Classroom teachers and parents with children with disabilities should use the easy to use diagnostic instruments and goal setting tools to help their children thrive and excel. Sean Taylor M.Ed Special Education
Albert H. Brigance, an author, and special education resource specialist, resided in Maryville, Tennessee, USA, until his death in 2007.
In 1975-1978, Brigance created a comprehensive inventory of basic skills for his own use in his work as an assessment specialist for the California Master Plan in Humboldt and Del-Norte counties in northern California. Colleagues urged him to find a commercial publisher. The Brigance Inventory of Basic Skills became an instrument for assessment evaluation, student academic placement, Individual Educational Plans (IEPs), and instructional planning.