In light of concerns expressed by the educational community in Indiana and especially concerns noted on this forum, the Indiana Resource Network (IRN) members below wanted to share the following information regarding accommodations and assessments:
What we know:
- Maintaining high expectations for all students is critical to academic and social success.
- Students who are consistently provided appropriate accommodations throughout the year will demonstrate higher achievement, regardless of the accommodations allowed on state assessments.
- Universal Design for Learning implies an instructional framework of choice and flexibility that is constructed from the ground up to be as accessible as possible to the widest range of learners. This includes the materials, strategies, and assessments, which should all remain highly engaging and accessible for the entire school year.
- Specially Designed Instruction is, effectively, what makes Special Education services different for the unique needs of individual students. It is required in order to be in compliance with IDEA) and Indiana Article 7, but more importantly, it is essential because the design and delivery of instruction is what will enable students to achieve the highest outcomes. This will vary, by definition, per student need and shouldn’t be defined or limited by anything except student need and learning characteristics.
- Fundamental to Special Education, as expressed through IDEA and Article 7, is the understanding that students have “unique needs.” Using standard assessment accommodations as a guide for appropriate accommodations throughout the school year may remove the “Specially” from Specially Designed Instruction and the “Individualized” out of Individualized Education Program.
What we suggest:
- Maintain high expectations and provide instruction of grade level Indiana Academic Standards and/or Content Connectors.
- Provide appropriate accommodations consistently during instruction all year long!
- Encourage teachers to have students practice using a variety of accommodations in order to determine which provide the most effective access to, engagement in, and ability to respond to the curriculum for each student.
- Strive to create Universally Designed Environments and Lessons. Contact PATINS at any time for assistance with UDL and accommodations year round through Assistive Technology and Accessible Educational Materials.
- Be proactive in your communication with parents and families, and especially when you expect changes such as this to represent a difficulty. INSOURCE is always available to help with guidance and assistance.
- Questions/concerns regarding specific accommodations permitted on state assessments should be directed to the IDOE Assessment Office.
The Indiana Resource Network is available and eager to support you!
PATINS Project & ICAM
Daniel McNulty, Director
Amy Howie, Director
Indiana IEP Resource Center
Jolly Piersall, Director
Joel Boehner, Director
The Indiana Disproportionality Resource Center
Indiana Center on Teacher Quality
Sandi Cole, Ed.D, Director
Erickson, K. A., Geist, L., & Hatch, P. (2017). Impact of self-regulated strategy instruction integrated with SOLO® Literacy Suite. Assistive Technology Outcomes and Benefits, 11, 17-28. https://www.atia.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/11/ATOB_ATOBN1V11_ART-2.pdf
Clarke, P., Snowling, M., Truelove, E., & Hulme, C. (2010). Ameliorating Children's Reading-Comprehension Difficulties: A Randomized Controlled Trial. Psychological Science, 21(8), 1106-1116. Retrieved fromhttp://www.jstor.org/stable/41062341