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California Department of Education, Special Education Division’s special project, California Services for Technical Assistance and Training (CalSTAT) is funded through a contract with the Napa County Office of Education. CalSTAT is partially funded from federal funds, State Grants #H027A080116A. Additional federal funds are provided from a federal competitively awarded State Personnel Development Grant to California (#H323A070011) provided from the U.S. Department of Education Part D of the Individuals with Disabilities Education act (IDEA). Opinions expressed herein are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent the position of the U. S. Department of Education.
Volume 23, Number 1 Insert
By Meredith Cathcart, MS, Special Education Consultant, California Department
of Education, Special Education Division;
Sharen Bertando, MA, Special Education Resources Development Specialist, California Comprehensive Center at WestEd; and
Silvia L. DeRuvo, MA, Special Education Resources Development Specialist, California Comprehensive Center at WestEd
Since the passage of the first special education law in the 1970s, special and general education teachers have worked to meet the challenge of providing equal access to the general education curriculum for all students, with and without disabilities. Access is especially critical in helping students with disabilities close the achievement gap and succeed in school. Almost 30 years of research and experience have demonstrated that two efforts—holding high expectations for these students and ensuring them access to the general education curriculum in the general education classroom, to the maximum extent possible—go far toward helping them meet the developmental goals that have been established for all children.
According to Larry Gloeckler, Executive Director of the Special Education Institute at the International Center for Leadership in Education, “The vast majority of students identified as needing special education—about 80–85 percent—are in categories that by definition involve at least average intellectual capability. Given this population, there appears to be no reason why academic performance is so low, other than the low expectations that prevail in the systems that serve them, the limited opportunities provided to them to be challenged, and the strategies that have been used to meet their educational needs.” While the legal obligation to focus on improved performance for these students is persuasive, Gloeckler notes, the world of work provides an equally strong reason for doing so: “In fact, the average income for an adult identified as Learning Disabled is $20,000/year; less than 5% of individuals with disabilities own their own home; and the unemployment rate is 60% compared to 6% overall.”1 And Michael Hock, Program Associate at the Northeast Regional Resource Center, writes, “Doesn’t it make sense to design IEPs [Individualized Education Programs] that help students meet standards so they can do their best on standards-based assessments, pass from grade to grade and eventually graduate, and in the process help prove that their schools and teachers were indeed accountable?”2 There is no reason why students with disabilities should not be given the same opportunities to learn—and be supported in learning—the same general education content as their chronological peers. The legal and moral mandates for helping struggling students in the short term (to do well on tests) and in the long term (to advance in their education so that they become employable and self-supporting) have led teachers and administrators to link IEP goals for these students to the state’s content standards and thus promote access to the general education curriculum.
The IEP team has a serious responsibility to take into account exactly how a child will access and make progress in the general education curriculum when developing the student’s educational plan. A well-designed IEP ensures access, helps a student make progress, sets high standards, and measures student outcomes; it defines and documents how students with disabilities will participate and progress in the general education curriculum, and it describes exactly how they will participate in statewide assessments. Specifically, linking standards to the IEP accomplishes the following:
A carefully thought-out IEP will ensure students’ appropriate access to school curriculum and to participation and progress in the California content standards and in the general education curriculum. This practice unquestionably improves student outcomes. It helps close the achievement gap for students with disabilities. And it helps them move into their future as adults with improved possibilities and greater promise.
The following three pages are designed to give teachers and parents a clear overview of how standards-based goals and objectives are written for the IEPs of students with disabilities. A flow-chart is followed by specific examples of goals and objectives written for students at the elementary, middle, and high school levels.
This flow-chart demonstrates the process for writing grade-level, standards-based goals. All goals are based on a student’s present levels of performance, as seen in student assessments and data. The standards that will have the greatest academic impact are selected for the IEP goals. Those standards are broken down into sub-skills for goal development and then analyzed to determine which sub-skills will accelerate student progress in meeting grade-level standards.
6. Write the short-term objectives/benchmarks: “By January 15, 2010, when given grade-level passages, Jane will identify the author’s proposition from the text correctly in four out of five attempts, as measured by classroom discussion, daily reading journal entries, and work samples.”
“By June 8, 2010, when given grade-level passages, Jane will identify and highlight statements within a text that support the author’s proposition, with a minimum of four correct statements for each text passage during daily reading assignments.”
When? By October 8, 2010,
Given what? given grade-level passages,
Does what? will list statements from the text that support the author’s proposition
How much? with a minimum of six correct statements from each text passage
How often? on regularly scheduled
How measured? curriculum-based reading comprehension assessments.
1. Use Present Level of Performance.
Davey has a specific learning disability that impacts his performance in math. He is a seventh-grade student who has been receiving special education services since fourth grade. On the Diagnostic Online Math Assessment (DOMA), Davey had partial mastery of eight of the fourteen pre-algebra skills assessed. He showed mastery or partial mastery of the following: integer operations, estimating and rounding, ratios and proportions, interpreting data, simple probability, simple geometry, and linear functions and number patterns. These strengths show that Davey has a fairly strong conceptual knowledge of math constructs, but he struggles with functional math, such as fraction and decimal operations, including converting and comparing, evaluating exponents, and simplifying expressions. Davey is an English language learner at a CELDT1 level 3.
The Data: A focus on the goal of Algebra and Functions would have the greatest academic impact on accelerating Davey to grade-level skill. This focus requires a concentration on equations, as this skill incorporates the functional math skills that Davey will need to continue to develop his mathematical
competency. The grade-level, standards-aligned curriculum will address all other areas of weakness.
2. Choose the Standard: Algebra and Functions.
7.1.0 Students express quantitative relationships by using algebraic terminology, expressions, equations, inequalities, and graphs:
7.1.2 Use the correct order of operations to evaluate algebraic expressions, such as 3(2x + 5)2.
3. Unpack the Standard.
1. California English Language Development Test
California Services for Technical
Assistance and Training (CalSTAT)
A Special Project of the Napa County Office of Education| 5789 State Farm Drive, Rohnert Park, CA 94928
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