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What about Special Populations?
As the old saying goes, “ a journey of a thousand miles begins with one step”. Similarly, a journey to nowhere also begins with one step!
As educators begin to implement purposeful application of the new College and Career Readiness State Standards, it is important to take a deeper look at the implications for special populations. Key questions to ask are: who are those struggling students in our classrooms? How will we differentiate to meet the needs of ALL? What tools will teachers need to reach special populations?
Martha Thurlow, working on the Chief Counsel of State School Officers states:
“In the development of these standards,
the inclusion of all types of learners was a priority.
Chosen language was intended to be open
and accessible to different learners.”
Given the diversity of Special Education, why are the standards good for special populations?
- Standards are written to address the needs of ALL students
- Focus on College and Career Readiness and real-world application
- Instruction will allow for incorporation of supports and accommodations
- Requires providing students with a range of needed supports
- Growth model assessment
- Kansas is a member of Smarter Balance Assessment Consortium (SBAC) which will provide a computer adaptive assessment. SBAC is committed to providing access, including augmentative devices, in order to insure that all students are able to be tested in such a way that their disability does not impede their ability to be tested. Some of the features that will be present are:
- Avatar to read or interpret in a variety of language choices
- Adaptive font and print size
- Ability to pause or take a break
- Ability to mark for review
- An answer eliminator
- Highlighting capability
- Expandable pages & augmented equipment
- Drag and drop responses
- Touch screen technology
SBAC has made clear that they have every intention of creating access for ALL students. They are currently piloting a variety of technology tools to ensure a smooth transition. Students who normally would qualify to take the Alternate Assessment, will be assigned a separate set of standards known as the Essential Elements. These are purposefully connected to the regular standards and are intended to provide a beginning structure for the design of the summative assessment. The results of student performance will appear in a new format called Dynamic Learning Maps. These maps will be a visual representation of the skills and standards mastered as well as the splinter skills that are still missing for each individual student. These “maps” will help guide learning and instruction.
Below is a robust collection of resources to support teachers and leaders in planning for assessing Special Populations. This collection includes digital resources for the ELA and Math Common Core Standards, the Essential Elements, Differentiated Instruction, Lesson Plan templates and so much more!
Livebinder of resources: