The consistent use of organizers in the classroom and a scribe after the child has organized the material is a first intervention
e. the student can orally summarize the material)
Do students who lag behind other students by two grade levels require a modified program?
It is not uncommon to lag two or more grade levels and does not necessarily get in the way of managing the performance standards. Students may show a G.E. range of Grade 4 to 12 in a Grade 8 sample. The use of the G.E. as a measure can be deceptive. It is more ideal to look at what the child can do with your program using a variety of presentation and assessment means within the context of the IRPS. There are a number of students who manage to complete high school (Dogwood) with lower grades on standardized test scores than their designated grade.
If a child can’t spell, despite years of helps, should they be penalized?
Definitely not. For some time now it is common practice to exempt spelling in provincial exams if students have the appropriate designation or disability (e.g. dyslexia). They are allowed to use the computer with spell check and are also allowed assistive technology. If no computer is available they are allowed to have a scribe. Their grades would exempt the spelling.
If writing output is painfully slow, how else can a child be assessed?
Again, this depends on the intent of the assessment. If the intent is to assess the student’s ability to demonstrate his/her knowledge of a concept such as chemical change, this can be demonstrated through the use of diagrams and labels. The student can draw and label a depiction of a revolution scene (S.S.) for example, rather than write it. If the purpose is to check if the student can explain something in writing and the structure of the language is important in writing the process of “chemical change” it would be essential to make sure that you have given the student a chance to write this type of genre or this particular process prior to assessment. Sufficient time for modelling and practice before assessment will improve chances of student success. The writing component of paragraphs needs to be consistently modelled and practised across all the content areas.