Thursday, March 17, 2016

Standardized Testing

In Ohio, state-wide standardized testing starts in third grade. That means that next year Olivia will be taking these tests.

Once upon a time (like back in kindergarten) it was hinted that with her diagnosis, we could get Olivia exempted from this test.

Over the past two years of school, she’s proven that she CAN take tests and even does well when given enough time to process the questions. So, next year, with the stipulation that she receives extra time to take the test, Olivia will be right there with her classmates, taking the standardized test.

She’ll also have a one to one aide beside her as she takes these tests. The aide cannot read the questions or the answers to Olivia, but she (the aide) can help Olivia stay on task as she takes the tests.

Another accommodation being offered to Olivia is that she will be able to take breaks during the testing process if needed.

It’s all good things happening over here.

I think the best thing I heard during our IEP meeting concerning the standardized testing is that she will be exempt from having to received what the state of Ohio deems a passing grade.

Most students get three tries during the school year to ‘pass’ this test. If they don’t succeed during at least one of those tries, those students will have to repeat third grade the following school year.

Her teachers, therapists and principal agreed that having to repeat third grade would be hugely detrimental to Olivia’s social growth. It would devastate her to have to watch these kids she’s come to like and even smile at (someday, I swear, she WILL speak to them at school!) move on to fourth grade while she, Olivia, stays in third grade with a whole new set of kids.

Once again, I find myself so grateful for educators who see the big picture. They see more then test scores. They see a little girl who is trying so hard. They see that she IS passing the grade when it comes to the day to day school work. They see that the standardized test structure might be difficult for her and they know that for her, being with her peers, ‘friends’ who know her and accept her eccentricities, who even seem to embrace her differences and want so badly to break down the walls she’s trying so hard to climb herself is so much more important than the numbers on a test score.

Obviously, I’m still processing the whole IEP thing. It’s amazing how even when everything is positive and you (I) feel like the rest of the team is totally, one hundred percent all on the same side (Olivia’s side) it’s still a lot to take in, a lot to process.

I can only imagine how much I’d be processing if I felt like the school was against us somehow. I know there are parents out there who aren’t as lucky as we’ve been. My cousin is one of them. She’s been fighting for her daughter’s educational rights for years. It’s exhausting.

I’m just a little tired from it all but I came away feeling like we all want the same things for Olivia.

We want her to talk to her peers. We want her to do her school work with minimal arguments  We want her to show us what she knows because we all know that her intellect is fully intact, she’s just good at hiding it when it suits her. We all find this girl to be charming, funny, smart, silly, exasperating. And we all take each day as one more to help her find her way in this world that can be so hard for her to navigate.

1 comment:

Swistle said...

I really enjoyed reading this. One of the women in my wine-and-appetizers group has to struggle so hard with the IEP and the members of that team---and as you say, even when things are going well, it's still hard on a number of levels.