View Full Version : Educational Testing Rights


healthwiz
07-29-05, 03:07 AM
Hi

Wow, it's been a long time since i have logged in to the addforums, but it isone of the greatest places for information and sharing, especially on ADD! duh!

But i have a question that pertains to parents of children with ADD and pertains additionally to an even larger segment of society, the poor and middle class parents of America! That's a darn big catagory when you combine the two, wouldn't you think? I think that accounts for the majority of America.

Basically, the majority of America cannot afford educational testing for their children. I just had the testing done on my second child, and it cost no less than an astounding $1250.00. Did i try to get this testing done through my local public school system? You betcha! Did i try for 2 years? You guessed right!

After two years of my daughter being denied testing and also being denied access to gifted services in mathematics and science, i gave up and paid for the testing myself. and what do you think the testing says? My daughter is gifted. OF course, for 2 years we have been trying to tell the school that a child in 1st grade who reads and comprehends at 6th grade level is gifted, but the school has a different method.

Instead of admitting her to a full battery of testing, guess what they do instead? They give a screening test, admininstered by a school counselor. That means a higher probability of it being administered by someone with zero training or very low level training in test administration. Typically, doctorates are trained in IQ tests, educational tests, etc, and they go through RIGOROUS training in graduate school, being videotaped doing testing on volunteer subjects and repeatedly being critiqued by professors on their techinique and their errors. A school guidance counselor does not get that kind of training, yet they are testing our children to see if they will be smart enough to be granted a full battery of tests to see if they are eligible for the gifted programs. Can anyone see the lack of any rational logic or fairness or concern for American children, American students, in this monkey process.

The bottom line, we were lucky, we were able to afford to cough up $1250.00, and we were also very convinced the school tests were in error, ie, we had a lot of belief in our convictions. We were faced with school principals, vice principals and yes, guidance counselors, telling us how absolutely incredibly accurate their screening tests are, and even how much error is compensated for in the testing so that it would be almost impossible for a child to be "mis" scored on the pre-screening test.

We just happen to be educated, both with college degrees, and myself, i have significant experience with psychology, enough to know that a guidance counselor is not qualified to properly administer sensitive testing instruments. that would be the equiuvalent of having an auto mechanic administer the instrument.

What is so dissapointing is that so many children are relying upon the schools to do the right thing by our children, to leave no child behind. What is sad is that so many parents have other careers, that do not give them the knowledge of psychology, and therefore, so many parents probably won't hold the same level of conviction that i held, knowing my daughter was definitely gifted. i am saddened that we were able to afford to fix this wrong, but so many children's parents will not be able to afford to fix the wrong to their gifted child, or their learning disabled child.

We asked for testing for learning disabilities and we were denied that too, because our daughhter was not failing in school. yet at the end of 2nd grade she was still reversing her letters - the school didnt think that was a concern.

The private testing shows our daughter also has learning disabilities.

I think this is an affront not to just our family, but an affront to every family in America. More children than not, will never see this error corrected, and that makes me very angry. I believe this is actually a violation of student rights, and even though i could afford to pay the $1250.00, i am serious.ly considering contacting the ACLU to see if they would join me in a suit against the school board and against state laws which permit this atrociously negligent attitude and behavior towards students testing needs. I am hoping the ACLU will see that this kind of suit is necessary in order to protect poor and middle class americans. Lets face it, only the rich and the educated would even come close to getting through this quagmire, and even many of them won't make it through, but they have the best shot, since $1250 means nothing to the wealthy if it will help their children advance. So guess who will end up getting gifted services? Did you guess the rich? I bet if we check, they will hold the most seats, and i bet there are other factors contributing to that, but one factor that should not contribute to that is the inability for parents to afford private ecucational testing.

Any thoughts or advice, appreciated, because i really don't know yet where i am or where i should go with this. at this time, im just appalled and ****ed off. My daughter was basically deprived of two years of gifted education services, because i couldnt afford the testing earlier, and because they have a test being administered by an auto mechanic, oops, not an auto mechanic, but still, no better if it is a school guidance counselor, because testing is not in her training!

Am i out of line here? Anyone, comments, input, feedback, suggestions, resources!

Can you tell im on the damn war path??

:)

I love addforums!!

Jonathan

scuro
07-29-05, 05:33 AM
I'm a Spec Ed teacher. You make some good points. I am allowed to administer an academic based test called the WCJ3 and an IQ test called the CCAT. We have received little training in administering these tests. We have had some workshops from the board Psychologist and that would be about it. Personally, I don't think the administration of tests is the biggest problem. How about interpreting test scores or even making sure the kid gets the proper test for their particular problem? We do on occasion do a school based identification based on the results of one or both tests. This is simply because the Board Psychologist doesn't have time to test all of the needs out there. Our school is limited to about one Psych test a year.

Both tests are not good screeners for ADHD and if the tests scores are generally "flat" that is the end of the story as far as the school board is concerned. I do recommend that parents get private testing done and you're right, some parents can't afford this. If they can't afford it and the kid is having difficulty in school, I'll try to piece together a history along with evidence of "behaviour" issues to bring to an IPRC meeting to get a "Behaviour" based school identification. At least then these kids can get an IEP and teachers are generally more understanding and accommodating with them. Still, there are occasions where the student isn't failing and the screening testing along with observations make me strongly believe that they have an LD of some sort or some other significant problem. Often there is not much I can do then. Generally these are intelligent kids who can fall through the cracks. I try my best to level the playing field but I've taken some good lumps for doing so.

Nope, the system isn't fair. There are so many needs out there. A bigger area of concern are kids with Mood Disorders. They just are so hard to fit into a "round" hole and it is difficult implement proper accommodations for them.

I live in Canada but I'm sure that what we are talking about happens across the continent.

Johna
07-29-05, 10:24 AM
Health
Hi, did a teacher ever refer your child to a child study meeting? At the child study meeting the committee would decided if futher testing would be needed to establish the child having a need for an IEP or 504 plan. Components would be assigned such as social, psy testing, observation,medical...etc. After that the committee has 90 days to bring it all back to the table. If the child is found eligible than withing 30 days of that meeting and IEP or 504 plan would have to be put in place.
Have you spoken to the superindent of instruction in your school system?

healthwiz
07-29-05, 07:55 PM
Quote: did a teacher ever refer your child to a child study meeting

Yes, we did get the teacher to refer her, but after the referral, they never felt she needed anything special, apparently because despite her learning challenges, she compensated for them and did her assignments, and was a social and academic leader in her class. However, that is exactly how bright kids with learning disabilities fall through the cracks. So what, she is a little social butterfly with a great sense of humour! Does that mean she doesn't need educational testing? Especially since she has a family history of learning disabilities, was reversing her letters even at the end of 2nd grade, was very frustrated with math being so hard to learn, and she was reading 5 grades ahead of her class. The only thing they would do was pre-screen her for gifted, with a Kbit test. If she passed the kbit with a high enough score, then they would test her with a battery of iq type of tests, but she never scored well enough on the kbit to be eligible to get the IQ tests. They also at my request, sat in class and observed her, mainly for behavior, but she didnt misbehave much, just talked a lot and got out of her seat a little, so they saw no problem. (her teacher was always complaining that she talks too much).

We did at least win on one point, which was to have her reading level tested and then have the school library and the teacher assign books that met her reading level, because until then she was totally unchallenged in reading time at school. I asked the school to explain to me how a kid who is not gifted has such a vocabulary in first grade, and they said some kids are motivated learners but not gifted. I simply could not win with their system. when i didnt believe the kbit was an accurate tool, or that it was administered improperly, they dismissed the entire idea it might be fallible... they said it was amazingly accurate.

Well, why should it take $1250 to prove the school was in error, and that they should have tested her for a full battery of tests on IQ and on learning disabilities? It shouldn't take that.

Well, the good news is she is gifted and we know it now, and we will now be able to address her learning challenges and that is the good news - as parents, that is the bottom line, period! However, i am still appalled at the apathetic wheels that turn the screening process for adademic testing in the schools. I feel strongly it must be changed. Imagine how many future criminal lives, wasted lives or underacheived lives, we can avoid by simply meeting these children's needs for education, testing, and treatment.

Johna
07-29-05, 08:11 PM
Health
The child study committee did their job and didn't have to continue with getting your daughter tested for a learning disability or the gifted program.
If you daughter is adhd/add and has a doctor diagnoise of being such, you could start the wheels turning to get her in the 504 Plan. This way she would have modifications to meet her needs of being add/adhd. Such as frequent breaks during testing, small groups for testing, and etc.
In order for things to change to benefit the need of today children we'll have to get a President in office that actually gives a !!!! about education.
Take care
Johna

healthwiz
07-30-05, 01:45 AM
Johna, I appreciate your factual view that the committee did their job. Sometimes "doing their job" is unacceptable. Their are millions of children to attest that "doing their job" is insufficient. Which children? For starters, new statistics show that almost 1/3 of American children today do not graduate from high school. How can that be acceptable in a high income high tech presumably "advanced" and democratic western nation? For blacks and hispanics, the numbers are even greater, try 50% not graduating high school. This is according to a recent Newsweek article in the May 16, 2005 issue, about education and high schools in America. These stats are up to date, unlike the current school testing and diagnostic system.

Apparently hiding behind "they did their job" is not enough to get the job done. My expose of my particular experience with one child is meant to highlight and expose the insufficiency of the ways schools do not uncover the full spectum of children who need diagnostics and treatment. My chld was not a behavior problem, and did not have problems with her academics. In fact, she was 5 grades ahead of her classmates in reading. Hard to believe their could be a disability? The experts however know all too well that the bright children tend to have learning disabilities. This would probably render the results of a kbit useless all by itself. Add to that the use of an untrained guidance counselor to administer testing instruments, and you have a system set up to fail children from getting what they need.

I am all too aware the school "did their job." That's their cop out, isn't it, isn't that what they use to go home at night and sleep, tellling themselves they did their job? The statistics show otherwise....

I appreciate your advise about 504 Plans. Rest assured I will have a 504 plan put together. I know about 504 plans, and what to do once my daughter is diagnosed. I led my first daughter through all of this successfully, and continue to do so. In the previous case, we also had to do all testing privately, but that was because she was in a private school, which did not have a school psychologist on staff. However, at least the private school made all the correct suggestions about getting the testing done. they alerted us to the problem and the options. She was also very gifted and had specific learning disabilities. The problem is getting these children tested to start with. Without diagnosis, these children don't have a chance, and without proper staff doing the diagnosis, ie, qualified professionals doing the testing, interpretation and diagnosis, then the children are the losers. The schools are not doing their job, not by a long shot, and the statistics show that clearer today than ever.

Bottom line, doing their job by current standards is all too short of being enough; it's simply not enough.

Johna
07-30-05, 07:16 PM
"Did their job" isn't a cop out Health. The school has guide lines that it has to follow with dealing with child study meeting.....etc. Because the school didn't see things your way, you decided that "did their job" is a cop out.
You have a degree become a teacher and you might change your view of public schools.
Good luck with the 504 plan.
Johna

Imnapl
07-30-05, 08:56 PM
Bottom line, doing their job by current standards is all too short of being enough; it's simply not enough.
Healthwiz, it sounds like you are still pretty angry about what happened with your daughter's testing. Perhaps the issue is still too personal for you?

Imnapl
07-30-05, 10:59 PM
I thought this was very interesting from an ADHD perspective. :cool:

From: http://www.riage.org/gifteddef.html

Some of the Earliest Signs of Giftedness Include:



Unusual Alertness in Infancy
Less Need for Sleep in Infancy
Long Attention Span
High Activity Level
Smiling or Recognizing Caretakers Early
Intense Reactions to Noise, Pain, Frustration
Advanced Progression Through the Developmental Milestones
Extraordinary Memory
Enjoyment and Speed of Learning
Early and Extensive Language Development
Fascination with Books
Curiosity
Excellent Sense of Humor
Abstract Reasoning and Problem-Solving Skills
Vivid Imagination (e.g., imaginary companions)
Sensitivity and Compassion
If a child exhibits a majority of these characteristics, parents may wish to have the child assessed by an experienced examiner to find out if the child is gifted. Firstborn children tend to be recognized more often than their siblings. When one child in the family is gifted, it is quite possible that others may also be gifted. Early identification is recommended (ages 3 through 8) because it permits early intervention, as important for gifted as for any other children with special needs. (Silverman)

sgolden5374
07-30-05, 11:52 PM
Imnapl,

When I went through that checklist I realized that my gifted daughter did display everyone of those traits.



Health,
I am curious as to what county in Florida you had so many problems with. We lived in Florida (Hillsborough County) during my oldest's 2 grade year (2003-2004 school year) and had many positive experiences with the testing - done by a psychologist through the school - and special placements.

It is a shame that you had to go through such BS, but unfair to lump all schools, all counties and all states into one group. I do identify with your feelings though. We are a military family and I have had both bad and good experiences with different school systems. I loved the school system in Chatham Cty., Ga. Loved the school system in Hillsborough Cty., Fl. HATE the school system here in Cumberland Cty., NC. In fact, I have had so many problems with this school system and the school my children have been attending that we are moving on post to see if the DOD schools with be any better because I am extremely tired of having to fight constantly to get the simplest services.

Also, I believe you mentioned the No Child Left Behind program. I am not in favor of this at all. I believe that it does not place attention on actually teaching the children well-rounded curriculum, but on teaching children how to successfully learn how to improve on standardized testing. There are some good points to the program, unfortunately they leave the individual school systems to foot the bill for services that many of the school systems simply cannot afford. What's the answer? I really don't know.

I do know that what you are doing for your daughter makes you an advocate, not only for her but all of the families that follow. Keep up what you are doing, you are doing good work. For some inspiration go back and review some of what ADHDXYZ has written in the thread "Don't let the door hit you in the butt (http://www.addforums.com/forums/showthread.php?t=17185)" She has certainly inspired me.

Good luck to you!

Imnapl
07-30-05, 11:59 PM
Stacey, I am assuming DOD is Department Of Defense? Do DOD schools get the same funding as public schools?

Imnapl
07-31-05, 12:04 AM
Well, why should it take $1250 to prove the school was in error, and that they should have tested her for a full battery of tests on IQ and on learning disabilities? It shouldn't take that.
Healthwiz, was it possible to find out from your local school board the specific testing needed to qualify your daughter for special programs?
$1250 USD sounds pretty high for basic testing.

scuro
07-31-05, 01:29 AM
For starters, new statistics show that almost 1/3 of American children today do not graduate from high school. How can that be acceptable in a high income high tech presumably "advanced" and democratic western nation? For blacks and hispanics, the numbers are even greater, try 50% not graduating high school. This is according to a recent Newsweek article in the May 16, 2005 issue, about education and high schools in America. These stats are up to date, unlike the current school testing and diagnostic system.


Did you know that 100 years ago 1 in 10 students graduated. As recently as 1950 1 in 2 graduated. In the 70's the ratio was roughly 3 in 4 graduated and it has stayed near that level since then. It is difficult to get accurate read on the stats because there are many variables.

It would be interesting to hear from someone who knows more about the subject. I have ranked in descending order, clusters of students that I see who drop out. I live in a farming town so I'm not sure if my observations are typical of the nation. It is also not uncommon for a droupout to be in more then one of these catagories.

Students with anxiety and or mood disorders.
Behaviour students.
Students with low intelligence.
Students who have been abused or come from a broken family.
Students who are disengaged, who see no value in school. They may be drug users.
Students with learning disabilities.
Students who find a job or get married.

I do agree that better screening would lower the dropout rate. All of these students need intervention and I say that at least half need 1 on 1 intervention for part or all of the day for them to be successful. From my perspective, it's mainly a question of manpower.

sgolden5374
07-31-05, 01:29 AM
Stacey, I am assuming DOD is Department Of Defense? Do DOD schools get the same funding as public schools?
Yes, DOD does mean Dept. of Defense, in actuality the schools stateside are referred to as DDESS schools which stands for Dept. of Defense Domestic Dependent Elementary and Secondary Schools, but all military installation schools fall under DoDEA or Dept. of Defense Educational Activity. Yup, that's a mouthful!

In response to your second question, the answer is not quite. Let me see if I can explain. Some schools found on military bases and posts are not DDESS schools but are run by the local school systems in conjunction with the military. In that case those schools recieve funding from the military in addition to the funding they get from the state. In fact, every school gets some kind of funding for every military child that attends that school - we have to fill out forms giving pertinent military info at every public school. In the case of schools under DoDEA it goes like this. DoDEA is given a budget for the fiscal year, this budget is then divided amongst the different school systems (there are 5) and then those budgets are divided into 3 different categories that are then divided even further into other subcategories. In summation it is all a very complicated system that works to benefit the students in the end. On average, per student spending is $2000 - $4000 more than local school systems. Most of the military schools try to provide specilized programs for students based upon need in the schools. It is not an infallible system, and like many school systems it has its faults. For example, in schools in the European theater many Kindergarten programs are only half day and attendance is elective. It is my opinion that this is bad policy given that so many of our schools expect children to come out of Kindergarten reading and writing within reason. If children are not given the opportunity to learn this in Kindergarten they are starting out way behind. On the other hand, some schools have excellent specialized programs that local schools just can't compete with. An example of this is the gifted program in the Ft. Bragg schools vs. the gifted program in the local public schools. From what I have heard from other parents the gifted program on post is much more active and involved than the one my daughter participated in last year. Time will tell if I feel the same way.

So, it seems that I have given you what I am sure is a much longer and involved answer than you were looking for. :o

Imnapl
07-31-05, 02:17 AM
Quite the contrary. You answered my questions very thoroughly. It is nice to know that children of the military receive extra funding

mauimom
08-15-05, 03:40 PM
Health,

I am faced with the prospect of paying a hefty sum for a private evaluation for my son in the next few months (takes that long to get an appointment). I am thinking of going private to maintain my son's privacy in case I decide not to deal with the public schools.

I am sure there are many parents who consider their children to be gifted, but at what age can you clearly tell? My son is nearly 4 and is well-ahead of his peers in academic knowledge. His shortcomings are in the social realm. Because of his apparent lack of focus (he is easily distracted by visual stimuli and he has few conversations with peers because they are either unable to win his attention or unable to keep it) he is considered disruptive or too time-intensive to manage.

He learns at an incredibly fast pace and typically needs to be learning more than one thing at once. I don't trust that I will get an accurate assessment from the schools not because I think they're "bad", but because I just don't think they have the money they need to equip them to do the job well.

If I have all the private testing done, will it help me in the end with the school district if I end up having to go that route?

healthwiz
08-15-05, 10:06 PM
Health,

I am faced with the prospect of paying a hefty sum for a private evaluation for my son in the next few months (takes that long to get an appointment). I am thinking of going private to maintain my son's privacy in case I decide not to deal with the public schools.

I am sure there are many parents who consider their children to be gifted, but at what age can you clearly tell? My son is nearly 4 and is well-ahead of his peers in academic knowledge. His shortcomings are in the social realm. Because of his apparent lack of focus (he is easily distracted by visual stimuli and he has few conversations with peers because they are either unable to win his attention or unable to keep it) he is considered disruptive or too time-intensive to manage.

He learns at an incredibly fast pace and typically needs to be learning more than one thing at once. I don't trust that I will get an accurate assessment from the schools not because I think they're "bad", but because I just don't think they have the money they need to equip them to do the job well.

If I have all the private testing done, will it help me in the end with the school district if I end up having to go that route?


MAuimom,

I just finished $1500.00 worth of testing privately. Yes, the tests were very in depth, and the Educational Psychologist chose tests that most likely would not have been chosen by the schools. These were much more detailed tests apparently. Anyhow, the bottom line is we have it confirmed that our daughter is very gifted, and we have received advise on what our next steps are, including which tests to give to the schools. The school will have the tests scores validated and then make her eligible for gifted enrichment. I find the report to be very in depth. However, i also want to say, the testing we had done was much more than was necessary. We could have had less testing done, such as the tests typically done by the school, for less than $400. I can also tell you we paid $125/hr for those services. I am glad I spent the extra money for the additional information.

I understand you are going private in case the results would get your child placed in a special education setting you did not agree to. I don't really know what age testing starts at. Check if 4 yrs old is too young and how accurate or reliable results are at 4 vs 5 or 6 years old.

Good luck with your son. Its worth mentioning that if your son receives treatment during or before 3rd grade, it is said that he will respond best and improve in social, behavioral and academics considerably better than if he gets treatment at a later age.

My eldest daughter takes adderal, starting in 3rd grade, and i saw an immediate improvement in her social life. Now she has lots of friends, of the right kind, smart kids and kids active in school activities.

Take care,


Jonathan