Many students at DeKalb Schools recently took their MAP tests without the accommodations inside their IEPS and 504s. Thus far, identification and communication to those students has been lacking. If it weren’t for the efforts of Lauren Taylor, all of this would have gone unnoticed.
Lauren Taylor is a tireless advocate for children with IEPs and 504s. We have her to thank for many of the course corrections at DeKalb Schools. This is one of them.
“A simple feeler was placed out on the Reform DeKalb site and we were able to count 15 schools that incorrectly administered the MAP tests”, says Mrs. Taylor who goes on to say,
“We were also made aware from teachers they were informed accommodations were not allowed this year. This test is now in its 4th year inside DeKalb County schools. Why was protocol dropped this year? Inside my own sons IEP meeting I had two teachers inform me accommodations were not allowed. That’s when I had the district explain to them what happened and what’s being done to fix it. According to the district it was miscommunication and all LTSE’s were informed of this on September 10th, but no formal training or input was afforded to them until September 16th.”
FAPE is the Free Appropriate Public Education for students with disabilities. Educational service must meet individual needs.
To be appropriate, education programs for students with disabilities must be designed to meet their individual needs to the same extent that the needs of nondisabled students are met. An appropriate education may include regular or special education and related aids and services to accommodate the unique needs of individuals with disabilities.
One way to ensure that programs meet individual needs is through the development of an Individualized Education Program (IEP) for each student with a disability. IEPs are required for students participating in the special education programs of recipients of funding under the IDEA.
The quality of education services provided to students with disabilities must equal the quality of services provided to nondisabled students. Teachers of students with disabilities must be trained in the instruction of individuals with disabilities. Facilities must be comparable, and appropriate materials and equipment must be available.
CHRONOLOGY OF EVENTS
DeKalb Schools children started taking MAPS tests in August. Lauren Taylor noticed that her child was not afforded his IEP accommodations. Upon receipt of Mrs. Taylor’s complaint, it was corrected for her child.
I requested that the school district proactively assess how many schools and children were affected and why. DeKalb Schools Division of Curriculum and Instruction and the Office of Accountability subsequently attempted to contact all local school testing administrators. The informal inquiry returned that 58 schools affirmed that students received the allowable, standard accommodations; 27 schools stated that students did not receive accommodations; and 51 schools did not respond. The lack of accommodations can be attributed to a slide in a training webinar presentation that contradicted the correct guidance charts.
A mandatory testing inservice was held on September 16th to reiterate the allowable, standard accommodations, if specified, for students with Individualized Education Programs (IEPs), 504 plans, and English Learner/Testing Participation Committee plans (EL/TPC).
If the local school determines that a student with an IEP, 504 plan, or EL/TPC plan did not receive specified, allowable, standard accommodations, the local school will contact the parent/guardian via email. Identified students will be given the opportunity to retest with the allowable, standard accommodations; therefore, the testing window will be extended until October 7, 2019.
Earlier this week, local schools were supposed to identify students who did not receive the standard, allowable accommodations. Parent notifications should go out this week.
Let your teacher, principal and me know if believe your child took their MAPS testing without the accommodations inside their IEPS and you have not been notified yet.