Tag Archives: assessment

Standards/Special Needs Interim Survey Report

With 11 days left in July for our survey only 32 people have responded to our July survey which asks:

How do you think the idea of education standards applies to students with special needs?

and refers to both students with disabilities and gifted students. For our May and June surveys, we had nearly 300 responses, so there are still a lot of folks who have voted before who haven’t yet voted this month.

As of this morning, this is how the voting stands:

• 78.1% (25 people) voted for: “It should be expected that some students with special needs will exceed the standards and some will fail to meet them.”

• 18.8% (6 people) voted for: “The fact of having special needs—whether disabilities or special gifts or talents—should not affect expectations for meeting the standards.”

So, overall, the voting is more or less 3 to 1 in favor of considering the standards as not actually being a universal standard. Interestingly, I checked on the day after
the survey was posted and with only 4 votes, the ratio was the same: 3 to 1.

• 3.1% (1 person) commented and said: “The fact of having special needs should not affect expectations for meeting the standards IF accommodations have been made for the student to be able to physically and mentally complete the work. The standards don’t change, but the methods of delivery change.” (typo correction)

So this is a contingent vote for the position of standards being universal.

The question raised by this comment of how accommodations are applied to testing whether the standards have been met is an important one. Because the national standards assessment situation is different from the classroom instructional situation and (likely) the classroom assessment situation, educators have remarked over the years that the accommodations that are allowed to be used during national standards assessments (those that are characteristically used with the student) may not apply or be sufficient.

We welcome other thoughts on this issue.

And if you haven’t yet voted, please do so here.

Saxon Math Review

Saxon math is a much studied and critiqued math curriculum. The research that has gone into this program is astounding. Saxon is based on the “instruction, practice, assessment” approach to teaching. This company was founded in 1981 and now includes the math, phonics and spelling programs. Each subject is built on the same principles of instruction, practice and assessment.

John Saxon, the founder of Saxon math, was an Algebra teacher. Saxon noticed that his students at a junior high in Oklahoma were not retaining concepts well so he started writing math problems for them. By 1979 Saxon Algebra was published in two texts. He just kept writing and molding the math concepts to different ages and in 1981 he had 20 teachers test the curriculum. This took in about 1400 students. By the end of the term the Saxon students were solving 2.6 problems for every one of the other students doing another math curriculum.
Saxon math is a well known program and most teachers, parents and students will tell you that this program gets the results that are desired. This may be because of the structure of the curriculum and the fact that it takes a general concept and then takes it apart into smaller concepts so there is a good foundation and understanding of math.
Saxon math is available for Kindergarten through the 12th grades. There are homeschool programs as well as programs for public schools and private schools.