Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Today's Post: Part 2--IEP redux

This morning was my 8th grader's IEP meeting/3 year review. As part of that process, I requested that his psychological testing be repeated. There were no surprises. A 65 point discrepancy between his verbal comprehension and his processing speed subscores. (>99th percental vs 16th percentile).

It's no wonder that he excels at tasks in which he can use his verbal/language abilities and struggles with more abstract tasks (like math tests) that are timed or induce stress to the mix.

The split amongst his subscores is even more pronounced than it was in his prior testing of 5th grade. So as his peers have matured and improved in their processing speed, he has not.

I think the test results and they way they were explained by the psychologist even startled some of my son's current teachers. P is so good at covering for his difficulties, that it's sometimes hard for me to see his performance accurately.

I am quite concerned about the math. Currently, he has provisions in his IEP to take untimed standardized tests, but there isn't any accommodation for his class-based math exams. And he's failed 2 exams. Amazing to realize he's still pulling a solid B average in this accelerated math class. When he has time to process, he seems to be able to understand and demonstrate his knowledge. But he is not successful with the same kinds of tasks on tests.

I can help him organize and plan for all of his other subjects. The math is beyond me. And it's not an issue a basic tutor is likely to be able to help him with. It seems to me that in a typical testing situation, he is unable to call on his own resources to overcome his cognitive/learning deficits. It's not exactly a math problem, nor is it a study habit's problem, but a problem of matching the testing to his cognitive abilities.

I think I will be meeting with the school and his math teacher to discuss testing accommodations.

2 comments:

David N. Andrews MEd (Distinction) said...

"It's not exactly a math problem, nor is it a study habit's problem, but a problem of matching the testing to his cognitive abilities."

As an educational psychologist, I agree entirely. A 65-point discrepancy between any two factors on WISC-III or WISC-IV is very significant: it's nearly 4½ standard deviations, and clinical significance is usually determined or defined as a 2 s.d. difference between any two scores.

"Currently, he has provisions in his IEP to take untimed standardized tests, but there isn't any accommodation for his class-based math exams. And he's failed 2 exams."

That would concern me too, if my daughter were experiencing the same progress. If they can accommodate in standardised testing (knowing that it is essentially - based on his processing speed score - because timed tests are an issue for him), then they can accommodate in any other assessment of learning that has time limits: class exams have time limits.

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