Special Needs Students in Relation to the Common Core
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Education Week: Standards Organizers Leave English Proficiency to States

Education Week: Standards Organizers Leave English Proficiency to States | Special Needs Students in Relation to the Common Core | Scoop.it

Standards are being worked on in order for there to be widespread knowledge of the needs of ELLs, or English language learners.  The WIDA, or World-Class Instructional Design and Assessment, has established rules and standards that are being implanted in order to assist ELLs.  The task at hand for WIDA now is taking their standards and revamping them within the United States to uphold the common core standards.  WIDA has been adopted by many states in the United States already.  It is essential for the future success of ELLs in the United States. 

The cost of being associated with WIDA will not be cheap.  WIDA fees are based on the number of students that are being assisted by language services.  However, the issue lies in the consideration of ELLs.  It is unacceptable that they have not been given enough support and attention in order to ensure that they are successful according to the common core standards.  It is necessary for teachers to understand the importance of knowing and being able to assess what each student’s individual needs are, as some may be more advanced than others.  The goals is to have students become proficient enough in English that they speak it and interpret it as well as they do with their first native language.

Within the WIDA, there are not many spelled out instructions for teachers.  They are not being given a clear, concise, pedagogical advice.  Consequently, these teachers are being left open for new and innovative ways to assist their students individually in the classroom.  This could be beneficial for students because it allows them to have more attention and can lead to greater success in their futures.  Another result of WIDA is communication improvement.  WIDA is coming up with ways to allow students to participate in classroom lectures and discussions without fully understanding the language.  The idea here, which works in conjunction with No Child Left Behind, is that no child should go unaccounted for in the classroom; each child should be given the opportunity to advance academically.  Through WIDA, these limitations will be diminished for children in the coming years.

 

           

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Stanford launches effort to improve English Language Learner access to Common Core State Standards

Stanford launches effort to improve English Language Learner access to Common Core State Standards | Special Needs Students in Relation to the Common Core | Scoop.it

                The needs of ELLs are becoming increasingly demanding in the United States.  K-12 students are having higher standards being put on them for success according to the common core standards.  Stanford University has joined the list of initiatives to assist ELLs, or English language learners.  They recently received two million dollars in order to strengthen their ELL efforts.  This effort is being made to ensure that all students are on one common accord with regards to language proficiency for academic success.

            On the national forefront, Kenji Hakuta is making his mark by pressing the need for the language barriers amongst students to be broken and done away with for good.  He insists that without the necessary language unity, students will not be afforded the same efforts to be successful in the classroom.  This is innovative in a nation where the Hispanic population has vastly grown in the last decade.  Spanish is the primary language of many students in the United States; consequently, the ELL population increases because they are speaking Spanish primarily at home.  Therefore, it is imperative to allow language to be stressed to students in order to communication to occur for these students to feel comfortable with the material that is placed before them. 

            These guidelines of Stanford’s ELL initiative will align with the common core standards that are being initiated as well.  Those that have been appointed to partake in these efforts are working to create a concrete list of standards and strategies to assist ELLs.  This is a national issue and the need for each state to springboard their own individual efforts according to the common core standards are essential to the success of this initiative.  With these efforts, students with language barriers can really get the attention that they seek in order to be ready for college and careers.

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High Expectations Set For Special Education Under National Academic Standards - Disability Scoop

High Expectations Set For Special Education Under National Academic Standards - Disability Scoop | Special Needs Students in Relation to the Common Core | Scoop.it
This article entitled High Expectations Set For Special Education Under National Academic Standards focuses on the need for all students to have the same expectations of academic excellence in accordance with the common core standards.  Each state is being offered an incentive to adjust their curriculums to these standards of learning by the Department of Education.  The primary goal is to ensure that each child is expected to achieve and learn the same things as the next child, regardless of any special needs that may come into play.              The upholding of academic standards does not scrutinize those who have special needs, such as learning disabilities.  However, IEPs would still have to be upheld on a case by case basis due to the legalities that are associated with them.  It is the job of each state to ensure that these standards are upheld in order to allow each child to achieve a well-rounded education in preparation for college and their future careers.  In an attempt to uphold these IEPs, students with special needs would still be given the assistance needed to ensure their academic success.  However, children with special needs would still be expected to complete their work in the same way as their peers.             According to the common core standards, each child would have a certain amount of knowledge that would need to be retained per grade level.  This standards focus mainly on English and math in the classroom.  The article focuses on the need for these standards to be implemented because this issue was identified as a major concern for parents.  It is clear that there is a discrepancy between the expectations of special needs children and children that do not have any clear learning disabilities or hindrances.  In this way, all children will be on an equal playing field in the classroom.
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Missouri Education Watchdog: Common Core Tests For Special Needs Students

Missouri Education Watchdog: Common Core Tests For Special Needs Students | Special Needs Students in Relation to the Common Core | Scoop.it

The blog post Common Core Tests for Special Needs Students gives insight into how those in the field of education from across the country are responding to advancements in the common core, specifically in relation to standardized testing. The task at hand is implementing the need for the alteration of standardized testing to accommodate special needs children.  The author argues that children with IEPs should not be given the advantage over students who have not been identified as having special needs in relation to education.  Consequently, they are vied as being equal with the rest of their peers and not treated as different within their respective schools and societies.

The theme of this blog post deals with the ways in which standardized tests are delivered to special needs students and how new ways can be implemented for the students’ success according to the common core standards.  For example, students that require the extra attention in order to succeed with a standardized test are normally given oral instructions rather than reading and dissecting the instructions themselves.  In turn, these oral instructions might be skewed towards an incorrect answer because of the inflections in the proctor’s voice.  A new method that is being discussed is one that might allow students to be given magnified portions of the test on a screen.  The goal is to allow for the atmosphere of the standardized test to feel more normal to every student.

The common core standards deal with the preparation of each child for college and career.  The goals of revising standardized tests is to ensure that these common core standards are upheld from school to school for all children, including special needs children, because some parents fear that these children will be overlooked.  The designers of these standardized tests are looking to create tests that suit the needs of most students.  Those students with significant disabilities may still need extra accommodations for their test taking.  However, the idea is to take care of the needs of the majority of students.  It stills leaves a window open that may not cover all the needs of every child, which could introduce more problems in the future.

 

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Common Core State Standards: A Foundation For Differentiation

Common Core State Standards: A Foundation For Differentiation | Special Needs Students in Relation to the Common Core | Scoop.it

          This piece was written by Susan Savage, an ELL instructor who strongly believes in the promise of the Common Core standards.  She the outlines specific steps that educators should take to ensure the academic success of all of their students, including those with special needs.  Savage feels that differentiation is the cornerstone of any effective learning environment.  She feels that the way the teacher structures their lessons are directly correlated to the level of success that is eventually exhibited from students, and that effective structuring will allow for an equal opportunity for all students—including ELLs and those with other special needs—to succeed in the classroom.

          The first step outlined is to align the departmental or grade level standards with those of the Common Core.  Savage suggests that departments then break apart the standard into a 4 point rubric (there is a specific breakdown of this rubric linked to the article). She feels that the rubric is the best way to clearly indicate specific areas in which the student is struggling.  The rubric is beneficial not only for the teacher, but also allows the learners to chart their progress and get excited about the positive steps that they are taking.  The highest level (level 4) of the rubric, also known as the challenge level, meets the actual expectations of the Common Core State Standards.  By allowing students to slowly progress through the levels of the rubric, she feels that it gives students a better opportunity to effectively meet the expectations of the standards. 

          When planning her lessons she first outlines three proficiency skills that all of her students—including those with special needs—are expected to meet with at least 90% proficiency.  The rubric allows the more advanced students to resist the urge to speed through their work, while simultaneously encouraging classified students to effectively departmentalize the task.   By breaking down the Common Core state standards into smaller goals it allows for learners of all skill levels to eventually meet the expectations of their educational institution. 

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Common Core Standards: The Challenge for Special Education | Learn Blog

Common Core Standards: The Challenge for Special Education | Learn Blog | Special Needs Students in Relation to the Common Core | Scoop.it

                As parents and educators prepare to adjust to the educational standards of the Common Core, they must also tackle the needs of special education students.  This article tackles the need for effective collaboration between school officials, parents, and teachers in order to ensure the success of all students.  Many districts from around the country are struggling with the pressure that comes with such a monumental change in educational expectation—especially how these changes may potentially affect or inhibit the intellectual growth of students with certain disabilities. 

            It is the job of the educator to set high expectations for students, and to set them on a life path that will allow for continued growth and development in varied fields of learning.  The Literacy Education and Resource Network (L.E.A.R.N.) feels that the Common Core standards have effectively outlined perimeters that encourage consistent growth in all students.  They do however recognize that in order for the standards to be meaningful to learners who are affected by a learning disability, certain accommodations must first be made.

            L.E.A.R.N. suggests that administrators make it a priority to equip their teachers and student parents with ongoing system of support and development.  They are confident that this will ensure the continued success of all learners—despite their learning classification.  One of major ways to accommodate for varied levels of student need is to make sure that appropriate scaffolding is incorporated into all lessons.  Effectively scaffolded lessons will incorporate an understanding of all students’ social and academic skills.  These strategies must also be passed onto parents so that the system of support and learning can be continued at home. 

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Education Week: Common-Core Tests to Have Built-in Accommodations

Education Week: Common-Core Tests to Have Built-in Accommodations | Special Needs Students in Relation to the Common Core | Scoop.it

Forty-Four states have already committed to using the new Common Core standardized tests.  These tests have been designed by the SMARTER Balanced Assessment Consortium and the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers using federal Race to the Top funds.  Ever since the two groups in charge of spearheading this initiative first received the federal grant money, they were very determined to make the tests accessible to all students—including those with special learning needs and disabilities. 

These new tests will be computerized, and will have special accommodations for students with disabilities built directly into it.  This means that teachers will no longer have to painstakingly explain shortcuts and tips to their special needs students to ensure that they are able to successfully complete standardized tests.  This advancement is long overdue and is a welcomed change from the former ideology that accommodations for special needs students on standardized tests should be and afterthought, instead of at the forefront of the test’s development.  The goal for the redesign of these tests is to expel the idea that disabled students need actual accommodations in order to success.  They feel that if the test is tightly designed that all student s will be able to be fairly and equally assessed. 

The redesign of these tests should not only prove to be beneficial for special needs students, but also for teachers and administrators.  If the tests meet the expected outcomes, coordinators will no longer have to organize special testing rooms and times for students with disabilities.  It also allows for a more level playing field among the students who may not have the same exact accommodations made for them when compared to other schools.  All students will be administered the test through the computer, and regardless of whether or not it is being read to them—or if other accommodations are being made—their peers will have no idea.  The advancements being implemented into the newly designed Common Core tests seem to be very promising, and should alleviate many of the issues often associated with special needs students and standardized tests. 

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CEC | Common Core Standards: What Special Educators Need to Know

CEC | Common Core Standards: What Special Educators Need to Know | Special Needs Students in Relation to the Common Core | Scoop.it

The Council for Exceptional Children put out a publication titled Common Core Standards: What Special Educators Need to Know.  The central point that this piece makes is that the Common Core Standards do benefit special needs students, as long as the appropriate learning accommodations are made.  These accommodations should include the use of Braille, screen-reader technology, the use of a scribe, computer, speech-to-text technology- and other assistive devices. 

The CEC claims that special needs students do not have any more difficulty meeting the CCS than those without disabilities; however, it should be noted, that this was only able to occur when they were given specialized instruction and support to meet their learning needs.  One of the biggest hurdles seems to be changing the mindsets of teachers and administrators to raise the expectations of special needs students, and getting them to realize that they are just as capable as students who have not been classified as having a learning disability. 

This publication argues that the CCS has been created in a way that allows for all students, regardless of their specified learning ability, to be able to participate fully and meet the standard of the Common Core.  In addition it suggests that not only special educators, but all educators, need to develop an understanding of how to approach the CCS from a perspective that supports a special needs learner. 

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