Tests and quizzes

March 10, 2014 § Leave a comment

All students usually have to take classroom/content based assessments. These assessments are becoming the bane of my existence!

My daughter is without doubt an auditory learner. She takes in facts and information quite easily. She has high interests in the areas of social studies and science. I think because it’s such concrete information it’s easier for her to learn.

I actually get excited for her when she has a quiz in social studies or science because it becomes an opportunity for her to show people exactly how much she does know and exactly how much she does understand …..until ….. the way she is tested is completely inappropriate.

This year she spent weeks memorizing the Canadian Provinces and she knew them cold based on the information sent home to study. This information was flash cards of each individual Province. So, that’s how we studied. But, when it came time for the test they simply placed a map of Canada in front of her and expected her to fill it in. Now for any teacher who has spent any time with Ari or read her IEP, they would know that she does not have the visual spatial skills to manipulate an entire map like that – or the visual motor skills to be able to fill it in at the same time, but I guess this teacher didn’t – so Ari failed the test.

Recently, having learned from that experience she had to identify landmarks on the map of the United States. They sent home a tiny map with the landmarks handwritten in. So my husband and I worked hard to adjust this to Ari’s visual spatial and visual motor skills. We enlarged the map into huge paper and sent countless copies to school showing them how we have been studying by placing labels in the correct spot for each landmark, again she knew them perfectly at home. But, the school created yet a another way to test her and had her numerically represent each place, having to flip back and forth from page to page to find each number – sigh– She did somewhat better but still not what she could have done.

Guess what? At this point she’s frustrated and now she has a third map test and refuses to study. Why should she if every time they are just going to change the game on her?

Teachers- modify tests appropriately!! Make sure you are assessing the content ONLY. Does it really matter how a student shows you what they know as long as they can show you? Read IEPs and listen to parents suggestions. Take time to talk to other specialist and therapist involved with the child so you can understand how to best accommodate them. Consider using technology. Be fair!

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