Then and Now Essay

Submitted By Mavismshaw1
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Pages: 7

Then and Now: The Changing Paradigms of Special Education Assessment Mavis M. Shaw
Grand Canyon University: SPE-536 Diagnosis and Assessment in Special Education
August 29, 2012

The history of the special education programs go back to the beginning of public schooling. Early programs in the late 1950’s and early 1960’s were criticized for racism and exclusion of most students. The Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 highlighted quality instead of equality (Tissington, 2006). Starting in the late 1960’s, there was a movement of alternative education programs in and out of the public education system. Current legislation such as Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act, (IDEA, 2004) and the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB, 2001), all students are held to the same high standards in education. These high standards are required for high school graduation and many educational opportunities are dependent upon assessment scores. Any student within the ages of three through 21 has the right to a Free and Appropriate Public Education (FAPE). The education system has grown over the years and has acknowledged that students with disabilities need assistance with services and accommodations in the classroom in order to fully use FAPE. The Local Education Agency (LEA) helps students have access to FAPE by identifying learners with disabilities and creating programs to meet their needs. IDEA 2004, Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, states that the rights of disabled students and outlines precise procedures for describing and classifying incapacitating disorders. For preschool age student within the ages of three to five, they are entitled to special education services under Part C of IDEA 2004. The LEA must identify preschoolers with developmental, social, emotional, and behavioral challenges by using a method called Child Find. This continuous process requires state and local agencies to recognize, discover, and assess all children with debilities residing in the state. It is important to assess these students prior to the age of five in order to continue qualification for services under part B of IDEA 2004 (Council for Exceptional Children, 2004). Also eligible for possible services under part B of IDEA 2004, are students within the ages of five to twenty one. The LEA is under requirement to evaluate the growth of all pupils who are starting out within the district (Zirkel, 2006). There is a 45-day screening process that is used to fulfill this obligation. This process is an integral part of the Child Find and can be used as the first step in classifying a pupil with a learning or developmental problem. The documentation process must be initiated within the first 45 days of a student’s registration. It is important to note that the 45 days are calendar days and not school days. Also, the documentation process must be started when the student is undergoing severe problems academically/behaviorally and when the present accommodations are no longer effective. After many screenings have been completed student may be referred to an education team called Teacher Assistance Team (TAT) to look over the information and help with creating interventions. It is the responsibility of TAT to look at the results of the interventions to see if a student needs further testing (Zirkel, 2006). It is critical have TATs review, develop, and implement effective interventions to avoid over-identification of special education students (Polloway, Patton, & Serna, 2008). IDEA 2004 approaches this matter through recognizing the worth of the Response to Intervention (RTI) model. RTI is a process that uses curriculum based measures (CBMs) to evaluate student growth. By using CBMs, the TAT is capable of looking at where a student is on a current skill level and continue to monitor progress or lack of. Teachers are required to monitor, screen and check the children and engage