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  #1  
Old 10-18-2008, 01:15 PM
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teachersk teachersk is offline
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New Jersey APA (state alternative testing) help

I am new to New Jersey and this will be my first year with the APA alternative test. I did the TAKS ALT with my students in TX and it was much more realistic. The kids were allowed to have access/pre-requisite skills. The APA requires the kids to basically do EXACT grade level stuff.

I teach in a severe to profound autism classroom. I have one student who is my most profound student. I need help coming up with an activity to meet this standard:

Choose the graphic organizers that clearly represent the information from the text (e.g. given 3 basic story webs with identical formats but different information, match the story just read to the best web)

The problem is, his attention span is very short. He cannot read. He uses PECS to communicate as he is non-verbal.

I came up with one activity, where I would read a quick story and then give him two choices of what the story was about (they would be teacher made story webs with a BIG picture in the middle that was a picture of a FIRE TRUCK that had to do with the FIRE TRUCK story we just read... and the other choice will be something totally random like a BANANA in the middle of the story web or something.)

I have to come up with another activity that is different from that. It can't just be different content, it has to be a different activity.

Anyone with APA/Alternative Testing experience care to chime in? I've come up with some pretty creative things to meet the grade level standards, but it's even TOUGHER in NJ because you can't do access skills (why would we want to make it FUNCTIONAL for the child????)

ANyways- any suggestions would be appreciated! It does NOT have to be a pencil paper activity - it can be somehow sorting, velcroing, etc. but it has to relate to that original standard of using the graphic organizer......
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  #2  
Old 10-19-2008, 05:04 PM
Dthig65 Dthig65 is offline
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How about a Venn Diagram where he can compare and contrast something or characters in the story?
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Old 10-19-2008, 06:23 PM
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That's a good idea - but would be way over his head.

I'm not sure how much he comprehends of the stories I read to him. He's a big stimmer and that keeps him from really even looking at the pictures. If there was some kind of character chart that I could show him and he had to pick the character from the story - that would work if I picked very basic stories with a central main character!
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Old 10-19-2008, 06:52 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by teachersk View Post
That's a good idea - but would be way over his head.

I'm not sure how much he comprehends of the stories I read to him. He's a big stimmer and that keeps him from really even looking at the pictures. If there was some kind of character chart that I could show him and he had to pick the character from the story - that would work if I picked very basic stories with a central main character!
I have to administer the Alternative Assessments in NY state. We have similiar guidlines to NJ I think. Do you have to score this student on independence as well as performance? If we give prompts to our students we just score them lower on the independence section. I did a Venn diagram last year with my students and prompted them pretty much the whole way. Their comprehension is extremely low too but there is no way to do some of these tasks by letting them do it themselves 100% (at least with my students).
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Old 10-19-2008, 08:27 PM
Dthig65 Dthig65 is offline
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I realize the Venn Diagram is over their heads, perhaps you could place pictures symbols representing the characters on the graphic organizer with some hand over hand assistance.
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  #6  
Old 10-19-2008, 08:42 PM
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Teacherny-- we DO have to score on performance and independence.

The thing that I am concerned about is that the student has to "increase" in performance and independence.

I guess I could do something hand over hand, but for the final activity that's not allowed - they have to increase in their independence, even if it's only 10% more independent. Does that make sense?

I guess I was trying to come up with something that he could be successful at (and be able to do independently), but also meet the state standards. I am figuring out that this is becoming increasingly more difficult to do as the kids get older. Fortunately, my alternative testers are in third grade, I can't imagine what I'd be doing for biology or algebra tasks.

Any ideas for graphic organizers on a basic level?
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Old 10-19-2008, 08:53 PM
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We were told to use the example tasks given to us by the state. Last year it suggested a Venn diagram and I used pictures made on Boardmaker. We don't have to have them increase their independence on any activities so I guess it might be easier for us. They do what they can do. I wish the people who made up these state tests realized that some of our kids just CAN NOT do everything they are asking. We had someone from the state come and train us one year. A teacher at our school asked the question, "What do we do if our student does not speak, does not follow any commands, does not identify any pictures, does not read or write, does not know his own name? How do we give him a 7th grade state written science task"? The woman did not have an answer for her. She was dumbfounded. She had not realized that our students were that severely impaired. She told us to do the best we can. Seriously, the people who make up these tests have NO clue.
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  #8  
Old 10-19-2008, 09:01 PM
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They have no idea! A similar thing happened at my training...A woman raised her hand and asked what she was supposed to do with her students (hospital bound teacher) when they are on their deathbed, unable to move their hands or feet, can barely keep their eyes open, and have breathing machines connected to them? The lady teaching the alternative testing presentation had NO idea how to respond.

I teach at a school for kids with severe to profound autism. These tasks are VERY hard.

If they don't increase their independence, we don't pass (as a school) and the child doesn't "pass" the state test.

I have to learn more about it. It's much different from TX. TX was a lot more understanding and made it so a lot of the stuff could be a little more functional for them, relating to IEP goals, functional skills, etc.

THIS is just crazy!
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  #9  
Old 10-19-2008, 09:27 PM
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I am at the same kind of school, teachersk. I know how it is!
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  #10  
Old 10-20-2008, 11:21 AM
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Can you make a web with the main picture in the middle (like a fire truck) and have him match picture symbols to the web using velcro? You could have a choice of 2 or 3, with one being related to the story, and he would have to choose it and attach it to the velcro on the web?
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