Grade Modifications

Discussion in 'Special Education' started by EmptyClassroom, Nov 9, 2010.

  1. EmptyClassroom

    EmptyClassroom Rookie

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    Nov 9, 2010

    I recently asked for a grade modification for a student and was basically told no. I'd like some advice or answers so I can either change how I address these issues or document that I did the right thing and the school refused.

    This is a high school student, MMD, who receives all core classes in pull-out setting. He takes electives of his choosing. He ended up failing his elective this term, but had come to me about 3 weeks before the end and asked what to do if he "needed help." He told me he had a test in which he had label parts, and that while he could do so he couldn't diagram them or spell them (makes sense.) I arranged for an aide to go to the room and administer the test orally but this was several days after the fact and the student was engrossed in another project and couldn't stop (also, makes sense--he'd have traded one 0 for another.) I asked the student if he had asked the teacher for help and he told me he had, more than once. I told him to do his best to get all his bookwork in and we'd see what we could do about eliminating the test.

    When the grades came out and it was clear the teacher had not modified the score nor removed 0s for the 2 tests like this, I added the student's name to a list of schedule and grade questions for the counselors. I was told no modifications would be done without the approval of the principal, which I received immediately upon leaving the counselor's office. I was told later it was "taken care of," but today I was called to the counselor and shown an email from the regular teacher who claimed he had removed the scores, the student still failed, and it was because he hadn't made an effort to get his work done. the teacher stated he had "told him repeatedly to get busy" and the student "just sat there or talked."

    I've worked with students from this and similar courses in the field for years, and the textbooks are college-level. As I told the counselors, all too often even I say, "just take a guess, we've got to go on." There was no way this student could read the book and find the answers to questions. In addition, other times I've contacted him about making accommodations for students--including this term--the teacher has simply sent his students to me for help, which meant I had to neglect my own students to work with them; specifically, at one point I was working with 1 student for 140 minutes a day trying to help catch him up in the same class, and this was during my own classes when my own students were forced to work independently.

    I've told all involved that I've documented I asked for a grade modification and that the student claimed he'd asked for help repeatedly. I've also explained the situation to the student and told him there was nothing else I could do, and unless his mom wanted to come in (hint, hint) the grade couldn't be modified. (FYI, I have make-up assignments ready for him, and told the counselors this; it's not like we're 'giving him a grade,' just giving him make-up work at his own level in order to catch up.)

    Can anyone tell me who decides on grade modifications? Is it at the discretion of the regular teacher, counselor, or even administrator, when it's already been decided, documented, and tied to evaluation evidence in an ARC? Also, how do you get regular teachers to modify and give accommodations? Ours just refuse, and while our school and district administrators know this, they also won't do anything about it. As a matter of fact it gets thrown back at us, with "you all get together and work it out."

    Argh. I'm really not trying to be difficult, but if a kid with an IQ of 76 asks for help reading and can't get it, then fails, it just seems obvious that he might need a grade modification....also, these are vocational students and the teachers don't hesitate to work them in the workshops and fields, but then give them two or three written assignments when they're busy with something else and then fail them!

    I've already discussed both self-advocacy and self-sufficiency and responsibilty with the student. he does hold some accountability--BUT--by law, if no accommodations were given, the student asked for help and was refused, and he has grade modification on his IEP...why am I having to deal with this and treated like I'm an imbicile for expecting them to change his grade?
     
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  3. teachersk

    teachersk Connoisseur

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    Nov 10, 2010

    I would contact your special education coordinator or supervisor and let them know that an IEP is not being followed.

    Actually, I would e-mail the teacher and just simply write,

    "I just wanted to be sure that you were aware that an IEP is a legal document and that you are required by law to follow it. Can we please meet to discuss this issue? Let me know of a time that works for you."

    or something similar.

    BECAUSE I guarantee this person will either respond "nasty" to you (and you can then forward it on to the supervisor or coordinator and say, "I am really not sure what to do from here, as I have tried to reiterate the fact that the IEP is a legal document. Do you have any suggestions?"

    OR

    The person will get smart and realize putting that in writing "I'm not doing that!" would get them in trouble, will write back with a time, and during that time you can hopefully get the point across.

    That sucks. Some people are so ignorant.
     
  4. bros

    bros Phenom

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    Nov 10, 2010

    Contact the case manager of the IEP, the sped head, and the teacher, like teachersk said
     
  5. EmptyClassroom

    EmptyClassroom Rookie

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    Nov 10, 2010

    Thanks for your feedback. I've discussed the issue with the teacher (who, as you noted, wisely refrained from actually discussing the issue). I suggested he document for his own good why he wasn't passing the child and why no accommodations were given--he just said, "OK," a lot. Ironically enough today in a faculty meeting regular ed teachers as a whole were called on the carpet about not following IEPs, with similar examples used. they were told that it was a legal issue and could lead to not only lawsuits, but loss of certification. they were also told it would not be on the heads of special ed teachers, but them, and therefore it was for their own good to follow the IEP and to make sure that any failures were doucmented as per IEP specifications. Yea, us! Go good guys!!

    (At the same time, the grade modification was not made. go figure.)
     
  6. essence1974

    essence1974 New Member

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    Nov 18, 2010

    i agree with teachersk. an email is great documentation. sorry your administrators are so unsupportive
     
  7. pills

    pills New Member

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    Nov 22, 2010

    I am sorry to hear you have been having such a difficult time getting some of the general education teachers to follow the IEP. Reading the responses above, it sounds like your faculty has been made aware that the IEP is a legal document that must be followed. That is the first step.

    I was lucky. The general education teachers I worked with were always open to grade modifications. We had a general rule of thumb. If the student had put forth effort and really tried to succeed, the grade would be modified to one grade above what the actual earned grade was. For example, if the student scored a "D" in the course, the grade would be modified to a "C". If the student did not put forth adequate effort, the grade would not be modified. This worked out well and seemed to be a fair system for all involved. If you feel the student did try hard to complete the course, I would speak to your special education administrators about this problem. Maybe suggest that it would be helpful to have a school-wide policy in place for students regarding grade modifications. Unfortunately, I realized early on that sometimes issues could not always be resolved for individual students, but a pattern of the same issue usually led to some conflict that resulted in a resolution for future students. You may also want to attempt to handle this informally with your general education teachers. It may help to remind them that the report card will read that the grade has been modified (at least this was the case in my district). Hopefully, you can build a good relationship with them. That is always helpful, when you are a resource teacher.

    On the note of accommodations, I have found some teachers just really don't know what is expected in that area or find it overwhelming to provide such individualized instruction/interventions for one student. I would work with them individually to provide accommodations for students you have in common. The beginning of the year is a good time. Setup a meeting and provide them with some resources that are a doable for teacher who is the only one in the classroom of a room of 35 students. For example, graphic organizers (you can supply a folder with copies), peer support (placing student next to a higher achieving student), sitting them in the front of the classroom, etc. For students needing a lot of accommodations, I would have my Instructional Assistant come to the general education classroom a couple times a week to check on the student. Often, this would help alert me to any problems, before they became a huge issue.
     

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