Percentage of students tested for special ed who qualify...

Discussion in 'Special Education' started by ecteach, Sep 20, 2015.

  1. ecteach

    ecteach Devotee

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    Do you know the percentage of students at your school who are testing and actually qualify for special ed? Ours is very low. I am not going to share the number for fear of being identified. I am making a big deal out of this number this year. :eek:
     
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  3. bella84

    bella84 Aficionado

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    I don't know the exact percentage, but I'd guess it's about half and half. We try to do a pretty good job of determining who really needs to be tested so that we don't end up with a low percentage, like you're referring to. We don't test just anyone, even with a parents' request. When we get a parent referral, we do meet with all parents and discuss their child's progress, but we only test if there is a suspicion that the child would actually qualify. We don't even allow staff to make an official referral unless we suspect a child will qualify.
     
  4. waterfall

    waterfall Virtuoso

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    100%. I've never tested a kid that didn't qualify. I work in a low SES school where at least 50% of kids are not on grade level. We are already higher than the state average of kids identified for sped; we have about 15% while the state average is 10%. I would guarantee that if I just tested the whole school, I could find at least 75 more kids that would qualify based on their scores. When referring kids we try to look for true outliers among our population. We had 3 parents take their children to get outside evaluations this summer. According to their scores, they qualify, and we're going to have to give them IEPs. Compared to other kids in their grade level, there are 30-40 kids lower than them and they're at least a full year above anyone else in sped. I'm terrified this is going to catch on. My state has no caseload limits for sped teachers, and my caseload got to over 50 last time before they finally hired another teacher. At that point, the title 1 groups were much smaller and got more reading time than my sped kids did. More numbers doesn't mean they'll staff our program appropriately, and I wonder if the state will try to step in if we get to too high of a percentage identified.
     
  5. ecteach

    ecteach Devotee

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    In my state they will. But, they look more at the demographics of the kids who qualify. For example, they will look at whether there a larger number of African American or Hispanic children qualifying. They'll also look at gender. Then, they'll put you on an action plan in which you'll detail how you are going to better reach this population. If the trend continues, we get fined. This happened at the last county I was at, and the fine was a six figure number. We also got in trouble because we had too many white children getting speech services.

    Side note: Hispanic children for whom English is not a first language qualifying is a HUGE issue right now! It's always something.
     
  6. ecteach

    ecteach Devotee

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    Another side note....
    General Ed teachers don't seem to understand that just because Common Core is harder doesn't mean the WISC, and Woodcock Johnson (and any others you can name) have changed. We still use the discrepancy model. It's the only model we will ever use unless someone forces us to use something different.

    Almost all of the kids who didn't qualify were in the average range for everything. I think this is ALARMING. The position I am in is very hard though, because I never want to make it look like I just don't want to do my job. Teachers are VERY passionate about getting kids tested.
     
  7. EdEd

    EdEd Aficionado

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    Yeah, I think part of interpreting this number has to be in the context of other supplemental support (as well as other variables such as whether you're on an intervention plan for over-identification). For example, a school with a well-resourced Tier II RtI/MTSS model should have lower levels of qualifying students. Doesn't mean that kids are getting less help, just getting help in a different way.

    Likewise, everyone getting identifying who's tested could be due to other issues such as failure of Tier I/General Education, or an abundantly high needs population, but the use of (much higher) district norms as comparison, resulting in everyone tested be identified.

    Still, other random variable such as principals who pressure the MDT to find kids eligible to remove them from general education (or just get them help).

    I definitely don't like kids from ethnic minority backgrounds being treated worse, but it also bothers me that higher rates of identification is automatically being taken as a negative. SPED identification does NOT hold constant SES backgrounds, despite there being a checklist on the eligibility sheet. Under any model of SLD identification, for example, kids with lower rates and levels of achievement - due squarely to environmental/SES variables - will qualify at higher rates. Is this a problem that they're receiving more services? The problem is that we've come to not like SPED and the stigma attached. I think the rate of assessment bias (e.g., the child would NOT have been eligible for SLD had s/he been white) is not, in reality, an actual occurrence beyond an incidental amount. In other words, I don't think the issue is that our tests or processes are discriminatory - I think the issue is that kids come from certain backgrounds which lead to certain experiences, which lead to lower levels of achievement, which lead to higher rates of identification.
     
  8. EdEd

    EdEd Aficionado

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    Sep 20, 2015

    Not disagreeing with you here, just trying to figure out where you're coming at this from - what is alarming about what you said? What seems to be the main problem you all are experiencing? Sorry, long weekend and tired :)
     
  9. ecteach

    ecteach Devotee

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    I think it's alarming because it shows that the curriculum being taught (or perhaps the way things are being taught) is not developmentally appropriate for most children. If a child is average in all areas, he/she should not be struggling so bad that he/she is referred for special ed. When referring a child, you are implying that you truly believe that this child has a disability. You are not simply saying that they just need tutoring, or extra help.

    Of course there will be instances where a kid with average abilities will fail miserably, but it shouldn't be the norm. At least, I don't think so.
     
  10. EdEd

    EdEd Aficionado

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    Ah, gotcha - so you're saying that general ed teachers are referring kids, but when they're tested they tend to fall in the average range with both IQ and achievement.

    Yeah, for sure - definitely sounds like achievement, as actually expected in your school, is very being captured very accurately by the WISC.
     
  11. waterfall

    waterfall Virtuoso

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    This was a big deal in my first district. It was terrible because it got to the point where it was nearly impossible to get a latino student referred for testing. We were not allowed to make the decision at our school and had to go through a district committee to get approval. My school was over 90% ELL. The person who ran the committee came from a school that was over 90% White :rolleyes: I got my kids through the committee by pestering them constantly. Most people just gave up. IMO it got to the point where they were discriminating while trying to avoid being discriminatory...it ended up feeling like, "You can't have special ed because you're brown."
     
  12. smalltowngal

    smalltowngal Multitudinous

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    Sep 21, 2015

    I just went to a training where this was addressed. We have a lot of Hispanic students who qualified out of our district. We look real closely at what language is their dominate language and look at their past academic history to see if there is any progress. Our process isn't 100%, but it has eliminated some over identification.

    We stopped using the discrepancy model several years ago. We use a cross battery approach now. The one thing I don't like about this approach is that it is subjective. The discrepancy model however doesn't really allow for grey areas.
     
  13. EdEd

    EdEd Aficionado

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    Completely agreed - well put.
     
  14. ecteach

    ecteach Devotee

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    Sep 22, 2015

    I agree. I also take it as a personal insult. Do they really think I am just handpicking these children who look different than me on a whim? That being said, I am very sensitive to racism, class-ism (I guess that's not a word), and social injustice. I am married to a black man, and we have a biracial son. I would NEVER in my life do something like that.

    One year we had to sit and listen to a group of white women tell us how black children learn differently. A direct quote, "You shouldn't make black children be quiet in the classroom, because their culture is loud." All they did is unite us as teachers even more. The black teachers were mad too. I thought one woman was going to jump on the presenter when she said that. So hypocritical.
     

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