The assessment process in special education structure can be defined as the procedure of accumulating data for the inspection of students with extraordinary needs. Evaluation is one of the major challenges in schools. Over twenty million inspections are conducted on students with exclusive needs in both primary and secondary schools on a yearly basis. The primary way of determining appropriate students with special needs is through the use of Intelligent Quotient. From a legal point of view, there is a clear pattern of disproportionate representation. Both racial and minorities resultant from ethnic backgrounds are confined from any form of bias within the equal protection clause (Trolley et al., 2009). Most of the students are not allowed to join other schools because of their race or ethnic environment. Involvement of parents in the understanding and solving the issues related to students with particular needs need to be put in the forefront. Most of the observations that are employed for the evaluation of students with exceptional needs do not incorporate a preventive strategy. The preventive strategy is one of the best practices in assessment of students with specific needs. It will ensure that problem and the source are tackled at a younger stage of development.
Disproportionate Identification of Minorities in some Special Education Categories
The child’s race and educational background in addition to other variables, resolve the association between misidentification of children with special needs with the placement of these children in special education classes. Several variables such as poverty, language, system issues, and assessment practices are the key factors in disproportionate representation. The offices of Distinct Needs play a crucial role in administering education to people with disability. This body carries out research on the degree of disproportionality within different school. For ethnic minority students, flawed categorization and inappropriate placement of these students to a particular program bears particular adverse consequences. The problem is increased when these students are not well categorized, as it leads to the expulsion or removal of children from the school (Kauffman & Hallahan, 2011). Most of the students with unique needs have limited attention and understanding. Consequently, their teachers harbor low expectations of their learning abilities. Therefore, it is no wonder when these students end up with negative post school outcomes. This is proved by their overall stalled education since most fail to pursue advanced secondary school. In most districts, the separation of these minority students with exceptional needs results in an enormous racial segregation. This is an exceedingly dangerous situation as it might result in the development of unlawful racial discrimination. The department of education in a different district gathers information on the racial breakdown and the general breakdown of the number of students with a specific need. Districts can be disproportionate in many ways. The most pronounced way is the disproportion resulting from ethnicity. Other factors such as gender may also be disproportionate and, therefore, must be considered. All the districts need to stay alert to track changes in trends in such conditions.
The most effective way and strategy to reduce biases are to allow districts to identify the problems that may deal with these upcoming issues (Wilkinson, 2010). The process of reducing disproportionality needs a well organized strategy that includes comprehensive training of teachers, collaboration between homes and schools, as well as the creation of cultural sensitivity within learning institutions. Each of the districts is required to work through the process of problem solving. They need to identify the existing resources within the ministry and then use these resources in a more appropriate way. In America, African American students represent more than twice the total population of students with mental retardation as well as delayed development. In addition, American Indian students have increased levels of multiple disabilities. Most of the Hispanic students have specific learning impairments that are characterized by orthopedic impairments.
A functional assessment of students with exceptional needs has captured a lot of attention in national records of individual education as well as the rehabilitation of the students (Wilkinson, 2010). Assessment in exceptional education involves the use of multiple methods to collect all the information relevant to a comprehensive decision making (Kauffman & Hallahan, 2011). These assessment methods can be collectively grouped into formal and informal strategies. Formal strategies involve the use of psychometric tests that are primarily employed for screening, diagnosis and the prediction of the final results. The second formal method that can be employed is through the use of technically designed tests that are tailor made for planning, intervention and assessment. On the other hand, informal strategies for assessment include the review of students’ school files, use of interviews, situational assessment, as well as behavioral and environmental assessment. In most cases, the main purpose of assessment in special education is to collect enough data for the formulation of sound decisions about students’ learning progress (Kauffman & Hallahan, 2011). These decisions range from screening and eligibility decisions to planning, progress and program decisions. The information gathered has to have a direct relation with the decision made. The data collected from the psychometric test, may also be relevant to diagnose exceptionality problem, whereas the data collected form criterion referenced assessment method can have significant use in decision making. It also provides the assessors with a framework for the identification of the most appropriate assessment mechanism that will involve asking the questions.
One of the best emerging practices for assessment is prevention. The main long term range goal for school districts is to have a way of working toward the development of districts policies (Li & Edwards, 2010). These policies are wide enough to ensure that the school climate can accommodate students with the difference in culture and language. Preventive approach assumes that students from any background can learn if given support and enough resources. Incorporation of a curriculum that is favorable for all the students with respect to cultural and language differences as well as a conducive environment, can allow any of the students to perform well, notwithstanding learning abilities. Preventive goal requires that the assessors need to assess their differences in culture and linguistics as well as other biases. Other strategies that can be employed include corporate learning between the students and teachers, as well as peer interaction to boost language development.
In addition to prevention strategy, parental involvement is also one of the best practices. Involvement of the parents as referrals in exceptional education is crucial. In this case, all the schools need to maintain a proper record of the contacts of all the parents of students within a school (Li & Edwards, 2010). They need also to be aware of the language used at home by the parents in order to be able to assist students in a more appropriate way. Any communication that has to be given to the guardians of students need to be conveyed in a clear language that can be easily understood. Most preferably, this information should be given in their native language. All parents have the right to know the performance of their children. They also have the right to know their roles and responsibilities that are provided in the education offices.
The consideration of sociocultural factors is one of the primary reasons in dropping the level of minority group discrimination within the education system. Assessing the student’s culture in addition to language behaviour and the level of socialization is extremely beneficial. The process of adapting to the new cultural environment can result in behaviors that are similar to the ones exhibited by students with disabilities. It is, therefore, crucial for teachers as well as other staff working in the assessment offices to develop strategies to thoroughly assess the contribution of sociocultural factors. These factors also include the level of accuracy of the student as well as other stress related behaviors. The other best ways to be adopted can include the reduction in the number of standardized tests, as well as the clinical judgment. Other means that can be incorporated is the use of current methods of assessment to enable sound decision making on learning progress.
No Child Left Behind's Effect on Assessment in Special Education
No Child Left Behind (NCLB) is the recent reauthorization of both the elementary and secondary school education systems. Since its inception, most schools have played a proactive role in addressing the needs of students with learning difficulties in a bid to improve their academic performance. Under the principles of No Child Left Behind, all schools have to make sure that there is a faster track on the progress of all the special needs students to make sure that these students are at par with the other students (Baker, 2009). NCLB requires scrutiny of students with particular learning needs, and their progress is monitored in the annual reports. This requirement is intended to help all school administrators in monitoring the progress of students who are left behind. All the schools that do not meet this requirement are forced to implement improvement programs within the schools. This program has on a larger percentage contributed to the expansion of the main role of the government in education. It has boosted the understanding of the need for accountability in schools, as well as providing guidelines for meeting the current accountability standards. The accountability provisions share a tremendous impact on both primary and secondary schools. These include the use of complex mandatory tests to measure the level of performance on a scale up to 100%. It also includes complex procedures of collecting data, as well as the methods adopted to measure the response of these factors to intervention (Baker, 2009). NCLB included outstanding education in all its systems of accountability. Its aim in special education is in line with goals of local education. These challenges negatively impart learning; therefore, increasing demand for data reporting as well as increase in work load. In order to meet its goal of excellent proficiency of students, the students have to make a progress on a yearly basis.
Over twenty million inspections are conducted on a yearly basis on students with exclusive needs in both primary and secondary schools. The child’s race and educational background, in addition to other variables resolve the association between misidentification of children with special needs with the placement of these children in special education classes. The process of reducing disproportionality needs a well organized strategy that includes comprehensive training of teachers, collaboration between homes and schools, as well as the creation of cultural sensitivity within learning institutions. In addition to the mandates of NCLB, all school administrators have reported facing challenges of testing which is inappropriate to all the populations of education.