3 ways to support students with disabilities post-pandemic

Students with disabilities tend to show greater learning losses over the summer, and at times grow at academically higher rates than peers without disabilities, according to a new study showing detailed insight on academic growth among students with disabilities.

The new research, Understanding differential growth during school years and summers for students in special education, comes from NWEA, a nonprofit research-based provider of assessment solutions and learning services.

Using a five-year cohort of 4,228 students (kindergarten through fourth grade) in 109 U.S. public schools that voluntarily provided student-level special education program information, the research study examined how academic achievement and growth in achievement compared between students with and without disabilities. (Disability category was not available at the student-level. The study used “ever being in special education services” as a proxy for students with a disability.)…Read More

DeVos confirmation hearing elicits intense reactions

Betsy DeVos, President-elect Donald Trump’s nominee for education secretary, emerged from her confirmation hearings with Republicans praising her commitment to school choice and with Democrats voicing concerns over what they see as a lack of experience to ensure equity for students of all backgrounds and abilities.

During the hearings, Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va.) did not back down as he repeatedly asked DeVos to address yes-or-no questions about a variety of education issues, including the Individuals with Disabilities Act–a key federal law that allocates federal funding to schools to ensure the needs of students with disabilities are met.

Kaine and DeVos sparred over the matter of whether all schools–public, public charter or private–should be required to meet IDEA requirements if they receive federal funding.…Read More

College- and career-ready expectations for students with disabilities

Achieve and the National Center on Educational Outcomes (NCEO) released “Diplomas that Matter: Ensuring Equity of Opportunity for Students with Disabilities,” a new report analyzing the diplomas available to students with disabilities in each state for the graduating class of 2015. The report also compares the course and assessment requirements for earning a regular diploma in each state for students with disabilities and their peers without disabilities.

Although an estimated 85 to 90 percent of students with disabilities can, with the proper instruction, supports, and accommodations, meet the same graduation standards as all other students, the national graduation rate for students with disabilities has risen from 56.9 percent in 2006 only to 66.3 percent in 2014. In addition to these low graduation rates, questions persist as to whether students with disabilities are being given access to a rigorous course of study that will prepare them for college and career. States do a disservice to students with disabilities when they are not given the opportunity to earn a regular diploma with adequate supports or when they are held to lower expectations.

Achieve and NCEO’s analysis suggests that expecting less of students with disabilities, through a less rigorous diploma offering, does them a disservice because they leave school thinking that they are ready for college or career when they are likely not prepared.…Read More

Here’s Common Core help for students with disabilities

New website helps students with disabilities meet Common Core standards

students-with-disabilitiesThe Center for Technology Implementation has launched a new website, called PowerUp What Works, offering free resources and information to help educators ensure that students with disabilities meet the Common Core State Standards.

PowerUp links evidence-based practices, Universal Design for Learning, and technology to guide teachers, school leaders, professional development facilitators, and teacher educators in their professional learning, its makers say. The website’s goal is to enhance teaching and learning in English language arts (ELA) and math through the effective implementation of technology tools and strategies.

Resources available through the website include:…Read More

New online assessments to include accommodations for students with disabilities

The public review period allows for feedback from a wide group of stakeholders.

One of the two state consortia developing next-generation assessments to be taken online is seeking comments on a draft policy that proposes accommodations for students with disabilities who need help expressing themselves in writing or typing on a computer.

The proposal comes from the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC), a 22-state effort to develop new online assessments in English and math, aligned with the Common Core State Standards, that will test a full range of student performance on skills necessary for college or career readiness.…Read More

Fewer disabled students enroll in charter schools

Overall, there were lower rates of special-education enrollment at charter schools in all but eight states.

As the number of charter schools expands nationwide, one group of students that is enrolling in those schools at a lower rate is children with disabilities.

Eight percent of students at charter schools had disabilities in the 2009-10 school year, compared with 11 percent at traditional public schools, according to a Government Accountability Office report being released June 20.…Read More

Experts outline challenges facing math instruction

Students with disabilities, as well as their teachers, need support in math classes.

Numerous studies point to a fact that cannot be ignored: U.S. students’ math and science performance trails that of several other countries, and the nation’s classrooms need qualified, committed teachers to help students with disabilities, English Language Learners (ELLs), and at-risk students succeed in higher-level math and science courses.

During the Texas Instruments T3 (Teachers Teaching with Technology) International Conference in late February, educators got the chance to learn how technology can be integrated into math and science instruction. The conference included sessions dedicated to the instruction of at-risk students, including those with disabilities and ELLs.…Read More