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    Originally Posted by DeeDee
    Originally Posted by ljoy
    As painful as this sounds, at DD7's school every classroom has one or two kids that are in the room half-day with a dedicated para. These kids sometimes can do some of the work but DD complains that their artwork always comes out best because the para does it for them. Last year's special ed kid was nonverbal. Honestly, I would be disturbed by a high achieving/gifted magnet that did take these kids; the benefit of having them in the room at all seems to be purely to help them learn to mix socially in a mainstreamed society, and help the other kids react normally to severely disabled persons.

    In the autism world, we have a maxim: "presume competence." That is, you can't always tell on first glance or even a casual acquaintance what a person can do or understand. I'd say it's extra true for children.

    There exist, for example, gifted nonverbal autistics. Humans are uneven: lacking one particular skill or capacity does not mean there are no other skills or capacities, even really advanced ones, right there in the same person.

    Without other information, I'd choose to believe that the school folks have decided that nonverbal child is getting something real out of their experience in that classroom (because otherwise they wouldn't "inconvenience" the teacher by placing the child there). I would certainly not presume incompetence.

    This matters to me because presuming incompetence is often hurtful to people.
    Even if you don't presume incompetence, one reason for putting gifted students together is that they can benefit from the questions and comments of other gifted students. The nonverbal child is not contributing in that respect. The interests of all the students need to be considered.

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    Originally Posted by Madoosa
    What would happen if schools refused standardised testing? No legislature can close down every single school country wide if they refuse to do testing and stick to these "requirements".
    I think that overall the amount of standardized testing (here in Massachusetts, two mornings each for math and English) is not excessive and that testing does more good than harm. Education is a field where you can mislead the "client" and his or her family for a long time. You can tell all parents that their children are doing great (because their schools are great). Their failures in college and at work are far in the future. With test scores, there are hard numbers stating your child and your school is in percentile X in math and English for all students in the state. Life is more pleasant if your results are never measured, and that is a reason educators gripe about standardized tests.

    I do think that differences in average IQ explain more of the inter-school variation in test scores than the quality of education does, but students and their families should be getting objective information about where they stand.

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    I agree with DeeDee. Kids can contribute in many different ways. I don't know what is happening in this particular classroom or whether the situation is being handled well; schools differ. However, I don't think it is possible to make assumptions about why these children are placed in this class without knowing the children or asking directly. One doesn't have to be verbal to be a valuable contributor.

    I understand what is being said about these children not appearing to contribute, but we don't really know - we don't know the children and they must have been placed in the class for a reason. Yes, mainstreaming is good for kids with disabilities when possible - but that doesn't mean they don't contribute.

    My daughter is PG with no disabilities. Her absolute favorite book is "Out of My Mind," about a severely disabled nonverbal girl. It resonates with her. She previously had a classmate with a speech disability who was basically unable to verbally communicate but who was a valued member of the class, able to contribute in many ways.

    Things often aren't as simple as they seem from a brief description.

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    Quote
    There is talk of "high quality teachers", but what is that? Are they the teachers that have students that score high, or students that improve the most on test scores?

    In my DD's case, there is a problem because the kids in her magnet mostly score very high on the tests to begin with, so they can't "improve." Which is a problem, ironically.

    They were told they needed to do better than they did last year. Last year, DD received a perfect score (no problems incorrect) on one part of the standardized test and got one or two wrong (I forget) on the other part.

    But, you know. This year, aim higher... frown

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