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    #250705 03/21/24 04:36 PM
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    My son is in 11th grade and he was recently evaluated through the school system. He has fairly severe motor issues and has been using assistive technology for years rather than handwriting. He even types math. He also has ADHD. They were required to give an achievement test and chose the Woodcock Johnson. Since he has painful writing, they allowed him to keyboard the test, for instance writing fluency, and because he scored 96th percentile on that subtest (he types 42 wpm and it's a timed test) his overall score was too high to qualify in categories like Physically Impaired and SLD-written expression. They say according to State law if a student has a motor disability they need to give accommodations on achievement tests because they are assessing written expression not handwriting.. In my mind, it invalidates the score.

    They also claimed that no services are needed because even though he can only handwrite 7 words per minute he can access the curriculum and does well by using accommodations. The same argument was made for ADHD. His grades are good because late work is accepted, so therefore his education is not impacted by the disability and he can succeed with accommodations. They also ignored the fact that when they saw him and deemed him focused, he was medicated.

    Thoughts?

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    aeh Offline
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    Hi blackcat! Just wanted to let you know I do have thoughts (short version: you are right!)...but kind of in a time crunch that should let up in about two weeks...at which point I promise to come back and elaborate.


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    Hi! I was hoping you'd still be around since I figured you'd have thoughts but I couldn't figure out how to message you. They sent me a prior written notice stating that keyboarding is an allowed accommodation and I asked for a copy of the test manual where it says that. Crickets.

    The entire eval is incredibly messed up so I asked for an IEE. Waiting to hear back. I mainly just want him to be trained properly on assistive technology which they refuse to do on a 504, seen twice per month by a guidance counselor, yet claim he does not qualify for an IEP.

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    i'm back!

    So, as a general rule, standardized, norm-referenced instruments like the WJIV can only be used for their normative qualities if administered under standardized conditions. You don't need a quote from the manual (although fwiw, here's what Riverside says about using accommodations during testing with the WJIV: https://support.riversideinsights.c...accommodations-can-i-use-during-testing-) to support this well-established basic principle of normative assessment.

    I understand the argument that they gave accommodations for achievement testing because they wanted to assess writing separately from motor speed (although I think many of us would have chosen a different method to assess this), however, given that he has historically been identiifed as physically impaired, there should have been assessments in his area of identified or suspected disability (ie, physical impairment--in this case, occupational therapy evals and assistive technology evals).

    Another factor that the district might want to consider (which is more in the category of enlightened self-interest) is that, in the absence of documented disabilities, the College Board may not allow typing as an accommodation on the AP exams, which may very well lower his (highly likely to be) strong contribution to their average AP score performance in a way that is disadvantageous to their district scorecard. Note: the WJIV sentence writing fluency task is one of the types of tests (actually, the WJ is named) used to document a disability for purposes of qualifying for the typing and extended time accommodations, so obviously, using the accommodation on the test invalidates its use for that purpose.

    FYI, there are other instruments that have writing fluency measures on them, so if/when the IEE is approved, there will still be ways to document his actual level of development.

    So how is he actually doing with AT these days? It sounds like his typing has improved some.


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    Thanks for your insight! Check your Inbox because I put more background info there about how we got to this point.

    He has been taking AP tests since 9th grade and back then they approved word processing, because his 504 plan states everything has to be digital. Last year when he took the AP Biology and AP Economics tests he was forced to handwrite multiple graphs because you can't do that with a word processor. He was able to slow down (he had extended time) and make it legible enough that he got a 4 and a 5. The 4 was for economics which had multiple graphs. Biology only had one graph. Who knows if those graphs impacted his score on Economics.

    For over a year now I've been trying to get the district to address the situation with assistive technology and put in appropriate requests to the College Board. The district has basically told the poor guidance counselor to figure it out. So she started requesting anything i suggest (asking for things to be trialed with him, but they never trial anything) that might help even though he hasn't been trained and has never used certain AT. In 3 weeks he needs to take the AP Statistics test. She put in a request for Efofex Equation but it should have been Efofex Stat, Efofex graph and MathType (he knows how to use MathType). The College Board approved Efofex Equation and denied MathType and I asked how he's supposed to type graphs with that. Plus Efofex equation wasn't even on his device. So she put in another request to substitute Efofex equation with Mathtype and add Efofex Graph (she was not aware that Efofex Stat even exists). I just got a letter from the College Board where they are now denying ALL AT for math, telling him to use a scribe instead. I have no idea how that would work. He's never used a scribe. Basically the College Board was tired of requests that don't make any sense, I think.


    The IEE was approved and I found someone who can assess him for AT. I need to find a psychologist that can do other testing but I am not sure what tests they would use given the handwriting issue. The district did give him a DeCoste Writing protocol whcih showed him writing 7 wpm (keyboarding 42 wpm). But there are no norms. I submitted outsdie PT and OT evals which show him uncoordinated and weak. To top it off he now has cubital tunnel syndrome and possibly dystonia and his hands feel like rocks. Basically the school district acknowledges he has physcial impairments, they just say it doesn't matter because he has good grades, he's in advanced courses, and the accommodations are clearly working for him. He has "equal access to the curriculum." I have no idea how he'd do certain courses like "Art." I'm also worried about things like Chemistry labs and holding chemicals over a Bunsen burner. Right now he's deliberately signed up for courses where he can succeed with accommodations So in their observations he does not look impaired.


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