This article will help you determine if any students in your class need to be referred for special education testing. Before we go any further, let me tell you one thing – none of your fellow teachers think you are qualified to refer a student for testing. I know…it’s harsh, but it is the truth. If you suspect that a student is a candidate for special education testing, you need to convince one of your veteran colleagues that testing the student is a good idea. In fact, the veteran teacher should be the one who refers the student. Now that we have the inconvenient truths out of the way, let’s get down to business. Here are some examples of “red flags” that may alert you to a possible problem with a student:
*A student is not successful in your class. (Yes…obvious!)
*A student is scoring well on assignments, but flunking tests.
*A student is scoring well on tests, but flunking assignments.
*A student is not completing assignments.
*A student is not able to complete tests during a class period, but what he/she completes is done correctly.
*A student reverses the order of numbers and/or letters in written work.
*A student stares off into space instead of listening to what you or her classmates are saying.
*A student’s quality of written work is well below that of his classmates.
*Other signs (and there are many others) include: Difficulty following directions, clumsiness, difficulty manipulating small objects, impulsive behavior, sudden and extreme mood changes, difficulty staying organized, and a tendency to misinterpret the behavior of peers and/or adults.
Some districts use the Response To Intervention (RTI) model to identify candidates for special education testing. The procedure outlined by Fuchs (2003) is as follows:
*Students receive generally effective instruction from their classroom teacher
*Progress is monitored
*If they are not successful, additional or different support is provided in the general education program
*Their progress continues to be monitored
*If they still do not succeed, they may be evaluated for special education services or assigned to receive these services
So, basically the theme of this article is that you should exhaust any and all interventions you can think of for your unsuccessful students before you begin to contemplate referring your student for special education testing. Other articles in this section of newteacherhelp.com will spotlight the testing process, specific learning disabilities that your student may have, and interventions you can use to assist these students.