Evaluating Mid-Year Success

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Evaluating Mid-Year Success

Evaluating Mid-Year Success | LA County Special Education Plan

At the beginning of a school year, it is impossible to know whether your child will struggle or thrive in school. While you can prepare him for what is to come and focus on buying the best supplies and getting ready for an awesome school year, you cannot foresee what his test scores will be or how well he will be able to integrate new information in each of his classes. Instead of waiting until the end of the school year to evaluate success, mid-year evaluations can show parents, teachers, and students what is going well and what could be done differently for increased success.

In older grades, such as the middle school and high school years, students may be taking mid-year examinations in December before they break for the holiday season. These examinations provide important information about where the student is struggling. Plus, the upcoming holiday season gives these students a chance to work on more difficult topics without the pressure of school the next day. Having a week or two off can decrease their stress and help them focus on what really matters.

What to Focus on During Mid-Year Evaluations

Children in earlier grades may need a different focus when it comes to mid-year evaluations. In particular, parents should focus on those classes that serve as foundational building blocks for the future, including reading, writing, and arithmetic. Reading and writing are both important for communication, and arithmetic builds vital reasoning skills.

However, it is not just classroom learning skills that must be evaluated at this time but also important interpersonal and emotional skills that form the basis for a well-balanced childhood. Teachers should be sending home evaluations that look at such important skills and qualities as following directions, being respectful of others, having a good attitude, staying on task, and demonstrating self-control. Any concerns in these areas should be covered at a mid-year evaluation.

Mid-year evaluations also provide parents and teachers with time to determine whether or not special needs children are appropriately meeting goals on their IEPs. There should be no shame in making changes to the IEP now to help these children. Perhaps they need different accommodations, or they may need goals sharpened to match the speed at which they are developing. A simple IEP meeting can correct any potential problems, help teachers and parents share any concerns they have, and set the student up for a successful spring semester.