With the school year rapidly coming to a close and special education students getting close to summer break, it is vital that both teachers and parents carefully evaluate each student’s progress. These evaluations can be difficult to do because of the desire to have students succeed as much as possible, but they are vital to ensure that the student continues to receive necessary services during the next school year.
First, progress should be based on the IEP, or Individualized Education Plan. Special education students who do not meet a majority of their IEP goals in a given school year may have been placed in a class that was too difficult for them, or they may not have had the resources that they needed to make the most progress. The IEP should contain specific goals that are easy to check for completion.
Second, in inclusive classrooms, special education students should be given tests and assignments similar to those given to their peers. However, the weight that each of these assessments holds in the overall grading scale may need to be different for these students versus their peers.
Third, informal observations should be used by teachers and parents alike and should be discussed at regular parent/teacher meetings or at IEP meetings. This can help teachers and parents pick up quickly on student strengths and weaknesses.
Fourth, some special education students, particularly those who are older, should be given time for self-assessment. These students often have a good idea of how well they did over the course of the school year and may even have some good ideas for how they could do better next year.