IEPs and Legal Issues

Public display of test scores

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Joined: Jan 17, 2013
Posts: 1
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Posted Jan 17, 2013 at 11:56:05 PM
Subject: Public display of test scores

I am a teacher in an LD self-contained classroom. My students have disabilities in reading, math, cognitive processing, language and a myriad of other areas. By definition they are two standard deviations or more below their peers on standardized tests of cognitive ability, or they would not be in this setting. Nevertheless, they are required to take grade-level standardized tests in reading and math every 6 weeks, even thought their instructional level is 2 or more grade levels below what is assumed by the tests. They do get some accommodations, but the test content is complex and assumes typical cognitive reasoning abilities. In addition, the tests are based on common core standards arranged on a pacing guide that is much too fast for most of my students, so they are just not going score proficient on these tests, no matter how hard they try.

That is unfair in itself, and I spend a lot of time downplaying the significance of the grade-level tests to my students and highlighting their amazing progress (some of my 3rd graders have advanced 2 full grade levels, from pre-k to end of first grade, in reading over the past year and a half . . .but of course this is not recognized as progress by our school because they still test as "novice" on third grade reading tests . . .but that is beside the point here)

So, as if making them take the test were not bad enough, the school has decided to POST a graph of the test scores on the outside of each classroom door to "encourage" students and teachers to get higher scores. . . Yesterday, I caught a 4th grade reg. ed. student pointing to our conspicuously flat bar graph and LAUGHING. It was about all I could do not to slap that child, sit him down and give him an 8th grade test just to let him see how it felt. But I restrained myself, because I would like to keep my job, and I spoke to that student's teacher about it.

My question is, isn't posting my students' low test scores discrimination? I only have five third graders and four first graders so when they post the "anonymous" test reports on my door there is really no question as to exactly whose low scores they are displaying.
I have also gotten several emails from our literacy "coach" telling me I need to turn in my DRA scores so that they can be graphed and displayed, but thus far I have simply ignored the request. Do I have legal grounds for calling what they are doing a violation of my students' rights, seeing as the low test scores are directly related to their documented disabilities? Any thoughts on how to word my defense after I go in tomorrow and take those asinine graphs off of my classroom door?

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Joined Apr 29, 2008
Posts: 135

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Posted:Jan 27, 2013 2:46:03 PM


The issue in your posting is interesting. I have been watching to see if there would come any responses to your questions but I believe mine may be your first. This too is interesting.

In my opinion, I do not think that any "legal" issue exists or a violation of privacy has taken place in your situation. I sense that only "directory informatiion" is being displayed and the score posting on display is group score information and nothing else that is personally identifiable. This is no different than having a newspaper display test results for all publics to view. Hence, I don't see an IDEA or FERPA issue in this at all.

I will conclude, however, that what has been done is a bad administrative decision to do this by classroom in this school. The question one should be raising is "what's the benefit" of posting these results by classroom. It is an absurd demonstration of a scoreboard mentality of a school administration to say the least. I think this was faulty judgment on their part.

My advice to you is to do what you are asked to do and if your parents are concerned about this test score posting, encourage them to take their concerns to the school administrators or above them in the chain of command. They are the ones that need to defend this unnecessary activity.

[Modified by: DRHD on January 27, 2013 02:49 PM]

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