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Joined: Nov 03, 2005
Posted Mar 14, 2001 at 12:00:01 AM
Subject: PACT Testing
PACT -Higher Educational Standards vs. Fair Testing PracticesBrace yourselves, parents - another round in the match between high-stakes testing and rights of children with disabilities is about to begin.In the effort to jump on the bandwagon of high-stakes testing as a means of raising educational standards, state mandated PACT testing is trampling on the legal rights and protection of special needs children. The law requires that (1) all children with disabilities be included in state-wide assessments and (2) that the assessments not discriminate on the basis of disability. If the test method prevents the student from demonstrating his knowledge because of his/her disability, another assessment option must be used. Appropriate assessment methods are to be determined by a team, the student’s Individual Education Plan (IEP) team, based on the unique needs of the child.PACT offers a number of allowable accommodations but will not replace biasing test elements with appropriate assessment options. The only alternate assessments permitted are substandard tests for children not being educated in the general curriculum. Thus, children in the general curriculum who require accommodations not on the approved list are denied opportunity for educational advancement. High stakes? You bet!To further complicate matters, the IEP team is comprised of regular and special ed teachers, specialists and service providers, district personnel, and the child’s parents. All but the parents are employed by the school district and must operate within the constraints of the educational system. In effect, only the parents are free to challenge the legality of PACT practices and protect the rights of our special needs children - a lonely and awesome burden. But because the right to have our children educated hangs in the balance, we must meet this responsibility with conviction.So start training, parents. Muster your courage and get ready for round three.Mary D. Gollwitzer
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