The reality of giving the proficiency assessment to my special education class is that it takes a lot of valuable instructional time away from these students. I teach an LD resource class in the district. It is comprised of 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th and 5th graders with various learning needs.
Just taking into account my 3rd, 4th and 5th, I hope to give you a glimpse at why these assessments take so long to complete.
- 3rd takes the MPA and RPA. I have five 3rd graders. Two of them get readers, three of them don’t. The ones that don’t get readers can not be in the same vicinity of the ones that get readers because the test is just as hard if not harder for them, so if they hear me reading it, they’re going to listen, just to try and help their understanding. The student that I’m reading to may not understand or remember how to find the quotient of a maroon triangle, but the student that I’m not reading it to is trying to figure out the m word and the t word. But I digress, in addition to have to test the 3rd grade readers and non readers separately; one of the 3rd graders that I read to also gets a scribe and the two 3rd graders that I read to move at different paces, so I have to test them individually. Don’t forget that almost all of these students get double extended time as an accommodation as well. So for my five 3rd graders that I see for an hour each day taking 2 assessments (MPA and RPA), it will take every bit of the 5 hours that I see them in a week to complete these 10 assessments and provide them with their accommodations. This is 5 hours of specialized instruction that they are NOT receiving, since I cannot help them or explain anything to them at this time.
- The 4th graders are a bit easier this year as they just receive a quiet area and extended time. But they take the MPA, RPA and SPA and I only see them for 30-45 minutes depending on the student. So again the 2.5 to 3.75 hours that they could receive specialized education that week is spent taking these 6 assessments.
- The 5th graders, all three receive readers, and one receives a scribe. They all receive extended time, but again, all move at very different paces. I can usually get by with reading to two of them at the same time and then read and scribe to the third at a different time. They take the MPA, RPA, and SSPA. It takes every bit of the hour and a half that I see one, the hour I see another, and the 45 minutes that I see the third each day for a week.
To recap, each time that the district mandates a proficiency assessment, it takes at least a week away from special education instruction for our students who need it the most. That’s 6 -8 weeks of instruction these students are missing out on. Not to mention that for some of these students struggling through assessment after assessment does nothing but lower their self esteem and confidence. As it would for you as well, if you were still learning how to add and subtract single digit numbers and you were being asked to find the quotient of a maroon triangle.
A Concerned ECE Teacher