This year, Shema Kolainu conducted and submitted both Alternative and Standardized Assessment procedures as required by the state education department. The assessments measure the educational efficiency of schools that service students in New York State.
We are a center for children diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorders. Our student population includes students with severe deficiencies across all domains to those with above average IQ. It is an ongoing challenge to individualize instruction to maximize educational, social and adaptive objectives, and an even greater challenge to reflect those achievements in standardized exams that feature set rules and guidelines.
A large portion of our school age students are mandated for alternative assessment, which is designed for children with diverse abilities. A scale of academic tasks related to state standards is designed to assess the progress and accuracy of independent responses. This assessment is conducted over a number of months and requires observations, data collection, reliability data, and permanent products. Although it is individualized, it does not reflect the learnings that occurred across all verbal behavior domains addressed throughout the year in a behavioral program such as ours. It does allow however, for an accurate individualized performance on modified state standards.
Last year a high functioning school age classroom was created at Shema Kolainu. The students in this class are up to par academically but lack certain social abilities as well as adaptive daily living skills. The students experienced difficulties succeeding in a classroom setting that does not provide behavioral modification, individualized attention, and tactical interventions. They are mandated to participate in standardized testing given their high IQ and ability to complete age appropriate academic tasks.
This year, we are so proud of our students’ abilities to remain focused, and stay on task. We are excited to be a part of a system that pushes academic standards, and accountability. Most of all, we are honored to be part of a society where individuals with disabilities are not bucketed based on title or diagnosis but rather their individualized abilities. In the Shema Kolainu family we view every one of our students as our children, each has name, and each has strengths and weaknesses that are unique to them. It is inspiring to see that we as society have grown to understand that and realize that: NO CHILD SHOULD BE LEFT BEHIND!