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Learning Disabilities: MDT Services

Martha and Martin, twins in your class, have learning problems due to complications at birth. Both students have been mainstreamed but, as third graders, as the expectations for working independently and curriculum requirements increase, basic teacher-made adjustments have not proved to be sufficient. These twins are being referred to determine whether they are eligible for classification and special education services.

Martha has difficulty processing letters and numbers, thus she has difficulty with oral reading, math computation and with the physical task of writing. She has good ideas, enjoys sharing her ideas orally, and her reasoning and listening comprehension skills are relatively strong.

Martin has good rote skills (e.g., oral reading, solving math equations) but his reasoning and comprehension skills are poor.

You reflect on their abilities and prepare to make suggestions to their parents and the MDT about what tests would be best for determining their skill levels and need for services.
(1) What informal tests would you recommend for each of these students?
(2) Provide a rationale for your recommendation.

Solution Preview

The beginning point for assessing is being aware there is a reason why you are assessing the student. The challenge is designing an assessment that will fulfill your objective. You must consider the decision you are going to make to gather the appropriate information, and the approach most effective.

It is important to compare the students' abilities with common measures. The most common are those with other students, with criteria's and with the student's performance in other areas. Through careful reflection of the purpose of the assessment the fitting frame will become apparent.

Formative assessment test such as computer-based test provides the teacher feedback information in areas of strengths and weakness. Summative assessments such as IQ test and traditional examinations are test that are pass or fail type test. Summative assessments are not very helpful for communicating complex data about a student's individual abilities are they strong in a content, but week with sub-skills contents such as in the case of Martin. Good oral reading, but poor comprehension skills.

In the case of Martha, not exactly sure what is meant by processing? (ie, reading, identifying, cognitive) However, a formative assessment will allow the student and other interest parties to form a more detailed opinion of her abilities, ...

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