Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Discouraging Academic Progress

We recently received Danielle's results from the state-mandated academic testing.  The results were very discouraging.  She took the standard test for math, and the modified (easier) test for language arts.  She scored at far below basic proficiency on the math exam, and didn't get enough answers correct on the language arts for them to give her a score.

Obviously, she isn't anywhere near passing.

I am frustrated, because all along this journey the teachers and academic professionals who have worked with her have been telling us how well she's doing.

If she's doing so well, why aren't we seeing improvements in her test scores?  Each time she's taken the tests (even the modified ones) she's always scored at far below basic proficiency.  I realize that each year the tests increase in difficulty, but shouldn't we be seeing some evidence of catching up by now?  Arguably, Danielle's language arts scores are worse than they were last time around, as at least then they were able to produce a score.


  1. I wouldn't get too upset about the test scores. Some kids are crappy test takers, some tests are skewed towards a certain geographical area or cultural background. Bug recently scored at a 9th grade reading level on a standardized test, but I am certain she is reading at a college level. She is an avid, strong reader who can pick up comprehension of novels and really examine the text. However, she doesn't like taking standardized tests and doesn't like to read things that she isn't interested in. So I'm sure that her score was affected by that. Also, Danielle might be doing good based on how she started out..maybe not compared to the average student, but good for how far she has progressed?

  2. Agree. Mine just doesn't do her best on a test - if you tell her it's a test, she goes brain dead. If you don't - if you ask her what she knows, you'll be blown away. She's brilliant. Same in all aspects of her life. Her best swim team performance in the two years she was on the team - the FIRST MEET. That meet occurred before she had the opportunity to attend swim practice. Now, does that mean that she was getting slower as a swimmer? Absolutely not. She paced herself behind the last swimmer. Her performance was tied to the slowest person she could swim behind. Will she go to the olympics? Maybe. I found another team to put her on and they don't care at all if she never races.

  3. My son with ADHD gets bored of tests and just fills in the rest of the circles, not always, but I know he's done it before. These kids don't care about the tests (and for my kids, they didn't need to really). Can she read, do math etc? Read with her, ask her about the book, have her help with recipes to see if she can follow instructions and do math, then judge for yourself how she's doing. Is she receiving services in school? Has she been tested for a learning disability or developmental problem in reading or speech or math? What about ADHD?

  4. I agree with the above-commenters to a certain extent, but when you are receiving services in school, THIS is the only thing they really put any emphasis on to gauge her progress. If she is scoring so low, they "should" be offering her services. My daughter scored extremely high on the tests she took in Kdg/1st/2nd grades. So high, in fact, that it has followed her throughout the years and she is refused help at every turn because she tests so well - so the conclusion is that she's too lazy to do the daily stuff. Well, I kind of agree with that assessment (only to a point), but I've also seen how her mental illness has taken over - her mood swings, emotional instability, etc. (in spite of meds) have all contributed to her poor performance as she gets older. Also, consider kids with FASD. Some have higher IQ's than you'd expect, but they cannot function in daily life as successfully as kids without it. I continuously tell the school that a few of my kids may look fine, but they do not function at a "fine" level on a daily basis. It doesn't matter - they hold out those early test scores as proof positive that my daughter is just lazy. I think you need to have a meeting with the school and try to nail down what "catching up" really means. It was implied over and over that if I just did this therapy or that or agreed to this or that in the school that my son would "catch up". We started this with Early On services when he was 9 mos old. By the time he was 6 I was wondering how long exactly "catching up" would actually take. I asked at an IEP meeting and everyone looked uncomfortable and wishy-washy - and then I KNEW. He wasn't going to catch up, he was losing ground in spite of all the services, all my time, all the money we were shelling out for things not covered by insurance and NO ONE was ever planning on pointing that out to me. There is hope and then there is delusion. I think the professionals are much too concerned this telling us what we're doing wrong to pay attention to the fact that even when we follow their advice to the letter - things don't always work the way they expect them to - which of course is OUR fault anyway....

  5. just one more thing to consider--sometimes kids fail on purpose. i don't know if that applies here. i see it regularly. unfortunately.


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