Thursday, November 17, 2011

Objective Reporting



Jenny, over at Our Little Chili Tribe, posted yesterday about her son's Developmental Assessment, and it reminded me of just how awful they can be.  We, as parents, know what our children are capable of, and we, as parents always need to know in what areas improvement is needed and what we can do about it.  That would be productive.  But those assessments can be really deflating, leaving you to wonder, "Why was that necessary?"  I think the biggest negative of those assessments is when, after reading all of the things your child can and cannot do in the testing environment, you are left with an age.  Not your child's current age, but the age at which they perform in each area.  Talk about deflating!  Really, there's nothing better than hearing that your child speaks/moves/handles utinsils like a child two to three years younger than their current chronological age.  Right?  I challenge you - give me one parent who smiles and says, "Okay!" and you'll seriously be able to knock me over with a feather.  Or I'll eat my hat.  Or I'll believe pigs can fly.  Or one of those other silly little idioms we use to make a point. 

I'm all for objective assessments, for learning what needs work, for collaborating with therapists to determine what tools are needed to stimulate growth and improvement, but I still have yet to understand why we really need to hear age.  There's got to be a better way.  Coming up with ideas and solutions is productive.  Making the parent feel defensive and angry, sad and helpless, is counter-productive.

Now that Samantha is in Kindergarten, I'm not so sure yet if those developmental assessments are a thing of the past or not.  I suspect that while the school-based services will not score her in that fashion in any areas, it is possible that her private ST and PT still may.  Now that Samantha is in Kindergarten, academics are on the table.  Academics, which are not a part of the IEP process, or at least not yet. 

I expect that as a fully-included member of her Kindergarten class, Samantha will be graded and scored objectively, along with her classmates.  Currently, the only modification or accomodation I am aware of being in place is the 1:1 aide, an amazing resource teacher who is so helpful to ensure that Samantha is able to keep up and stay on task with the instruction being given and to participate as a part of the group, something she sometimes has difficulty doing.  Currently, Samantha is tested alongside her peers, observed objectively.  I don't expect her to be babied.  

Yesterday we received her very first report card. 

And it was good!  The areas that are graded are both academic and social, scoring the children on their ability to either exceed the expectation, show sufficient progress, be developing emerging skills, or need improvement (those aren't the exact terms used in the scoring, as they varied from section to section, but you get the idea).  I am excited to see how those skills progress from marking period to marking period!  I really don't envy the teachers having to churn these out for so many students every few months - what a BIG job that must be!  But I am so grateful for it. 

The snapshot of Samantha's report card above shows the areas of Reading and Writing.  The black dots show areas that have not yet been worked on in the class, but will probably show up next marking period.  The "E's" are for Exceeds Expectation.  Ahhh, how wonderful that was to see!  And the most exciting part of that is that Samantha also does most of the items that they have not yet covered, as well.  If she's been working on them now, already, think how extra-ready she'll be for them next time!  Mommy and Daddy are so super-proud! 

The other areas on the report card covered more conceptual academic skills and social skills, all items she met expectations for or showed sufficient progress on.  There was one little itty bitty teensy tiny Needs Improvement, however, and one that doesn't altogether surprise me...Exhibits Self-Control.  Ha!  I'm reasonably certain that I scored rather low in that area as a child as well...

Back to my point about objectivity...I thanked the teacher today for her objectivity in grading Samantha's report card.  Really, as an educator, what else could she do?  My expectation is objectivity.  No free ride.  No coddling.  I think that's what we're getting.  Samantha will learn to hold her own, to think and react on her own.  This is the biggest life skill, one that will stay with her forever

And this is where it starts. 

13 comments:

Team Lando said...

Makes my mommy-heart AND my teacher-heart smile.

Rochelle said...

YAY Sammi, and yay for a teacher that is working so well with her to help her learn all the while not babying her!

Krista said...

Way to go Sammi!!! I like it when you get to be a part of the assessment. We have been through this a lot lately, moving to a new country and all. It makes me so proud to talk about my baby and all she is doing.

Chromosomally Enhanced said...

Very awesome! I think that also expect what you would with any child and you will great results...I expect nothing less then the best effort from all involved with Maddie...including Maddie...so glad to hear you all are having such a positive educational experience...teachers rock! Smiles

The Annessa Family said...

Yay! Good report cards rock!!!

Brooke
www.TheAnnessaFamily.blogspot.com

Anna Theurer said...

Whoo hoo Sammi! Great post.

Jenny said...

Excellent post!!! That first paragraph described EVERY thing I felt after Russell's "assessment"...Deflated. Because I go into those Assessments knowing Russell is doing amazing and wonderful...And then they tell me at what age he is "functioning" at and I am crushed.

Anyway, it helps knowing other Moms get what I am feeling :)

And Sammi is doing GREAT!! I just loved seeing her little report card! What an exciting stage in your lives to be at right now!

And I am going for the exact line of thinking you are...I don't want Russell babied, or anything modified unnecessarily for him. We expect from him...And Ds or not, there will be no free ride!

Tara said...

Yay for Sammi! I totally get what you are saying about the "age" thing and the assessments; just like a hot poker in the eye to hear that your 13 month old is at the developmental age of a 7 month old. :-(

Pallavi said...

Oooo Hooo... Awesome

Rob Monroe said...

Woo Hoo! Go Samantha!

Melissa said...

Way to go Sammi!

Claire has never had a developmental assessment. Or at least not one that I've seen. And while I don't like hearing her skills are far below her age, I would like some feedback. Other parents talk about their IFSPs and list goal like stacking blocks or learning a set number of new signs. I do well with concrete goals, and we just don't get them from our IFSP. Kind of makes me nervous for her IEP.

Zoey's mom, Heather said...

Expected no less from my Sammi girl. you know I live vicariously through your child, don't you? Makes me smile.

I have been a slacker but upon playing catch up : The hair... wow..still long but look at those locks cut off. And the flashback pictures ... so stinking cute!

Have a wonderful weekend and I keep meaning to post about your pictures from when you and Steve first met and being an eighties girl and a bartender and all... I sure wish I had pictures to show you of me, in pink Bongo jeans with zippers up the back of the legs, pink pumps, behind the bar and well you get the picture. Oh and the big hair. My oh my.My kids would die!

Monica (Jakel) Crumley said...

What a fantastic report card! Way to go, Sammi. Such a smart girl!