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I just got my son's MCAS scores and he failed L&A and Math, he is on a IEP and SPEC ED what can I do?


kelleyd3 October 28, 2009

I live in Bedford, Ma and I did just look up the 2009 MCAS results. The town passed as a whole but the sugroup my son is in SPEC ED failed two yrs in a row for his grade level 3-5 in L& A, also in MATH bu only 1 year. I agree the system is horrible his reading level is of a 1st grader and he is in 4the grade receiving tutoring 3 days a week. The tutor has made a difference but the classroom itself is horrible at reading instruction. What can I do with this info, does the NCLB have a weight in the equation. Obviously, there is no AYP in this subgroup 2 years in a row. Who is accountable?

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Betula October 28, 2009

Hey, Kelleyd3,
How wonderful to communicate with parents like you. I live in Illinois. I'm an elementary and special ed. teacher. I'm also a ceritfied parent trainer on special education rights and responsibilites, special education legislation etc. I would be very happy to help you with your concern yet I don't have enough idea about this test since tests are basically the psychologists' job. If you send me adequate info to my e-mail (private) I can tell you what you need to do as you deal with your child's school/teacher etc. Take care.


kelleyd3 October 28, 2009

Hi Betula,
I agree this forum has helped me in so many ways, I am so graceful. The MCAS is a standertized test MASS uses for the NCLB he failed both with a warning. I could scan and send them and some other tests he has gotten that I am having trouble reading. He is in 4th grade and is reading at a 1.5 grade level. He has made progress but its so minimal. Presently he is in a inclusion class with kids with low cognitive ability. The class has everything he needs 1 to 1 inst. 8-12 kids, language based but he is not mainstreamed and is asking to go to the school in our town in a regular class. I want that so much for him but how would he keep up, he is still learning to read not reading to learn.


michellea October 29, 2009

I understand that disappointment and fear that comes with poor test scores. But, in this case, MCAS is your friend. It is evidence that whatever services your son has received up until now are not sufficient for him to make adequate progress. IDEA states that students on IEP's are entitled to a free and appropriate public education (FAPE) which generally means grade level progress. His failure to meet the proficient level on MCAS is the districts failure to provide him with appropriate education.

In your previous post we discussed the possibility of a publicly funded placement at Carroll or Landmark. Of course, Bedford resisted. However, you can be sure that they have placed children in these schools - it is not unheard of - even if they'd like to put the idea out of your mind.

Tell us a bit more about your son. When was he last evaluated? Has he had a private evaluation? Describe his profile - cognitive level/wisc scores, achievement levels.

I am very concerned that they may be placing him in a separate classroom comprised of peers with lower cognitive ability. He is entitled to be with "like peers" in the least restrictive environment - as close to the mainstream as possbile. If he can't make it in the general classroom with the help of para professionals, supplementary reading and math instruction and perhaps a sped teacher, a separate classroom might be appropriate - but only if the peer group and instruction matches his needs. Otherwise, he may languish there and loose ground because the expectations are low and instruction inadequate. Likewise, in your other post, you mentioned placing him in a 3rd grade class. I would say no to this. More of the same non-working approach will only cause him to loose more ground and to hurt his self esteem. Also - you say that the class they are recommending is made up of 8-12 kids. State law mandates that special ed classrooms can have no more than 8 students unless there are supplementary aides or teachers.

The Federation for Children with Special Needs, the MA parent training center has a list of special ed advocates who may be able to help you. Many offer services on a sliding scale free, some, less experienced advocates may offer free services. I believe that having an outsider that knows the law and understands how school systems work will help you develop a good IEP and placement. The web site is

Also - if you do not have a recent private evaluation, I highly recommend that you pursue one. This will give you unbiased information about your child's needs and solid recommendations for the school. Without your own expert information, the school may minimize his lack of progress. has a good list of evaluators. If you want additional names, send me a private message and I can give you a list from Carroll School.

In the meantime, check with Bedford's special ed pac. They often bring in work shops about special ed law, disabilities etc. They usually host the IEP work shop and Basic Rights workshop at least once a year. It would be worth attending. Again, when you are on the Federation website - check to see if there are parent trainings scheduled for your area.


kelleyd3 October 29, 2009

Hi Michelle,

Yes, we had a private evaluation done through Children's Hospital in Boston in May 2008 after the school's evaluation came back he only had ADHD. Actually their evaluation which was done in Feb 2008, said the worst place to put him was in a PDD class as was Childrens. They basically had no other place for him to go, its CASE collabrative and you are correct it is not appropriate for him or his cognitive ability.

His scores from May 2008 at Childrens;
verbal comp=106
perceptual reasoning=104
working mem=86
procesing speed=83

rapid digit naming=6
rapi dletter naming=7
rapid naming composite=79
elision= 7
blending words= 6
pnological awareness composite= 79

sight word efficancy= 63
phonological decoding efficency=


michellea October 29, 2009

Kelly -
Your son shows the classic signs of double deficit dyslexia.
He has very solid cognitive ability as measured by the Verbal and perceptual ind-ices of the WISC. He scores poorly on tests of phonological processing - CTOPP including the rapid naming. His processing and working memory are significantly lower than the "thinking skills" - this slows down his ability to take in new information, commit it to long term memory and demonstrate his knowledge.

Based on these tests (and I'm sure there were more), he has language based LD, most likely on the severe side that is holding him back to meet his potential.

He is SMART! Don't let them place him in a class of kids with developmental or cognitive delays. He deserves to be challenged and enriched. Yes, he'll find academics challenging - but he has the intellectual horsepower to be successful. You just make sure that the school provides him with FAPE - teaches him the literacy and math skills and gives him access to the general curriculum.

Please please get an advocate. I know of some in your area if you are interested. PM me. Or - call the Federation. The district is yanking you around. They must be held accountable. Your son deserves to make at least grade level progress.


snowflower1 October 2, 2012

I just get my son's scores and they are going down because he is having a hard time learning. He has adhd and bipolar disorder too. What can i do to help him learn quicker on ela, math and science, social studies too. They have him on a iep plan to help him because he's in spec ed for his whole time. Can you please let me know how i can help him out.

thank you for listerning to me.

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