It’s My Right
Federal and state law give children with disabilities the right to an assessment every three years if there is evidence that new information is needed. Generally, parents feel this is a good idea. School systems know assessments are expensive and they want to take advantage of the provision that says if "new information is needed".
Unequivocally, more and better assessments are good- sometimes.
But sometimes, too many assessments are not good for children. Assessments generally cause kids anxiety and too many assessments just cause more anxiety.
Sometimes- taking the same assessment too many times invalidates the assessment itself. Kids begin to remember what is on the test and so the test no longer measures what it is supposed to measure and instead measures the student’s memory.
Sometimes- when children take assessments too close together there is no discernable measurable progress and that upsets children and families.
Sometimes- the progress that the test does show is meaningless. Moving from a 4.5 grade level reading to a 5.0 grade level reading is not that big a deal in terms of functioning in the world. There are a lot more important things that children could be working on than moving the needle on grade level.
Sometimes- kids’ progress doesn’t keep up with the test so the results seem to indicate that the child has moved backwards when in fact what has happened is that the child has not moved forward at the same pace as the test has set expectations.
Sometimes- school systems measure the cost of the assessment against the benefit to the child and do not think the assessment is worth the investment.
Sometimes- there isn’t any new information that the tests will give to the service delivery team. If a teacher has been working with a child for a year or two, that teacher should know more about that child than a newer test score can tell him/her.
Sometimes- people who do the testing don’t give good information about the results. The test score is probably the least important information from the test administration. A good test administrator will know what learning processing challenges were most difficult for the child and will report that information back to the direct service personnel. Unfortunately, it takes a very skilled test administrator to do that and it takes a very good school system to provide the vehicle for this information to get back to the teacher.
Sometimes- updated assessments are only done when there has been a marked change in the child’s learning behaviors and there is hope that a new assessment might tell why.
And sometimes, it really isn’t necessary to exercise every right that you have and it is best to let the assessment review go unnoticed. That’s your right too.