Question regarding testing eligibility testing...

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by LittleDudesMom, May 13, 2011.

  1. LittleDudesMom

    LittleDudesMom Well-Known Member Staff Member

    I posted this over on Special Education but wanted to post it here since there is so much more activity on this forum and there are some pretty darn smart and experienced warrior parents who frequent the forum!

    I met with difficult child's IEP team for his triennial back in February. difficult child has not been "fully" tested since his first IEP eligibility six years ago.

    I signed off on Educational and Observation assessments at that time. I was speaking with the compliance officer today to schedule our eligibility meeting to review testing and I told him that difficult child said he has not had any testing yet although we were scheduling the meeting for 5/23 (basically a week away). I indicated that I thought that was a really short time for them to do the appropriate assessment and get the results to me two days prior to meeting.

    He said all the educational assessments have been done.

    I questioned this statement because I assumed, when I signed off on testing, that educational testing included something similar to the Woodcock-Johnson and/or WISK IV. He stated that those were psychological tests and we did not discuss those?????

    You know, I never thought of those tests as psychological - I viewed these as educational since they are used to test general intellectual ability, specific cognitive abilities, oral language, and academic achievement, etc.

    I am dismayed because I really wanted difficult child to be looked at again for NonVerbal Learning Disorder (NVLD), dysgraphia, etc.

    I would appreciate anyone's thoughts on this.

  2. jennd23

    jennd23 New Member

    We had something similar happen. I had to disagree with the findings and request the additional tests at the last meeting. They are donig them all now and we're meeting next month to review them.
  3. TeDo

    TeDo Guest

    I agree with jenn. If they aren't a part of the testing that was done and the findings of the testing they did do don't show the types of things you see, disagree with their findings and request testing of those areas, regardless of what tests they do use. They need to assess all areas you want tested whether they use the W-J, WISC, or some other test.
  4. LittleDudesMom

    LittleDudesMom Well-Known Member Staff Member

    My question is not a problem with requesting more testing per se (I'm confident requesting what I think difficult child might need, but rather does it make sense that the Special Education dept would consider the W-J and WISC psychological testing rather than academic testing. Thanks!

  5. TeDo

    TeDo Guest

    I guess it might depend on the perspective of the tester(s) and if they have different assessment tools they rely on more and reserve the W-J and WISC for psychological. There are so many different tests out there that I guess I don't know. In our school district, they do the W-J and WISC exclusively which is also a disadvantage because they don't go deep enough into the academics sometimes to find lacking skills. Those tests have never picked up on the fact that my difficult child has reading comprehension problems. At the IEP meeting, the reading specialist from the school district shared findings from her in-depth reading assessment that I requested of her personally and the team's response was "that's not what our testing showed". She was our SpEd teacher before she became our reading specialist so she pointed out the faults of the W-J and WISC when it comes to academic difficulties.
  6. seriously

    seriously New Member

    I'll answer this here because it's a clarification about these tests and they are not only done in the context of Special Education.

    When you talk about the Woodcock Johnson you will need to be more specific.

    There are two different tests from Woodcock Johnson. One is a test of achievement usually referred to as the WJ III Achievement. It measures academic skills and knowledge. For example, it assesses reading comprehension or math knowledge along with the fluency or speed at which the child can perform these types of academic tasks. This test can also be given in portions that are meant to be very brief assessments of academic achievement.

    The other one is the Woodcock Johnson Tests of Cognitive Abilities. It is an intelligence test and is designed to be used with the WJIII Achievement testing.

    However either set of WJ assessments can be used separately.

    The WISC is the Weschler Intelligence Scale for Children. It can be administered in full or brief form. It is a widely used intelligence test.

    Educational testing is usually interpreted to mean tests of achievement - not ability. Tests of ability/disability are generally seen as psychological. This is why both kinds are done when a child's eligibility is first established. It used to be that the difference between scores on achievement tests and scores on ability tests were the basis for determining learning disabilities. While that is no longer allowed, it is still necessary to establish the child's achievement and ability levels in order to help identify some areas of special needs or patterns of strength/weakness.

    Generally (but not always) the school would do a new Psycho-educational Assessment which would include a test of cognitive abilities at a triennial. It might be one of these tests or another but the main purpose of this testing at triennials is simply to establish that the child

    1) continues to have normal or near-normal intelligence since extremely low intelligence must be ruled out as a reason for lack of academic progress and
    2) that there has not been a significant decline in intelligence since the previous testing

    This is because the triennial is officially a time to reconsider the child's continuing eligibility for Special Education.

    The Psycho-ed report should also include a short history section that recaps the child's development including the changes of the previous 3 years and any other assessments the school psychologist feels are needed based on observed/known areas of disability or suspected areas of disability. There is no "standard" set of tests/assessments done except that at least a brief IQ test is generally required.

    If there is no question of continuing eligibility then what testing is done is much fuzzier. And in no case is there a prescribed set of testing.

    I always suggest that parents ask for a complete battery of testing in every area at least once to make sure there are no "hidden" disabilities particularly language processing ones which are assessed by speech pathologist.

    If you have not received a copy of the assessment results then I would insist on receiving a copy immediately since they say they have been done. Then you can see what was done at the triennial (if you're unsure) and decide if, taken together, you have enough information/assessment or not.

    If you wanted your son assessed for these specific disability issues then you should have been specific about that when asking for additional testing.
  7. LittleDudesMom

    LittleDudesMom Well-Known Member Staff Member

    You know, this is not my first rodeo - although it is the first one with this school. Both the social worker and psychologist were shared with the middle school so they know me and difficult child and have always been supportive. When I asked for educational assessments, I assumed the WJ (achievement) at the very least. This was based on past experience. Assumption would be my first mistake.....

    At the triennial, there was no question that difficult child was still eligible, at least verbally....... I don't question their intent to keep him on an IEP, but I do want to make sure they don't take away the supports (especially directed towards note taking and lengthy written assignments) by just doing a short classroom observation - if you get my concern.

    I think my plan, at this point, is to go to the meeting without preconceived notions, and see what happens. If I don't feel difficult child's needs are being specifically and completely addressed/me, I will go from there!

    I do understand that further testing is not always necessary at the triennial. It really is just a look at whether the child is appropriately placed. At his last triennial, the team agreed difficult child was placed appropriately, his IEP goals were being met, and the supports included at the IEP were appropriate - we added two classroom modifications that were better suited to middle school, and away we went! High school now.........

  8. TeDo

    TeDo Guest

    I hope it all works out for you both. I guess I would have made the same assumptions about the testing based on past experience with the same testers. I know you know what you are doing and congratulate you for getting your difficult child this far. Just out of curiosity, let us know how this played out at the meeting. If they're not using the testing they have used in the past I am curious to know what they are going to use.
  9. seriously

    seriously New Member

    I think I don't understand the system where you live.

    It sounds like the school district/state where you live does things in the opposite order as here in CA. Here testing is done in advance of the triennial IEP and presented at the meeting for review before eligibility, goals and placement are revisited. Here, there is no way that a kid would go 6 years without at least repeat cognitive ability testing and achievement testing. Other assessments like speech would be done if they were called for in the IEP unless those areas of service had been recently assessed and results reported.

    Is the upcoming meeting the actual triennial meeting where a new IEP is agreed upon and the previous meeting was some kind of preliminary to that meeting?

    Sorry if the previous post sounded like a lecture. I have been accused of that before :geek: but have yet to find a 12 step program that addresses this problem effectively.:hammer:
  10. LittleDudesMom

    LittleDudesMom Well-Known Member Staff Member

    The purpose of the first meeting at the end of Feb was a three-year review and testing component selection. It included inpute from a couple teachers, a review of his grades, and selection of components to consider his eligibility. This next meeting is to review the results of the "testing" and for the team to make recommendations, if needed, for his IEP. Then there will be yet another meeting to actually write the "new" IEP. Seems like a waste of good time doesn't it? You would think they could just write the IEP at our next meeting based on the test results, especially given that they really haven't done much. So we will have three meetings in addition to the meeting I have with his case worker Monday to review his BIP....... But it will leave me open to request more testing if necessary.

    You know, it's interesting, seriously, that you mention it having been three years without new cognitive ability and achievement testing. I asked the case worker about that yesterday. I phrased the question as "is this typical" and he skirted around it a little and said it is case by case.

    I'll let you know what happens on the 23rd.

    Thanks for the input.

  11. seriously

    seriously New Member

    Holy Cow. If our district took 3 meetings to do a triennial they would be doing triennials every 9 years. Our district has about 3800 Special Education students out of a total school district size of 33,000ish and I think we have 6 or 8 program specialists who oversee the IEP's. Hm. That would be about 450 IEP's per program specialist a year if they had to attend every one of them.

    We do all that in one meeting unless there's enough disagreement that we have to table the meeting and come back together or if there's new findings that require going in a different direction and more testing.

    I can request more testing at any point although the district doesn't "have" to do it if the same area has been assessed within the previous 12 months. That doesn't apply to assessments about which there is substantial disagreement and I want an IEE done - that is messier of course.

    Good luck - you are right, that sure sounds like a big time waster.