WJ scores how to interpret and goals for next year

Discussion in 'Special Ed 101' started by pepperidge, May 27, 2008.

  1. pepperidge

    pepperidge New Member


    I got the computer printout for the my son's WJ tests. I know something about statistics and have the wrightlaw page on interpreting test results so I understand much of it. However the Special Education teacher said that we should focus on the SS rather than the GE or AE scores. Just looking at the SS scores, he falls below 86 in several (broad math, brief writing, math calc skills--78). Two questions.

    1) what does the 68% band in parantheses mean next to the SS? Does it mean a confidence interval around the SS? for example on math calculation skilss he got a 78 (74-82)?

    2) Even for those scores where he falls within one standard deviation, they are towards the bottom of the one standard deviation range. In many things he is at the 4 or 5th grade level (even though he is finishing up 7th grade). This is a kid with above average IQ (verbal of 123 and performance IQ of 107), but with difficulties with persistence, math facts, spelling, writing legibly, reads pretty much ok. Should I be concerned? and what should I be asking for?

    3) how concerned should I be that his performance appears to have deteriorated:

    in 2nd grade for example his SS in broad reading was 110, now is 100 ; reading fluency has gone down from 111 to 89; his broad math has gone down from 96 to 82 and broad written language has gone down from 103 to 89. We also have WJ testing from 5th grade (school didn't report the broad scores) that suggests on most of the language arts drops occured between 5 and 7th grade.

    I can imagine the school district saying that without Special Education intervention he would have done even worse, given that he has not exactly been available for learning (which is true, given his emotional difficulties particularly in 5 and 6th grade). What does one say in response?

    4) How to write goals for next year. As I posted before, the goal in his draft IEP is math at 7th grade level next year. First of all, I don't know what that means--whose 7th grade level? state tests, passing grade in his 7/8th grade remedial math class; WJ? Second, and I guess related to that, what measurement to use? What I was pushing for in his IEP meeting was some sense of whether, if he passes the tests in his math class, where that will put him grade-wise level in terms of acquistion of skills. I think that is the correct tack to take. But should we have him tested at end of year in WJ again?

    5) What do you all think about having the school district do the achievement testing? I pretty much trust them to adminster the test objectively, but....

    thanks again.
  2. Martie

    Martie Moderator


    There are tow ways to look at this. One way is through curriculum based assessment which is how the RtI folks like to look at things, but as you point out, it is hard to know what it means to "be in 7th grade." The other method is by using standard scores, and in my opinion this is the only way to discover what you have: your difficult child SS have dropped since 2nd grade. This means he is lower in relationship to peers now than he was then, not that he has not learned things, but just not as many as the average child (or else he did not demonstrate what he knows on the test, which is always a possibility.) This "loss of relative standing" means that the longer a child is in school the farther behind he falls. This concept is easily demonstrable using SS and is how Pete Wright won the Shannon Carter case in my opinion.

    What a 68% confidence interval means is that there is a 68% chance that the "true score" lies within the stated band. This is thought to be "good" but I tend to remember that there is a 32% chance that it does not. Higher accuracy can be attained, but if a very wide score band is used, then the band is meaningless (we already knew the true scores was between 80 and 120 without testing.)

    I would not trust the school district to administer achievement tests because they have every reason to cheat. My ex-difficult child used the resource room for "study hall" but never received assistance for anything (per his IEP). When it came time for standardized testing, he told me how much assistance the aides gave to students so they could "understand the questions." I am not saying your school district inflated your child's scores, but it is to their advantage to do so.

    Finally, test scores on class work are a bit like grades. All academic problems can be "solved" by giving all students "A's." This may sound extreme, but Special Education services are based on negative educational impact and if the grades are good, then it is hard to see the negative impact EXCEPT seriously BD kids can have behavior that leads to negative impact socially and emotionally while maintaining grades. SP hearing officers are often troubled by this: the school district has a laundry list of complaints (including suspensions) but the child has VERY GOOD GRADES. Hmmm...one would almost think the school district was trying to make negative impact appear to be diminished.

    I would write IEP goals that speak directly to whatever you think you difficult child needs to be more successful in the gen ed curriculum. Higher goals are a good idea for a child who is this bright in my opinion. Low expectations tend to be a problem in special education even now.