Please somebody walk me through the system. I have a 15yo 8th grade sped kid who tests at a 5th grade level in math on district assessment tests and continues to score below basic on state mandated testing every year. What is considered adequate yearly progress under NCLB laws or state laws or district laws (and does that vary) and does a school district have any control over what curriculum gets taught in the schools. For whatever reason, my son is not making progress in math. At what point do we say - let's stop beating this horse and move on to something else? I think my son is tired of doing the same kind of work and has been asking his teacher for extra credit materials. He's excited about learning pre-algebra and willingly does the extra credit worksheets. The school continues teaching basic computation skills that he either can't learn or can't show he knows. How do I get the school to move forward in the curriculum? If I can't, what are my options. My gut feeling is that he could be doing more, but I just can't be sure. Thanks for your guidance.

I'm assuming your difficult child has an IEP. http://www.ed.gov/policy/elsec/guid/secletter/020724.html addresses AYP, but you'll also need to check with-your State Education Agency for particulars. in my opinion you need to request a normed Math evaluation(s) that will determine exactly what the problem is and how it can be addressed. You can use NCLB to help bolster your child's IEP, but address goals and progress with the IEP. See Alignment with the No Child Left Behind Act at http://idea.ed.gov/explore/view/p/%2Croot%2Cdynamic%2CTopicalArea%2C3%2C .

I wanted to mention that there are different types of math LDs. It's important to know what is causing the problem in order to address appropriate intervention. The following is more easily read from https://web.archive.org/web/20080202132346/http://www.schwablearning.org/articles.aspx?r=1001 . Math Disability: An Overview By: Diane Pedrotty Bryant, Ph.D. Recently, increased attention has focused on students who demonstrate challenges learning mathematics skills and concepts that are taught in school across the grade levels. Beginning as early as preschool, parents, educators, and researchers are noticing that some students seem perplexed learning simple math skills that many take for granted. For example, some young children have difficulty learning number names, counting, and recognizing how many items are in a group. Some of these children continue to demonstrate problems learning math as they proceed through school. In fact, we know that that 5% to 8% of school-age children are identified as having a math disability.1 Research on understanding more completely what a math disability means and what we can do about it in school has lagged behind similar work being done in the area of reading disabilities. Compared to the research base in early reading difficulties, early difficulties in mathematics and the identification of math disability in later years are less researched and understood.2 Fortunately, attention is now being directed to helping students who struggle learning basic mathematics skills, mastering more advance mathematics (e.g., algebra), and solving math problems. This article will explain in detail what a math disability is, the sources that cause such a disability, and how a math disability impacts students at different grade levels. What is a Math Disability? A learning disability in mathematics is characterized by an unexpected learning problem after a classroom teacher or other trained professional (e.g., a tutor) has provided a child with appropriate learning experiences over a period of time. Appropriate learning experiences refer to practices that are supported by sound research and that are implemented in the way in which they were designed to be used. The time period refers to the duration of time that is needed to help the child learn the skills and concepts, which are challenging for the child to learn. Typically, the child with a math disability has difficulty making sufficient school progress in mathematics similar to that of her peer group despite the implementation of effective teaching practices over time. Studies have shown that some students with a math disability also have a reading disability or Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (AD/HD). Other studies have identified a group of children who have only a math disability. Dyscalculia is a term that has been used for many years when talking about a math disability. Dyscalculia means a severe or complete inability to calculate.3 Some people use the term dyscalculia to describe a child who has problems learning mathematics skills and concepts. However, the terms learning disabilities in mathematics and math disability are used more widely today. Several Sources of Math Disability When a child is identified as having a math disability, his difficulty may stem from problems in one or more of the following areas: memory, cognitive development, and visual-spatial ability.4, 5, 6, 7 Memory Memory problems may affect a childs math performance in several ways. Here are some examples: * A child might have memory problems that interfere with his ability to retrieve (remember) basic arithmetic facts quickly.8, 9 * In the upper grades, memory problems may influence a childs ability to recall the steps needed to solve more difficult word problems,10 to recall the steps in solving algebraic equations, or to remember what specific symbols (e.g., å, s, π, ≥ mean. * Your childs teacher may say, He knew the math facts yesterday but cant seem to remember them today. * While helping your child with math homework, you may be baffled by her difficulty remembering how to perform a problem that was taught at school that day. Cognitive Development Students with a math disability may have trouble because of delays in cognitive development, which hinders learning and processing information.11 This might lead to problems with: * understanding relationships between numbers (e.g., fractions and decimals; addition and subtraction; multiplication and division) * solving word problems * understanding number systems * using effective counting strategies Visual-Spatial Visual-spatial problems may interfere with a childs ability to perform math problems correctly. Examples of visual-spatial difficulties include: * misaligning numerals in columns for calculation * problems with place value that involves understanding the base ten system * trouble interpreting maps and understanding geometry.12 What Math Skills Are Affected? According to the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act of 2004 (IDEA), a learning disability in mathematics can be identified in the area of mathematics calculation (arithmetic) and/or mathematics problem solving. Research confirms this definition of a math disability.13, 14, 15, 16, 17 Math Calculations A child with a learning disability in math calculations may often struggle learning the basic skills in early math instruction where the problem is rooted in memory or cognitive difficulties. For example, research studies have shown that students who struggle to master arithmetic combinations (basic facts) compared to students who demonstrated mastery of arithmetic combinations showed little progress over a two-year period in remembering basic fact combinations when they were expected to perform under timed conditions. According to Geary (2004),18 this problem appears to be persistent and characteristic of memory or cognitive difficulties. Students with math calculations difficulties have problems with some or most of the following skills: * Identifying signs and their meaning (e.g., +, -, x, <, =, >, %, Σ * Automatically remembering answers to basic arithmetic facts (combinations) such as 3 + 4 =?, 9 x 9 = ?, 15 8 = ?. * Moving from using basic (less mature) counting strategies to more sophisticated (mature) strategies to calculate the answer to arithmetic problems. For example, a student using a basic counting all strategy would add two objects with four objects by starting at 1 and counting all of the objects to arrive at the answer 6. A student using a more sophisticated counting on strategy would add two with four by starting with 4 and counting on 2 more to arrive at 6. * Understanding the commutative property (e.g., 3 + 4 = 7 and 4 + 3 = 7) * Solving multi-digit calculations that require borrowing (subtraction) and carrying (addition) * Misaligning numbers when copying problems from a chalkboard or textbook * Ignoring decimal points that appear in math problems * Forgetting the steps involved in solving various calculations Math Word Problems A learning disability in solving math word problems taps into other types of skills or processes. Difficulties with any of these skills can interfere with a childs ability to figure out how to effectively solve the problem.19 Your child may exhibit difficulty with some or most of the processes involved in solving math word problems such as: * Reading the word problem * Understanding the language or meaning of the sentences and what the problem is asking * Sorting out important information from extraneous information that is not essential for solving the problem * Implementing a plan for solving the problem * Working through multiple steps in more advanced word problems * Knowing the correct calculations to use to solve problems Math Rules and Procedures Students with a math disability demonstrate developmental delay in learning the rules and procedures for solving calculations or word problems. An example of a math rule includes any number × 0 = 0. A procedure includes the steps for solving arithmetic problems such as addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division. A delay means the child may learn the rules and procedures at a slower rate than his peer group and will need assistance in mastering those rules and procedures. For Working with Your Childs Teacher to Identify and Address Math Disabilities, see https://web.archive.org/web/20080411042110/http://www.schwablearning.org/articles.aspx?r=1055 . For Understanding and Preparing Your Child for Psychoeducational Testing, see https://web.archive.org/web/20080208115103/http://www.schwablearning.org/articles.aspx?r=863 . Based on what you've written the school district hasn't gone to the trouble of identifying the problem, so it'll be up to you to request the evaluation be done. As always, use certified mail when you mail the letter.

Thanks for the info and feedback Sheila. He does have an IEP and shows progress within those goals but never enough to catch up to grade level. I don't think it's a very good IEP though. Every year he falls further behind. Is it even possible or am I unrealistic? His Learning Disability (LD)'s are complex verbal and non-verbal and I think the school thinks he's making as much progress as he is able. What is a normed math evaluation? Are the tests different than psychiatric-ed evaluations? I know he's due for another full evaluation (last one was many years ago). Should I work with the school or go private? I talked with the principal about my son's lack of progress and he was very defensive which makes me think he's got something to hide. Thanks again for all your help. I'll check out wrightslaw site too but what I really need is a resource that speaks to the layperson. Do you know any?

If it's time for a re-evaluation (psychoeducational), I'd ask that it be gotten underway. I'd also ask for indepth testing for Math Learning Disability (LD). It's my opinion that when you have a child with an Learning Disability (LD), if the school district doesn't do appropriate testing from time to time, the parent needs to request it. Comparison of baseline (earlier) test scores to current test scores will tell you if the child is falling behind, status quo, or gaining ground. I'll give you a personal example. My son has language-based learning disorders. school district, after evaluation, said he had no problem. I knew they were wrong. I had him evaluated privately. He did need language therapy. He was in private therapy for 6 months, at which time his Speech Language Pathologist (SLP) said she needed to re-evaluate to see if how things were going and adjust treatment, if needed. The new evaluation was coompared to the old evaluation. He gained 3 yrs, 6 months during the 6 month treatment period. He was still behind, but he was gaining ground. We continued private treatment for another 3 months. I don't know how to do columns, so the info below is hard to read. It's a comparison of one set of test scores in Sept 2003 to the re-evaluation in March 2004. 10 is dead on average; 3 points above 10 (13) and 3 points below 10 (7) is one standard deviation. 7 and below is not good. ******************************<u>Sep-03</u>****<u>Mar-04</u> Sentence Structure*******************5********10 Concepts & Directions******************7******** 7 Word Classes************************6******** 9 Listening to Paragraphs*****************3******** 7 Receptive Language Score***************75********92 Sentence Assembly********************9********14 Formulated Sentences******************6******** 7 Recalling Sentences********************9******** 8 Word Association**********************3******** 8 Expressive Language Score*************88********98 Total Language Score******************80********94 Chronological Age*******************9-9********10-3 Age Equivalency*********************6-4******** 9-3 The long and short of it was that I had a 10 yr old 4th grader with language skills of a 6 yr old 1st grader. At the end of 6 mo treatment, he was only a year behind. There's more to this story, but this is enough for you to see how progress should be monitored. Also, difficult child's IQ is considered in the normal range. Depending on the variables, some children would have made greater gains and some children would not progressed as rapidly. Should you get a private evaluation also? If at all possible, absolutely. See "One of the Biggest Mistakes Parents Make" at http://www.conductdisorders.com/community/threads/one-of-the-biggest-mistakes-parents-make-is.425/. No surprising -- you're "questioning" their efforts. It's a no win situation sometimes. I just don't know how to walk the centerline -- I'm either "an overly involved, overly concerned mother" or just the opposite. Besides the principal is probably thinking "compensatory education." lol wrightslaw.com is the best parent friendly website I've found.

Thanks Sheila. Our school district uses the GMADE to assess progress. I'm assuming this is an appropriate normed evaluation but I'm not an educator. Test results: 2005 Concepts & Communication: SS67 %1 Operations & Computation: SS63 %1 Process & Application: SS84 %14 Total Test: SS68 %2 GE 2.8 2006 Concepts & Communication: SS70 %2 Operations & Computation: SS91 %27 Process & Application: SS86 %18 Total Test: SS83 %13 GE 4.3 In your opinion, is this adequate yearly progress? What does the district consider AYP? They can't seem to answer this question for me. I have a feeling I know why. Do I still need psyched evaluation or should I spend my money on private tutor instead? You need an army and truck loads of money to fight the system. I'm past frustrated!

I forgot to add that despite the apparent progress he seems to be making, the school district's evasion tool is to change the program every few years so it becomes impossible to accurately measure real progress within the curriculum. With each great new program comes an assessement test which shows my son scraping the bottom and he has to start from ground zero. It's a miracle he's still eager and willing to learn. I would have quit long ago.

AYP has to do with how well the school is doing overall in educating their students. It doesn't have anything to do with an individual student's progress. There are tons of different test instruments. The test results you posted reflect that your son gained 1.5 yrs from 2005 to 2006. Is this adequate? I don't know. There are so many things that would have to be factored in. It's very encouraging however. If you can swing it, get a private evaluation -- at the minimum the general psychoed evaluation + indepth math Learning Disability (LD) testing. Tutoring may be just what your difficult child needs, but it's my understanding that NonVerbal Learning Disorder (NVLD) can involve things like problematic visual motor skills (other motor skills also). This type problem can interfer with math ability/performance. There's often treatment for visual motor deficits. Successful treatment may improve math capabilities. Visual motor skills may not apply to your child -- it's just an example, but a math disability or NonVerbal Learning Disorder (NVLD) is too broad a term to develop a good IEP in my opinion. difficult child's willingness to learn is a real plus. Fingers crossed it continues. It is frustrating. And I agree, changing test instruments makes it difficult to compare apples to apples and oranges to oranges.

You're welcome. by the way, "Tests and Measurements for the Parent, Teacher, Advocate & Attorney" at http://www.wrightslaw.com/advoc/articles/tests_measurements.html may be helpful info for you.

Yes, I've read that article. Interesting and exactly my complaint - how much is acceptable yearly progress? I'm guessing there are no guidelines in NCLB on this issue? Caselaw is on my side but I don't have the money to hire an attorney and our school district has stopped using measurable data in the IEP's and would never document more than a year's worth of progress anyway. This is an uphill battle I can't win. I'll have to go private. Do you have any knowledge of Linda Mood Bell's programming or do you know of any good programs for NonVerbal Learning Disorder (NVLD) kids? Thanks again for all your help!

It depends on a child's ability. You should consult with your private evaluator about this issue. Part of what you will want to get from the evaluation process is "difficult child is at point C -- what's the plan to get him point F?" You'll want to know: strengths and weaknesses What can he learn? How does he learn? What's the best method to teach him? How much intervention does he need to get him back to grade level within X months/years? 1:1 tutoring targeting Y 1x/wk for 1 hr, 3x/wk for 30 min; etc? Reasonable expectations, etc. <div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Quote:</div><div class="ubbcode-body">our school district has stopped using measurable data in the IEP's </div></div> I'm not exactly sure what you mean by this statement, but you can always ask for testing. I believe the 2004 regs restricts parents requests for testing to one per year in some circumstances -- I'd have to check on it. If you're referring to using measurable goals in IEPs in general, that would be a non-compliance issue: Section 300.320(a)(2)(i), consistent with section 614(d)(1)(A)(i)(II) of the Act, requires the IEP to include measurable annual goals. Further, § 300.320(a)(3)(i), consistent with section 614(d)(1)(A)(i)(III) of the Act, requires the IEP to include a statement of how the childs progress toward meeting the annual goals will be measured. The Act does not require goals to be written for each specific discipline or to have outcomes and measures on a specific assessment tool. Furthermore, to the extent that the commenters are requesting that we mandate that IEPs include specific content not in section 614(d)(1)(A)(i) of the Act, under section 614(d)(1)(A)(ii)(I), we cannot interpret section 614 to require that additional content. IEPs may include more than the minimum content, if the IEP Team determines the additional content is appropriate. Regulations: Part 300 / D / 300.324 / b (b) Review and revision of IEPs. (1) General. Each public agency must ensure that, subject to paragraphs (b)(2) and (b)(3) of this section, the IEP Team-- (i) Reviews the child's IEP periodically, but not less than annually, to determine whether the annual goals for the child are being achieved; and (ii) Revises the IEP, as appropriate, to address-- (A) Any lack of expected progress toward the annual goals described in Sec. 300.320(a)(2), and in the general education curriculum, if appropriate; (B) The results of any reevaluation conducted under Sec. 300.303; (C) Information about the child provided to, or by, the parents, as described under Sec. 300.305(a)(2); (D) The child's anticipated needs; or (E) Other matters. I've used Linda Mood Bell's V&V program for difficult child; but it was to target some of his language and reading weaknesses. I'm unfamiliar with programs for NonVerbal Learning Disorder (NVLD).

My 10 year old 4th grade son was testing at the end of 1st grade level for math last spring. After going to Sylvan for 12 weeks, 3 hours per week he was testing at beginning 3rd grade level. The proof is in the pudding - he CAN learn a year's worth of math in a year of education - or less! We are using this at his IEP meeting in a couple weeks to set a goal for math that he will be at the end of 4th grade math next spring - they have almost a whole year to do it and spend about 4 hours per week on math - should be easy, right? I'm not suggesting you should pay for private tutoring to test our this theory but in our case, school actually paid for the Sylvan because they had him suspended for a total of 19 days...this was to make up for the education he missed that they didn't provide. Good luck! Michelle

A good example Mickey2255. Really good to hear he's making substantial progress! (It also tells me that the school district wasn't doing their job.) Also known as compensatory education.

I think that's the problem. His most recent evaluation had his IQ at borderline even though the evaluator thought that the ADHD issues prevented an accurate picture of his true potential and she said as much in the 20 page document (which we shared with the district). His first IQ assessment (done by early intervention program) came out average. I'm under the impression that the school district thinks he is making as much progress as he can. I wonder though, if a kid who could make up over a year's worth of progress in one year could really be borderline IQ in the first place? I'm not exactly sure what you mean by this statement, but you can always ask for testing. I believe the 2004 regs restricts parents requests for testing to one per year in some circumstances -- I'd have to check on it. If you're referring to using measurable goals in IEPs in general, that would be a non-compliance issue: Section 300.320(a)(2)(i), consistent with section 614(d)(1)(A)(i)(II) of the Act, requires the IEP to include measurable annual goals. Further, § 300.320(a)(3)(i), consistent with section 614(d)(1)(A)(i)(III) of the Act, requires the IEP to include a statement of how the childs progress toward meeting the annual goals will be measured. The Act does not require goals to be written for each specific discipline or to have outcomes and measures on a specific assessment tool. Furthermore, to the extent that the commenters are requesting that we mandate that IEPs include specific content not in section 614(d)(1)(A)(i) of the Act, under section 614(d)(1)(A)(ii)(I), we cannot interpret section 614 to require that additional content. IEPs may include more than the minimum content, if the IEP Team determines the additional content is appropriate. Regulations: Part 300 / D / 300.324 / b (b) Review and revision of IEPs. (1) General. Each public agency must ensure that, subject to paragraphs (b)(2) and (b)(3) of this section, the IEP Team-- (i) Reviews the child's IEP periodically, but not less than annually, to determine whether the annual goals for the child are being achieved; and (ii) Revises the IEP, as appropriate, to address-- (A) Any lack of expected progress toward the annual goals described in Sec. 300.320(a)(2), and in the general education curriculum, if appropriate; (B) The results of any reevaluation conducted under Sec. 300.303; (C) Information about the child provided to, or by, the parents, as described under Sec. 300.305(a)(2); (D) The child's anticipated needs; or (E) Other matters. I've used Linda Mood Bell's V&V program for difficult child; but it was to target some of his language and reading weaknesses. I'm unfamiliar with programs for NonVerbal Learning Disorder (NVLD). What I meant was that the progress is being measured in vague language like: difficult child will increase his math reasoning and computation concepts and skills to the 5th grade level measured by IEP progress reports/3 times per school year Baseline: SRA Math Series, Level C, 76% average across all probes In the past they used to be more specific like go from grade level 4.3 to 5.3 and they broke down the specific skills to be learned. Some of this is probably to cover their bases and some is changes in IDEA laws. I guess it's time for another evaluation to re-assess. I thought LMB V/V was geared to NonVerbal Learning Disorder (NVLD) type kids who focus on details but not the gestalt? After that they recommend OCN math. I'll have to call for more details. Thanks again for all your help Sheila.

That's great to hear Michelle! I wonder if the school district would have paid for Sylvan if he wasn't suspended based solely on how far behind he was in the curriculum? I'd love to hear of any parent going against the school district without documented evidence (read: spending money) that your kid could learn if he's taught properly. I doubt there are any and if there are, they're probably lawyers, psychologists or educators. The average joe doesn't stand a chance!

The advocate I'm working with has suggested we try to write in the IEP exactly that - if he's not meeting his goals by the end of the school year, the school has to pay for Sylvan for the summer so that he's at goal by the end of the summer. Michigan is a disaster when it comes to paying for "most appropriate setting" but in this case, I can document that he is advancing and learning much more quickly at Sylvan than at school. And please don't take this as a sales pitch for them, it's just who we happened to use because it was convenient. I'd bet he'd do better in just about any 1:3 type setting. Michelle

Michelle, is this a free advocate? I like the idea of writing into his IEP that the unmet goal needs to carry over to ESY programming. That's a good one! I don't see any Learning Disability (LD)'s listed for your son so I wouldn't expect mine to make progress as quickly but at least he would be catching up over time instead of falling farther behind. I think I'll try a tutor instead of an assessment which would probably show the same results as before. Thanks alot for your input and keep us posted on your IEP meeting.

Well technically she's not an advocate but a mom who is very involved in the politics of Special Education and the laws surrounding it. VERY helpful indeed! IEP meeting is in 2 weeks so I'll be sure to post a follow up! Michelle