Special Needs Students and Standardized Graduation Test

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Special Needs Students and Standardized Graduation Test

While many people believe that special needs students are discriminated against, there are many who do not agree so the controversial debate continues “should special needs students be exempt from graduation test” as stated in (Johnson & Musial & Hall, 2005. Many parents and advocates of special needs students have been working for “inclusion in the classroom and fair education opportunities for years” as stated in Johnson & Musial & Hall, 2005. Some people would argue that exemption from taking the standardized graduation test goes against what the parents and advocates have been working for. Whether or not the special needs students must pass the test is still up for debate.

Parents, special needs students, and advocates want to know if special needs students will ever have fairness when taking a graduation standardized test. Timothy Bush a special education teacher in Delaware states in Johnson & Musial & Hall, 2005 “If special needs students are lumped together with nondisabled peers and required to take high-stakes tests without procedural safeguards, I have grave concerns about fairness.” Ed Amundson a special education teacher in California stated in Johnson & Musial & Hall 2005 “Many states and locals currently acknowledge the different learning needs of all students and make accommodations through the IEP process. Schools recognize student strengths and weaknesses and allow for measures of what a student knows and not what they do not. Should a standard exit exam do the same?” Ed Amundson asked some of his students what they think about not having the proper accommodations when taking a standardized test one student response entered in Jonson & Musial & hall. 2006 states “All potential employers are going to think is that I did not make the grade,” The same student continued to respond in Johnson & Musial & Hall, 2005 states” “They won’t know how hard I worked, what I did learn, or what I can still learn. For the rest of my life, my application will say I couldn’t do it. That just isn’t fair.” School officials suspect special needs students learn more because of the Graduation standardized test. Advocates for the standardized graduation test think that every student should be held to the” highest reasonable standards” stated in Ring, 2011. The advocates for the Standardized graduation test also think that it is a goal that special needs students can accomplish (Ring, 2011). Opponents of the standardized graduation test believe that it is unfair to have special needs students stress out about having to pass the test to graduate (Ring, 2011). The opponents of the standardized graduation test also think that the special needs students should have to pass their classes to graduate from high school (Ring, 2011). Through much research the overwhelming results show that preparing for the standardized test do push special needs students to learn more. Unfortunately, the majority of special needs students are not able to pass the standardized graduation test because the test was made for typical students. Currently there are not the proper accommodations for the test and the structure of the test makes it difficult for special needs students to achieve a passing grade (Poggio & Seok & Smith, 2006).

The Edutopia poll asks: “Should special-needs students have to take a standardized test in order to graduate high school?”
Figure1. The chart above depicts the results as of April 10, 2011 the ongoing Edutopia poll This poll show that majority of people do not think that special needs students should have to take the standardized test as is to graduate from high school.

The Edutopia poll shows 22% say “Yes” as of April 10, 2011. They agreed with the following statement by Ring, 2011“This will best prepare special-needs students for the future, and those who do not pass should receive a certificate of completion rather than a high school diploma.” The...
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