Benchmark Assessment Essay
Micah, an eleventh grader with a learning disability in written expression and reading comprehension, is pending placement into a special education classroom. He is involved in extracurricular activities and does not want to stand apart from his friends and peers in regards to accommodations being made for his instruction time. Following is a look into the different placement options and why or why not Micah would benefit from it, technology and related services that he would need to help him progress in his areas of need, collaboration models for each placement that will help Micah’s teachers provide appropriate instruction, and a description of the most appropriate placement option with two Council for Exceptional Children (CEC) Standards that align with the placement option.
Inclusion, simply put, means that all students interact and belong (National Inclusion Project, 2015). This type of placement is not getting the special needs student prepared for the general education class, rather it is getting the general education class ready for the special needs student (Tomko, 1996). This placement option would benefit Micah in that he would be in the same classes as his peers and friends. The inclusion environment is one of the least restrictive environments for Micah. However, Micah would not be able to focus solely on his learning disabilities in the inclusion setting, which makes this setting not the most appropriate placement option for him.
Related services are provided to those with exceptionalities to help in their learning experiences and to enhance their abilities. In the inclusion classroom, Micah would benefit from guided notes. This type of note taking technique provides students with a print-out of the lesson’s notes with certain words omitted for the students to fill in. Another related service for the inclusion setting is the availability of ‘test readers’. Micah would need this service based on his disability in reading comprehension. However, having someone read him his tests may put him in a negative light in front of his peers.
Technology use in an inclusion setting is almost a necessity. For Micah, he may want to use a tape recorder to record lectures and any assignment directions for understanding and accuracy. Another form of technology that would be necessary for Micah would be a Smart Board or a Promethean Board. These two pieces of technology will help Micah to be more interactive in class, and they will allow his instructors to monitor his comprehension of the materials being taught.
If Micah were to be placed in the inclusion setting, his teachers would use the ‘team teaching’ approach of collaboration. The ‘team teaching’ approach is when both, the general education and the special education teacher, teach the same lesson at the same time (Special Education Resource Center, 2007). This collaboration model allows the special education instructor to focus on the students who need extra help while the general education teacher continues to teach. This is also known as the ‘tag team teaching’ collaboration model. Each educator uses their expertise in their specific field to engage classroom instruction.
The resource room in special education is a classroom in which students with specific learning disabilities receive more direct and specialized instructions in smaller groups (US Legal Inc., 2015). If Micah were to be placed in the resource room, he would be able to receive extra help with his written expression and reading comprehension. This placement option would work for Micah in that it would only be one class period so that he could keep his disability from his peers and friends, as well as maintain or enhance his learning in his other classes.
During his time in the resource room, Micah would have access to a number of related services. One of these services would be access to counseling. Micah is very social but he has concerns about standing out from his peers and friends because of his disabilities. A counselor will be able to help build up his self-esteem so that he will not have to be ashamed of his learning issues. Another related service that Micah can receive is a tutor to help him with his written expression and reading comprehension.
Technology in the resource room is abundant. Computers with appropriate educational web sites and software are easily available. This is great for Micah because he can use the software and web sites to help build upon his written expression and reading comprehension. Also available in the resource room are copies of the textbooks for each of Micah’s classes. This allows Micah the extra time he may need to understand instructions for assignments and lectures handed to him in his core subjects. Finally, the resource room has a student dictionary. This dictionary will help Micah define words that he may not understand, thus building upon his reading comprehension and written expression skills.
The collaboration model that works best in the resource room is the Resource/ Consulting Teacher Program, or RCT. The RTC model is supported by the triadic model with many opportunities for teachers, students, and parents to interact (Dettmer, Knackendoffel, & Thurston, 2013). With the RTC model, emphasis is placed on training students in the curriculum used within each mainstreamed student’s general education classroom (Dettmer, Thurston, & Dyck, 2005). Also, the teachers’ expectations and reinforcements are identical for the resource room and the general education class setting (Dettmer, et al., 2005). This collaboration model is perfect for the resource room because it includes everyone involved in the student’s education.
A self-contained classroom is the most restrictive placement option that Micah could end up with. However, since instruction is provided by one teacher for all subjects, this would not be an appropriate option for Micah. This placement would prevent Micah from interacting with his friends. The self-contained classroom is more for those students with severe physical, mental, social, intellectual, and behavior disabilities. Since Micah participates in extracurricular activities, he does not have a severe disability that would require him to be placed in a self-contained classroom.
Related services in the self-contained classroom include occupational, physical, and speech therapies. Micah appears to be an athletic student, and he may benefit from the physical and occupational therapies; however, these related services are not what he needs for his learning disabilities. Micah would be required to also partake in group therapy sessions. Even though Micah has a disability in written expression, the speech therapy will not suffice because he is a very social eleventh grader.
There is an abundant amount of technology available in a self-contained classroom just as in a resource setting. Some students with communication problems will use communication pads to be social. There will also be computers, iPads and tablets, and possibly audio players available to assist students with assignments, comprehension, and reading. Micah has a specific learning disability in which these devices may prove to be beneficial, but he would not be able to focus solely on his areas of need. These devices will help improve Micah’s reading comprehension, but they will decrease his abilities in his other core areas.
In the self-contained classroom, finding a collaboration model may be a little harder than all the other placement options. Since the self-contained classroom only has one teacher and usually all the same students throughout the school day, collaboration is usually limited between teacher, student, and parent. For this reason, the most appropriate collaboration model is the collaborative-dependent model. In this model, the consultee (parent and/or student) relies on the consultant (teacher) for help while both parties bring their specific background and skills to solve the specific problem(s) (National Counselor Examination, 2013). Micah and his parents/ caregiver would reach out to the teacher for suggestions on how they can improve his written expression and reading comprehension.
After reviewing all of the possible placement options for Micah, the most appropriate classroom setting will be the Resource Room. Micah has specific learning disabilities solely in written expression and reading comprehension. By placing him in the resource classroom, he will be able to concentrate on these two content areas; all the while participating in his extracurricular activities and remaining in his general education classes with his friends and other peers without a feeling of inferiority.
The resource room will provide ample opportunities for Micah to focus on the areas with which he struggles by way of the available technology, more personal assistance from the instructor, and the availability of a student dictionary and counselor. Other reasons for this placement include the avoidance of student separation and labels, the teacher can be more consistent with concentration on the areas of need; and students can practice study skills, basic skills, keyboarding, and social and behavioral skills (Lucas, 2013).
The placement option for Micah aligns with the Council for Exceptional Children’s (CEC) Standards four and eight. Standard four focuses on the instructional strategies of the teacher. This standard promotes positive learning outcomes in both general and special education classrooms; increases self-awareness, self-management, self-control, self-reliance, and self-esteem; and it enhances the learning of critical thinking, problem solving, and performance skills (CEC, 2004). With the daily use of technology in the resource setting, standard eight is being utilized and implemented. This standard’s emphasis is assessment. Regular monitoring of the student’s progress of learning needs in both the general and special education curriculum can be easily done in the resource environment. In addition to progress being monitored regularly, the resource instructor will be able to adjust instruction based on the assessment results (CEC, 2004).
Council for Exceptional Children (2004). Beginning Special Educator Standards. The Council for Exceptional Children: Definition of a Well-Prepared Special Education Teacher. Arlington, VA: Council for Exceptional Children Dettmer, P., Knackendoffel, A., & Thurston, L.P.
(2013). Collaboration, Consultation, and Teamwork for Students with Special Needs, Seventh Edition. Boston, MA: Pearson Dettmer, P., Thurston, L.P., & Dyck, N.J. (2005). Consultation, Collaboration, and Teamwork for Students with Special Needs, Fifth Edition. Pearson/ Allyn and Bacon Lucas, M. (2013). The Benefits of the Resource Room Model. Retrieved February 11, 2015 from www.prezi.com/ae7v10oo2nzb/the-benefits-of-the-resource-room-model/ National Counselor Examination (2013). Consultation Models. Retrieved February 11, 2015 from www.hgst.edu/wp-content/uploads/2013/06/Consultation-models-NCE.pptx National Inclusion Project (2015). What is Inclusion? Retrieved February 9, 2015 from www.inclusionproject.org/lets-all-play/what-is-inclusion/ SERC (2007). Teaching & Learning Initiative. Six Approaches to Co-Teaching. Retrieved February 10, 2015 from www.ctserc.org/initiatives/teachandlearn/coteach.shtml Tomko, C.F. (1996). What is Inclusion? Retrieved February 9, 2015 from www.kidstogether.org/inclusion.htm US Legal, Inc. (2015). Resource Room (Education) Law & Legal Definition. Retrieved February 10, 2015 from www.definitions.uslegal.com/r/resource-room-education/