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Meanings of Intelligence and Adaptive Behavior Essay

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Until several years ago, many students who were classified as having ID or assigned into an inclusion classroom were not expected to participate in standardized testing, however as late, everyone in public schools is expected to participate in standardized assessments. Some educators are happy with the change while others are concerned the assessments are not an accurate assessment of what students actually know. For many students with learning disabilities, standardized assessments often don’t accurately indicate what the student truly knows and where they have deficits.

One problem with assessing students with ID is the identification and classification of ID is that they differ greatly between states and is often inconsistent. According to Kortez, students with specific learning disabilities are served under the IDEA, however we use the word “classification” when referring to the category of and indentified student’s specific disability or disabilities (Kortez).

The major problem that arises is the fact that identification is being highly inconsistent which is raising the concern students being mislabeled.

It seems as though some educators are either over identifying or under indentifying students. However, this is not just a problem on the educator’s level; it is also showing up on the state level. It seems as though when the combined across the nation, identification is inconsistent. More than half of all students being served are doing so under the IDEA part B umbrella, students with specific disabilities, while the number of students recognized as” learning disabled ranges from 3% to 9%” across the United States (Kortez). According to Kortez, not all states implement the same policies, guidelines, or criteria, therefore some states have a significant higher or lower number of students identified based on what they as a state deem legitimate. Because there is such a difference in policies, it is therefore difficult to determine an adequate way to assess students with disabilities.

Inclusion needs to be implemented in a way that will not only boost the quality of performance generated by the assessment but also the constructive outcome of the education being provided. The difficulty therefore lies in being able to implement a sound assessment because of the significant essential factors. One factor that would have to be determined is how many special education students would qualify as ineligible to partake in the regular education assessments. Another factor that would be solved would be how the regular education assessment could be enhanced to better suit the needs of the special education students. Also, the decision would have to be made to determine the criteria for students who would qualify for accommodations and which accommodations would be appropriate. In order for all these decisions to be made, it is essential for all the characteristics as well as the needs of the indentified students be met, and it is almost impossible if the identification and classification of the students continue to be inconsistent.

Another problem with assessing indentified students is the fact of accommodations. When a test is given to a student with disabilities, certain changes or “accommodations” are made. Some of these accommodations are simple as testing the student in a smaller group, allowing the frequent monitored breaks, allowing the student extra time to finish the assessment, or reading the directions or questions to the student. When small changes such as these mentioned are made, they are referred to as accommodations. However if changes such giving the student a different test, illuminating parts of the test, or change the test in any way it is referred to as a “modification” and the assessment is no longer considered a standard test and is referred to as a non-standard test. When it comes to the element of measuring the assessment, the main goal to implementing accommodations is to better validate the information regarding the students and their disabilities. Testing consistency is implemented in order to increase the accuracy by getting rid of the immaterial variations for the testing between schools.

For instance, if one school allows thirty minutes for a test and another allows an hour and a half, the longer test would be considered the bias between the two. When it comes to students and their disabilities it is only fair that accommodations be made in order to make the test fair for everyone. For example, if a student has a profound vision problem then it would only make sense to change the presentation of the test (larger print, recording), in order to show a more true result of what the student actually knows, instead of not doing well simply because they can’t see the text well enough. If accommodations aren’t standard then results will not be consistent and therefore we won’t have an accurate snapshot of what the students actually know. A third problem that may arise when testing students with disabilities is the design, construction, and evaluations of the test. One circumstance that needs to be considered where testing is concerned is the design of the test.

Some tests can be biased in one area where another assessment may be biased in another area. Some tests are designed to assess a certain group of students with similar backgrounds and therefore are biased against those students who don’t share a similar background. While there are methods for dealing with bias are implemented, not all the methods are not equipped to detect bias toward students with disabilities. Systems used for assessing bias often insist on students being paired on some criterion measure of the structure of relevance. For example, if a reasonable criterion could be settled on for fifth graders in math proficiency, then the students without disabilities and students with disabilities could be matched together and then determine if the two sets of students were similar or different in the same areas.

The second area of design that needs to be considered is the difficulty of the assessment itself. Often, most students with disabilities do not perform well on assessments. Furthermore, most assessments are too complex for students with disabilities, therefore often rendering results that are intimidating for students with disabilities and may also cause unfavorable reactions from their teachers. Some students may be nonverbal students and may not be about to write or say their answers, making it impossible for them to par take in standardized tests. Many of the students with ID have a mixture of intelligence deficits and adaptive behavior that initiates their academic deficits. These deficits can’t be the effect of a sensory impairment, a specific learning disability, or a behavior disorder, and would have to start showing systems before the child reaches school age.

If a student’s cognitive deficit seems to be mild, then their deficit would resemble a broad disability with no specific area. The students who have been diagnosed with a specific learning disability will have functioning highs and lows. Students with intelligence disabilities have a difficult time across the curriculum as well as adaptive behavior. As time goes on there are more and more students who have to take standardized tests. This can be difficult for teachers, especially when it is almost impossible to accurately assess them and their progress. Some of the problems that occur when assessing students with ID, is the classification and identification of students, deciding what accommodations or modifications should be used for each child, and if the test that is being administered is level appropriate for the students with disabilities.

1. Kortez, Daniel. Center for the Study of Evaluation. Project 1.1 Comparative Analyses of Current Assessment and Accountability Systems/Strand 3 Daniel Koretz, Project Director, CRESST/Harvard Graduate School of Education http://www.cse.ucla.edu/products/reports/TR587.pdf

2. Centra, J. A., (1986). Handicapped student performance on the Scholastic Aptitude Test. Journal of Learning Disabilities, 19, 324-327.
3. Clarizio, H. F., & Phillips, S. E. (1992). A comparison of severe discrepancy formulae: Implications for policy consultation. Journal of Educational and Psychological Consultation, 3, 55-68.

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