Geruschat, Duane R., Journal of Visual Impairment & Blindness
What is a teacher of students with visual impairments to do when challenged to prove that he or she is providing the highest quality education to his or her students? Consider the example of a new student assigned to a teacher's caseload. Limited information was provided about the student by the state in which the child previously lived, so an assessment needs to be conducted prior to the development of an Individualized Education Program (IEP). The teacher completes the assessment, devises educational goals, and feels prepared for the IEP meeting. The teacher, however, is unaware that the child's parents feel they were treated poorly by the previous school system, that their concerns were not addressed in prior IEP meetings, and that their child's educational needs have not been met. The IEP meeting quickly dissolves into a contentious discussion about the tests that were administered to the child in his or her previous school district, and the parents ask a series of challenging questions about the educational methods and materials that the teacher will use in the classroom with the student. Having never experienced this sort of IEP meeting before, the teacher is unprepared to demonstrate that tests modified for students with visual impairments have validity and that the materials being used to teach braille are, in fact, representative of those being used across the United States. In other words, the teacher is not prepared to demonstrate that the school system offers state-of-the-art education for a child who is blind.
Although I hope the scenario I just described does not happen very often, I know many teachers of students who are visually impaired who have had at least one experience like this in their careers. Should you find yourself faced with a similar challenge, the June 2012 issue of JVIB is here to help. Every practitioner who has been faced with the challenge of documenting that the methods he or she follows are based on accepted best practices, every teacher who has had to prove that a test modified for a student with visual impairment has validity will find support within the pages of the journal.
In this month's lead article, Zebehazy, Zigmond, and Zimmerman offer important information for managing alternative assessments. Reading and implementing their ideas will improve the quality of the assessments you conduct and will lend support to the findings of your assessments if you are ever challenged. …