The Cranky Taxpayer
VA teacher: Our county had an inservice at the beginning of the year on how to help our special ed kids pass it, and our director said, and I quote, "My dog could pass VGLA".
maryzach: I am a first year SPED teacher. I was hired in the middle or
the 1st six weeks as a teacher in a ID classroom and have 10 children doing
VAAP's. Then all of a sudden the school system said it had too many children
doing VAAP's and because their IQ was above 55 they are now eligible to do
VGLA. These students IQ's are between 55 and 60!!!!! So over 12 weeks into
the school year, I have 3 of the 10 students participating in VGLA. I do
6,7,8 grade history and 8th grade Science. These students have never been
exposed to grade level work and now you are shoving curriculum down them.
cbuyrn: I see the potential for abuse, but I believe this is a good thing. As I review their work, I am proud of their ability to solve problems in open ended format activities. It shows how good they are at problem solving and critical thinking. Multiple choice testing is not a true test of ability.
experience in VGLA's: A lot of principals consider this an "easy pass" because there is so much room for "Cheating". A student can do the same work sheet over and over again until they get it perfectly. No one is to know and they don't want to know. They just want a "pass".
DD1: While I can see the benefit of the VGLA for certain students - I have to give it to some children who in some cases, have multiple disabilities and IQs of less than 60...and the expectation is that they pass. When the books come back without a passing grade, because there is an assumption that this is a "slam dunk process", I feel its placed in terms of my failure vs my students inability to do the work.
virginiateach: I received a student from a lower grade who's (sic) VGLA scores indicated that the student was pass/proficient in 4th grade reading. When I began working with this student I realized that he couldn't read a word.
vgla burnout: These notebooks don't show mastery or growth. They just show that after 10 times students can do the same worksheet correctly....
VGLA Neg: We have to do something to correct those failing scores - the VGLA is the only option at this point.
disgusted: They get modified standard diplomas! Not advanced diplomas. Not standard diplomas. Modified diplomas. It's only for if they take vsep in high school, so vgla doesn't really "matter" but again, let's face it, once vgla always vgla, and pile them on! I found this out after I did two vgla notebooks last year for 6th graders who entirely, completely, and fully should be earning regular diplomas.
sick of vgla: I feel like we are setting our kids up for failure by pulling them out of the testing loop. VGLA should be for your few kids who really know the material, but have severe testing anxiety or who have trouble on multiple choice/written tests, but can verbalize and show their knowledge in other ways. It's not meant for the type of kids that we're being made to VGLA.
shapingminds: What are we teaching kids when we tell them - If you don't pass, you can do it again?
World Class?: It takes enormous amounts of time for copying and filing, and the main purpose is to meet AYP and falsely inflate the percent of student passing the SOL's by removing the lowest scoring students. My school made over 70 notebooks last year and we were the only middle school in the county to meet AYP- what does that tell you?
BusyWithVGLA: I am very torn about VGLA. I do believe that SOL multiple choice tests are not the best indicator or mastery for all students, but I feel that VGLA has become a "sure pass" for students who may not pass otherwise. That's the question that I am asked by my administration - "will s/he pass the SOL?" If the answer is no, we go VGLA.
virginia 4/5: Having an admin. who pushes too many VGLA's in order to get AYP/passing rates for the school and not knowing where to begin at first are both negatives. However, I have seen it as a positive for many of my students (esp. the ones who do it for reading and math). We teach these kids along with everyone else as much as we can with push in SPED support, then we worry about doing the assessment/evidence collection piece about once or twice a week in small chunks. Being able to show what they know in little chunks is way easier for them to do than doing a long, multiple choice assessment.
Dorritt: The VGLA is a valid measure of student achievement only
when it is administered responsibily and professionally. It makes me cringe
to think that folks out there are literally giving kids the same worksheet
over and over again until they achieve 80% accuracy! The idea is to
demonstrate that our sped students are genuinely mastering the curriculum,
not a particular worksheet or test.
Flah: With accommodations, many of my students are passing state testing. They need to take these tests to get a standard diploma. I have not met a high school teacher who does VSEP yet!
Crazy in VA: My assistant principal informed me today that we are doing VGLAs for 8 out of my 11 students in both 4th and 5th grade in the areas of reading, writing, math, and maybe VA Studies and Science(5th Grade). He wants all my students to "pass" the SOLs. He's mostly basing it on last year's scores, which we're not supposed to do. I feel overwhelmed! This seems crazy! What can we learn from this? That it is a good way to burn out Special Ed. teachers!
rainydayandfr: Those of us doing the VGLA may feel like it's a huge
burden and that it's not doing what it was meant to do but it sure is
boosting those test scores. When our principal saw how well our SPED
students did on those tests last year she was sold on the VGLA. We are now
doing VGLA on all SPED students who didn't pass the SOL and looking very
closely at every child who didn't pass the SOL to make sure they are
receiving services if necessary.
voile: So are we really serving the needs of students with disabilities using alternative testing formats? I don't think so - the ones being served and protected are the school districts. Making AYP is ALL that matters$$$$.
KADAPPY: I believe VGLA's are beneficial to the students who need them. Having taught 31 years, I have seen what happens when special education students and their teachers are not accountable for anything. At least, now the students and teachers do have objectives and are accountable for learning/teaching. Last year, I, as a classroom teacher, had 8 students who worked on VGLA's, and I believe they did learn. Granted, it was difficult collecting materials and finding work on their level. This year has been so much easier because I kept a notebook of materials I used for each objective last year. ( I only had 3 who qualified this year.) As they work in class, I keep a portfolio and use what I can in their books. They feel a sense of accomplishment too.
The Cranky Taxpayer