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THE LEVEL PLAYING FIELD
Few concepts seem to be more embraced by most people than that of the “level playing field.” Yet the notion of reasonable accommodation in providing services for students with disabilities continues to be controversial, especially in higher education.
What is “reasonable accommodation?” Who should decide, and based on what ‘evidence?’ Craft a response that reflects your point of view, and respond to at least 2 other posts. Provide a research finding that support your point of view. Remember to cite your resources.
Please post your main post by the due date stated in Course Schedule, and remember to respond to two other people’s postings by the end of the module. You must check back this forum frequently to respond to any questions your classmates/professor may have for you in regard to your posts.
Your main post should be substantive – at least 200 words, not including the Discussion questions or references. Each discussion response/reply to me or others must have a minimum of 125 words, spell checked, well written and citing references in support of arguments. Active participation is required.
In your reply to others: You could include additional research info (don’t just share a website link, explain what you found, summarize the info, and then share the website link), or, provide a few suggestions based on the class reading/additional reading, or explain why you agree or disagree with your classmate. Always provide at least ONE citation from the reading to ‘support’ your discussion.
DISCUSSION POST 1
Under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), educational institutions must provide “reasonable accommodations” to enable students with disabilities to have an equal opportunity to participate in an academic program, typically by adjusting or modifications to the academic environment, application process, or educational curriculum (Staff, 2022). These accommodations may include physical accessibility, such as ramps and automatic doors; audio-visual aids, such as closed captioning and American Sign Language interpreters; or auxiliary aids, such as Braille displays or text enlargements (Staff, 2022). Reasonable accommodation would also include extra time, someone to read, or a quiet place for an exam. These accommodations help individuals achieve their academic goals to their full potential.
Reasonable accommodation should be decided by the teachers, staff, and parents who work directly with the student. These teachers and staff members should be qualified to decide what would work best for this student. For accommodations to be considered “reasonable,” they must not impose an undue hardship on the institution providing them (Staff, 2022). These accommodation types are based on the child’s disability and how they perform in a school setting. The child will be observed a couple of times in a classroom by a staff member to see what accommodation they need.
Staff. (2022). What Are Reasonable Accommodations for Students With Disabilities? Retrieved from Education Attorney: https://educationattorney.com/what-are-reasonable-accommodations-for-students-with-disabilities/
DISCUSSION POST 2
Reasonable accommodations are meant to remedy the impact of a certain disability. Some reasonable accommodations for students with disabilities can be extended time for tests, having questions read aloud, having a teacher or tutor present for tests, or changing the setting. The people that decide what constitutes a reasonable accommodation should be members of the Individual Educational Program (IEP) team. The members of the IEP can be trusted to provide the right accommodation for the student with a disability. In high stakes testing procedures, the student will have the best outcomes if their IEP is followed, and they have reasonable accommodations in place. Accommodations are meant to address a specific area of impairment and they will vary depending on the disability. They are not the same for every disability and therefore are subject to the IEP team’s knowledge of the individual.
“The Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act (IDEIA) of 2004 and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 mandate the consideration and use of needed accommodations to “level the playing field” between students with disabilities and those without” (Harrison et al., 2013, p.551-552). Educators are expected to intervene and provide reasonable accommodations or modifications so students can become proficient in academic standards. Harrison et al., (2013) state the “No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 requires that students with disabilities participate in statewide assessments, with accommodations as needed” (p. 554). The students with disabilities do not get to be exempt from taking statewide assessments. Therefore, teachers are required to find the right accommodations to prepare students for high stakes testing. There are no specific guidelines in IDEIA that provide teachers with instructions on how to modify tests or lessons to meet the needs of students with disabilities. There is no law that explains what reasonable accommodation is and how to implement it. This leaves the discrepancy up to the IEP team and the school district. Studies show that schools spend more than three times the cost of education for a student with a disability than one without a disability (Harrison et al., 2013). However, this is not improving their scores on statewide assessments. Students with EBD (Emotional and Behavioral Disorders) and ADHD have trouble scoring well on standardized tests even with reasonable accommodations. To truly level the playing field, I think standardized tests should be reexamined or some students should have the right to be exempt from taking them.
Harrison, J. R., Bunford, N., Evans, S. W., & Owens, J. S. (2013). Educational accommodations for students with behavioral challenges: A systematic review of the literature. Review of Educational Research, 83(4), 551–597. http://www.jstor.org/stable/24434222
PLEASE REPLY TO BOTH DISCUSSION POSTS 1, AND DISCUSSION POST 2 ABOVE. THANK YOU