Does my child have to take general assessments?

Question:

My son has some learning disabilities that affect his writing and his processing speed. To make a long story short, it takes him longer than other kids to complete assignments -- and much longer if he has to write anything. Does my son have to take the state-mandated annual tests our school district administers? I'm afraid he's going to really stress out over this -- and get an abysmal score.

Answer:

The sad fact is that kids seem to be tested every time they turn around these days -- and no one is exempt. Children with disabilities must be included in these state- and district-wide assessments.

However, they are entitled to appropriate accommodations to help meet their unique test-taking needs. In your child's case, these might include more time and alternative ways of taking the test -- for example, your son might be able to type his answers on a computer or give them orally rather than having to write them out. Talk to the school district about your child's disability and the accommodations he might need to participate in these tests.

 

Next Steps

For comprehensive guidance on special education and the IEP process, read The Complete IEP Guide: How to Advocate for Your Special Ed Child, by attorney Lawrence Siegel (Nolo).

Or, if your child has a learning disability (as opposed to another type of disability) read Nolo's IEP Guide: Learning Disabilities, in which Lawrence Siegel tailors his discussion of special education and IEPs specifically for the parents of children with learning disabilities.

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