StateImpact is answering reader-submitted questions about the Common Core, a new set of expectations for what students should know and be able to do in math and English at each grade level. Ohio is one of 45 states that have fully adopted the Common Core.
The audience member asked:
How does the Common Core address the needs of the special education population?
Bill Zelei, director of the Ohio Schools Council and a past Ohio Department of Education associate superintendent, says the Common Core will offer more individualized approaches to learning, which could be a benefit for students with disabilities.
“One of the things about special ed is that you’re not learning the way that the majority of the population learns,” Zelei said. “And so the Common Core is going to broaden the way we instruct. It should provide more access to special ed children to be able to access the content.”
Supporters say teaching to the new standards will bring more in-depth instruction and more practical lessons applicable to life outside school. But along with that instruction comes standardized tests.
Everyone, including students with disabilities, will be taking more tests in 2014-2015. Ohio students across all grades are expected to take about 49 additional hours of testing over the course of the school year.
Special education students could have some flexibility with test accommodations, like having extra time to take a test, a dictionary, or the option to listen along as someone reads them the test directions. Students with significant cognitive disabilities may take a different version of the tests.
Please tell us if you’re a parent, teacher, principal, policymaker or concerned citizen. We’ll find answers and share them here at StateImpact Ohio.