Supporting Students with Disabilities
The Common Core: Supporting Students with Disabilities—What Educators Need to Do
The following content originally appeared in The Special EDge newsletter, Volume 27, Number 2; Winter–Spring 2014
Meet the Needs of All
The Common Core State Standards (CCSS) were created to meet the needs of all students, regardless of ability or disability. To lay the foundation for all students to become college, career, and/or community ready, teachers will need to align academic goals in the Individualized Education Program (IEP) to the CCSS and create behavioral, communicative, functional, social/emotional, and transition goals that support the academic goals. IEP team will continue to provide adaptations and supports for each student, shaping them within the context of the new standards.
Face the Challenge
Teachers of students with disabilities face real challenges when building lesson plans. For students to realize success at grade level, teachers still must give them as much of the general education curriculum as possible. Collaboration with general education teachers is essential to helping students succeed. The good news is that teaching to the new standards will bring more in-depth instruction and more practical lessons applicable to life outside of school. One way to build a lesson plan based on the CCSS, regardless of a student's current level of achievement, is to look at the principles of Universal Design for Learning (UDL) as the instructional design, especially for a diverse range of learners. The principles of UDL involve
- providing multiple means of representation—presenting information and content in different ways;
- providing multiple means of action and expression—differentiating the way
- students can express what they know and can do; and
- providing multiple means of engagement—stimulating interest and motivation for learning.
Understanding the Assessments
Most students with disabilities will be taking the Smarter Balanced assessments. The current Smarter Balanced field test will help test designers refine the content and delivery of the assessments to students, including students with visual, auditory, linguistic, or physical needs. These summative assessments align directly to the new standards and will be accompanied by a Digital Library of Formative Tools and Practices, which will offer numerous helpful resources, including formative assessments. For a detailed account of California's assessments, visit the California Assessment of Student Performance and Progress (CAASPP) resources.
When parents and family members understand—and are committed to—the CCSS, their child will have a better chance of succeeding in school. Be sure parents know that the CCSS mean that their child will learn subject matter in greater detail and depth. And engage parents in learning about the CCSS so that they have the opportunity to assist their children in truly understanding what is being taught.