Thursday, November 1, 2012

Georgia Project for Assistive Technology: Assistive Technology Consideration Resource Guide Assessment

The Georgia Project for Assistive Technology granted permission for the sharing and updating of the Assistive Technology Consideration Guide which I converted into  a google doc for the purpose of assessing and encouraging the use of assistive technology(AT).  The content shows how AT can be used as a substitute for an accommodation and/or modification resulting in more independence for the individual with a disability.  The number of AT devices and availability are rapidly changing.  Please send me suggestions for additions as I have a limited knowledge of AT but want to promote the use of AT as I have seen the independence it can produce. The form can be found on my website along with the spreadsheet which can be copied for your personal use.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Dialogue IEP

Prepare a full draft prior to the IEP meeting or come to the meeting with a blank sheet?  As a teacher, this is a question that I have struggled with for years.  If I come with a completed draft am I discouraging the participation of the student, parents and the other members of the IEP team?  If I have a blank sheet am I doing my best to facilitate discussion?  For several years I have been sending home a draft, usually a week before the meeting, but often I feel that the draft has not encouraged participation in the process.  Karen Thompson, Director of ASK Resource Center, provided a solution by suggesting the development of a Dialogue IEP that would allow students, parents and others to prepare the draft together using the modern technology of google docs.  The framework of the Dialogue IEP is based on the Iowa IEP Transition Form with links to many resources to assist in the development of the Dialogue Draft.  Based on my research most IEPs contain these basic elements. This is a living document and can always be improved by input.  I suggest you make copies of all the resources in order to keep information confined to relevant parties but you are free to use the public resources.  Instructions on how to copy can be found on my website. Please send suggestions to  Together we can transform the IEP from a required written document to a vehicle for collaboration.

Monday, September 17, 2012

ThatQuiz for Teachers - Great source for targeted instruction

Last week during professional development teachers were asked to share new technology they were using since our building became a 1 to 1 school.  One of the math teachers shared ThatQuiz for Teachers.  She stated that she was using it for assessment in her upper level math classes.  I was happy to discover that the site included all levels of math and allowed for targeted instruction.  The site allows the teacher to determine whether the assessment wil be graded or practice and whether the correct answers will be provided immediately after an incorrect response.  For example, I set up a practice test that focuses on distributive property and like terms for a student who struggles with these two concepts.   The difficulty levels vary greatly and there are test available in other subjects as well as the ability to create your own.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Teacher Questionnaire

In August I received a Teacher Questionnaire from Social Security Administration for the purpose of determining eligibility for a student that would soon be exiting special education services.  The survey requested that the student be compared to same age peers.  While faxing the survey along with all the other requested documents I thought about how more efficient it would be to convert the survey to a google doc form.  The actual survey requests frequency data and narrative responses in addition to a likert scale rating of 53 activities.  I have completed the conversion of the 53 activities.  I think this version of the Teacher Questionnaire can be used to identify needed specialized services, enhance collaboration through dialogue and be used to measure the effectiveness of services.  Please make a copy.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Post-School Goals

The Rhode Island Transition IEP requires students to state their plans in the areas of education and training, employment and independent living one year after the completion of high school.  The student must also provide a program of study that will help them meet their stated post-school goals.  Based on  he Rhode Island IEP I have created the Post-School Goals survey. To view student response go to the data file which can be copied. I will have each of my students complete this survey at the beginning of the year.   I predict many will have difficulty completing the survey, however, the process will help promote self determination and motivation in recognizing the relevance of current responsibilities. I think all students would benefit from completing the Post-School Goals survey.

Saturday, July 21, 2012


Washington State has a Parent Input Form that request the parents provide information on the student’s strengths, student’s interests and parental concerns prior to the IEP meeting.  In addition to being an information tool, The Parent Input Form encourages parents to reflect prior to the meeting and shows value for their opinion. In addition to using for IEPs, I plan to send the form to all of my parents at the beginning of the school year and anytime I have an addition to my roster. Please copy the spreadsheet and use the Parent Input Form to start Dialogue.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Efficiency, Effectiveness and DIALOGUE

I have just finished reviewing and editing seventy-five assessments on my website.  When I first started creating Google Doc Assessments, I was seeking efficiency by simply converting the "paper and pencil" model to online and using formulas to calculate scores.  Using the Google Doc assessments has definitely made the collection and reporting of data more efficient.  Effectiveness has improved as the assessments I have collected have increased the amount of factors considered and often lead to both areas of weaknesses and strengths that probably would not have been discovered.  Most importantly DIALOGUE has been created often leading to collaboration.  Semantics matter.  DIALOGUE versus negotiation.  Collaboration versus cooperation.  The google Doc Assessments has not saved me time but it has made my time more productive.  The purpose of assessment is not to simply report data.  The data should serve as a spark for DIALOGUE among all stakeholders, most importantly the student and parent(s).  Once started, DIALOGUE is easy to continue and leads to positive relationships and self determination for both students and parents.  I have been thinking about the importance of parent modeling of self determination.  If the parent is not involved in their child's education, how can we expect the student to have a high level of self determination?  Facilitate parent modeling of self determination during the creation of the IEP by having the parents choose which assessments to complete and sharing the data prior to the meeting.  When possible have the student complete the same or similar assessment and compare the results. If you have copied assessments in the past,  please consider copying the updated versions.  There is a way to make the formula rows copy automatically but it is complicated and I feel it is easier to simply copy as they are entered.  The website has videos that show how to copy assessments and copy formula rows.  Go to the website and and create some DIALOGUE and please send me assessments you would like to have converted.

Friday, June 1, 2012

Special Education Across the United States

Due to their success with addressing the achievement gap, I located the Individual Education Plans of Maryland and Kentucky.  I was amazed at how different the forms were from Iowa. My interest heightened, I could not stop until I had located and reviewed all the state forms could locate on the internet.  All states must follow the IDEA but have the freedom to meet the requirements in their own way. I found sections in many of them that address the needs of the stakeholders in a more efficient and effective manner than the current Iowa IEP. The purpose of this blog is to post my comments about the various forms.  My hope is that this blog will inspire you to review the material on Special Education Across the United States.  Below are my comments:
Meeting Notice:
Iowa requires a notice that specifies the date of the meeting, who has been invited to the meeting, and the type of meeting(review, initial, etc.).  Washington has a Parent Input Form that request the parents answer the following:
What are the strengths of your child?
What motivates your child?
Are there areas of concern regarding your child that we should be aware of:
when he/she is at home?
when he/she is at school?
What techniques have you used to address the concern(s) noted above? Were they successful?
What is/are the most important goal(s) that you would like to see accomplished in the upcoming year?
Is there any other information that we should know that would assist us in developing the IEP?
In addition to the information, the Parent Input Form sets a tone for productive dialogue and facilitates parental involvement.
Strengths, interests and preferences of the individual:
Washington’s Parent Input Form provides the information needed for this section with the exception of preferences.  Iowa requires that strengths, preferences and interest be stated in the student’s voice. Rhode Island's Transition IEP is written in the first person with the student as the author which is an excellent way to encourage self determination and remind the IEP team to listen to the student’s voice.
Delaware’s Transition IEP requires strengths to be listed in the areas of living, learning and working which focuses on strengths rather than just weaknesses.
Parents' concerns regarding their child's education:
Washington’s Parent Input Form is a good start for a discussion that should continue at the meeting.  In addition to being an information tool, The Parent Input Form encourages parents to reflect prior to the meeting and shows value for their opinion.
Illinois requires Documentation of Intervention/Evaluation Results for Specific Learning Disabilities.  While Iowa’s IEP requires comparison with peers annually and progress every 3 years during the reevaluation, Illinois requires an annual evaluation of the intervention and the effects of the intervention on the students progress. Below is an excerpt:
Describe the previous and current intervention plans (core/Tier 1, supplemental/Tier 2, and intensive/Tier 3) including evidence that the intervention is
scientifically based and was implemented with integrity. Attach plan/evidence.
Provide documentation of student progress over time as a result of the intervention. Attach evidence/graphs.
New Jersey requires scores on standard assessments from third grade till most current assessment.  Environmental factors  and motivation can affect summative test scores, therefor it is important to look at the history of scores.

Transition assessments and other information essential for the development of this IEP (address living, learning & working):
Iowa requires that students above 14 be assessed in the areas of living, learning and working.  I have received training that further breaks these areas into 10 domains, however, North Dakota requires assessment in 12 domains which I think encourages the IEP team to evaluate the entire student.
Based on the transition assessments, describe the post-secondary expectations for living, learning, and working.
Iowa requires expectations in the areas of learning, living, and working.  Training is given to make sure current functioning, goals and course of study are aligned.  However, the states of New Jersey, Vermont and Virginia add emphasis to transition by having Post Secondary Goals rather than expectations.
Course of study
Vermont has an Alternative Credit Accrual Plan that must be signed by the Superintendent or their designee.  The column headings are as follows: School Year, Grade Level, Grade Requirements that student can not master, Details as to why the student can not master the requirements, and Alternative Course Or Activity/Credits Given. The Alternative Accrual Plan promotes careful consideration as to why a student can not complete a course required by typical students and mandates that the student be enrolled in a replacement course or activity that will expose them to the competencies deemed important enough to be required for all students.
Special Education Services
Accommodations and Modifications
This is an area in which not enough emphasis is placed and is ripe with confusion.  Students with high incidence disabilities are often not properly prepared for post secondary education because they have been using modifications, which are not allowed at the post secondary level, disguised as accommodations.  Parents, students, administrators and special education teachers are often confused over the difference between modifications and accommodations. Most important, students are not taught how to use appropriate and effective accommodations that remove the barriers of their disabilities.  At the post secondary level, if a student can receive content through audio and/or use dictation to demonstrate their knowledge they can achieve the same degrees of their typical peers.  Students must take ownership of their accommodations.  Nebraska has produced a guide based on the recommendations of the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) that all stakeholders should read. Maryland requires and tracks accommodations based on the recommendations of the CCSSO. Kentucky’s IEP requires accommodations meet certain conditions and defines common accommodations and verifies their appropriate use. Washington lists accommodations, modifications, and assistive technology with codes to be entered to indicate for which subjects.
Links to Adult Services
New Hampshire’s IEP  requires verification of notification of Vocational Rehabilitation Services for students over 16.
North Dakota’s Adult Education Transition Services program is a joint program of the Department of Public Instruction/Office of Special Education and the Department of Human Services/Divisions of Developmental Disabilities and Vocational Rehabilitation for students aged 18-21 who remain on an IEP.

Pennsylvania’s Reevaluation report contains the following option for a conclusion:The student has a disability but no longer needs specially designed instruction, and no longer is eligible for special education. Too often stakeholders believe that the disability must be eliminated.  Students, who may or may not have shown improvement in standardized scores, should not be eligible for special services if they can be successful with accommodations that can be provided under a 504 plan.  Students with well defined accommodations and self determination skills are prepared for post secondary education.  IEPs are  not available at the post secondary level.

Monday, May 7, 2012

How to Copy Google Docs and Formula Rows

I created videos to show how to copy Google Docs and how to copy Rows of Formulas.  During the summer months I will be reviewing and editing all the existing material on my website.  Please send suggestions, assessments, and/or resources to

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Iowa Vocational Rehabilitation Services (IVRS) Functional Capacities Assessments

I have always valued IVRS counselors as members of the Transition team as they are involved daily in assisting individuals to be competitively employed.  Recently, IVRS gave me permission to convert an assessment they use to determine the service needs of individuals.  I have used the assessment and the data helped me to determine the skills that need to be addressed while a student is still in high school.  My hope is that the use of the assessment by high school teachers will facilitate dialogue and cooperation with IVRS.  High Schools need to look beyond graduation to competitive employment and the skills identified by IVRS provide the target. I have divided the original assessment into Functional Capacities #1 and Functional Capacities #2.  Data from the assessments can be found at Functional Capacities #1 Data and Functional Capacities #2 Data.  Information entered in the form will automatically be recorded in the first sheet of the spreadsheet.  Formulas in the scoring and summary sheets need to be copied after the forms are completed.  Please contact me at if you need assistance or have suggestions for improvement.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Accommodations Surveys

Accommodations are meant to eliminate and/or reduce the effects of an individuals disability. Yet, they are often simply copied from the previous IEP and/or the same as all other student's IEPs in the district. I confess that I have been guilty of listing accommodations just in case a student might need them, but I now realize that it is best to limit accommodations to only those that significantly eliminate and/or reduce the effects of an individuals disability and that the need for accommodations should be reviewed frequently by all IEP team members. In order to have a productive dialogue, all members must have the same understanding of the various accommodations. The Nebraska Guidelines to Accommodations provides definitions of commonly used accommodations and a survey to determine accommodations. I have converted the Determining Appropriate Accommodations by Student Name from the guide verbatim. This assessment assists in specifying the disabilities of an individual. Data from the assessment can easily be shared with the IEP team through the Summary of Responses. This data can be used to determine the accommodations that should be on the student's IEP with the Accommodations Survey for Student Name.    The assessments do not limit the development of uniquely targeted accommodations but provide a shared understanding through graphs of the data from the IEP team and serve as a catalyst for efficient and effective accommodations.  To copy the spreadsheets for your own use, visit my website.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Career Connections Assessment Rubric

The Career Connections AssessmentRubric is an example of a five point rubric that has different descriptors for each criteria. Conversion to a Google Doc form allows the points to be assigned on a spreadsheet facilitating comparison among raters of the same student. In addition, the gain in efficiency makes the assessment more viable as a formative assessment for progress monitoring.  

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Indicator B14 Survey Correlated with Transition Curriculum

About three weeks ago I discovered an Indicator 14 Survey from Connecticut that I felt had great potential to collect data for Indicator B14.  I converted the survey without edit to share while I immediately realized that the survey could produce easy to read results and provide information on the student reported transition skills taught in high school with post high school outcomes.  The Survey of Graduates or Exiters of High Schools is an edited version that produces correlations among skills and outcomes.  To demonstrate how the assessment works I entered ten random entries.  The Summary of Responses provides a user friendly view of the results and the spreadsheet provides correlations among the responses.  This assessment can be used to find relationships between transition curriculum and post-secondary outcomes. Please note that formulas need to be copied on the coding spreadsheet and the ranges will need to be changed to reflect the proper data ranges.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Activities for Students Based on MAP Scores

I just received links to activities based on MAP scores developed by South Washington Schools in Minnesota.  The sites  provide links to activities based on RIT scores in Reading and Math.  This is a great resource for teachers and parents to develop student skills.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Indicator B14 Survey

My journey to accumulate IEP and related forms from all states (check my progress) was interrupted by my discovery of B14 Survey developed by the state of Connecticut and made available both on survey monkey and paper.  I converted the survey to a google form, Survey of Graduates or Exiters of Connecticut High Schools, that states, area education agencies and local districts can edit.  I have experienced significantly more response with the google form versus paper.  Please check my website to copy the spreadsheet and check for updates in the data manipulation.  I plan to setup the spreadsheet to allow correlation between skills covered in high school and outcomes.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Rubrics - Qualitative and Quantitative Data using Google Doc Forms

I wanted to convert a rubric that was used to produce a score based on the selection of the descriptors. I like how rubrics provide a description of a certain behavior, however, I also like the ability to produce a numerical score. The use of the If-Then formula allows for the conversion of descriptors to a numeric value resulting in both qualitative and quantitative data. I started with the AEA 10 ServiceMatrix which is used to determine special education weightings. The form and the corresponding spreadsheet can be found on the Resource subpage on my website.  I will be searching for assessments, based on a rubric, to convert to google doc forms.  Using google docs forms, the rubric can be converted to a multiple choice assessment.  The owner of the goole doc assessment can assign points to the various descriptors.  If you have a rubric you would like to have converted please send a copy to

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Transition Services Assessment

While scanning the internet for transition assessments I discovered the Special Education Needs Assessment which was developed in collaboration with the Virginia Department of Education and the Shenandoah Valley Regional Program. (Revised March 1995).  The original document compiles data and sets priorities for improvement based on assessment of 37 criteria by a team consisting of various stakeholders.  Conversion to Google Docs allows for assessment of the criteria on a much broader level.  Summary of Responses can be used to quickly analyze data.  In addition, information compiled in the spreadsheet can be sorted to see how the different groups of stakeholders rate and value the criteria.  The Transition Services Assessment can be used by states, area education agencies, and/or school districts to appropriately allocate resources for transition services.  Please copy and edit to meet your needs.  Feedback is always appreciated at