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  • Graduation requirements

    Starting with the class of 2006, high school seniors must pass the two-part California High School Exit Exam, which covers both English/language arts and math, to graduate.

    See details in the full story

    What are your thoughts on this issue? Do you feel that students with Tourette Syndrome who have difficulty with concentrating should be exempt from this requirement?
    Janet

    TSFC Homepage

  • #2
    Graduation requirements

    I don't think they should be exempt but I do feel they should be able to keep trying more than once at the time of the test, or have the test split up into very small sections. I am going through this with my son. In Ontario, we have the Literacy Test that is given in Grade 10. The students must pass this test if they want to get their High School Diploma. If they fail, they get to try again in Grade 11. My son failed the test. He had just started showing symptoms of tics and voices and all his marks started falling. He was able to go to the AR room and was given additional time as he is identified. His brothers and only friends passed. He was very upset for the longest time, calling himself loser and stupid. This year he writes it in the spring of Grade 11. I just know if he could write sections of this test each week he would have no problem. I am just hoping now that we have a diagnosis and proper medication by the time the test comes about, he won't have a problem. I intend to talk to the school and go armed with a report on his health from the Tourettes Clinic to see what other special resources I can get for him. I don't want him to think that because he is special needs that he can not do everything the others do. If he can do equal work as his brothers but with more time and at a slower pace, he will not feel different. That's my thought anyway.
    Rose

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    • #3
      Graduation requirements

      Hi Rose

      Specifically in Ontario, according to the Education Quality and Accountability Office (EQAO), the major purpose of province-wide exams is ?to provide individual schools, and boards with an opportunity to gage their own year-to-year progress in meeting the standards established by the Ministry of Education. The primary purpose of the test is to improve student learning and to identify areas of strength and to address areas where improvement is needed.? (EQAO, 1988a, p.19)

      The Ontario Secondary Schools, Grades 9 to 12: Program and Diploma Requirements, 1999 (OSS) sets out the policies and requirements that govern the program in Ontario English-language secondary schools. OSS came into effect at the start of the 1999-2000 school year and established the Ontario Secondary School Literacy Test (OSSLT) as one of the requirements for an Ontario Secondary School Diploma (OSSD). The purpose of the OSSLT is to determine whether or not students have acquired the reading and writing skills that they are expected to have learned by the end of Grade 9, as outlined in The Ontario Curriculum as well as those who have not demonstrated these skills and need to do further work.

      In 2002, only 72 percent of the Grade 10 students who wrote the Ontario Secondary School Literacy Test (OSSLT) for the first time passed it. Eighty five percent of students rewriting (having previously failed) in 2002 passed the test. Such results did little to alleviate teachers? concerns about standardized testing. According to an Ontario College of Teachers/COMPAS Survey in July 2003, 85 per cent of teachers believe standardized tests demoralize students, 90 per cent feel they did not improve learning and 88 per cent think they do not track student success. (Professionally Speaking, 2003)

      I do know that if they fail the OSSLT ( Ontario Secondary School Literacy Test) twice the OSSLC full course is offered as an alternative to the OSSLT. This was how government responded to these stats by offering the full course WITHOUT modifications though...accomodations are permitted but no modifications to the requirements so it's still tough but it is better for the individual time, pacing, support that many students need.

      I don't know if they will accommodate chunking the info being tested. I would love to think they would consider that as an option. Let us know how that goes.
      Janet

      TSFC Homepage

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      • #4
        Ontario Literacy Test

        In response to Rose's concerns with the literacy test I can tell you that it is possible to pass one part of the test and have that kept, but the student must rewrite the entire exam again. If in the second attempt the student passes the other portion then that counts as a pass. This was done with a student on an IEP, so I'm not sure if it applies to those students not on one. The "literacy course" which has been developed to address the issue of students not passing the "literacy test" is not that difficult if the student makes an effort and shows up for the class. My daughter is in grade 12 this year. Basically her school didn't give her the option of NOT taking the course this year so she can graduate, and although she wasn't happy to begin with, is passing and will get the credit this semester. She does not has TS, but other learning difficulties. Depending on the teacher and from the corriculum I've seen it is possible to pass the course. Other modifications have been given I have heard depending on the school with regard to time limits, and allowing the student to take a break for a bit and then come back to the room. This was done for kids with ADHD not just TS.
        Nadyne

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        • #5
          Graduation requirements

          Thanks Nadyne

          It is great to hear they will take the best of both tests. The accommodation for time frames and breaks are common when there is a concern with attention. It certainly sounds like your daughter has benefited from the course.

          I wonder if anyone else among st the membership has experience in this area?
          Janet

          TSFC Homepage

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