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Students with Special Needs: Education Assessment


The US educational system is based on the principles of fairness and equal opportunities for all. No Child Left Behind enacted in 2001 ensures that all students receive proper instruction and assessment aligned with the existing standards (Kritikos, 2010). This policy is specifically beneficial for students with special needs as they often need an individualized approach. For instance, the present case shows some aspects that have to be taken into account when working with students with special needs. This paper includes a brief discussion of Nathaniel’s achievement assessment.

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Nathaniel’s Motivation

Apart from having certain issues with adaptive skills, intelligence, and especially with speech and language skills, Nathaniel seems unmotivated to work hard and improve his scores (Kritikos, 2010). The student does not understand the benefits of formal education and how it can relate to his present and future. Therefore, it is essential to motivate the student, which can positively affect his performance. First, it is critical to have a conversation (or several conversations if necessary) with Nathaniel. The student should be aware of the potential benefits associated with his formal education. At that, it is necessary to understand Nathaniel’s plans as well as his present situation. One of the areas to take into account is the influence of his peers. He has friends who can become models or examples of effective and ineffective behavior. It is necessary to explain that being a funny person can be harmful especially in high school as such behavior prevents a person from performing well and acquiring the skills that will be helpful in the future.

Involving Parents and Other Teachers

The conversation with Nathaniel can be insufficient, so it is important to have a meeting (or several meetings) with his parents. Nathaniel’s parents have quite busy schedules, which means that the conversation will take place after school or even during the weekend. It is necessary to ask the parents about their views on Nathaniel’s future, any plans concerning his present and future, and so on. The parents should also be informed about the most recent scores (if any). Importantly, it can be helpful to take into account the results of the conversation with Nathaniel when speaking with his parents. They should help their son to improve his scores. They should also explain why people (and Nathaniel) should study. They should look for real-life examples from their family to motivate their son. Furthermore, Nathaniel’s other teachers should also be involved. They can provide some information that will be relevant particularly to the areas that interest Nathaniel. For instance, they could provide examples of ways their subjects or specific data can be applied in different settings (private life, various careers, and so on). These examples could be beneficial for other students as well since young people often have quite low motivation.

Instruction and Informal Assessment

To facilitate the student’s progress, it is important to infuse this information into instruction and informal assessment. When instructing the student, it is possible to encourage him to reflect on possible ways to use certain skills in his present or future life. In some cases, the instructions can include some information concerning possible ways to apply skills and knowledge. As for the types of assessment, various tools can be utilized including interviews, projects, portfolios, and so on (Kritikos, 2010). It is possible to encourage the student to describe ways certain data could be used in his future life.

It is also obvious that Nathaniel will benefit from particular types of assessment while some tests can be harmful. Kritikos (2010) stresses that it is widely believed that individual tests are more effective for students with special needs. Writing and reading requirements, as well as answer transfer to answer sheets, are major disadvantages of group tests. Individual tests do not have such peculiarities, and the teacher can provide additional instruction and clarification if necessary. It is noteworthy that individual tests address such three areas as reading, writing, and math.

Achievement Assessment

As far as Nathaniel’s assessment is concerned, it could be beneficial to use the Kaufman Test of Educational Achievement-II. This test addresses all major areas including reading, math, writing, and oral language skills. Oral language skills are assessed through a set of supplementary subtests. Nathaniel has difficulties with this area, and it is crucial to trace his achievements and progress. Moreover, this is an individual test, which means that the teacher can provide additional instructions and clarifications that can help the student perform better. At the same time, it is better to avoid using the Iowa Tests of Basic Skills as this group assessment does not include sufficient subtests on oral language. Since it is a group test, Nathaniel can have difficulties with comprehending the exact tasks and perform improperly.


In conclusion, it is necessary to note that Nathaniel needs an individualized approach that should involve considerable attention to the student’s motivation. It is critical to involve the student’s parents and other teachers who can motivate and inspire the student to work harder to achieve higher academic results. It is also necessary to add that Nathaniel could benefit from the use of individual tests rather than group tests as this would increase his chances to perform better.

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Kritikos, E. (2010). Special education assessment: Issues and strategies affecting today’s classroom. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Merrill.

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