Some students with special education needs are not able to meet the grade level learning expectations and require a modified program. What does this mean?
The grade level learning expectations come from the Ontario Curriculum. The Ministry of Education provides curriculum for every grade and subject and describes what each student is expected to achieve by the end of the grade or course, known as learning expectations.
Many students with special education needs will be able to achieve grade and course learning expectations with appropriate accommodations. Instructional, environmental and assessment accommodations will enable the student to learn the same as other students and demonstrate what they have learned. (For more information on accommodations, see the blog article Accommodations)
Some students with special education needs will not be able to achieve at grade level and will need to have their education program modified. This means they will be working on learning expectations from a different grade, either higher or lower, or reduced expectations for a given subject. For example, a student in Grade four, who is having difficulty mastering math, may have learning expectations from the Grade two or three math curriculum. Or a student may only be required to demonstrate they have achieved selected learning expectations for social studies, such as marking five features on a map instead of 10 features.
When a student is working on modified expectations the Special Education Program section of the Individual Education Plan (IEP) will be completed. This section of the IEP will indicate the subject that is being modified and the annual goal that describes what the student will achieve by the end of the year. It will also include the learning expectations for the student and the teaching strategies and assessment methods that will be used. For a detailed example, check the article, Individual Education Plan – Physical Disability.
IEP and Report Cards
For students working on a modified program the marks and comments on the report card will reflect their progress for their individual modified program. For the student working on math curriculum from the grade below, the mark reflects their progress and achievement on the Grade three math program.
In my next blog I will provide information about options in high school for students who have had a modified program at elementary school.