Which of the following conditions allows a student to be exempted from a standardized test?
c.) Having an incomplete brain
d.) None of the above
Unfortunately for 9-year-old Michael, the answer is D. He cannot see, speak or process information and was born with only half a brain. Yet he is still required to take the Florida Alternative Assessment -- the Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test (FCAT) designed for students with disabilities.
Michael has the mentality of a 6 month old baby. He loves music and listening to people talk to him. When he was a baby, he was abandoned by his parents and adopted by the owner of a school for students with severe disabilities.
At The Russell House for Atypical Children, Michael meets with a teachers for a few hours a week. He was required to take the FAA last year -- a teacher read him a story and he was asked questions about the pictures for several hours. The test administrator essentially interpreted Michael's answers by his hand movements.
He received a score of 1. And this year, he is required to undergo the same process. According to Orange County School Board Official Rick Roach,
Michael can’t see, he can’t cognitively interpret that particular test and so teachers are almost being forced to move the hand into one of three boxes and then they to make the determination did he move he hand or did I move the hand. If I didn’t laugh, I’d probably cry.
Michael's adopted mother decided not to pursue an Individual Education Plan (IEP) waiver so he wouldn't have to take the test. Why not? Because the waiver process is too difficult and Michael would likely be denied, even after providing the following documents:
...in general the waiver process is intended for students who, due to a recent occurrence, cannot participate in the state assessments. As an example, if a student lost their eyesight due to an accident a month before testing, the student would be eligible for a waiver from testing for that academic year. Waivers do not apply to students with a chronic situation.