Friday, January 19, 2018

Student Screening

The children who will benefit from a Talent Development ministry are usually easy to recognize. After two weeks of school, most teachers know which students are going to have difficulty, or need additional materials to be challenged. There is a need for teacher and parent observation in the screening process and valuable information can be obtained in this manner. The observations tell what the child is or is not doing, but does not give reasons for the performance level.

It is, therefore, necessary that complete evaluative and diagnostic testing be provided for each child entering the Talent Development program. This battery of tests should provide a reasonable estimate of the child’s I.Q. an achievement level in the basic subject areas, and diagnostic tests to pinpoint specific areas for remediation. These tests also will serve as a reference point when testing is done later in the school year to help determine progress.

The first test given is usually a standard group achievement test. If the child being tested is new to the school and achieves stanines of four or lower, further testing should be recommended. If any of the following information is supplied to your Christian school about the child, this will indicate a SPECIAL NEED ON THE PART OF THE STUDENT:

  • Two years or more below academic grade level in any academic area;
  • I.Q. below 90
  • Variance on WISC (Individual Intelligence Test) between verbal and performance scores of over 15 points; and/or
  • Scatter on the WISC of over three points in the subtests.

Additional testing should always be done by trained, competent, dedicated, born-again Christians. Never go to the world for the educational planning of your children’s future. The world’s ways are not God’s ways.

A service available to help you in student screening and testing is our own Faith Christian Ministries of Oliver Springs, Tennessee and Flat Rock, North Carolina.

The services of Faith Christian Ministries include:

1. The child will be brought to a pre-determined location where he/she is to be tested. At this time, the boy or girl will be administered a very thorough battery of examinations which will supply the parents and school with a very detailed account of the child’s competence in all educational areas.

2. Once work on the evaluation is completed it is time for the parent conference. Whenever the circumstances permit, the school administrator and the child’s teacher should be present during the parent conference. At this time the findings of the testing are shared. Also, all are informed of what materials can aid the child to make the greatest gains in achievement. The recommendations and guidelines provided in the educational plan are devised to promote success and maximum academic progress. At the close of the conference, the school administrator is given the completed folder which is to be placed in the student’s confidential file so that the child’s teacher can refer to it whenever necessary.

If this is the first indication the parents have had that their child has a problem, they may not accept the test results as being valid. It is their right to seek further opinions; it is after all, their child’s future which is involved. Always try to leave the lines of communication open so that if after further testing the results are the same, the parents will feel comfortable returning their child to your school.

Proper and thorough screening will save many instructional hours. A complete academic picture is a valuable tool and benefits both teacher and child. Children in need of a Talent Development program have already wasted much valuable time. They cannot afford to fall further behind due to insufficient or inaccurate diagnosis. This could negatively affect a child’s achievement level by as much as one to two years overall.

Once a child is in the program, he/she should be tested regularly using an achievement test, and once a year using a partial diagnostic testing. Yearly evaluation to update curriculum according to the child’s needs is essential.

As your program develops, a test at the beginning of the year serves as a comparison of the child’s progress during the school year. Much information is lost during the summer and comparison between test levels is not accurate when trying to ascertain progress made over the school year. Summer school is extremely important for the learning disabled child, slow learner, and retarded, for up to a year’s loss can occur over the summer due to some children’s severe auditory or visual memory problems.

In the case of our hypothetical “Mikey”, a complete evaluation would have helped not only Mikey, but also his parents and teacher. It is much easier to deal with a problem once it has been clearly defined. Many of the behavior problems that Mikey was experiencing were a direct result of the impossible school situation he had to face every day. With complete information concerning Mikey’s abilities and performance levels, his teacher would have been able to adjust some of the demands made upon Mikey and remove some of the pressure within the classroom. A complete physical examination could have revealed any root causes for both the bed-wetting and the academic difficulties. These efforts on Mikey’s behalf would also have helped improve his self-image as he saw the adults in his life concerned for him as a person.