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Special education conference provides specialized training on assessment tool

Written on September 17th, 2008

OACS to offer new assessment service

The Special Education Curriculum Conference that took place Sept. 12 provided training that is difficult for many Ontario Alliance of Christian Schools (OACS) special education teachers to access, according to Mary Guldemond, OACS special education consultant. “Often you need to get a Masters in special education in order to do this,” says Guldemond. “So while a few people have some training in it, many of them have had difficulty accessing this kind of training.”

It was exciting to be able to make this instruction available to all OACS special education teachers, she says.

Sandra Wilson, a consultant and assessment trainer from Psycan, an educational and clinical resource company, presented the one-day workshop on the Kaufman Test of Educational Achievement (KTEA-II).

KTEA-II is an individually administered assessment of skills in reading, math, written and oral language.

Wilson says her goal was give the audience an opportunity to learn some general things about administering the test as well as provide some hands-on experience with scoring and interpretation.

While she’s used to training to groups of 20-25, Wilson says she felt all went well with the OACS crew of 65 special education teachers.

”The teachers were involved and interested and seemed to leave with a positive feel for the test,” she says.

Guldemond says participants were delighted with Wilson’s presentation, according to post-evaluations of the day.

“She offered a lot of information and had a wealth of experience related to actual classroom situations.”

The training provided makes it possible for OACS special education teachers to use the KTEA-II with more skill and confidence, according to Guldemond.

It also gives them the knowledge and skills to better understand and interpret the results of psycho-educational assessments that come in from outside sources.

The training allows the teachers to make better program decisions for students.

“With this test in our hands we will have appropriate data support for decision-making in terms of placement and interventions with the students’ needs, and in terms of deciding on modifications or accommodations that are needed,” says Guldemond.

The OACS will be providing a new assessment service at a reasonable cost for schools that don’t have the financial resources or personnel to purchase and administer KTEA-II themselves.

Guldemond says KTEA-II can be costly, especially for small schools with limited resources, and it does take quite a bit of time and experience to administer the test most effectively.

“The OACS will be providing a service at a reasonable cost by providing experienced special education teachers who may be able to come into the school and do the assessment and advise the school,” she says. “(In some cases), it might be better use of limited resources to access this service for schools.”