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What The Discrepancy Model Is

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The discrepancy model is a way to capture and compare a student’s scores on different types of tests. It compares assessments of a child’s intellectual ability (IQ) with how much progress he’s making in school (his academic achievement).

In some cases, there may be a significant “discrepancy” (difference) between various sets of scores. The idea is that when there’s a difference like this, it’s evidence that an underlying condition is making it unusually hard for a child to learn.

For example, say your fifth grader’s IQ falls in the average range. The expectation would be for him to be reading at a typical fifth-grade level.For Educational Evaluations in US visit UT Evaluators.

But say his scores show that he’s actually reading at a second-grade level. In that case, there’s a discrepancy between what the IQ test said he’s capable of (ability) and his actual reading level (achievement).

How the Discrepancy Model Is Used

The discrepancy model was part of the Individuals with Disabilities in Education Act (IDEA) when it became law in 1975. It was created so that schools would have a way to figure out which students were eligible for special education.

For decades, schools were required to use the discrepancy model. But in 2004, when IDEA was reauthorized, that changed.

The law now says that states can use the discrepancy model if they choose. However, it allows them to use other models instead of or along with the discrepancy model.

Thirty-nine states still allow their school districts to use the discrepancy model. Eleven states forbid its use.

Benefits and Drawbacks of the Discrepancy Model

Professionals and schools say that some benefits of the discrepancy model are:

A. It’s already an established practice. Schools have been using it for many years.

B. It demands little or no time from classroom teachers. Testing is done by a separate team of professionals.

C. It requires getting subtest scores on different measures of cognitive processing. These scores could provide helpful information about underlying issues that might contribute to a child’s struggle.

This is especially true for kids who have above-average intellectual ability but whose school performance doesn’t reflect their potential.

Professionals and schools say some drawbacks in the discrepancy model are:

A. The discrepancy model is still often the default. But when it’s used, it should always be considered along with other data to give a comprehensive assessment of the child.

When the discrepancy model is used alone, just a point or two on a score can mean the difference between a child’s being eligible for special education services or not.

B. There are different standards about how big a discrepancy is considered significant.

When they use the discrepancy model, each state or school district is allowed to decide how big the discrepancy between a child’s IQ and his achievement level must be in order for that child to be eligible for special education. So a child who is eligible in one state may not be eligible in another.

C. It can identify kids too late. Students with learning differences often struggle in the early grades. But they rarely show a large enough discrepancy on test scores to be “officially” identified with a learning difference.

It’s generally not until third or fourth grade that the work gets hard enough for the discrepancy to become large enough. This can lead to a “wait to fail” situation: Kids don’t receive help until they’re doing poorly in school.

D. It doesn’t suggest what kind of help students need. Test results may indicate there’s a problem. But the scores alone don’t provide detailed information about performance and what specific kinds of instruction and support kids need.

E. It may not provide a “level playing field” for all students. Kids with cultural and language differences might not score as well as their peers on tests that don’t reflect those differences. That’s true even when they’re just as capable as their peers.

Other Approaches Used Today

When IDEA was reissued in 2004, the law permitted alternatives to the discrepancy model. This change was intended to help schools identify children with learning differences earlier and get them the specific kinds of help they need.

One approach mentioned in the law was response to intervention (RTI). RTI looks at all students’ reading, writing and math skills early in the school year. Then it provides targeted support to those who are struggling.To know more details on Educational Evaluations in US check Iftr2015hyd

Children who don’t respond to increasing support may then be considered for special education. The benefits of RTI: Students get help early. And they don’t have to wait to prove eligibility in order to get support.

Keep in mind that even if your child is receiving RTI, you still have the right to request an evaluation for special education services.

Another approach being used in some schools is called the “processing deficit approach.” This includes testing that helps teachers understand kids’ patterns of strengths and weaknesses. That allows them to modify how they teach to meet the kids’ needs.

For example, say a child has trouble processing information he hears. His instruction might include written materials and/or other accommodations.

His teacher might give him notes before she lectures. He might also get follow-up notes to reinforce his classroom learning.

Test scores and testing are still supposed to play a major role in identifying kids who need help. But in more and more cases, they’re not the only deciding factor.

Educators now use data from RTI and MTSS activities and individualized assessments. This information helps them identify which kids need extra help and decide on teaching strategies.

What You Can Do

It’s up to your child’s school (and the state you live in) to decide how it will identify students who need special education services. But no matter the method, you have rights in the process.

Read more about your rights during the evaluation process. And get information on steps you can take if your child is denied services.

What Types Of Tests Are Available In Evaluation ?

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There are many types of tests that schools use to measure student progress. Here are a few important terms parents may need to know.

Group tests

Group achievement tests may not be used to determine eligibility for special services. They furnish information about how a child performs in relation to others of the same age or grade level, but they do not identify an individual student’s pattern of strengths and needs.

Individual tests

Tests administered individually to your child can clarify the special education and related services your child needs to progress in school. For Educational Evaluations in US visit UT Evaluators

Curriculum-based assessments (CBAs) or curriculum-based measurements (CBMs)

These types of tests are developed by educational professionals to examine the progress a child has made in learning the specific materials the teacher has presented to the class. They can be useful tools for teachers and parents in determining whether learning is taking place, but they must never be used to determine eligibility for services.

Standardized tests

Standardized tests are rigorously developed by experts to be used with large populations of students. The tests are administered according to specific standards. Standardized tests can evaluate what a child has already learned (achievement), or predict what a child may be capable of doing in the future (aptitude).

Norm-referenced tests

Norm-referenced tests are standardized tests that compare a child’s performance to that of peers. They can tell you where your child stands in relation to other children of the same age or grade.For Educational Evaluations  visit kotra

Criterion-referenced tests

These tests measure what the child is able to do or the specific skills a child has mastered. Criterion-referenced tests do not assess a child’s standing in a group but the child’s performance measured against standard criteria. They may compare a child’s present performance with past performance as a way of measuring progress.

What Is Educational Evaluation?

Educational evaluation is an ongoing process involving the gathering and organization of data collected on a teacher’s academic activities. Peers, administrators or outside observers conduct the evaluations to gauge a teacher’s effectiveness and make recommendations for possible improvements.

Evaluation Process

In educational evaluations, activities are observed and evaluated according to specific evaluation guidelines. Educational evaluations look at the entire educational process from different points of view, including the educator and students. The evaluation can be quantitative, such as tests or quizzes, or qualitative, such as observation of group activities. This process looks at the teaching and motivational methods as well as long-term goals of those being evaluated. Check for Educational Evaluations at UT Evaluators

Evaluation Goals

Educational evaluations aim to improve education and the educational process by giving educators information on the effectiveness of current strategies. The evaluations also provide specific suggestions to help educators improve in areas where they are weak. For example, educational evaluators who observe group activities might provide feedback to teachers on ways to improve participation of students, allowing for better instruction and learning processes. For Educational Evaluations in US visit UT Evaluators