Since 1975, the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) has guaranteed free, appropriate, public education for every child with a disability. This tailored education system has been monumental to the academic support and success of students with disabilities. Now, “more than 60 percent of special education students spend the majority of their time in general education classrooms, a 90 percent increase since 1989.” This dramatic growth of students in mainstream classrooms has elevated awareness around education equality, and it has also created a greater need for personalized learning. To better reach students in this way, teachers are turning to digital assessment in special education classrooms for help.
For teachers supporting the 6.6 million special education students in today’s public schools or those working within the private school system, technology in the classroom can help cater to specific student learning styles. Beyond this, technology can serve as an equalizer for all students and as a platform for those with disabilities to thoughtfully engage in all lessons.
Technology-enhanced digital assessments, like Edulastic, in special education help teachers support their students and help students understand their mistakes in order to grow. Check out these 3 ways Edulastic supports special education.
Thoughtfully Engage Student Learners
There are multiple ways to engage all learners on Edulastic. For starters, there are more than 30 technology-enhanced item types, including 23 for math and 9 for ELA. Teachers can choose from over 35,000 items in the Edulastic Certified Item bank, choose questions from the more than 30,000 publicly shared assessments, create their own questions, or mix and match! With these options, teachers can get creative with their assessments and find inspiration from other teachers in order to build an assessment that is perfect for their students.
In addition to the robust item bank, Edulastic makes it easy for teachers to strategically ask questions in ways that help special education students understand and answer. For example, in addition to choosing different question types, teachers can embed multimedia into questions on Edulastic. Photos, videos, and audio add a new dimension to digital assessment – engaging students with visuals and audibly. Catering the question to meet the student’s needs can reduce misunderstanding and help ensure that students understand what’s being asked of them.
Deliver Assessment to Suit Individual Needs
Edulastic makes it easy for teachers to deliver assessments that are personalized to fit individual student needs. While creating questions, it’s easy to adjust the style of each question or adjust assessment difficulty for each student. Betty Scola, an elementary school teacher, explains that “with Edulastic, it is easy to make multiple versions of a test and assign to specific students. Students don’t even know that they have an easier or harder test than the student next to them.” These personalized learning environments can help all students succeed, grow, and learn in their own way and in their own time. Corey Cohen, an inclusion teacher in New Jersey, explains, “[Edulastic] gives me an opportunity to test all students on the same topic but on each student’s level.” This can be done by duplicating an assessment and adjusting it for specific students.
Another way Edulastic helps teachers cater to individual needs is through text-to-speech. For Premium users, text-to-speech can be enabled to support students who may struggle with reading. At the click of a button, students can hear the question prompt and respond to the question accordingly.
These assessment customization features allow teachers’ instruction to go further. One special education teacher, Adam Buklis, explains that he appreciates using Edulastic for digital assessment in special education classes because it feels like he has an individual teacher for every student. Buklis explains, “In a class of 10 students, [Edulastic] is like having 10 staff members constantly doing the checking and offering instant feedback (not possible with paper). This frees up my time to work individually with struggling students instead of having to constantly scan.” Especially in a world where we have high student to teacher ratios, this is powerful!
Instant Feedback for Teachers and Students
Immediate insights are a win for both teachers and students. For students, Edulastic’s autograding allows them to immediately see their scores, so they can promptly understand where or how they went wrong. Students appreciate this feature because it lets them learn from their mistakes and immediately work to correct them.
For teachers, grading is a thing of the past! Edulastic’s autograding helps save countless hours. Looking to provide individual feedback on specific questions? You can type in feedback to help students understand what they got right, wrong, or simply to cheer them on.
Beyond this, Edulastic allows all teachers to monitor student progress in real time. The live dashboard shows how students are doing individually, how the entire class is performing on each question, and which questions students are acing or struggling on. Buklis explains, “With the live dashboard, I instantly see how students are progressing and intervene with those that are struggling…[Edulastic] is simply the best assessment tool on the market.”
Technology-enhanced digital assessment in special education help teachers create personalized learning environments for their students, and these individualized environments help students grow in their own way and in their own time. The autograding and customized assessments provide a more intimate assessment environment for students that is catered to their needs.
One of the best things about shifting to digital is that you can get started today, and for free! Discover for yourself how digital assessment in special education can empower both you (the teacher) and your students. Create your free forever account today.