The No Child Left Behind Act emphasizes that all children get the same equal opportunities as everyone else in the goal of high-quality education. Along with the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, all students are required to take state assessment tests. Regardless of a disability, a child’s score is counted as part of the state’s Adequate Yearly Progress goal.
Of course, not all exceptional children are functioning on grade level, so No Child Left Behind has made certain considerations for the disabled. Special education students may be allowed to take assessment exams with extra breaks and for an extended amount of time. Large print and Braille are also available and, in some cases, a teacher or instructional aide can read instructions out loud for the student and point out when he or she needs to get back on track. Students must read exam questions and answers by themselves and mark answers appropriately.
In cases where testing modifications are inadequate, alternate examinations may be available as long as they test the child’s specific grade level knowledge.
In years past, children with disabilities were not given access to standard coursework and curriculums. No Child Left Behind has forced schools to pay more attention to disabled students, allowing them to make advancements in reading and mathematics that were almost unheard of before. As with any change in the educational system, some parents of severely disabled students worry that their children are being forced to learn at a pace too difficult for them in an effort to put the state’s test ranking above others. Parents should closely communicate with teachers and school faculty to best determine the necessary assessment modifications and what the parents can do to help their child learn at home.
If a special education student is not being instructed on their grade level, the school may be abusing or ignoring No Child Left Behind. In these instances, consulting a lawyer is recommended.