If you have a child in the regular ed classrooms, most likely you have heard the term “Scantron” before. If not, these are the “bubble cards” that go with most standardize tests. The student can usually write in the test booklet, but then must transfer the answers onto the “Scantron” or “bubble sheet.” These “Scantrons” are a quick and convenient way for schools to grade the tests.
Many times teachers want all students to use these bubble cards. Unfortunately, for a child with processing issues, eyesight challenges, or any forms of Attention Deficit Disorder, these bubble cards can be counterproductive. If the student misses a question, skips a question or gets off line, the entire card will be skewed. The teacher may walk around and try to see if the student is bubbling correctly, but once the student is off line, most likely, he or she will be confused about which answer they wanted in the first place. By this time, if the student has to “fix” the answer card, he or she will most likely give up.
My suggestion is to get rid of these “Scantrons” altogether. Have it written into the IEP. “Marks in Book.” These 3 magic words will allow the student to write on any test or worksheet. With resources scarce, many times teachers will pass out a test and the students cannot write on it. They need to transfer the answers to a sheet of paper. Here we go again with processing. Maybe your child can handle reading the test and going back and forth to mark the answer down. But if not, a good choice is to protect your student by adding it to the IEP.
Teachers and administrators will try to talk you into allowing the student “to practice” using the Scantron. They will tell you that Scantrons are needed in High School and College. DON”T FALL FOR IT! The “Marks in Book” accommodation is available all the way through high school including the SAT Test. Colleges also offer similar accommodations.
The teachers want you to let your kidlet “try it” because the teachers don’t want to be the one that has to bubble in the students answers. Yes folks, you heard it here first. If the student has “Marks in Book,” then the teacher, upon completion of the student’s test, will bubble in for the student.
But let’s be honest. Teachers have plenty to do…special ed or not. You can’t blame them for wanting to do less work. I encourage you to consider adding “Marks in Book” only if you feel in your heart this is the best option.
Many times, using a Scantron can be confusing. Remember, the least restrictive environment includes optimum test setting.
Social Reaction: This has to be one of the greatest things I missed during my time working with grade school children. During my foundation year of the MSW curriculum, I was placed in an internship at a local elementary school. I admit that before starting my internship, I felt nervous because I had no experience working with grade school children, let alone, children in general. But after working as the “School Counselor” this past academic year, I came to realize the importance mental health plays during the childhood.
During my internship, my main responsibilities were to perform a psychosocial assessment to the children who were referred to seek school-based counseling. I was also present during IEP (Individualized Educational Plan) meetings which involve attendance of the student, parents, teachers, staff, and sometimes, administrators.
I believe that this article is important to be aware of. Some of the students that I saw would have benefited from this profoundly due to some learning limitations they had. I will keep this in mind for any time in the near or distant future if I ever I work in the school-setting.