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Reflections of Our Learning Journey. Cynthia, Siti Aishah, Jasmine, Elena & Weiting. NCLB Act. Children with special needs The American Federation of Teachers aims to provide high standards of learning and teaching

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Reflections of our learning journey
Reflections of Our Learning Journey

Cynthia, Siti Aishah, Jasmine, Elena & Weiting

Nclb act

Children with special needs

  • The American Federation of Teachers aims to provide high standards of learning and teaching

  • Strengthening public education while raising the academic achievement of all students.

    (Education Minnesota, 2008)


From our observations at site visits, we are wondering… where are the children with severe disabilities?


  • Congress authorized $22.75 billion in 2006

  • President Bush requested only $13.3 billion

  • Minnesota should receive $111.5 million funding

  • But Congress authorized $190.2 million

    (Education Minnesota, 2008)


Does this happen because people have the mindset that people with special needs are unable to contribute to the society?

Do people view this as an ethical responsibility?

Massachusetts comprehensive assessment system mcas
Massachusetts Comprehensive Assessment System (MCAS)

(Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, 2007, n.p)

  • “MCAS is designed to meet the requirements of the Education Reform Law of 1993, which specifies that the testing program must

    • test all public school students in Massachusetts, including students with disabilities and limited English proficient students

    • measure performance based on the Massachusetts Curriculum Framework learning standards

    • report on the performance of individual students, schools, and districts.

MCAS is used to hold schools and districts accountable, on a yearly basis, for the progress they have made toward the objective of the No Child Left Behind Law that all students be proficient in Reading and Mathematics by 2014.”

MCAS is administered through a written test, in the English language.

(Gargiulo and Kilgo, 2005, p. 103)

Assessment should be:

  • “a process, not a single procedure”,

  • “ongoing” and “collaborative” with “systematic observation and analysis” (Greenspan and Meisels, 1994, p. 1)

  • “multidisciplinary, multidimensional, multicontext, proactive”.

Massachusetts comprehensive assessment system mcas questions
Massachusetts Comprehensive Assessment System (MCAS)Questions

How valid is the MCAS as an assessment system to measure performance, if it is administered in a unnatural, testing environment with results highly influenced by children’s language (English) and writing abilities?

How authentic is a reporting system that is solely based on grades and percentages? Is there an over-reliance on quantitative results and a lack of qualitative information?

MCAS is used to hold schools accountable. However, if this year’s 3rd graders are compared to next year’s 3rd graders, how related are the comparisons? What incentives are there to measure individual children or a cohort’s progress? Are children’s progress monitored with the belief that learning is a process?

Ministry of Education’s (Singapore) Initiatives toward Inclusive Education

  • MOE seeks to provide an inclusive education system, so as to cater to children with different learning needs.

  • As children with mild or moderate learning disabilities are able to access the mainstream curriculum with some support, and can study in mainstream schools, MOE will provide additional support and resources.

  • To integrate such children into mainstream schools, MOE will recruit and provide dedicated staff with training in special education to some mainstream schools.

  • (Ministry of Education, 2005)

Why are there no legislations and policies to support and include children with special needs in main-stream schools of Singapore?

What else can the government do to promote the readiness of the society to embrace inclusive classrooms?

Teacher education
Teacher Education Inclusive Education

  • Training in special needs will also be provided for selected mainstream teachers to raise general awareness of the different types of learning difficulties, and help them identify and manage children with mild learning difficulties (Ministry of Education, 2005).

  • An increasing number of teachers in Singapore have attained qualifications specifically in special needs (Lim & Quah, 2003).

  • However, there are many of these graduates who move away from this profession (Lim & Quah, 2003)

So, why is this happening?

How can we encourage more teachers to go through thorough training on special education? Will there be such training available?