ERIC Number: EJ994294
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2012
Reference Count: 7
Finding the Balance: A Response to Hunt and McDonnell
Browder, Diane M.
Research and Practice for Persons with Severe Disabilities, v37 n3 p157-159 2012
Hunt and McDonnell have provided an excellent overview of one of the most important aspects of planning for students with severe disabilities--an ecological curricular framework that is created with input from the student, family, and needs of current and future environments. The standards-based reform-movement has created tension for educators to reconcile this best practice with increasing expectations for all students to show progress on state's academic content standards. The No Child Left Behind (NCLB) Act of 2001 fueled this expectation by requiring states to focus their alternate assessments based on alternate achievement standards (AA-AAS) to these academic content standards. Previously, many states had developed alternate assessments to focus not on the general curriculum but on expectations for an alternative curriculum that many called "functional" or "life skills." Hunt and McDonnell offer a compromise that will reconcile the best of what has worked in the past with the benefits of increased academic opportunity. They propose that an ecological approach to curriculum development be the overarching framework for all curriculum development activities. Their guidelines include a first step in which quality-of-life goal areas are identified for the student that will be used to guide every step of planning from goal identification to instruction. This is an excellent way for teams to make sure planning is person centered. What the author learned from Hunt and McDonnell is the need to list and consider specific quality of life goal areas, for example, communicative and social competence, social relationships, increased independence, and self-determination skills. Given the pressure created by AA-AAS and the long list of state standards to be managed, making this first step specific and clearly articulated is important.
Descriptors: Academic Standards, State Standards, Teaching Methods, Quality of Life, Curriculum Development, Educational Change, Holistic Approach, Federal Legislation, Educational Legislation, Severe Disabilities, Individualized Education Programs, Core Curriculum, Alignment (Education), Alternative Assessment
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Opinion Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: North Carolina
Identifiers - Laws, Policies, & Programs: No Child Left Behind Act 2001