The most effective way to address any issue is to treat the root cause, not the symptoms. This idea applies to planning for special education students. Reacting to their unique needs in the moment is not sufficient to offer these students the kind of robust learning environment they deserve. Instead, learning and classroom structures should address special education student needs at every level, including through curriculum, strategies, activities and environment.
Those interested in ensuring students with special needs receive proper accommodations should consider the Lamar University Master of Education (M.Ed.) in Special Education with Educational Diagnostician Certification online program.
Educational diagnosticians are critical to special education efforts. They are typically professional educators who work with students with special needs and help tie together schools’ academic, social, behavioral and emotional infrastructures. Educational diagnosticians offer assessments, evaluations and recommendations for students, helping to form the foundation of each student’s learning plan.
Due to the comprehensive nature of these strategies, diagnosticians often collaborate and conduct assessments with the parents of students to extend their learning ideas outside of the classroom. They also communicate with educators at all district levels to consult on policy, services and best practices — virtually any kind of special education accommodation. That also means educational diagnosticians are in the classroom observing teachers and students directly and collaborating with them to best serve their students.
As leaders among their peers, educational diagnosticians prioritize being aware of the latest trends in their specialty and consider whether that might be an appropriate fit in their school environment. In addition, they are often responsible for sharing these strategies with their peers and helping to train them.
Letter-based grading has been the norm for years. Teachers issue students a letter grade on a scale of A through F, and these grades typically reflect a multitude of factors. For years, educators have considered many elements of a student’s classroom presence in their academic grades, such as tardiness, homework completion, behavior and other factors that do not reflect students’ ability to comprehend course content successfully.
Mastery-based grading takes a fundamentally different approach to recording grades. The practice eschews elements like attendance, behavior and other non-academic factors from the grading rubric and allows students to resubmit assignments. In this case, the final grade ideally will determine “how well students have developed the skills they learned in class,” as described by Waterford.org. Students will obtain a grade that accurately reflects their understanding of course material and concepts rather than weighing their academics versus other non-academic factors.
Individualized learning is not a new concept, as teachers have long understood the value of addressing students and their needs more directly. Unfortunately, providing this kind of instruction is easier said than done due to the demands and constraints on teachers’ time and the realities of school learning environments.
However, modern technology makes creating and scaling individualized learning activities easier. As noted by Waterford.org, “Adaptive software programs allow teachers to use the same program for all students in their classroom.” This technology enables teachers to offer differentiated lesson plans. Adapting the curriculum to suit the unique needs of students is one of the most effective ways to help them progress.
A higher education program like the M.Ed. in Special Education with Educational Diagnostician Certification from Lamar University instills the kind of robust diagnostic and accommodation practices necessary to serve students of all learning abilities. The program fulfills the course requirements to become an educational diagnostician certified by the Texas State Board of Educator Certification (SBEC), and graduates of the program also boast a pass rate for the Educational Diagnostician Certification exam that has exceeded the state rate on average.