I was reminded of the article The Social Construction of Learning Disabilites by Curt Dudley-Marling after sitting through an IEP re-evaluation meeting the other day. After all, if you have attended an IEP meeting, that is all the regular education teachers do is sit through them.

This student's recognized disability is in the area of mathematics. I call it "recognized" because I am not sure I believe there is a disability. The results of the test administered by the special educators to support this claim looked to me like the results for any one of my students. The test ranked her below average, average, or above average on a dozen or so different content strands.

Let's see...on the handful of strands that concerned mathematical operations, this student was ranked as "below average," estimated to be performing somewhere in the 7th to 9th grade level (this student is an 11th grader). Nothing out of the ordinary there. I would reckon that the majority of my students would fall in this range on these strands. Somewhere earlier in their schooling, someone decided that an appropriate modification for this student would be to allow them to use a calculator. These sections of this test were completed without a calculator. No wonder.

Let's see...on the handful of strands that involved operations with fractions and real numbers, this student scored below average, again estimated performing in the 7th to 9th grade range. Again, par for the course when it come to the majority of my students. For some of these sections, the student was permitted to use a calculator. I guess who ever decided on the calculator modification forgot to teach how to use a calculator. I wonder what calculator they used? Did they use their TI-84? Did they use one of my NspireCAS handhelds? Was it one of the Ohio Graduation Test calculators?

Let's see...on the handful of strands that are actually addressed in my classes - Algebra, Measurement, Geometry, Probability, Shapes - this student was ranked in the average to above average range on all, performing in the 10th grade to 11th grade range. I would imagine and expect that the majority of my students would be here.

I guess I do not understand how this disability works, or how it is constructed.

## Saturday, December 12, 2009

### The Social Construction of Learning Disabilites

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