The fourth is titled 'the learning environment.' The author uses this chapter to shed more light on the inclusive practice. He traces the history of the practice to the handicapped children Act of 1975. This act ensured that all the children with moderate to severe disabilities were with educational opportunities. The author defines inclusion as, "the commitment to educate each child in the classroom he or she would otherwise attend" (Hamill & Everington 83). The chapter looks at the following key components,
Where instruction are supposed to be implemented
How those instructions should be delivered
What to be included in the instructions
The author goes ahead to discuss the characteristics of inclusive environments. This section is meant to give a clear picture of how an inclusive school ought to be. Under this the author examines the school environment and makes an argument that, the atmosphere and general philosophy is an import part of the inclusive school environment (Hamill & Everington 84). The author exploitatively discusses the how the atmosphere and the environment contribute to inclusiveness in respect to teaching. The role of the teacher is also discussed and it is showed how he/she can participate in ensuring that inclusiveness in the curricular. The author also discusses the part which ought to be played by the students. Under this, he also discuses how the students can be incorporated to ensure the success of inclusive environment is achieved (Hamill & Everington 87).
Factors important to implementation
The author further discusses the factors which are significant to implementation of a curricular which is significant for the implementation of inclusive curricular. The author discusses three factors which are vital: provision of staff development, creation of a vision for a school and ensuring staff supports. The author argues the new ways of learning requires that staff has to be trained. The author talks about collaboration among the teachers. The authors insist on teachers having more contacts with people of disabilities so as to enable them learn ways of handling them (Hamill & Everington 90).
The authors also discuss the significance of a leadership having a vision. They place the school administrators at the key position in creating visions for learning institutions. The authors argue that the teachers ought to contribute to the vision creating and building. Under the provision of the necessary support for teachers, the authors argue that, "good teaching takes time and effort" (Hamill & Everington 91). For the teachers to be effective there is a need for them to be supported in their efforts to in areas such as planning time, consultative purpose among other areas.
Applied Curriculum and school to work initiatives
Under this section the authors try to bring out the importance of a curricular. They shed light on why it is important to have the right curricular in place. Under this section the following are addressed:
Characteristics of applied curricular
Examples of primary applied curricular activities
How to link the primary curricular activities with inclusive practice
Under the characteristics the authors write about the use of authentic learning experience which will make it possible for students to gain and experience a real knowledge of what happens in the real world. They talk about the classroom environment in this regard and view it as a program which enables students to learn what and how things happen in the community. The teachers as well as the students have a role to play in this (Hamill & Everington 93).
The authors discuss the applied curriculum models and their significance to students with moderate to severe disabilities. The authors highlight some of the curricular models which have been developed. Under this they discuss the career education curricula and vocational education
This chapter is on authentic assessment in inclusive environments. The authors start by showing through an illustration how information assessment can be critical. They quote Luckasson et al. listing four types of purposes of assessment:
Eligibility for services
Identification of service and evaluation of their effectiveness
After briefly discussing the purposes, the authors next highlight the norm-referenced and traditional forms of assessment. They explain this as measures which have standardized over a large population sample. These tests are meant to accomplish a number of things which include IQ tests, language ability, academic achievement, adaptive behavior, and development. The authors discuss these issues measured at length (Miller & Everington 109).
Under this chapter, the authors explain what authentic assessment is. Under this they discuss the factors which make the assessment authentic and then discuss the various types of authentic assessment approaches which are used for both the planning and evaluating. The approaches include curriculum based assessment, functional and environmentally referenced assessment. The authors also discuss on how conducting the assessment should be conducted. Under this they claim that ecological assessment is effective for IEP goal development (Miller & Everington 112).
The authors also give the procedure for determining the priorities for instruction. They use the story of Jonelle to illustrate the procedure. The authors discuss the disadvantage of ecological path. In this discussion they clearly show how the children with moderate to severe disability can be taught with respect to ecological path. The authors also focus on the future of these children and shows how the curricular can be modified to cater for future planning especially for older students. This is because transition issues are a major problem to children with disability (Hamill & Everington 116).
Collaborative, person-centered approaches to assessment and planning
The authors discuss two person centered approaches that have been in use. These are MAPs and PATH. MAPS stand for McGill Action Planning System. The authors wrote, "MAPS is a form of futures planning that focuses on inclusion in regular education setting" (Hamill & Everington 117). The other approach the authors write about is PATH. PATH stands for planning alternative tommorrows with hope. The authors then move on to discuss the portfolio assessment (Hamill & Everington 119).
The authors defines portfolio as, "a collection of products of what a person has done and, by inference, what the student is capable of doing" (Hamill & Everington 119). The authors claim that the portfolio can be used to collect information on the activities that are targeted through the PATHJ or MAPS planning sessions. The authors also discuss the advantages of portfolio assessment. The authors discuss the contents of a portfolio. They claim that it should contain students' products such as photos, checklists, drawings, written samples of work etc (Hamill & Everington 119).
A clear example of a path process for Ronnie who aged eight is discussed. After this the authors give six items that are essential for the alternate portfolio for students with disability. They also give the suggestions for creation of portfolios. The importance of keeping the portfolios up to date is looked at. The authors also discuss the disadvantages (Hamill & Everington 121).
Documenting instructional progress
The authors show the significance of documenting the instructional progress. They also discuss the forms of recording and documenting instructional stages. They discuss the anecdotal observations and teacher made informal assessments. Performance based assessment is also discussed. The authors discuss how one can track the frequency of a behavior as at a specified period. Task analysis is considered by the authors as an effective method of skill instruction (Hamill & Everington 124).
The authors also believe that the students should participate in the recording of their own progress. The authors believe that this is the best way the students can take responsibility on their own learning process. This according to the authors can be done in various ways including setting learning goals, progress recording and provision of self reinforcement (Hamil & Everington, 2002).
Strategies for determining support for planning and instructional progress
The authors write about natural support to the student. The natural support as the authors define it is meant to enable a student to fully participate in the learning progress. When a conducting assessment, the authors suggest that the following should followed: prosthetic; the teacher should look at what kind of assistive technology modifications would help the student to work independently. Motivation; how it can be used to help the student learn to work more independently. Supervision; the supervision should be aimed at making the student independent. The authors argue that the students should be empowered to help them avoid the state of helplessness and outer directedness. Some of the significant issues tackled in this section include: authentic assessments, curriculum-based assessments, curriculum based assessment, curriculum based measure, ecological assessment, maps, norm referenced tests, path, performance based assessment, person-centered approaches, portfolios and task analysis (Hamil & Everington, 2002). These concepts are explained as below:
Authentic assessment: these are assessments which are used to measure the individual performance and growth in learning through demonstration and products. This is important as it help to identify the progress of individuals on a personal basis.
Curriculum-based assessment: this concept advocates for assessment of a student performance in a course being taken in correlation to the student ability as far as grade level curriculum is concern.
A curriculum based measure: this is a measure which generates standardized scores on the present curriculum for a school, district, or even a classroom. It is significant as it helps the teachers in their evaluation of their students at what ever level it is used. It is a tool which alerts the teachers of an action which needs to be undertaken.
Ecological assessment: this is a measure which is environmentally referenced and focuses on an individual's functioning as pertains to the context of his or her culture and environment.
Maps: this is a set of feature which can be used by the teachers, parents or even peers in the identification of strengths, needs and supports.
Norm referenced tests: these are assessment measures which are standardized. The standardization is on a large scale population. These are used to shed some light on the students incase a personalized standard lacks.
Path: this is explained as a form of planning that is used by team in the provision of an in depth action plan. This is significant especially when there is a need of making an impact among the students as far as their education is concern.
Performance-based assessment: this is evaluating a student's ability to execute a particular skill in a generalization setting. This is done by using of authentic environment learnt in the first section. It helps to show the progress of a student and shows the weak areas as well which needs to be worked on.
Person-centered approaches: this is where family members are brought in to help in the creation of a vision for instructional and future planning. Friends can also be involved in this planning.
Portfolio assessment: this is an evaluation done on a collection of student products. This is done to help the student in gaining confidence and sharpening of their skills by helping them to refine their products.
Task analysis: this is a strategy used to break activities into individual steps. This makes working easy for both the students and the teachers. It also helps to save time and ensure that different activities are assigned time according to their significance. Next the chapters are reviewed (Hamil & Everington, 2002).
This chapter discusses the designing of the instructional program. The authors introduce the chapter by giving the definition of IEP as individualized education program. These are written for the student who has been diagnosed with disability. This chapter explores the means under which special education can be used to give support to students with disability. The chapter gives more information on IEP teams and how they carry out their meeting to determine the decisions on behalf of student with disability (Hamil & Everington, 2002).
The chapter starts by discussing the legal foundations of IEP. IEP was instituted in 1997 through the amendment of IDEA. IEP stresses on three major concepts. The concepts are the progress of the student in the general education curriculum, the issue of collaboration between the teachers and parents and other stakeholders involved. The chapter also gives the legal requirements for forming the IEP as dictated by the law. The procedure starts with the establishment of a multidisciplinary team meant to develop the student's IEP. A forerunning team (prereferral team) first examines the student eligibility for the program. This team after ascertaining that student ought to be treated as a disability case, then the IEP team takes over(Hamil & Everington, 2002).
The second step entails the designing of the IEP document. The law requires that the designing team must include a person who knows the student quite well. The parents must be included in this team, the teachers as well as a professional with an experience with disability students. The parents to the students are quite significant to the IEP process as they have to gives consent for the implementation of the plan. The chapter furthers talks about least restrictive environment and the IEP. The chapter also gives the reasons why a student should be involved in the IEP meeting (Hamil & Everington, 2002).
The chapter also gives the views on how IEP meetings are prepared. The team should start off by assigning duties to the group members. The team should arrange their meetings in a way that is convenient to the every member. The team should plan the approaches to b e used in the planning process. The authors write about two models which the team can use in the planning process: McGill Action Planning (MAPS) and choosing Option and Accommodations for children (COACH). MAPS are designed to help in the identification of the student abilities. This will include getting information from all possible resources (Hamil & Everington, 2002).
Another approach which can be used is the COACH. This approach uses the family interview to gather knowledge on the student in question. The authors have included family interview questions which can be included in gathering of information. The IEP document contains a number of components which are discussed as follows: the present level of performance (PLP). This is used to describe the level of the student performance. This is done by narrating the skills of the students and those areas in which the student is weak and support is needed. In brief the PLP is written in an essay form basically to give the teacher a quick preview of what type of student is (Hamil & Everington, 2002).
Another component is the annual goal and short term objective. These are formulated after the PLP has been written. There goals are formulated with the objectives and the time within which they are to achieved is also given. The objectives are formulated in terms of short terms and long terms (Hamil & Everington, 2002).
The authors talk about the evaluation criteria and procedures. The student ought to be evaluated periodically in order to determine the progress being made. This makes it possible for the teacher to determine where the student has not being able to pick up well such more effort can be added. It should be noted that the evaluation is done with reference to the set objectives. The authors also write about the location and the schedule of for services. Particularly the location should be less restrictive to ensure that the students are well served (Hamil & Everington, 2002).
The authors also consider other issues in the IP whereby behavior plans is considered one of them. The behavior plans are useful as they help the teachers to draw up an intervention plan in case the student is going astray behaviorally. Apart from the normal evaluations carried out, the students are expected to participate in district or even statewide tests. A reevaluation is required for the student to ascertain that they the student are improving. The authors also shade light on the strategies which are used for implementing the IEP (Hamil & Everington, 2002).
This book is quite comprehensive as it covers literary all the aspects which special education teachers will ever wish to know. The language used is simple and easy to understand with the main concepts of the book discussed at the end of each chapter. I highly recommend the book.