Question about school testing evaluation

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-27-2003
Question about school testing evaluation
Fri, 02-23-2007 - 1:11pm
Good afternoon everyone, I've posted here before but usually only post when I have a concern. I value everyone's advice. My daughter is 7 years old and is aided in both ears. She was just diagnosed with a hearing impairment about a year and a half ago. She is in the 1st grade regular curriculum and has an FM system. She has speech therapy in school. She has an IEP for speech. She needs alot of assistance with her schoolwork but she can do the work. I had a SST meeting and it was decided that she be evaluated by the school counselor to determine what other services she can qualify for. She had that evaluation and the counselor recommended that she be tested by the county psychologist. The psychologist tests are more in depth. The counselor did an IQ test. She said my daughter scored in the below average range. I asked if I could see the test, she said no, I asked if someone could be there for the next round of tests with the psychologist, she said no. My concern is how do you give a child with a hearing impairment the same test that you give a child that has "normal" hearing. I totally disagree with this. If you HAVE to give the same test then it should be administered differently. My child's left ear is her better ear, did the counselor speak to her left side? If the counselor was in front of her, did she make sure she could see her lips? Did she make sure my child understood the questions? The answer to these are NO or better yet, I don't know because I couldn't be there when they gave her the test. They should make some kind of concessions for her hearing loss. Also, the counselor went over the results and told me that she scored low on her discriminating of sounds, I was like DUH!!! that is a direct result of her hearing loss, it is in all her audiological testing results. Things like that make me mad, especially when these evaluations determine if she needs special ed services. Now I know when I hear the word special ed, I think of the bad kids that were down the hall in "that" classroom. I know that there are alot of services available before you get to that point. But I just wnat my child to be tested fairly considering her "disaability". Beleive me I've voiced these same concerns to the counselor and the psychologist. The psychologist did say that someone can be present when she does her testing, but you can't interfere. Other than that they say "that's how this is"; meaning me not being able to see the test with her answers,or about the way they administer it. Finally my question, has anyone else been through this? What are my rights and options as a parent? I have everyone's number including the state education department. Please provide me with some feedback, or let me know that I am just an overly emotional mother....
Thanks (sorry ofr being so long)
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-25-2003
Sat, 02-24-2007 - 12:36am

If you disagree with the testing, you have the right to request an independent educational evaluation (IEE) and the district must provide you with the names of psychologists that can perform this evaluation. This is especially important if the results of the evaluation are used to determine your daughter's educational services and you feel that they are inappropriate.

Also, when performing an evaluation, the evaluator is supposed to use test that will not test the student's disability. Psychologists can use "part-scores" for students, especially in the case of children with hearing loss -- non-verbal scores are more appropriate. If I were you, I would have a chat with the school district's coordinator for programs for students who are deaf or hard-of-hearing or the district's special education director. The school psychologist may not be happy about it, but these people can provide the psychologist with the appropriate information about testing students who are deaf or hard-of-hearing. If your daughter has a teacher of the deaf/hard-of-hearing who works with her, the teacher should have been consulted about appropriate accommodations.

Only the evaluator is allowed to actually see psychometric evaluation instruments in order to protect the integrity of the test, so it is not uncommon. However, you need to be sure that your daughter was permitted to wear her FM device and the psychologist wore the microphone to ensure that she could hear appropriately. Also, the room in which she was tested can make all the difference too. A room with too much ambient noise or with too much visual clutter can distract students who are deaf or hard-of-hearing. Ambient noise can cause them to not be able to hear as well as they can. Testing conditions must be appropriate for your daughter in order for her to demonstrate her abilities. If anything is working against her hearing loss, the results may be skewed.

Finally, you may want to see if your state school for the deaf has an outreach services division. Many people don't understand hearing loss -- especially with students who are wearing hearing aids and talking. It's a different story when they are signing students because they have apparent differences from hearing children. They think that they are wearing hearing aids and talking so the hearing aids give them normal hearing. It is the same for children with visual impairments who wear glasses, unfortunately.

I hope that this helps.