Friday, November 23, 2007

Does a low IQ = a low grade? & "Learning is Fun"

I hate labels, once you get one it can never go away especially when it is substantiated with a written document or test result. Within the educational system this starts in the early grades when a student receives an IQ score. A score of 70 is considered borderline Cognitively Impaired (CI). To know more about IQ scores go to

I bring the IQ score up because I was faced with a statement recently that said she has an IQ of 50 there is no way she can have an A- on her report card. Are you doing her work?

The student in question is in special education and is in the 9th grade. She can barely read or write and at best can copy notes when I write them from overheads or PowerPoint presentations.

While taking these notes (I alter them for her understanding and capability) and while she is copying them I explain what it is she is writing about. I do this because when it comes quiz or test time she will recognize key words as opposed to trying to read and answer questions on the test. I usually alter the test by providing a 50/50 chance on multiple choice questions and explaining essay questions in more detail by using an example that takes one of her interests into account rather than the subject presented. Her answer will provide enough information if the concept the teacher is teaching is obtained.

I always check with the teacher first and explain in more detail by writing on the test or verbally explain. A teacher has never once told me that this would be wrong or incorrect.

When we work on projects I have the student provide me information in their terms and interest and then I jot them down usually in a bullet type report. Providing more information would be tainted with my words and understanding which I try to avoid.

So does this mean I'm doing her work? What the hell does an IQ score have to do with an Autistic or CI student anyway? The IQ test and score is one way to test intelligence, but in the Special Education World the test has little validity when it comes to measuring the special or visual intelligence of an AI or CI student. Why, because ...

People would be amazed if they understood the sensory powers of an AI Child.

When I informed the teacher I may be altering the way I teach his student (per my boss) he was upset because he said the girl deserved the grade, she did all her work (participation, notes and worksheets account for many points) and causes no disruptions in the class. He told me I was verbally and visually providing concepts so the student can learn just as the regular students (I hate using that label).

It becomes more confusing to me if I am helping too much when I see the same person and others telling me I’m helping too much when they provide other special education children (That do NOT require a one on one aide) in the same grade with written out vocabulary words, completed art projects and worksheets.

The only difference is the label, my student got an A-. Because there is no way this student could get an A in any subject according to her IQ score. If she had gotten a “C” no question would have raised. Why does an A- cause so much trouble? It is easy because it is a label that parents or others can say "See my child is not stupid," but the bureaucracy says she is so end of story.

The saddest part of this story is that when I explained to my student that I would be changing my method of teaching she became visibly angry and said “ You make learning fun.” She did not care if she got an A- or a “D” nor do I, we just want to have “Joy of Learning” no more no less.

That may be the best compliment I ever received in my educational career. Yes these students are very special and I am humbled by them each day.

We are heading into Thanksgiving break and I am most thankful for the continual learning that takes place each day I am with such special students.

Read my other ASD posts by clicking the ASD label below this post.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

It seems to me that you are not afraid to break down some of the barriers in education.

I think it is hypercritical to ask you to stop when they do the same thing.