Supporting English Language Learners Through Improved Accessibility Decision Making
The Improving Instruction for English Learners Through Accessibility Decision Making (Improving Instruction) project has developed two online professional development modules on accessible instruction and assessment for K-12 English learners. One module is for elementary teachers and the other is for secondary teachers. The modules start from the premise that educators, parents, and students who are English learners should collaborate in decisions about appropriate accessibility features and accommodations that benefit an individual student. They help K-12 teachers learn how to facilitate and document high quality decision making about accessible instruction and assessment for English learners.
Module users have access to a range of resources about accessibility decision making:
- An e-learning module for elementary school teachers
- An e-learning module for middle and high school teachers
- A glossary
- Discussion questions
- Parent-educator toolkit materials
- Additional videos from NCEO experts
Module users can also:
- Read about best practices for making accessibility decisions
- Watch videos of fictional teachers following best practices
- Implement those best practices with a fictional English learner
Making Decisions for Everyone Training Module
NCEO is providing an online professional development module on accessibility features and accommodations, DIAMOND: Making Accessibility Decisions for Everyone. This professional development module is the culmination of the research work conducted by the DIAMOND project, and is designed to give educators the knowledge and tools they need to make, implement, and evaluate sound decisions about accessibility features for the students in their classrooms. This module is designed to be completed at the educators own pace anywhere that there is Internet access. Bookmarking allows educators to pick up where they left off if they do not complete the entire course in one sitting.
This module guides teachers through an accessibility decision-making journey using a fun, interactive approach to learning, focusing on one of three students: Beau (a student who is struggling with some reading-related tasks), Daisy (a student with an Individualized Education Program), or Ana (an English learner). The teacher is presented with situations, allowed to make decisions about those situations based on the student’s needs, and then views the consequences of their decisions. If the teacher is not happy with the results, a different decision can be made. Additionally, if the teacher is not sure what to do, short videos of NCEO experts can be viewed. The situations that are presented cover the entire school year, including prep time for the upcoming year, mid-year review, state assessment time, and end of the year evaluation and revision.
This unique, interactive module is offered through the Minnesota Department of Education, and is hosted at the University of Minnesota. Besides the online module, registrants also receive access to reference documents, such as a glossary of terms and a crosswalk for how certain terms are used throughout the country; a set of discussion questions for groups to use after taking the online course, and links to a YouTube video collection. This collection contains all of the brief videos by NCEO experts contained in the online course, plus a continually updated list of related videos produced by NCEO.
This training module was developed by NCEO’s affiliated project, the Data Informed Accessibility – Making Optimal Needs-based Decisions (DIAMOND) project. For more information, or to register for this course, visit DIAMOND: Making Accessibility Decisions for Everyone
Online Training to Improve Accommodations Decision Making
NCEO provides online training to help educators improve accommodations decision making. The training includes case-based video clips, and contains five interactive, multi-media professional development modules. Educators are coached on best practices in how to select, administer, and evaluate the use of accommodations. The training is available without charge.
A key feature of the training is an accommodations decision-making tool that walks the participant through the steps to take when making decisions about accommodations. This tool provides participants an opportunity to put into practice what they are learning, and the tool can be used in the future once they complete the training. The training also offers activities and other resources to build teachers’ knowledge and skills.
Participants follow the story of Emma as they go through the training. Emma is a middle school student with a learning disability. The training also provides additional case studies that include students with several different disabilities who need accommodations to access instruction and assessments.
Video clips embedded in each module model important conversations. For example, one clip shows Emma’s special education teacher talking with her math teacher about whether it might be helpful to try the read aloud accommodation so that Emma can better access her math instruction. The training especially models how educators and parents or guardians can work together to make and implement good decisions about accommodations as members of the featured student’s Individualized Education Program (IEP) team.
The five training modules are:
- Thinking About Student Characteristics
- Linking Student Needs to Accommodations Decisions
- Instructional Accommodations
- Assessment Accommodations
- Monitoring and Evaluation
NCEO developed the training collaboratively with the state of Alabama, but it can be used in other states because the information in the training is not state specific.
The training can be found at https://nceo.umn.edu/alabama.
To begin your free login account, go to https://nceo.umn.edu/alabama/userJoin.php.
Links to the video clips can also be found on YouTube at: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCnvPMaguIvwYqWrBSgZKlUA
Learning Modules on English Learners (ELs) with Disabilities
The IVARED project launched a set of online learning modules designed to help educators look at important issues surrounding students who are ELs with disabilities. Access to the modules and their content is free and open to all educators.