Dr. André-Perales

GAVS TOOL Reflections

Special Needs – 1 – Developing an Individualized Plan


Review and compare the two sample individualized student plans provided below. Both sample plans are written for the same student. Keeping in mind the best practices discussed in this lesson, consider the strengths and weaknesses of each plan and decide which you find to be the preferred option for the online environment.

Post in your blog: Your response should consist of at least four well-developed paragraphs and address each of the following points:

  1. Which plan do you believe is the better option for the online environment (Plan A or Plan B) and why?

Plan B is the better option for Sally.  The team has clearly determined that she is eligible for education services. Plan B offers the least restrictive setting.  The accommodations and climate of the online environment allow for Sally to function at the highest level and to have direct access to service from the Special Education team who can adapt the online setting and provide Sally with the necessary support.  In this case, the specialized school that would be chosen would be an online school.

  1. Using specific examples, discuss the strengths of the plan which you believe make it better suited to the online environment.

Plan B specifically addresses Sally’s ability to download applications that would assist her with navigating through the course platform.  The “text to speech” feature would alleviate some of the strain and fatigue she experiences in her eyes.  The opportunity to have extended time on assessments would also assist with Sally being able to take the needed time to take an assessment without any unnecessary pressure to meet the original deadline.

3. Are there any aspects of your preferred plan you would change to be better suited for the online environment? Please explain.

The primary reason Plan B was selected was that Plan A offered accommodations, however, those accommodations did not address any specifics for the student’s needs.

4. What are the issues and weaknesses of the plan you decided was not the best choice for the online environment?

The primary concern for selecting Plan B over Plan A was the lack of specificity.  Plan A failed to address specific and necessary accommodations to allow for student achievement. Extended time is offered; however, how much extended time Sally will receive was not addressed.  Each “description of the accommodation/services” goes a step further by specifically setting time limits, addressing the reduction of coursework.  The text- to-talk application, however, was specifically identified in both plans.

Special Needs – 1- Accommodations in an Online Environment


Reflect on your experiences with your students. Think of a situation in which online education may have been a preferable option for one of your special needs students or a student with an extenuating circumstance. If you do not have an example of a situation you have had as an educator, you may want to extend your thinking to your own experiences as a student, your own child’s experience, or choose a specific disability or special needs population you learned about earlier in this course.

I was diagnosed with anxiety as an adult.  For example, what I labeled as procrastination was avoidance.  I had to learn to recognize panic-related procrastination and use coping mechanisms to overcome episodes of extreme procrastination.  As a child, I would avoid reaching out to my instructors for help or assistance with academic challenges. I learned what “decision paralysis” is, and why it had such a negative impact on my ability to complete tasks.  I learned how to become more efficient and learn new habits while letting go of old habits.  Lastly, I learned how to better manage personal challenges and overcome the fear of change.  Understanding my anxiety has assisted me in the classroom by recognizing anxiety in my students.  I am better equipped to help them find solutions to some of their challenges by using myself as an example.

Special Needs – 1- Applying Strategies and Best Practices


Choose two of the student scenarios below. First, identify at least two difficulties each student may be experiencing in their online class. Then, discuss two best practices or specific strategies that might be helpful to each student.


  • Joyce has accommodations for an Emotional/Behavioral Disorder. Her mother informed you that Joyce’s specific diagnosis is Anxiety and Depression, and she sometimes does not respond well to correction. She plagiarized a large section of her essay for your class this week.
    How will you handle this situation?
  • Hopper has an IEP with accommodations for Dysgraphia. Your class requires written reports in each unit on various topics. Hopper expresses concern over his grade in your class because of the written reports. You know Hopper is putting forth the effort, but he still is not passing your class. He asks what he can do to improve his grade.
    How do you respond?

Post in your blog: What are two difficulties each student may be experiencing in their online class? What are the two best practices or specific strategies that might be helpful? Your reflection should include at least four well-developed paragraphs.


What Hopper seems to have is spatial dysgraphia, which is causing him to submit incomplete assignments.  He has difficulty with all forms of writing. A review of his IEP for further clarification would be necessary.  Children with dysgraphia experience impairment with handwriting, spelling, and sometimes reading problems.  

Best Practices/Recommendations: One suggestion I would recommend is to reduce the required amount of writing needed to successfully complete the course/assignment. The second recommendation would be to give Hopper extra time to take and submit the assignment report.  I would suggest that Hopper begins the writing assignment earlier in the assignment week. Lastly, I would recommend breaking the assignment into steps.


Joyce may avoid seeking assistance from the instructor.  Her anxiety may cause her to avoid speaking to the instructor to seek assistance. Her depression may cause her to obsess about shortcoming and could have contributed to her plagiarizing the large section of her assignment out of fear.  Typically, depression will cause an individual to act out with risky behavior.

Recommendations: I would contact Joyce via telephone or email, highlighting the importance of using this opportunity to use her voice. The best way to do that is to complete her assignments using her own words to show her knowledge of the subject.  Additionally, I would give her examples of acceptable and unacceptable ways in which to discuss her research/findings.

Self-Reflection on Teaching Abilities (Evaluate,3.1.2)




This personal blog will serve as my e-portfolio.

There is no greater “tool” for improvement than that of self-reflection.  Self-Reflection is one of the best methods to resolve inner conflict and gain clarity for you.  By conflict I do not mean turmoil, the conflict with improving regardless of the area of life.  As I reflect on my career, nothing brings me more joy than to receive notes of thanks and appreciation at the end of the year.  Thankfully with social media, I was recently able to enjoy seeing the countless photographs of college graduates.  My babies, college graduates!!  The caps, the gown, the smiles.  To be included as a favorite teachers or the one that cared enough to push them makes it all worthwhile.  These small tokens mean so much more to me than any evaluative tool or award of recognition.  The reflection of my experience as a teacher is in every word of “thanks” with current students, the visit during their first spring break,   or the “shout out” on Facebook with my name included with moms and dads.



My only comment regarding my teaching abilities and 17 year career…..




Differentiation (Evaluate, 3.1.1)


Using data derived from my USATestPrep benchmarks, I can conduct an analysis of overall class performance as well as individual student data outcomes.  As an educator I can use this information to determine areas of strengths, but more importantly areas of need.  The examples below display a review of data collected for US History, Domain 1, Standards 1-5, European Colonization through the Constitution.    As a class I determined that the the competencies taught earlier in the school year are the area in need of a considerable amount of review leading up to the USH EOCT.  Some of the various ways in which I revisited the competencies was to conduct a real-time class review of the benchmark questions.    It was interesting to watch the class debate what they consider to be the correct answer.  They pulled out their notebooks and combed through, notes, assignments, and their books, to determine the correct answer.  For individual students I had to create a supplemental review of each standard.  Students were then instructed to refer to  additional benchmark assessment that included skills based competencies that they had to complete, before they could attempt the initial benchmark again.


A Display of a class benchmark average.

class benchmark



Individual assessment data by question presented.





Review of individual student summary report.  

Using the USATestPrep tool, I can determine that the first student shown has mastery of Domain 1, Standards 1-5, Colonization through the Constitution.  The second student, however,  will need some additional assistance with understanding/mastery in European Colonization and the American Revolution.

student res 1


Individualized student report.

Based on the report I can determine student achievement by comparing the original scores to  the  subsequent score the student received after completing smaller supplemental content specific benchmarks that focused on skills based competencies rather than multiple choice questions.



Rubrics and Competencies (Evaluate, 2.1.2)


Competency Based Education (CBE) is a process that moves education from concentrating on what instructors believe students need to know, teacher-focused, to what students need to know.  CBE’s are focused on learning competencies (outcomes) linked to state standards as defined by the Department of education. Depending on the course, learning outcomes may have progressive levels of mastery. It is necessary to continually refine competencies so that student performance can be assessed for mastery.  Rubrics are highly effective tools used to provide students with helpful criteria for success, making desired learning outcomes clearer to them.


Using the USATestPrep tool, I can determine that the first student shown has mastery of Domain 1, Standards 1-5, Colonization through the Constitution.  The second student, however,  will need some additional assistance with understanding/mastery in European Colonization and the American Revolution.

student res 1

USA Test Prep



Data Driven Instruction, Analytics, Reporting Tools (Evaluate, 2.1.1)



Instructors can benefit tremendously from the using the instructional objects in the LMS to monitor, assess, communicate, and evaluate students enrolled in their online classes.

Enrollment and Attendance

Enrollment, attendance and communication can be obtained from the LMS. Monitoring login trends of student can help an online instructor determine whether the student is spending enough time on modules, participation in discussions.  This can also be used to monitor the submission of assignments and the timeliness in which student submit assessments and assignments.  Monitoring students very early in the semester will help a teacher identify the need to contact and communicate with the students and review the course expectations to ensure academic success. Instructors can use this information to determine student progression through the course.  In turn, the instructor can step in and contact the student as well as the parents to inform them of the student’s progress.

Communication Log

Maintain and accurate communication log is necessary for ensuring all stakeholders of student progress and contact.  Parent-teacher contact allows parents and teachers to create strategies for student success by discussing a student’s school performance. This type of communication is integral to student success because they allow parents and teachers to work together in the best interest of the child.

Observational Data & Analytics

Online instructors can use information collected through data collection and analysis to adjust instructional planning and instructional techniques. Data would reveal where the teacher would need to decide which areas of deficit to concentrate on and ways to increase proficiency in that area. Some means of positive reinforcement can be used to assist students in achieving learning goals.  Data collection can be used to identify specific areas of concern if for example; if too many students missed a particular assessment question.  This allows for an evaluation of the assessment tool. The teacher can make adjustments or changes to the question to increase student understanding.

Self- Monitoring for Students

The LMS platform gives student the ability to monitor their own progress and to be more invested in their success throughout the course.  This helps student to make adjustments in preparation, studying, and identify areas of weakness.


The Summative Assessment (Evaluate, 1.1.3)


USA Test Prep

Although I am not an online instructor, yet, I have used digital learning tools in my classroom throughout the year to assess student achievement. The LMS that I have used with the most frequency in the classroom is USATestPrep.  USATestPrep features teacher-directed learning resources.  It gives teachers the ability to develop diagnostic and remedial strategies to support student achievement goals.  It is a perfect supplemental tool to my U.S. History curriculum. It features educational games and assessments that provide student users with immediate feedback. It beneficial for students to use resources that are engaging. USATestPrep gives teachers an opportunity to construct assessments the fit the needs of their student’s individualized learning and classroom support.

My students use the many different learning tools like games, puzzles, animations, skill-work exercises, and self-directed activities – all aligned to state’s standards.  The Benchmark diagnostic system provides an evaluative snapshot at student or the entire class.  I can administer and collect data, create custom tests, identify student strengths and weaknesses using the data grid view, and view grade distribution and item analysis.

In preparation for the U.S. History EOCT I created five benchmark assessments categorized by domain sets within the state standards. below are screen shots of various data collection tools available on USATestPrep to identify student achievement of learning objectives.

Below are the data results distributed by class and item analysis.  A teacher created benchmark was used to determine how much review was needed in Domain I (Standards 1-5), Colonization through the Constitution.  CLEARLY the material my students mastered during the first few weeks of school was now long forgotten.  A review was necessary for this domain more than any of the other four leading to modern history.

U.S. History Review for EOCT

Five Benchmarks created to determine student readiness by Domain.  I used the results and item analysis to determine that an in-depth review of first semester standards was necessary in preparation for the EOCT.

 Teacher Created Benchmarks

benchmarks 1


Test Average for Domain I, Standards 1-5.


Grade Distribution

grade distribution

Item Analysis



Quality Feedback (Evaluate, 1.1.2)


When giving feedback is important to know what type feedback is to be given.  When learning how to constructively deliver criticism or feedback the ultimate goal should be to know how to give the feedback and to do so constructively.  If used properly, feedback can assist in building up confidence of your students.  Used improperly, feedback can cause a break down in the communication between a teacher and student. Using rubrics can set expectations for success for student performance and makes giving feedback easier and more effective.  Rubrics are highly effective tools used to provide students with helpful criteria for success, making desired learning outcomes clearer to them.

I have included screen shot of a rubric and feeddback recently used with my African American Studies student.  Students were responsible for creating a biographical report about a 1960’s Civil Rights Historical figure.

Assignment:  Historical Investigation of an Unsung Hero of the Civil Rights Movement.

This is the GoAnimate animated feedback I created for the student.

E. Johnson Feedback by ebandre on GoAnimate

This is a screen shot of where the student could retrieve the specific feedback used to evaluate their assignment in addition to the GoAnimate video.



Below is the meme created giving positive feedback.

joann robinson2



I have included the rubric used for evaluating the Historical Investigation – Unsung Hero assignment.

rub1 rub2 rub3 1

Formative Assessment (Evaluate, 1.1.1)




How might a teacher employ ways to assess student readiness for course content and method of delivery? 

Some of the various methods an instructor can use to assess student readiness include:

  • Creating valid and reliable assessments
  • Demonstrating an understanding of standards-based learning
  • Continually evaluating students using pre-test, post-test, and projects
  • Using assessment result to determine mastery of learning objective
  • Revisit or reteach when possible
  • Using differentiation to address multiple intelligences
  • Evaluate teaching strategies for accuracy and effectiveness
  • Create way for student to self-assess to determine readiness
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