Assessing Special Populations in High School (Secondary Grading and Reporting)

Guidance on grading high school students receiving services such as: special education, ESOL, Homebound instruction or home based instruction.

Students Receiving Special Education Services

The Individualized Education Program (IEP) team determines service delivery options and the appropriate placement for students eligible to receive special education services. Teachers/teams who work with these students need to give consideration to the students’ individual needs when reporting to parents/guardians. The following guidelines are used in assessing the progress of students receiving special education services:

  • The High School Report Card should be used when reporting grades for students receiving special education services. An exception may be made when reporting the progress of a student with a disability who is working to attain functional life skills and is participating in the Virginia Alternative Assessment Program in accordance with his/her IEP.
  • Instruction for students receiving special education services should be guided by the POS, which includes the SOL, and the goals and objectives defined in each student’s IEP. Special education students receiving instruction in the general curriculum are required to meet POS objectives. Accommodations and modifications to instruction are provided based on student needs as defined by the student’s IEP.
  • Accommodations are instructional techniques, additional supports, or specialized services designed to help a student make progress or demonstrate learning.
  • Modified instruction occurs when content and performance expectations are selected from the general curriculum to meet students’ individual needs in developing functional life skills, or for students whose level of academic performance is significantly below grade level expectations.
  • The grades of students receiving special education services will reflect achievement of defined grade-level expectations selected from the general curriculum based on student need. In addition, students are assessed according to individual rates of progress toward attainment of IEP goals and objectives.

English Learners [English Language Proficiency (ELP) levels 1-5]

English learners (ELs), ELP Levels 1-5, are eligible to receive English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) services. These services provide ELs access to the grade level standards that supports the development of English language proficiency and content understandings in tandem. ELs require instruction that is aligned to both the WIDA English Language Development (ELD) Standards and the Virginia Standards of Learning and supports their understanding and use of emerging language through scaffolded instructional activities.

Teachers and parents/guardians should maintain realistically high expectations for ELs. When provided with appropriate scaffolding and differentiated resources, ELs can master and demonstrate understanding of rigorous content. Regular collaboration and consultation with ESOL teachers can apprise content teachers, teams, and parents/guardians of the student’s language development goals and academic expectations. By attending to students’ English language proficiency levels, the WIDA Performance Definitions, and the WIDA Can Do descriptors, teachers adjust instruction and assessment to the ELs specific language development needs.

Appropriate accommodations and/or alternative assessments should be made available to ELs to support their ability to articulate understanding of content, process, and skills. Accommodations provide linguistic support such as the use of dictionaries, read aloud, and plain English versions of assessments. Specific testing accommodations for English learners are published annually.

ELs enrolled in credit bearing classes may participate with an audit status. At any time an audit status may be changed to credit status at the request of the teacher.

Homebound and Home-based Instruction

The current versions of Policy 2140, Homebound Instruction and Regulation 2140, Homebound and Home-based Instruction for Students set policy and procedures regarding homebound and home-based instruction.