Student Services

Case Study

Towards Inclusion: A Handbook for Modified Course Designation, Senior Years

Case Study 1

Karl is a 15-year-old student who will be attending Senior 1 for the first time. Having participated in integrated classes throughout the Early and Middle Years, he comes to the Senior Years requiring some academic supports for a significant cognitive disability. As well, a slight nasal speech pattern makes him reluctant to communicate with others. Despite a lag of five to six grades in reading and mathematics, Karl is able to glean the main points in texts if they are highlighted. He uses a calculator for simple calculations and he participates in group work if encouraged by peers.

Karl and his parents want him to continue with integrated classes although they realize that the requirements of the regular curriculum would be overwhelming. His in-school team agrees and sees benefits in placing Karl in Senior 1 Science. The course would give him opportunities to improve social and verbal interactions, practice and expand calculator and measurement skills, follow general class lectures and discussions, as well as participate in small-group projects and labs.

Following the requirements outlined in Towards Inclusion: A Handbook for Modified Course Designation, Senior 1-4, Karl is placed in Senior 1 Science with a 10M course designation (curriculum goals and objectives or outcomes are modified and the student has a significant cognitive disability).

Case Study 2

Cora is a high-functioning student with autism. She is in Senior 4. She has a keen interest in computers and may pursue this interest at the university or community college level. Her autism presents specific challenges, particularly in the development of social relationships. However, with the use of a variety of strategies learned during her school career, Cora is able to complete her course assignments.

Cora is not being considered for curriculum modifications and the M course designation because she is able to master course content without significant modification to curricular outcomes. She uses a variety of strategies to help her maintain her focus on tasks and organize materials. These strategies, rather than altering the standard of the course content, allow her to work more effectively and efficiently to achieve relative to the goals and objectives or outcomes of the curriculum.

Case Study 3

Elise is a 15-year-old student who is visually impaired. She attends her community Senior Years school where she is in Senior 2. Elise participates in the regular Senior 2 curriculum with the assistance of a part-time teaching assistant. She uses the braille nemeth code instead of print. As braille reading is more time consuming than reading print, Elise requires more time to complete assignments and examinations.

In some instances, the length of her assignments is altered (e.g., by having her answer alternate questions rather than every question); however, her learning experiences are based on the full range of curriculum goals and objectives or outcomes. Graphic designs are created in a tactile form to allow Elise to read them. She requires differentiated teaching strategies and resource support to understand visual images portrayed on the blackboard or overhead screen. The content of her courses is the same as that of her peers; only the methods of teacher presentation and student participation are different.

Elise does not require modifications to curricular outcomes and the M course designation but requires adaptations to teaching strategies and assignment completion.

Case Study 4

Patty is a Senior 4 student with Down syndrome that has resulted in a significant cognitive disability. She recognizes about 50-75 sight words and can print her name. Patty enjoys being with her peers and has benefited from integrated experiences in the past. The school team has developed an Individual Transition Plan (ITP) which focuses on improving Patty's verbal and social interaction skills (key skills in the work environment). These skill areas can be addressed in Senior 4 English Language Arts by the teacher who has training in cooperative learning, peer interaction, and group work, as well as through the inclusion of presentations and multi-genre research projects as assignment choices.

The curriculum goals and objectives or outcomes are modified significantly to meet Patty's current and future needs. These include being evaluated for time spent on-task and the quality of group work, verbal reports to both the teacher and peer groups, pictorial representations instead of written compositions in her research projects, and increasing verbal vocabulary to include targets set by the speech-language pathologist and her work experience coordinator.

Due to the curriculum modifications required because of her significant cognitive disability, Patty is a candidate for the M course designation (40M) in Senior 4 English Language Arts or, alternatively, could be considered for an I programming designation.

Case Study 5

Sean is a 17-year-old student with severe physical disabilities. As a result, he is incapable of speaking or writing. He uses a communication board and has recently started using an electronic communication device. This allows for voice output and some participation in group discussions. Sean also uses a personal computer with an on-screen alphabet scan which he accesses by a switch rather than using a regular keyboard. This allows him to use word processing software as a writing tool.

Sean is a Senior 3 student and the plan for the upcoming school year is for him to take a limited number of 30S courses. He has no cognitive disability and is able to handle the full range of curriculum goals and objectives or outcomes, he requires extra time to complete assignments. By taking fewer courses in a year, extra time can be built into his individual schedule.

Sean is does not require modifications to curricular outcomes and the M course designation.

Case Study 6

Mary is a 17-year-old deaf student, born to hearing parents who have limited sign language skills. Upon entry to Kindergarten, the decision was made by in-school team members, including Mary's parents, to introduce sign language because of Mary's limited English language and oral communication skills. From that time to the present, Mary has had the services of a certified interpreter who is proficient in American Sign Language (ASL). She also receives one-on-one tutoring assistance to develop signs and vocabulary related to content areas. With knowledge of the language contained in written assignments, Mary can work independently. Her interpreter translates English into ASL and vice versa as required (e.g., lectures or group discussions).

Mary is not being considered for an M course designation in any subject area. Her deafness does not affect her capacity to complete the requirements of the curriculum. The use of an interpreter does not affect the content of her courses, but is an adaptation to instruction.

Case Study 7

Laura, Jay, and Mike are all less able in reading than the majority of the students in Ms Beecham's Senior 2 Social Studies class. Ms Beecham uses semantic maps at the start of each unit, the guided reading procedure for important textual material, and the four-step summary approach for major assignments. As well, she extends her evaluation strategies to include self-evaluation, evaluation of group learning, and systematic ways of judging products to supplement her unit tests.

Laura, Mike, and several other students in the class improved in their rate and quality of learning. Ms Beecham tried using the interactive reading guide strategy with Jay and a few others, and Jay's achievement also improved.

None of these students require significant modifications to curricular outcomes and should not receive the M course designation in Senior 2 Social Studies.

Case Study 8

Edward is a 19-year-old student with a significant cognitive disability. His parents and his case manager (special needs teacher Mrs. Lang) met several times at the end of the previous academic year to begin planning Edward's IEP for the coming year. The planning team has identified a possible job training program leading to full-time employment. Prerequisites for the program are familiarity with calculator skills, handling money, and change-making skills.

For this year, Edward will be placed in Senior 2 Mathematics (20F) with Mr. Shapiro. Mrs. Lang and Mr. Shapiro have prepared a variety of modules on the target skills which a part-time paraprofessional will present to Edward. Mr. Shapiro wants this work to be done in the mathematics class and he has provided additional materials for Edward. As well, Mr. Shapiro will engineer peer-tutoring sessions and will assist in the assessment and pacing of the module material. He will also prepare an anecdotal report to accompany each report of Edward's marks.

Edward is expected to earn a 20M credit because of the significant modifications to curriculum outcomes.

Case Study 9

Serge has a very severe spelling disability. He also finds it difficult to maintain legibility when he writes quickly for an extended period of time. However, when accommodations are made for Serge (e.g., allowing him to use a dictating machine and having his work transcribed, and adapting his tests to a multiple-choice or oral format), he can perform as well as the upper third of his classmates. In fact, because the resource teacher arranged for Serge to have access to a word processor with a spell checker, his geography teacher has noted that Serge's spelling disabilities are less apparent in class. His English language arts teacher is using the spell checker as a tool in supporting Serge to improve his spelling.

Serge should not be considered for an M course designation in any of his courses, although his English teacher may include a note with his final report explaining that Serge requires a word processor to deal with spelling demands. Serge's performance on those aspects of the assignments or learning criteria that relate to spelling is very limited and this is reflected in his grades on those parts of the course. His performance relative to other criteria is proficient and this, too, is reflected in his grades. He participates and performs relative to the full range of curricular outcomes and his grades reflect his performance across that full range.