My bilingual, special education students are in grades four, five, and six. My students' ages range from 9-12. They have special learning needs and have the grand task of learning their grade-level curriculum, as well as learn a new language. Our school is located in a low socioeconomic area. Ninety-five percent of our students qualify for free or reduced-price school meals, and some of our students are homeless.
My students need the tools to close the achievement gap.
They are eager to learn and explore. They need to have the materials that will make it possible for them to do that. Having the right tools will help them build the confidence and determination necessary to succeed academically and as individuals.
Our district is piloting online testing this year. My students need to have daily access to laptops so they get used to using them. That way, they will become independent learners while using technology. The regular use of laptops will make them comfortable with using them. When it is time to take computer-based tests, they will be comfortable enough that they will only be focusing on the subject matter they are being assessed in.
My students need frequent practice to get used to online testing and how to use the features that are provided to meet their testing modifications and accommodations.
We tried out the new online testing and my students were having difficulty learning to use some features. They got frustrated. I was not able to let all of my students access the programs today because we don't have enough desktops and laptops for each of them to get a turn.
It is my hope that one day, my students will have daily access to reliable technology so they can be prepared for the way students are being assessed and thereby close the achievement gap.
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