GUIDELINES FOR MODIFICATIONS OR ADAPTATIONS TO STUDENT PROGRAMS
Educational programs for students in primary grades (K-3) should not be modified unless there is a clear diagnosis of a mild or moderate intellectual disability.
For students to have modifications made to their educational program in grades 4 – 12, documentation needs to be in place that meet Ministry of Education criteria for:
- Diagnosis of mild intellectual disability or
- Diagnosis of a moderate/severe intellectual disabiliy or
- Students with very complex profiles (with medical and other assessments). Discussion with the school psychologist and other involved Student Services staff must be completed before the modifications are put into place.
Some students with diagnosed learning disabilities may have some learning outcomes modified and some adapted. Reporting practices should reflect this.
Before decisions are made for modifications the following steps need to be followed:
1. Classroom assessment, school level assessment, School Based Team discussion.
2. Preliminary principal, LART and/or teacher meeting with parents (documented) to discuss learning concerns.
3. Involvement of school psychologist to determine if a full psycho-educational assessment is required.
4. Meeting with parents, principal, LART and Student Services staff (documented) to discuss long term ramifications of modifying a student’s program (ie: School Completion Certificate).
5. Parent approval to modify (signed by parent and on file at school).
Adaptations retain the learning outcomes of a prescribed curriculum, and are provided so the student can challenge the regular learning outcomes. A child on an adapted program may be well below the standard of the class, but still may be able to minimally meet the grade level expectations. Class or grade level comparisons in establishing if a student meets expectations should be avoided. These adaptations can include alternate formats, instructional strategies and assessment procedures. At the high school level, students are assessed using the standards for the course/program and can receive credit toward a Dogwood graduation certificate. These students may be eligible for Adjudication so that appropriate adaptations can also be made to the administration of provincial exams in Grade 12. Adaptations include, but are not limited to:
- advanced organizers to assist with following classroom lectures,
- extended time for assignments or tests,
- a learning assistance support block is scheduled to develop and practice study skills,
- audio tapes or a peer helper to assist with assigned readings,
- a computer to facilitate the completion of written assignments,
- alternatives to written assignments to demonstrate understanding,
- separate settings for tests and exams, and
- supervised breaks for tests and exams.
Parents must be made fully aware of adaptations to their child’s program on an ongoing basis and formal reports or IEP’s should note the adaptations being made.
Modifications are learning outcomes which are substantially different from the prescribed curriculum, and specifically selected to meet the student’s special needs. These learning outcomes are detailed on the student’s IEP. When reporting on modifications teachers must use structured written comments rather than letter grades or percentage marks. Modified courses are not counted as credit toward a Dogwood graduation certificate. Some examples of modifications include:
- A Grade 9 student could be learning how to manage a personal budget while other students are introduced to Algebra.
- A Grade 5 student could be learning to recognize common signs while other students write booklets about safety.
- Alternate assignments and/or tests, reduced in conceptual difficulty, are developed at a student’s own level so that the student can achieve a feeling of success.
- Only portions of the provincially developed learning outcomes are used for a specific student. For example, in a science class a student with learning differences is required to complete the learning outcomes in only two modules (weather and the environment) while the provincial curriculum requires the completion of six modules.