Rigor is creating an environment in which each student is expected to learn at high levels,
each student is supported so he or she can learn at high levels,
and each student demonstrates learning at high levels (Blackburn, 2008).

Monday, November 21, 2011

Students with Special Needs....and Rigor?

After my blog post mentioning that rigor is for everyone, including students with special needs, I've received lots of questions.  One was quite pointed--asking why I would think that students with special needs could ever be successful trying to meet higher expectations.  I asked Missy Miles, one of my former graduate student who now works specifically with students with special needs, to respond. She specifically addresses students with learning disabilities:

LD doesn’t mean below average IQ.  In fact, most LD students have average to above average IQ, just have a discrepancy in their achievement level.  If these students are not challenged, they will be quite complacent to be status quo (or even below).  These kids, more than anybody, need adults who believe in them by giving them challenging work and high expectations.  I do agree that, by holding them to a lower standard or giving them exemptions to the test, we would be communicating loudly and clearly that we do not believe they can do any better.

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