Primary/Junior Sara Scenario Nine year-old Sara lives with her mother who has a relaxed schedule. Ms. Mercer, Sara‟s teacher, notes Sara is often tired and inattentive after arriving late. Sara says she frequently stays up past midnight. Ms. Mercer, a second- year teacher, has asked for an assessment of Sara to suggest ways to help Sara achieve Ms. Mercer‟s purposes. Observation: Ms. Mercer’s Class, April 30 Pre-observation Interview Notes: Ms. Mercer says, “The purposes of grade three are to teach students “school survival skills” and the academic domains. She adds, “Sara needs help with „survival skills‟, including following directions, concentrating on a task to its completion, and being attentive to the lessons I present.” Classroom Observation-Focus on Sara Porter: As Ms. Mercer‟s class begins, the students are using manipulatives to solve mathematical problems. As students return equipment to the appropriate spot, Ms. Mercer praises them for keeping the classroom organized. She instructs them to return to their previously assigned groups as Sara enters the classroom. The students are seated at six tables, four students at each table. Ms. Mercer explains, “Tables one and two will work on their language arts first, while tables three and four will solve math problems, and tables five and six will prepare title pages for your next section in science. After twenty-five minutes, the group will stop the first activity and begin working on a second task, without changing seats. Twenty-five minutes later you will change again to work on the activity each group has not yet done.” Ms. Mercer says, “I will work with the group working on language arts,” planning to monitor their progress. “The math groups will turn in their work at the end of their time together. Those doing the science title pages will submit their work when time is called.” Sara begins with the language arts groups one and two. As the students read passages aloud, Ms. Mercer praises them. When she calls on Sara, she begins reading in the wrong place. Joyce, seated next to Sara, points to where they are. Ms. Mercer says, “Sara, you would know where we are if you were paying attention.” She calls on another student. Sara looks hurt, but soon starts to follow along in the book. Subsequently, Ms. Mercer calls on Sara, who now has the right place. Ms. Mercer then calls on another student. During the math activity, Sara, yawning frequently, is the last to open her workbook and write her name. When she completes the page, she waits. She seems puzzled, although Ms. Mercer has already given directions. Sara gets up, sharpens a pencil, and returns to the wrong seat. “That‟s MY seat,” accuses an angry boy. Sara apologizes and returns to her seat. Later, she wants to have her workbook checked. She has not torn out pages as Ms. Mercer instructed. Sara is told to “Do it right.” Sara has not creased the paper as Ms. Mercer demonstrated so the pages do not come out easily. Sara frowns and looks away. Suddenly she yanks the paper and the pages come out with jagged edges. She receives 7 out of 10 for her work. Ms. Mercer says, “Sara, this is good. I wish you could get a hundred percent.” Sara slaps herself on the forehead. During the science title page activity, Sara helps several others who have trouble thinking of ideas. Sara‟s illustration is among the best handed in. After the group work, Ms. Mercer asks the students to write in their journals about the field trip they had gone on the day before. Sara fidgets in her seat and stares out the window. Ms. Mercer tells the class that she wants them to have their journal entries finished by the end of fifteen minutes and that they should write at least three paragraphs about what they saw or did on the field trip. Sara makes a face at her neighbour. She writes one word in her journal, “Boring”. Post-observation Interview Notes Ms. Mercer says, “Sara is a top performer in academic achievement and on standardized tests, consistently scoring among the top five students in the class. She‟s so bright. It‟s a shame she‟s late and distracted so much.” The resource teacher replies, “There may be something else bothering Sara. Although easily distracted, there may be other explanations for her behaviour.” Through the referral process, Sara‟s mother consented to a full assessment of Sara‟s academic potential and achievement. The resource teacher administered the educational achievement measures and the school psychologist administered an intellectual assessment. The following test results and interpretations were attained through the assessment process. Sara Porter Chronological Age: 9.3 Grade: 3.6 Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children-3rd Edition (WISC-111) Verbal Score (range) 124-129 Performance Score (range) 127-137 Full Scale Score (range) 128-139 Sara‟s overall scores on the WISC-111 fall in the Very Superior range of ability, however, she achieved within the average range of scores for Digit Span and Arithmetic. Based on the testing results, classroom observations and information provided by the classroom teacher, Sara was assessed for attention difficulties. The Connors‟ Rating Scale was completed by the classroom teacher and Sara‟s mother. While the classroom teacher noted areas of concern regarding Sara‟s lack of attention and distractible behaviours in class, the rating scale completed by Sara‟s mother did not reflect these concerns. It would appear that the lack of attention noted in school is particular to the school setting and does not generalize to other settings. Woodcock Reading Mastery Tests-Revised Subtest Grade Equivalent Word Identification 6.7 Word Attack 6.3 Word Comprehension 7.4 Passage Comprehension 8.1 Total Full Scale 7.1 KeyMath-Revised Subtest Grade Equivalent Basic Concepts 7.2 (Numeration, Rational Numbers, Geometry) Operations 7.4 (Addition, Subtraction, Multiplication, Division and Mental Computation) Applications 7.7 (Measurement, Time and Money, Estimation, Interpreting Data, Problem Solving) Canadian Tests of Basic Skills Subtests Vocabulary 6.9 Word Analysis 6.2 Reading 6.7 Language Skills 7.6 Mathematical Skills 7.3 Recommendations for Sara Porter Recommendations made to Ms. Mercer consisted of the following: a. Talk to Mrs. Porter about Sara‟s need for sleep in order to arrive at school on time and to pay attention to what is going on in the classroom. b. Set up a daily communication book that Sara will carry back and forth to school in order to correspond daily with Mrs. Porter about Sara‟s school arrival time and her level of attention throughout the day. c. Provide incentives (e.g. free time) for attentive behaviours during class time. d. Refer Mrs. Porter to a general physician for a complete physical for Sara to determine whether there is a medical concern and to investigate the use of medication for attention difficulties. e. Use positive discipline techniques to direct Sara‟s attention and to provide consequences for inappropriate behaviours.
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