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Study Guide

Field 117: Blind and Visually Impaired

Sample Constructed-Response Item

Competency 0008
Analysis, Synthesis, and Application

Use the information provided in the exhibits to complete the task that follows.

Analyze the information provided in the exhibits and, using evidence from all the exhibits to support your ideas, write a response of approximately 400–600 words in which you:

Be sure to use evidence from all the exhibits in your response.

Exhibit 1

Student Profile

Grant is an eight-year-old student who is currently in the third grade. He has a visual diagnosis of ocular albinism with nystagmus.

The Committee on Special Education (CSE) recently met to review and discuss the results of Grant's three-year reevaluation, including assessment results, academic progress, and updated information. The following assessments were performed: standardized cognitive and achievement testing, functional vision assessment (FVA), learning media assessment (LMA), and an expanded core curriculum assessment.

Case History

At the age of six months, Grant was diagnosed with ocular albinism after his pediatrician noticed horizontal nystagmus and referred him to a pediatric ophthalmologist. The family was then referred to the local Early Intervention Official (EIO) and an Initial Service Coordinator. In-home VI services, which included services from the orientation and mobility (O&M) specialist and the occupational therapist, were started just prior to Grant's first birthday. At age three, Grant transitioned to a preschool special education program.

Grant is currently in a general education third-grade class, where he receives services from an itinerant teacher of the visually impaired (TVI) for 40 minutes each week. Grant's classroom teacher reports that he is struggling academically.

Recent reports note the following:

Grant's third-grade teacher has stated that Grant is having difficulty managing the increased workload required of the third-grade curriculum and the need to access complex visual materials. He cannot visually access material on the whiteboard, bulletin boards, and word walls. Grant is currently working below grade level in reading and writing, and his grades in math have dropped from Bs to Ds. Grant's parents have expressed that Grant is coming home sad and frustrated, and does not want to go to school in the morning. They are concerned about his poor organization and difficulty keeping up with his magnifier and his homework.

Exhibit 2

Excerpt from IEP

INDIVIDUALIZED EDUCATION PROGRAM (IEP)

Excerpt from Grant's IEP, documenting his levels of performance and individual needs
STUDENT NAME: Grant
GRADE: Third grade
DISABILITY CLASSIFICATION:
Visual Impairment
PRESENT LEVELS OF PERFORMANCE AND INDIVIDUAL NEEDS
DOCUMENTATION OF STUDENT'S CURRENT PERFORMANCE AND ACADEMIC, DEVELOPMENTAL AND FUNCTIONAL NEEDS

EVALUATION RESULTS (INCLUDING FOR SCHOOL-AGE STUDENTS, PERFORMANCE ON STATE AND DISTRICT-WIDE ASSESSMENTS)

Results of latest reevaluation assessments:

Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children® — Fourth Edition (WISC®-IV)

Verbal Comprehension: 110; Perceptual Reasoning: 84; Working Memory: 103; Processing Speed: 90; Full Scale IQ: 97

Kaufman Test of Educational Achievement, Third Edition (KTEA™-3)

Reading: 85; Math: 89; Written Language: 80; Academic Skills Battery: 89

Basic Reading Inventory (Johns Basic Reading Inventory—large-print edition viewed with electronic enlarger/CCTV)

Grant's independent reading level is grade 1.

—Word recognition: Gr. 1
—Comprehension: Gr. 2
—Fluency: 26 wpm

ACADEMIC ACHIEVEMENT, FUNCTIONAL PERFORMANCE AND LEARNING CHARACTERISTICS
LEVELS OF KNOWLEDGE AND DEVELOPMENT IN SUBJECT AND SKILL AREAS INCLUDING ACTIVITIES OF DAILY LIVING, LEVEL OF INTELLECTUAL FUNCTIONING, ADAPTIVE BEHAVIOR, EXPECTED RATE OF PROGRESS IN ACQUIRING SKILLS AND INFORMATION, AND LEARNING STYLE:

Reading Skills: Grant can consistently read sight words through the first-grade Dolch list. During a teacher read-aloud of a grade-level text, Grant was able to make predictions and explain his reasons while referencing the text. He could identify the topic of the text, but could not determine the sequence of events or the main idea of the text.

Writing Skills: Grant can identify topics and ideas to write about. He can state rules for punctuation usage and identify basic punctuation.

Math Skills: Grant can perform basic calculations involving addition, subtraction, and multiplication. He has memorized all multiplication facts up through 11 × 10. Grant can use manipulatives to illustrate a basic word problem and explain the steps he used to solve it. He can also use manipulatives to identify and represent arithmetic patterns as well as name geometric figures and their attributes.

Independent Daily Living Skills: Grant will wear a cap/visor and sunglasses without prompting; uses the CCTV with support, especially for tracking; can operate screen magnification software on the school computer with minimal assistance; and operates the talking calculator with some assistance. Grant is beginning to become more comfortable with using the dome magnifier in class. Grant's parents report that he is independent with chores at home (e.g., loads dishwasher; picks up and puts away clothes and toys; feeds and cares for family pets; makes his bed on weekends).

STUDENT STRENGTHS, PREFERENCES, INTERESTS:

Strengths: Grant demonstrates literal comprehension skills for material that is presented through the auditory channel. Grant will use a 4× dome magnifier and CCTV when prompted to and provided with teacher support.

Preferences and Interests: Grant enjoys listening to audio books about animals, animal husbandry, and science. He states he wants to be a dog trainer when he grows up.

ACADEMIC, DEVELOPMENTAL AND FUNCTIONAL NEEDS OF THE STUDENT, INCLUDING CONSIDERATION OF STUDENT NEEDS THAT ARE OF CONCERN TO THE PARENT:

Academic Needs: Reading: Grant has difficulty decoding new words, especially multiple-syllable words. Reading fluency is below grade level. Grant has difficulty making logical inferences and citing textual evidence from material he reads independently. Writing: Grant demonstrates an imprecise use of language and conventions in his reading and writing. He has difficulty organizing his ideas and providing specific details in his writing. Math: Grant has difficulty representing two-step word problems using an equation. He cannot read and analyze data presented in graphs and table format, solve multiple-step word problems, identify and use fractions, or perform calculations using division.

Considerations: When reading independently, Grant reads aloud; he does not have the ability to read silently. He also has difficulty with organizing his materials and frequently loses his books, assignments, school materials, and other important belongings. His parents stated that they would like to see Grant develop skills and strategies to address this need.

SOCIAL DEVELOPMENT
THE DEGREE (EXTENT) AND QUALITY OF THE STUDENT'S RELATIONSHIPS WITH PEERS AND ADULTS; FEELINGS ABOUT SELF; AND SOCIAL ADJUSTMENT TO SCHOOL AND COMMUNITY ENVIRONMENTS:

STUDENT STRENGTHS:

Grant is friendly, enjoys participating in class discussions, and generally works well with others in small groups. He enjoys sharing his interests in animals, nature, and science with others.

SOCIAL DEVELOPMENT NEEDS OF THE STUDENT, INCLUDING CONSIDERATION OF STUDENT NEEDS THAT ARE OF CONCERN TO THE PARENT:

Grant gets frustrated when questioned by peers and adults about his eye condition. He will talk one-on-one with a familiar adult about some of his needs related to his vision, but only appears comfortable with the topic if he initiates the conversation. Grant's parents would like to see him become more comfortable in verbalizing his needs in the classroom which would enable him to access the general curriculum and be successful both academically and socially.

PHYSICAL DEVELOPMENT
THE DEGREE (EXTENT) AND QUALITY OF THE STUDENT’S MOTOR AND SENSORY DEVELOPMENT, HEALTH, VITALITY AND PHYSICAL SKILLS OR LIMITATIONS WHICH PERTAIN TO THE LEARNING PROCESS:

STUDENT STRENGTHS:

Grant has met all milestones of fine- and gross-motor skills.

Exhibit 3

Mastered IEP Goals

  1. Reading, Writing, Speaking
    • Identifies parts of a book and their purpose, including author, illustrator, title page, table of contents, index, and chapter headings, using a magnifier to identify features as needed. (Grade 2 Print Awareness competency)
    • Using preferred writing materials (white paper with black medium-tipped marker), takes simple notes to record facts with assistance. (Grade 2 Writing standard 1)
    • Listens for tone of voice and content that signals friendly communication. (Grade 2 Listening standard 4)
    • Selects audio book on the basis of personal choice/interest. (Grade 1 Reading standard 2)
    • Using preferred writing materials (white paper with black medium-tipped marker), copies words, phrases, and sentences from enlarged excerpts of books and magazines. (Grade 1 Writing standard 1)
    • Orally shares favorite anecdotes, jokes, and stories with peers and familiar adults. (Grade 1 Speaking standard 4)
    • While listening to an audio book, makes predictions and inferences, and draws conclusions about characters with some assistance. (Grade 2 Reading standard 2)
    • Uses a magnifier to locate page numbers, chapter headings/subheadings, and other organization features to help locate information with assistance. (Grade 2 Reading standard 1)
  2. Math
    • Knows from memory all sums of two one-digit numbers. (CCSS.MATH.CONTENT.2.OA.B.2)
    • Names odd and even numbers up to 20. (CCSS.MATH.CONTENT.2.OA.C.3)
    • Given manipulative cubes and large-print arrays, uses addition to find the total number of objects and writes equations to express the total for rectangular arrays of up to five rows and up to five columns. (CCSS.MATH.CONTENT.2.OA.C.4)
    • Uses manipulatives to display three-digit numbers representing amounts of hundreds, tens, and ones. (CCSS.MATH.CONTENT.2.NBT.A.1)
    • Chooses correct tool (large-print ruler, large-print meterstick, etc.) and uses it to measure length of a given object. (CCSS.MATH.CONTENT.2.MD.A.1)
    • Uses manipulatives and large-print arrays to create a bar graph to represent data of up to four categories with assistance. (CCSS.MATH.CONTENT.2.MD.D.10)

Exhibit 4

Excerpt from Expanded Core Curriculum Needs Assessment

legend from Expanded Core Curriculum Needs Assessment
Student:   Grant   Grade level:   3   Age:   8  
Key: (P) Proficient (D) Developing (N) Need
Excerpt from Expanded Core Curriculum Needs Assessment
Skills Proficiency
ACADEMIC/COMPENSATORY
HandwritingD
CalculatorD
Listening skillsP
OrganizationN
Study and reference skillsN
Use of charts, graphs, and mapsD
SENSORY EFFICIENCY
VISUAL
Chooses a device appropriate for the visual taskD
Communicates purpose and function of prescribed optical deviceN
Demonstrates daily maintenance of optical devicesN
Initiates independent use of optical deviceD
Demonstrates proficiency with prescribed optical deviceD
Demonstrates reading and writing fluency with optical devicesN
AUDITORY
DiscriminationP
AssociationP
Short-term memoryP
Long-term memoryP
Listening for meaningP
SELF-DETERMINATION
Self-awarenessN
Decision makingN
Problem solvingN
Self-observation, evaluation, and reinforcementN
Self-instructionN
Choice makingN
Positive self-efficacy and outcome expectancyN
Self-advocacy and leadershipN
Self-understandingN
Ability to describe and explain eye conditionN

Exhibit 5

LMA and FVA Excerpts

Excerpts from Learning Media Assessment (LMA) and Functional Vision Assessment (FVA)

Excerpt from Learning Media Assessment
Excerpt from Learning Media Assessment
Use of Sensory ChannelsGrant was observed in his classroom as he engaged in various activities. He navigated his classroom using his vison, but with a hand out to keep him from bumping into things. When handed an unfamiliar object (a toy jellyfish), Grant looked at it for a very brief time before asking, "What is it?" and requesting a description. Grant easily follows two-step verbal directions. Grant was very attentive during story time, but became off task very quickly when asked to write his spelling words. Grant's primary sensory channel is auditory, with visual as a secondary channel.
Assessment of Literacy MediaGrant is able to read 33 pt. large print if he is allowed to bring the reading material within 6 inches of his eyes. He shows markedly better comprehension when material is read to him (or audio materials are used) than when he reads the material himself. Grant's current primary literacy medium is audio materials, with large print as a secondary medium.
Informal Reading InventoryJohn's Basic Reading Inventory indicates independent reading level at first grade, instructional level second grade, and frustration level third grade. Grant is able to identify 35% of third-grade sight words. At his independent reading level, his reading rate is 26 words per minute. Grant can answer basic literal comprehension questions about the material. Grant was allowed to use his 4x dome magnifier during the reading inventory, but chose not to.
Visual ReadingGrant reads most comfortably with 33 pt. font, with black text on white background. Grant performed better when given a "clean" font such as Arial. Grant was able to read best when the window blinds were closed and one set of the classroom lights was turned off. Grant's nystagmus made it difficult for him to fixate on the material in front of him.
Listening SkillsGrant was given an audio book at third-grade level. After listening to the book, he was able to answer literal comprehension questions about the book and provide a brief summary of the story. During a teacher-read story, Grant was able to make predictions about what would happen next and explain why he was making that prediction. When given multiple-step directions (e.g., "stand on one foot, touch your nose, and say the alphabet"), he was able to complete the task without difficulty. Grant was able to recite a series of seven numbers forward and backward when the numbers were presented to him orally.
WritingWhen writing, Grant uses a black medium-tipped marker or a thick lead pencil on white elementary lined paper. His letters are generally formed correctly and stay within the lines. When writing sentences, Grant uses very basic vocabulary with no description or elaboration. He frequently forgets to begin a sentence with a capital letter and is inconsistent with his use of punctuation. He writes with his face very close to his paper.
Excerpt from Functional Vision Assessment
Excerpt from Functional Vision Assessment
Near AcuityWhen assessed at a distance of 16 inches, Grant could identify characters on the 8M line of print (equivalent to the size of a newspaper headline). However, when allowed to bring the print card to his preferred distance of 6 inches, he was able to read 4M continuous text.
Distance AcuityGrant's functional distance acuity was measured using a Snellen chart at a distance of 20 feet. Using both eyes, he was able to read the 20/200 line of the chart, but could not read any characters on the next line. There was no measured difference in acuity between his right and left eye.
Functional Visual FieldsGrant's functional visual fields were measured using a 4-inch-diameter bright yellow ball. This ball was brought from behind his head as he fixated on an object in front of him. No loss of visual field was measured. However, Grant's nystagmus made it difficult for him to fixate on the object in front of him, so confidence in the measure of his visual fields is lower than usual.
ScanningGrant was able to scan and follow a line of text (4M size) at his preferred distance of 6 inches. However, when presented with multiple lines of text, he frequently skipped a line or repeated the same line twice.
Tracking Grant had no difficulty moving his eyes from left to right across lines of text, but had some difficulty moving back from right to left to locate the next line of text. Tracking movements are not smooth due to nystagmus.
ConvergenceConvergence was tested using a black marker held vertically. The marker was held 40 cm from the midline of Grant's face and moved slowly toward him. Grant's eyes converged at a distance of 10 cm. Nystagmus decreased at the convergence point.
Color DiscriminationGrant was asked to name primary and secondary colors when given paint sample chips. He was able to name all colors without difficulty. When asked to match pairs of the same colored paint chip from an assortment of 10 chips, he completed the task in under two minutes.
ContrastGrant performs better on reading and writing tasks when contrast is relatively high. When given black text on white paper, he is able to identify characters more quickly and for a longer period of time without discomfort. When given characters presented in low contrast, he complains of discomfort and fatigues quickly. When using a computer screen, Grant finds it more comfortable to have the screen brightness turned down.

Sample Strong Response to the Constructed-Response Assignment

Grant has a need to increase his reading fluency. According to his profile, Grant's preferred reading size is 33pt font. Typical large print materials are 22 to 24 point, which is smaller than Grant can read comfortably. To be able to access written materials at school and in the community, Grant needs to improve his tracking skills.

Grant currently has a 4x dome magnifier as is noted in the IEP exhibit. He is listed as "developing" or in "need" with regard to using this device, according to the Needs Assessment. Grant is currently able to position his magnifier at the beginning of a text passage, but, as noted in the Functional Vision Assessment, has trouble moving it to track smoothly across one line of text. He also has difficulty finding the beginning of the next line of text with the magnifier. These skill deficiencies make it difficult for him to read and his reading level is already below grade level (IEP and Learning Media Assessment exhibits).

I would like to see Grant track smoothly across a line of text, and back, finding the beginning of the next line at least 8 out of 10 times during the next six months. After six months (or mastery of the goal), I would increase the target to 10 out of 10 times. This skill is essential for Grant’s success in school because it will aid in improving his reading fluency.

A strategy I would use to teach Grant how to track would be to use a technique adapted from a braille tracking exercise. I would initially provide him with six lines of first and second grade sight words, interspersed with animal names. Since Grant has expressed an interest in working with animals, this activity should hold his attention, which may help him succeed in mastering this skill. Grant’s job would be to find and circle the animal names in each line. Once he is comfortable with tracking these lines of words, I would gradually increase the number of lines to ten lines of words.

I would also incorporate available assistive technology devices that would support tracking while reading. A current available device will read aloud, while Grant visually follows each line of text as it is being read and highlighted to promote visual tracking. Research shows that this multi-modal approach is effective in increasing/improving reading fluency.

These direct instruction strategies should be effective in teaching Grant the skills he needs to efficiently track using a variety of technological devices, which will lead to improved reading fluency. Once he is able to access a variety of printed materials, he can then work to increase his reading skills in all content areas.

Performance Characteristics for Constructed-Response Item

The following characteristics guide the scoring of responses to the constructed-response assignments.

Performance Characteristics
Completeness The degree to which the response addresses all parts of the assignment
Accuracy The degree to which the response demonstrates the relevant knowledge and skills accurately and effectively
Depth of Support The degree to which the response provides appropriate examples and details that demonstrate sound reasoning

Score Scale for Constructed-Response Item

A score will be assigned to the response to the constructed-response item according to the following score scale.

Score Scale with description for each score point.
Score Point Score Point Description
4 The "4" response reflects a thorough command of the relevant knowledge and skills:
  • The response thoroughly addresses all parts of the assignment.
  • The response demonstrates the relevant knowledge and skills with thorough accuracy and effectiveness.
  • The response is well supported by relevant examples and details and thoroughly demonstrates sound reasoning.
3 The "3" response reflects a general command of the relevant knowledge and skills:
  • The response generally addresses all parts of the assignment.
  • The response demonstrates the relevant knowledge and skills with general accuracy and effectiveness.
  • The response is generally supported by some examples and/or details and generally demonstrates sound reasoning.
2 The "2" response reflects a partial command of the relevant knowledge and skills:
  • The response addresses all parts of the assignment, but most only partially; or some parts are not addressed at all.
  • The response demonstrates the relevant knowledge and skills with partial accuracy and effectiveness.
  • The response is partially supported by some examples and/or details or demonstrates flawed reasoning.
1 The "1" response reflects little or no command of the relevant knowledge and skills:
  • The response minimally addresses the assignment.
  • The response demonstrates the relevant knowledge and skills with minimum accuracy and effectiveness.
  • The response is minimally supported or demonstrates significantly flawed reasoning.
UThe response is unscorable because it is unrelated to the assigned topic or off-task, unreadable, written in a language other than English or contains an insufficient amount of original work to score.
BNo response.