|Ms. Davis's Portfolio||
No two individuals are completely alike. So even in relatively small groups there can be a wide range of backgrounds and skills. Within a classroom this can present many complications. Since the school I am observing at is quite small, they have a small special needs program. The teachers I have spoken with say that the school tries to keep as many students as possible in the main classrooms. An English teacher, who shares an office with the history teacher I observe, told me his special needs class has only four students: those unable to be in a mainstream class even with an aid. This means many special needs and low achieving students are mixed in with average and above average. This appears to be especially true in this school.
The history class I observe has students of several ability levels. None of them require an aid in class with them, but the teacher does make some adjustments. For example, longer time in tests and quizzes or more flexibility when it comes to thoroughness of homework questions. Another method he uses on exam is bonus questions. Some are simple, random trivia but others are obscure questions from class. This gives a chance for students that study more ineptly and those that do not to gain additional points. The math class I observed is a bit different. While there is also a heterogeneous grouping there, there is also an in-class aid as well. This aid is specifically for one student; however, she also helps any other students that may need assistance. Even with the various ability levels within the classes, all students have the same basic materials and responsibilities. Because of this it is difficult to pick out which students are receiving any special accommodations. I am not sure how I feel about this arrangement. While it may encourage some students to work harder to match the other student’s grades, it could also cause issues. I know several friends that were is both adjusted and mainstream classes during high school and it seems then benefited from having some classes separate from the main student body. That said, each person is different and it is impossible to predict if a different environment may have helped or hindered him or her.