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THE BAHAMAS

NATIONAL SCREENING PILOT PROGRAMME 2003 -2005 REPORT

THE NATIONAL COMMISSION ON SPECIAL EDUCATION JULY 2005

THE BAHAMAS

NATIONAL SCREENING PILOT PROGRAMME 2003 -2005 REPORT

Dr. Beulah L. Gardiner ­ Farquharson..... Deputy Co. Chair, NCOSE Dr. Novia Carter ­ Higgs.... Consulting Psychologist, NCOSE Ms. Sharon Dean.... Technical Officer, NCOSE Mrs. Carolynn Hall ­ Knowles.... Technical Officer, NCOSE Ms. Brenda Bain... Technical Officer, NCOSE Mrs. Bridgette Cooper.... Technical Officer, NCOSE

THE NATIONAL COMMISSION ON SPECIAL EDUCATION JULY 2005

TABLE OF CONTENTS List of Tables ................................................................................................ ii List of Figures............................................................................................. iv

Executive Summary................................................................ 1 Chapter 1 Chapter 2 Chapter 3 Chapter 4 Introduction......................................................... 6 Methodology........................................................ 17 Findings, Discussion & Recommendations.................... 31 Summary, Conclusions, Challenges & Recommendations..................................................61 APPENDIX 1 APPENDIX 2 APPENDIX 3 List of Terms.................................................. 66 Student Academic Survey Form.......................... 73 Professional Development Survey for Teachers....................................................... 76 References........................................................................... 80

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LIST OF TABLES Table 3.1 Page The Ages and Stages Questionnaire was Administered at the Following Schools and Ministry of Health Clinics 2003-2004.......... 32

3.2

The Ages and Stages Questionnaire was Administered at the Following Schools 2004 - 2005................................................ 33

3.3

`Possible' Developmental delays as Indicated by the ASQ 2003 - 2004...................................................................... 34

3.4

`Possible' Developmental Delays as Indicated by the ASQ 2004 ­ 2005..................................................................... 35

3.5

Students in Need of Second Level Screener 2003 ­ 2004................. 36

3.6

Students in Need of Second Level Screener 2004 ­ 2005................. 37

3.7

Performance Data Trends for GLAT Language Arts Examinations for Grade 3 for the Period 2003 ­ 2004..................... 43

3.8

Performance Data Trends for GLAT Language Arts Examinations for Grade 6 for the Period 2003 ­ 2004..................... 44

3.9

Performance Data Trends for GLAT Mathematics Examinations for Grade 3 for the Period 2002 ­ 2004..................... 45

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3.10

Performance Data Trends for GLAT Mathematics Examinations for Grade 6 for the Period 2002 ­ 2004...............

46

3.11

Performance Data Trends for BJC Mathematics Examinations for the Period 2001 ­ 2004..............................

53

3.12

Data Trends for BJC English Language Examinations for the Period 2002 ­ 2003...............................................

54

3.13

Performance Data Trends for BGCSE Mathematics Examinations for the Period 2001 ­ 2004..............................

57

3.14

Performance Data Trends for BGCSE English Examinations for the period 2001 ­ 2003..............................

58

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LIST OF FIGURES Table 3.1 Page Percentage analysis of ASQ Results for 2003 ­ 2004 and 2004 ­ 2005......39

3.2

Listing of Preschool Training Initiatives 2004 / 2005...........................40

3.3

Trend Analyses for GLAT 2003 ­ 2004 Language Arts Grade 3..............43

3.4

Trend Analysis for GLAT Language Arts Examinations for Grade 6 for the Period 2003 ­ 2004..............................................................44

3.5

Trend Analysis for GLAT Mathematics Examinations for Grade 3 for the Period 2002 ­ 2004..............................................................45

3.6

Trend Analysis for GLAT Mathematics Examinations for Grade 6 for the period 2002 ­ 2004..............................................................46

3.7

Grade boundaries Grade 3 Language Arts for the Period 2002 ­ 2004.......47

3.8

Grade Boundaries Grade 6 Language Arts for the Period 2002 ­ 2004......47

3.9

GLAT Mathematics Grade 3 for 2001 ­ 2003....................................49

3.10

Trend Analysis for BJC Mathematics Examinations 2001 ­ 2004............54

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3.11

Trend Analysis for BJC English Language Examinations for the Period 2000 ­ 2003.............................................................................55

3.12

Overall performances on BJC Language Arts Examinations for the Period 2000 ­ 2003.............................................................................55

3.13

Trend Analyses for BGCSE Mathematics Examinations for the Period 2001 ­ 2004.............................................................................57

3.14

Overall Performance of Students on BGCSE Examinations for Period 2001 ­ 2004............................................................................57

3.15

Performance of Students on BGCSE English Examinations for the Period 2001 ­ 2003............................................................................58

3.16

Overall Performance on BGCSE English Examinations 2001 ­ 2003.........59

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BAHAMAS NATIONAL SCREENING PROGRAMME

BAHAMAS NATIONAL SCREENING PROGRAMME TOWARDS SPECIAL DIAGNOSIS AND TREATMENT / REMEDIATION

Executive Summary

In January 2004, the National Commission on Special Education (NCOSE) established The Bahamas National Management Committee for the National Screening Programme. This document presents a synthesis of current knowledge pertaining to The Bahamas National Screening Programme (BNSP). The purpose of the synthesis is to present a concise picture of knowledge related to the BNSP. Screening is a process which entails early detection of cognitive and behavioural problems that could jeopardize school performance. It assesses development in the areas of vision, hearing, motor, speech, language, cognition and social functioning. To date, the BNSP has implemented a pilot screening programme for preschoolers and primary school students. The screening is designed to identify those children who would benefit from early intervention / remediation services due to delays in developmental areas and learning difficulties. Children between the ages of one and four were also screened at two Ministry of Health clinics. This screening programme utilizes a multi-sectoral approach, requiring the collaboration of the Ministries of Social Services, the Ministry of Education, the Ministry of Health, the National Insurance Board, the Department of Statistics, and the Ministry of Labour and Immigration. Partnerships were also forged with non-government organizations on disability that provide early intervention services for children from birth to five years old and those who provide services for children needing disability related transitional services. The information obtained by the BNSP is needed to improve and guide the future implementation of Special Education and Related Services throughout The Commonwealth of The Bahamas. The BNSP provides credible information to governmental and non-governmental organizations which can be utilized to improve the effectiveness and efficiency of the services provided to the special needs population. To this end, the BNSP seeks to: · · · Identify and make provisions for infants and toddlers who require early intervention services; Provide immediate support services for children from birth through sixth grade needing critical care services; Develop and implement procedural guidelines for further therapeutic and educational services;

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· ·

Gather data that describes the possible learning problems of students while addressing those problems within the most appropriate / least restricted educational environment; and Implement transitional career-oriented screening to establish post-school goals and determine the types of support necessary to assist youth with disabilities.

The BNSP utilizes a multiple-gated system. This system incorporates a stepwise assessment procedure, which begins with an initial screen (i.e. FirstSTEp, GLAT, BJC results), for the purpose of identifying children who have low base rate problems. If a child during Gate I is identified as `possibly' having a developmental delay or having learning challenges that child is assessed with a Gate II screener. This screening is more intensive in nature and is conducted on a smaller group of children who have been identified by the proceeding large-scale screening. Students who are then identified as at risk after the Gate II are then referred for a complete psycho-educational evaluation (Gate III). The knowledge base regarding screening yielded several major conclusions. The overarching conclusions are that the present system waits for the children to fail rather than utilizes a model based on prevention and intervention. The knowledge base also indicated that when a system places little emphasis on early and accurate identification learning and behavioral problems seem to progress. Finally, the knowledge base calls for the need to develop aggressive interventions using researched based approaches to screening. The education system is the primary gateway for identification, screening, referral and access to services. In the United States the President's Commission on Excellence in Special Education (2001) found that early screening followed by effective intervention in the classroom prevented many disabilities. The Commission further contends that locally driven universal screening of children is associated with better outcomes and results for all children throughout the school system. As a result, the literature indicates that effective and reliable screening reduces the number of students placed in special education services resulting in a more effective use of limited special education services. The synthesis of the knowledge base approach regarding screening in The Bahamas yielded the following major conclusions. 1. The most current national disability data presented in The Commonwealth of The Bahamas' Census Of Population and Housing 2000 states that one thousand and fifty five (1,055) children from birth to age 19 were reported as having disabilities of the body and/or mind such as, seeing, hearing, speaking, mobility, movements, gripping, learning, behavioral, mental and other. However, only three hundred and eighty six (386) school-aged individuals were reported as having a learning disability or being slow to learn. 2. The Ministry of Education's Special Services Section reported that presently, there are approximately two thousand six hundred and twenty

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three (2,623) school-aged children receiving special education treatment in regular and special schools maintained by the government. 3. Grade Level Assessment Test (GLAT) results 2002 ­ 2004, revealed that more than 59% of the students in grade three (3) taking Language Arts Examinations performed at a `D' level or below overall for the period 2003 through 2004. Further review revealed that more than 85% of the students taking Language Arts GLAT in grade six (6) performed at a grade `D' level or below overall for the period 2003-2004. Math Examination results for the corresponding grade level yielded better results. 4. Bahamas Junior Certificate (BJC) and Bahamas General Certificate of Secondary Education (BGCSE) reports show slow progress towards improved and acceptable national performance. 5. The major findings obtained from the 722 screened preschoolers during the 2003 ­ 2004 BNSP Pilot Screening Programme were: · · · · · · · · · · · 19 private and government-operated preschools participated in the pilot programme. 2 government-operated clinics were also included in the pilot programme; Of the 19 schools that participated in the pilot programme 3 of those schools were located in Grand Bahama and the other 16 were in New Providence; A total of 722 students were administered the ASQ; 14.8% of the screened population have possible communication delays; 6% of the screened population have possible problem solving difficulties; 4.5% of the screened population have possible fine motor difficulties 4% of the screened population have possible personal/social difficulties; 2.9% of the screened population have possible vision difficulties; 2.9% of the screened population have gross motor difficulties; 1.2% of the screened population have possible hearing difficulties; A total of 184 students are in need of additional screening. This represents 25.4% of the population screened.

6. The major findings obtained from the 659 screened preschoolers during the 2004- 2005 BNSP Pilot Screening Programme were: · · · Eighteen (18) operated preschools participated in the pilot programme, 3 private and 15 government preschools; A total of 659 students were administered the ASQ; 16% of the screened population has possible communication delays; 3

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· · · · · · ·

6% of the screened population has possible fine motor difficulties; 5% of the screened population has possible problem solving difficulties; 3% of the screened population has possible speech difficulties; 1% of the screened population has possible personal/social difficulties; 1% of the screened population has possible vision difficulties; Less than 1% of the screened population has possible vision and/or gross motor difficulties; A total of 219 students are in need of additional screening. This represents 33.2% of the population screened.

Additional screening initiatives included professional development, in-service training initiatives and consultations at the pre-school and primary school levels. Based on the BNSP findings, Special Education is an important item on the national agenda. Many of the more severe forms of health problems, mental disabilities, academic difficulties, correctional problems and social services issues seen later in life have their roots firmly implanted in the preschool developmental years. Therefore, future generations of Bahamians stand to benefit from a universal screening programme, which begins in the Preschool and continues throughout the schooling years, that identifies these issues at an early stage and renders intervention. As a result, the BNSP has the potential to: Define an individual's strengths and weaknesses; Develop individual management plans; Promote emotional well being and metacognition; Determine the services required to enhance learning during the school hours; Provide insight to those working with individuals about their learning difficulties; Ensure that students who may have peripheral sensory functioning difficulties are identified at an early age and the appropriate services provided. Utilize strengths that can enhance learning and self-esteem; Identify any other factors which may be complicating management. The BNSP sets a broad and complex agenda for the way forward in Special Education. This document has defined many different goals that need to be met, programmes that need to be implemented, and responsibilities that need to be fulfilled. But creating recommendations about the way forward, in many respects, are about setting priorities and about recognizing that some actions are more critical or more urgent than others. Therefore, the following key recommendation is based on the information reviewed in this document: The implementation of a systematic national screening programme will ensure the early identification of children with varying exceptionalities. This diagnostic pathway will have a significant impact on increasing the likely success of children with disabilities

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and other learning challenges who are struggling with the demands of schooling. The BNSP will also help to increase the chances of early school success for all children by providing tools for parents and teachers to tailor experiences and curricula to individual needs. This plan includes, best practices in the areas of national screening, assessment, evaluation and programme development and implementation within both the Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Education. Through the use of pre-referral strategies, criterion referenced tests, ecological problem-solving models, and curriculum-based combined approaches every child will have a chance to achieve his or her potential. In the words of Kuan Tzu: If you are thinking a year ahead, Sow a seed. If you are thinking ten years ahead, Plant a tree. If you are thinking a hundred years ahead, Educate the people. In the case of the BNSP, we are thinking hundreds of years ahead, hence the need to build solid special education services utilizing the results of a universal screening programme to gauge the work of special education within the country. The need for special education services is great but the lack thereof is even greater. Can we as a young nation afford to continue on without a universal screening programme?

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CHAPTER ONE

Introduction

One of the major mandates of the National Commission on Special Education was to develop a National Screening Programme. In January 2004, The Bahamas National Management Committee for the National Screening Programme was appointed. The goal of the BNSP is to ascertain the level of students within the country in need of special education services, identify screened children's weaknesses and strengths, and finally identify early intervention programmes which may need to be implemented to assist the child. The BNSP will utilize developmental screeners, Intelligence testing, national assessments, district tests and report cards to effectively and efficiently assess the current level of students in need of assistance. The Bahamas National Screening Programme (BNSP) located, identified and evaluated children for the purpose of creating effective intervention programmes. According to Special Services Annual Report 2003, there are 2,623 children currently receiving special education services. In 2000-01, The United States Department of Education reported serving 5,775,722 students ages 6 - 21. Of this number, students ages 6 - 17 with disabilities made up 11.5% of the estimated student enrolment for pre-kindergarten - 12th grade. If we extrapolate from the U.S figures based on our current population it is safe to assume that a great number of students with disabilities (i.e. specific learning disabilities, speech or language impairments, mental retardation, emotional disturbance, multiple disabilities, hearing impairments, orthopaedic impairments, other health impairments, visual impairments, autism, deaf-blindness, traumatic brain injury, and developmental delay) are not receiving special education services.

BNSP Vision

The vision of The Bahamas National Screening Programme subscribes to the philosophy that all students can achieve to the best of their potential as they grow and mature into productive citizens in society. The empowerment of educators, through professional development opportunities, will stimulate teachers to emerge as instructional leaders nurtured in a professional learning community. The programme will identify students with special needs and assist with the provision of appropriate educational measures in meeting those needs.

Guiding Principles for Implementation of The BNSP

1. 2. 3. 4. 5. Effective and supportive administrative leadership. Teachers who are efficient and effective. Professional development opportunities for all staff. All teachers are members of professional learning communities. Maximizing the use of human, physical, financial and community resources.

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6. Providing critical development opportunities through discovery, investigation and inquiry activities. 7. Early prevention and intensive intervention (school screening, educational programmes and continuous assessment, individualized remediation plans). 8. Enhancement and provision of opportunities for students to learn and to achieve including adaptations for English as a second language, etc. 9. Establish student-to-student cooperative community linkages through the guided peer mentoring approach designed for very young learners. 10. Family support programmes that engage parents, community members and integrated services (speech therapy, audiology, etc.). 11. Implementation of effective, research based, replicable methods and strategies. 12. Goals that accommodate all students in attaining their maximum potential. 13. Goals and benchmarks that are measurable. 14. There is an established system of evaluation. (Adapted from comprehensive school reform demonstration programmes, leadership principles and professional learning community improvement models).

Rationale for National Screening in Education Birth through Secondary Years

Screening is a developmental assessment designed to determine if a child is progressing as expected or if there is cause for concern. It evaluates a child's competencies and resources and analyzes the child's learning environment in order to assist the child in making the fullest use of his developmental potential. Screening is a programme of activities beginning with the identification of the population likely to benefit right through to definitive diagnosis and treatment. It is a public service in which members of a defined population, who do not necessarily perceive that they are at risk for, or are already affected by a disability, or its complications, are asked questions or offered a test to identify those individuals who are more likely to be helped than harmed by further tests or treatment. Screening can be further described as a brief assessment aimed at identifying those infants and children who may be demonstrating developmental delays due to differences as compared with standard expectations for children of the same age range and cultural background (Bondurant-Utz and Lucaino, 1994). Therefore, it is the practice of investigating apparently "normal" children with the object of detecting unrecognized disabling conditions in order to prevent or delay their occurrences. Screening tests are often not diagnostic in themselves. They usually seek to identify groups at high risk of a condition, be it a mild disability, a behavioral problem or other conditions related to having disabilities. Further tests are then done to confirm diagnosis. Screening procedures are an important part of the assessment process to identify children and youth who have disabilities. Many professionals have stressed the need to involve

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family members and other caregivers in screening initiatives. The importance of family caregiver participation in screening activities cannot be over-emphasized. Overall, screening programmes will offer the best possibility for children with special needs to grow and learn. Universal screening of young children is closely associated with better outcomes and results for all children. This is due mainly to the fact that early screening results in the implementation of early intervention procedures. There is compelling evidence which shows how early identification and intervention can prevent certain disorders, namely, behavior and reading disorders, in many children and ameliorate their impact in those who develop them (Lane, Gresham, and O'Shaughnessy, 2002). The early signs of learning difficulties and behavior problems can be identified when children are very young. Without early detection, these relatively mild problems during infancy can develop into more severe difficulties during childhood (Lane, Gresham, and O'Shaughnessy, 2002). Early intervention can prevent the occurrence of more severe delays and difficulties for children and their families if delays are detected and addressed. There is a need to develop the national capacity to identify infants and young children who are at risk or have delays or disabilities, and who can qualify for essential early intervention and various support services. National screening from birth throughout grade school years is necessary for planning in health, education, social and other government sectors of any country. Developmental delays, academic and behavioral problems in young children should be addressed in the early school years. Early intervention and effective sustainable measures significantly enhance school success. Some children have very good coping skills; therefore, a disability might not be manifested until later in elementary or junior high school, when the demands of schoolwork exceed the ability to cope. On the other hand, some children experience traumatic brain injuries, or are subjected to environmental factors that may result in a disabling condition. Furthermore, a disability may also not be identified until a child is older because the procedures used for screening, referral, testing, and/or identification are ineffective. The potential to improve the overall quality of life of children through early diagnosis of learning problems is greatly enhanced.

Need For A Bahamas National Screening Programme

The Statue Law of The Bahamas, Chapter 46, Education Sections 20 (1) and 21 (1), makes provisions for the education of pupils requiring special education treatment at the primary and secondary levels up to age 16. The law further stipulates regulations for categories of students with disabilities of mind and/or body requiring special educational treatment and provisions. Special methods appropriate for the education of pupils of each category are cited. However, there are no regulations in The Bahamas that defines the categories of persons with disabilities of the mind and/or body requiring special educational treatment. As a result, there are varying interpretations of disabilities eligibility.

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The most current national disability data is presented by The Department of Statistics (The Commonwealth of The Bahamas Census Of Population and Housing, 2000). One thousand and fifty five (1,055) children from birth to age 19 were reported as having disabilities of the body and/or mind such as seeing, hearing, speaking, mobility, movements, gripping, learning, behavioral, mental and other. Only three hundred and eighty six (386) school age individuals were reported as having a learning disability or being slow to learn. Health related disabling conditions are traditionally categorized as mental illnesses, HIV/AIDS, chronic asthma, cancer, sickle cell anemia, epilepsy, leukemia, cystic fibrosis, juvenile diabetes mellitus, heart conditions, tuberculosis and other health conditions. These disabling conditions are not listed in the Census, therefore, it cannot be determined if school age children with health related disabilities of the "mind and/or body" have been accounted for in the census. The Ministry of Education's Special Services Section reported that, at the present time, there are approximately two thousand six hundred and twenty three (2,623) school age children receiving special education treatment in regular and special schools maintained by the government. However, this number is not indicative of the number of children needing special education and related services. National examinations data support the fact that there are thousands of school age children needing special education and related services that are not accounted for within the numbers presented in Census 2000 or by the figures reported by the Special Services Section of the Department of Education Grade Level Assessment Test (GLAT) results, 2002 ­ 2004, revealed that more than 59% of the students in grade three (3) taking the Language Arts Examinations performed at a `D' level or below overall for the period 2003 - 2004. Further review revealed that more than 85% of the students taking Language Arts GLAT in grade six (6) performed at a grade `D' level or below overall for the period 2003 through 2004. Math Examination results for the corresponding grade level yielded better results. The Bahamas Junior Certificate (BJC) and Bahamas General Certificate Secondary Education (BGCSE) Examinations report slow progress toward improved and acceptable national performance (GLAT, BJC and BGCSE Reports 2000 ­ 2002, Ministry of Education Testing and Evaluation). An analysis of The Bahamas National Examinations yielded the following concerns: 1. National examinations, particularly the GLAT, have content validity and reliability concerns; 2. The level of questioning according to Bloom's Taxonomy was inconsistent over the past three years (2000-2002) of administration; 3. The GLAT 7-point grading scale from A to U is not consistent with local school practices. The BJC and BGCSE Examinations have similar problems; 4. Children's strengths and weaknesses have not been identified in the objectives of each of the content areas; 5. Scores of children are exempted from national examinations if the risk of lowering overall school performance is determined;

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6. Despite very poor national performance, the implementation of an effective national system of referral and remediation is non-existent; and 7. There is a need to strengthen the GLAT and BJC Examinations and other national assessment initiatives with some consideration given to new national screening initiatives related to post-school goals for all students. This analysis poses the question: Why are so many students performing below an acceptable level? This may be due to disabling conditions such as learning disabilities and slowness in learning, which are significantly underrepresented in the 2000 Census Report. It is also believed that many children in the school system who are primarily speakers of other languages are experiencing learning difficulties due to Limited Language Proficiency (LLP). Educational research also attributes learning difficulties and significant prevalence of school failure to poor teaching and ineffective administrative leadership (Wolfolk and Wolfolk, 2001). Based on the analysis, all children who are performing below average on national examinations should receive appropriate special education related services to address their individual needs. These individuals should be categorically identified and represented in the country's special education statistics.

Purpose of The Bahamas National Screening Programme

The purpose of The Bahamas National Screening Programme (BNSP) is to ascertain the number of children throughout The Bahamas who have disabilities, are at risk for disabilities or other special education needs, and to provide the most appropriate health and/or educational treatment measures. While the schools'system has the potential capacity to identify school age children with special needs, grade K-12, infants and preschoolers are not included in national assessment initiatives. In The Bahamas there are no national screening programmes for children from birth to three years old. As a result, the number of infants, toddlers and preschoolers, ages 0 ­ 5, with disabilities are not known and the majority of very young children with disabilities, developmental delays, or at risk for disabilities are underserved or not served at all. The information obtained by the BNSP is needed to improve and guide the future implementation of Special Education and Related Services throughout The Commonwealth of The Bahamas. The BNSP will provide credible information to governmental and non-governmental organizations. It is hoped that the information provided here will lead to a renaissance in Special Education, thus, providing the impetus needed to ensure that the services provided to children with special needs will be more effective and efficient. Hence, it will provide a basilica of hope for many children, families, health facilities and schools who seek to meet the needs of this special population.

Specific Objectives

Provide early intervention screening services for infants and toddlers from birth. Support and strengthen The Ministry of Education's curriculum initiatives, philosophy, goals and objectives for students at the K through the12th grade level.

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Significantly contribute to the improvement of national examination results at all levels. Significantly contribute to the improvement of performance on grade level tests. Provide opportunities for community, public, private and family partnerships and collaboration. Give guidance towards the establishment of child centered learning environments that would be interesting, challenging and geared toward students' abilities. Significantly improve the schools' overall national literacy and numeracy standard. Provide advanced instructional leadership training to all participating staff and other members of the school community. Ensure that teachers engage in the best educational practices for The Bahamas.

Importance of the BNSP

The BNSP will contribute to a presently limited body of knowledge concerning the number of students with disability or at risk for disability within The Commonwealth of The Bahamas. The BNSP seeks to: 1. Determine the number of children throughout the public and private school systems, grades K -12, who require special education and related services and plan programmes of education and treatment; 2. Identify and make provisions for infants and toddlers who require early intervention services; 3. Provide immediate support services for children birth - sixth grade needing critical care services; 4. Develop and implement procedural guidelines for further evaluation, therapeutic and educational services; 5. Gather data that describe the possible learning problems of students and address those problems within the most appropriate / least restricted educational environment; and 6. Implement transitional career-oriented screening to establish post-school goals and determine the types of support necessary to assist youth with disabilities. Additionally, the BNSP also seeks to develop findings that may be valuable in preventing academic failure for students who present with developmental delays at a very young age. As a result, the information that will be provided by the BNSP is necessary for: Early identification of children with developmental delays or mental retardation, cerebral palsy, language disorders, and/or autism; Early identification of potential learning problems; Referral of children for further evaluation/assessment; Obtaining of essential health/background information; Aid to development of programming and/or experiences based on individual children's needs;

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Early identification of children with hearing or vision problems; Engagement of parents to ensure appropriate development of their children through recognition of individual strengths and weaknesses; Enable teachers and parents to tailor experiences and curricula to individual needs; and Provide access to early intervention and other services where indicated. To facilitate the overall purpose of The BNSP, the BNSP supports: 1. The collection of essential health and background information; 2. The establishment of a best practices system of referral of children for further assessment, evaluation and treatment / intervention; 3. The development of family, community, public and private collaboration and partnerships; 4. The development of programming and /or experiences based on individual needs; 5. The development and implementation of research-based, early identification and intervention programmes; and 6. The establishment and maintenance of an effective national monitoring and research mechanism.

Screening Activities

The Bahamas National Screening Programme will:Collect essential student data to identify at risk students who require immediate support; Provide professional initiatives to augment instructional practices, processes and procedures; Meet with school administration to review overall existing academic performance of schools (GLAT, End of Term Exams, class mark sheets, Reports), and other relevant information on students to determine possible needs; Provide a pre- referral component; Confer with classroom teachers to identify students; and Review and discuss instructional practices.

Meeting the Needs, Providing Support

Assist teachers with sharpening their instructional leadership skills in the learning community; Classroom Demonstration Models that enhance student achievement; IEP development and implementation; SCHOOL LEVEL ASSESSMENT AND RE-EVALUATION OF STUDENTS' PROGRESS (repeat pre-referral as needed) Cooperative Learning;

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Differentiated Instruction; and Mixed ability groups and other strategies.

Referral

Administration of psycho-educational assessment where necessary; Utilization of Resource Room Support Services; and Access to additional support services where necessary.

Support Network/Services

Within the national school programme there is an established support network and services that promote excellence in education: professional development activities for instructional leadership in the classroom; student cooperative networks/peer mentoring; community partnerships; parent/teacher partnership initiatives; psycho-educational assessment services; speech and audiology screening and services; English as a Second Language Programme and remediation/resource room programmes. Following is an outline of some of the selected networks or services. 1. Professional Development

The professional development for instructional leadership in the classroom for teachers is designed to enhance the professional knowledge, skills and attitudes of teachers to help all students to achieve their maximum potential. Professional development can be thought of as "processes and activities designed to enhance the professional knowledge, skills and attitudes of educators so that they might in turn improve the learning of students" (Arizona State University Education Polity Studies, 2001). This definition implies that staff development consists of a broad range of processes and activities that contribute to the learning of educators (Farquharson, IDB Project Document, 2005). Education is essential to the future security and social well-being of any country. In The Bahamas there is a critical need to improve the quality of education. High quality professional development initiatives are needed in order to meet instructional delivery needs and to respond to successful school improvement initiatives. Well - coordinated professional development initiatives will prepare teachers to meet prescribed standards in education for diverse student populations. To facilitate this, the education system must assist teachers in acquiring new knowledge and skills (Achieving The Goal, United States Department of Education, 1996). This professional development initiative is being established to meet the training needs of teachers in the regular schools. The following professional development principles (adapted from The United States Department of Education, 2000) were incorporated:

· · ·

focus on teachers as central to student learning, yet includes all other members of the school community; focus on individual, collegial, and organizational improvement; respects and nurtures the intellectual and leadership capacity of teachers, principals, and others in the school community; 13

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· ·

· · · · · ·

reflects best available research and practice in teaching, learning, and leadership; enables teachers to develop further expertise in subject content, teaching strategies, uses of technologies, and other essential elements in teaching to high standards; promotes continuous inquiry and improvement embedded in the daily life of schools; is planned collaboratively by those who will participate in and facilitate that development; requires substantial time and other resources; is driven by a coherent long-term plan; Sets high expectations for students and makes them responsible for their own learning; and A community of learners supporting each other in the teaching-learning process, (Adapted from Principles of Professional Development, United States Department of Education, 2000).

A balanced view of professional development is planned to allow teachers to explore models best suited to their teaching strengths and students' learning styles. Some of the approaches that will be explored are as follows: Teacher Networks, Joint Work, Collaborations Between Schools and Colleges, Professional Development Schools, Teacher Research Projects, Teacher - Mentor Programmes and Teacher Coaching (The Balance View Professional Development, Westchester Institute For Human Services Research, White Plains, New York, Vol. 2 #3, 1998 as referenced in IDB SPED Project Bahamas, 2005). 2. Community Partnerships

The National Screening Programme will engage in community partnerships that include the following: · · · · · Clubs and before and after school activities for students. Provide school's resources for community events, organizations and groups. Student community projects. Participation in the life of the school by attending school events, and volunteering and assisting administration, teachers and students. Provide resources that enable the school to offer exemplary academic programmes and extra-curricular activities. English as a Second Language (ESL)

3.

There is a significant number of students with English Language challenges attending school. The Bahamas National Screening Programme effort is intended to investigate the extent of the need for Bilingual and or ESL programmes to be established at the local school level. The need to establish the following programmes will be investigated: · Mainstream classes with the assistance of the ESL teacher when necessary.

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· · 4.

Mainstream immersion programmes. Individual or small group English Language instruction from an ESL teacher. Remediation / Resource Room Programme

The BNSP will examine the extent to which schools need resource room programmes and services and provide assistance in the establishment and enhancement of such programmes. The purpose of the Resource Room is to support and supplement the work of students in mainstream class activities. In addition, remediation will be provided. Organizational and study skills will be emphasized as needed, in the areas of Reading, Writing, and Mathematics. Classes are limited to five students per period. The curriculum is modified and individualized appropriately to meet the needs of each student. Students may be scheduled for Resource Room for one or two periods daily depending on need. In addition, Resource Room students may also be scheduled for one or two special classes (individual). A variety of interventional techniques are utilized. There is on-going communication between Resource Room and mainstream teachers and parents to ensure congruence with the mainstream class and the greatest possible success for each student. Only students diagnosed with deficits will participate in the programme for the prescribed time. Additionally, past academic performances, that is, class works and the medical history that may impact their academic success, determine which participants are selected (Oceanside Union Free School District and A Special Education Program / Revised Resource Room Handbook- 2003 {S. Dean, I. Ford- Knowles, C. Hall-Knowles, S. Sinclair}). 5. Peer Achievement & Leadership Success (PALS) Programme

The proposed PALS programme is a comprehensive whole school student-to-student mentoring programme which will allow participants the opportunity to develop leadership skills, social responsibility and the fellowship necessary to create positive changes in their learning environment. Such a programme is designed to allow students to grow both personally and academically as they learn by doing and as they actively participate in varied educational experiences. The purposes of the programme are intended to: Develop an environment of shared responsibility among students; Empower students to become leaders within their learning communities; Improve students' achievement in literacy and numeracy; and Provide a student mentoring support system for classroom instruction. The general benefits of the programme are to: Increase mastery of academic skills; Provide positive role models;

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Identify and develop/nurture leadership skills for all students; Provide emotional support; Improve students' attitudes toward school; Reduce dropout rates, truancies and tardiness; and Improve self-esteem and self confidence. Specific benefits for the whole school community, special needs students, teachers and pal mentors include: A. · · B. · · · Whole school community Fosters a community of helping and caring within individual classrooms and throughout the school. Improves student-teacher relationships. Special needs students Individualized instruction. Increased praise, feedback, and encouragement over what they might receive from one teacher. Closer monitoring (from the teacher and PALS) that maximizes time on task reinforcement. Teachers · · Increased personal monitoring of an individual student's progress over the monitoring they must provide during whole class instruction. Reduced time spent on repetitive work, allowing them to carry out more technical and professional tasks. Certified training for PALS (student mentors) · · · · Increased academic mastery. Greater sense of dedication to their own instruction so that they can effectively transmit it to students with special needs. Increased self-esteem, confidence and a sense of adequacy as a result of being named a certified PAL. The PALS Programme includes, initial training/orientation; principles of leadership training for young children; tutoring skills training; directed training skills competencies; ongoing training/reflections; on-the-job training; coaching/field component; and PALS certification.

C.

D.

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CHAPTER TWO

Methodology

The Population According to the Department of Statistics Census 2000, there are approximately 50, 000 school aged students throughout The Commonwealth of The Bahamas. The BNSP has divided the school age population into three main manageable areas of study: Stage one (birth to 5), Stage 2 (primary grades 1-6), and Stage 3 (junior high grades 7-9). The BNSP's Supportive Screening and Assessment Services (SSAS) will provide services to meet the needs of those students, who for whatever reason, did not fall within these three stages. SSAAS will augment the services provided by the BNSP as children will participate through the parent/guardian/teacher referral system. Referral forms will be prepared so that parents/guardians, teachers and other school personnel may make recommendations for children who may be suspected of having a disability or for at-risk students. The SAAS affords parents, guardians, teachers and other school personnel the opportunity to refer students to the BNSP. These students will be directly referred to the BNSP only after compliance with pre-referral procedural guidelines which document remediation steps. Compliance with pre-referral procedural guidelines is an important component to the successful implementation of supportive screening and assessment services. Thus, the Supportive Screening and Assessment Services procedure will further enhance the screening programme. Target Areas Targeted areas focus on developmental norms. Domains sampled are basic cognitive concepts, language, social/adaptive behaviors, and motor skills. These domains are highly predictive of school success. Early childhood indicators of developmental dysfunction were identified. The cognitive domain in the areas of Reading, Math and written language were sampled across the environmental settings of home and school and a variety of sources for students in grades 2, 3, 6 and 9. These basic school grades were chosen because literacy developments are based upon Science, Social Studies, Religion, Music and other content areas. These content areas revolve around basic skills such as reading, math and written language (McCleod & Armstrong, 1982 as cited in NASP, 1997). Screening Process The process used for the BNSP is a multiple gated system. This system was originally referred to as sequential assessment and was developed to facilitate the use of psychological testing to make personnel decisions. This technique involves multi-stage plans for the purpose of making decisions after each stage. The multiple stages are called gates and involve using multiple means for completing an assessment. As a result, a cost efficient screener is used which enables a large number of students to be assessed as quickly as possible. Once the first screener is completed the group is then divided into

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three areas: those who are not developmentally delayed, those who have delays and those who are progressing within the acceptable level. The second gate-screening instrument is more time consuming but seeks to reduce the number of children identified as being at risk. Finally, the third gate is one that is more intrusive than the first two gates and one that is also more extensive. This gate involves a parent and teacher interview, observation of the child, and further assessments utilizing intelligence tests, achievement batteries and cognitive testing. Evidently, the multiplegating system allows for the continuation of standardized assessment while combining it with more ecologically based assessments. Hence, the purpose of these gates is to correctly identify those children who may have developmental delays and, as best practices dictate, ensure that those identified as `at risk' on a screening measure receive the necessary educational and medical intervention. Screening Stages In order to conduct an effective screening programme, the BNSP found it necessary to target overall the following screening areas: 1. Stage one (Birth to 5) In The Bahamas, children, ages 0 ­ 5 years, participated in the BNSP. The forms of screening focused on developmental norms for physical, cognitive, and language abilities. Physicians and other health and related services professionals identified children with severe disabilities, such as autism, cerebral palsy, Down's syndrome, spina bifida, severe sensory impairments, and children with multiple disabilities, at birth as verified by educators in pre-school units. The National Commission On Special Education Report 2005, The Bahamas National Census Grades 1 -12, 2005, Clinics, Hospitals and NonGovernment Organizations on Disabilities, will also enhance efforts in identifying children with severe disabilities who need services. 2. Stage two (Primary Grades 1-6) The identification process for primary school children suspected of having specific learning disabilities, attention deficit disorders / attention deficit hyperactivity disorders, behavioral problems, being remedial or are slow at learning and/or are experiencing other disabling conditions, will be initiated at grade two and will continue at grades three (GLAT) and six (GLAT). The criterion- referenced approach will be continued. 3. Stage three (Junior High Grades 7-9) BJC Examinations will continue for grade 9. A national career and vocational interest inventory will be administered to all ninth grade students. This is particularly important to ensure the adjustment of youth with disabilities who are preparing to make the transition from school to work and independent living. This vocational assessment will be administered at the end of the first term for all students in grade 9.

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The screening initiatives outlined in Stages One, Two and Three might provide signs that a child has a disability. As a result, additional testing is required to affirm or disprove the presence of a disability. If a disability is identified during follow-up assessment, the student is provided appropriate special education instruction and related services. Data Collection Instruments & Additional Initiatives Several Instruments were utilized to guide the work of the BNSP. The following is a brief description of the instruments. Additionally, the following target areas were addressed across the stages: (Birth to 5) 1. a The Ages and Stages Questionnaire ­ First Gate Screener

The Ages and Stages Questionnaire (ASQ) is a screener designed to identify students who are at risk for developmental disabilities or delays resulting from medical factors such as low birth weight, pre-maturity, seizures, serious illness or from environmental factors such as poverty, parents with mental impairments, history of abuse and /or neglect in the home, or teenage parents. Rationale for Assessing the Various Domains Each questionnaire contains 30 questions that are divided into the following five areas of development: Fine Motor, Gross Motor, Communication, Problem Solving, and Personal-Social. Communication Communication is integral to school success. Communicative and social interactions are necessary for development across a variety of related areas, (e.g. cognitive, affective, and academic). Communication develops in accordance with a child's social, cognitive, and motor skills. A large number of preschool children have communication needs. Research has indicated that children with language disorders in the preschool years often have later academic, motivational and behavioural difficulties. Motor Skills (Fine Motor and Gross Motor) An important component of preschool is the assessment of young children who are at risk for motor delays or who demonstrate developmental motor delays. Developmental motor milestones provide an indication of the maturation of the child's central nervous system. Delays in acquisition involve the child's ability to focus on gross motor (i.e. arm, body, and leg movements) and fine motor (i.e. hand and finger movements) which serve as a predicator of later developmental differences in other domains. Delays in attainment of motor skills occur in children who are typically served in various early intervention settings, i.e. Infant Stimulation, or Neurological Clinics, which service children with

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Down Syndrome or Cerebral Palsy as well as those with less prevalent disabilities such as Duchenne Musclar Dystropus. Evidently, the assessment of motor skills may be important diagnostically because delays in the attainment of important motor milestones may be the first observable manifestation of a variety of developmental disabilities. The interrelationship of motor skills to other areas of development, such as, cognitive, communication, and social domains, has been well documented in the special education literature. Children with motor impairments or delays, movement or environmental exploration may be compromised. This suggests that other aspects of development, such as communication and self-initiated interactions, may be hindered. The ASQ assessed the two areas of motor skills. Gross motor skills refer to activities that involve the large muscles of the body, including the neck and trunk muscles and proximal muscles of the limbs. Gross Motor developmental milestones include, tolling, creeping, walking and running. Functional gross activities include, transferring from wheelchair to toilet and various methods of locomotion. Fine motor skills involve the use of the smaller and more dismal muscles, particularly, the muscles of the arms and hands. Fine motor milestones include, reaching, grasping, and releasing. Functional fine motor activities include, eating, drinking and writing. A motor delay occurs when a child's performance is characteristic of a younger child, (i.e. a three-year-old child performs like a 2 year, 3 month old child.) The critical feature of a delay in development is that the child demonstrates skills normally present in a younger child; the child is not acquiring skills at the rate of his/her peer group. Developmental progress is dynamic in infants, toddlers and preschoolers. As a result, a 3to 6-month delay in development can be considered significant. However, significance must always be related to the child's ability to perform age appropriate tasks. Problem Solving The Problem Solving domain assesses the child's ability to engage in interactive play, to utilize long and short-term memory, and attend to a novel problem situation. The problem-solving domain provides an indication of the child's potential or readiness for academic tasks. As a result, children's pre-skills for reading, computation and writing are assessed. These developmental abilities represent the behaviors, skills and knowledge that are highly associated with future school success. Personal-social During the early childhood years, the major influence on infants and children's social development is their interaction with peers. This influence contribute to the acquisition of social skills and the development of social relationships. Children acquire new intellectual skills through social learning (Vygotsky, 1962). Children also learn affective skills through the same process. Atypical development may lead to anxiety disorders, attachment disorders, and pervasive developmental disorders. From a behavioral or functional perspective, atypical development involves skill deficits, performance deficits or deficits in self-control or self-management.

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Overview of the ASQ Questionnaires take only 10-15 minutes for parents or caregivers to complete. Scoring by professionals takes 2-3 minutes. The Ages and Stages Questionnaire (ASQ) system is designed to screen children for developmental delays during the critical first 5 years of life. Questionnaires can be administered at the appropriate intervals: 4, 6, 8, 10, 12, 14, 16, 18, 20, 22, 24, 27, 30, 33, 36, 42, 48, 54, and 60 months of age. Parents, caregivers, nurses, and teachers collaborate to fill out questionnaires at schools or at the clinics. The ASQ system relies on parents and teachers to observe their children and complete the simple questionnaires about their child's/children's abilities. In addition to being cost effective, having parents and teachers complete the developmental questionnaires enhances the accuracy of the screening process because of the variety and array of information parents/teachers have about their child/children. With the guidance of many illustrations, completing a questionnaire is quick and easy for parents and teachers. To score a questionnaire, professionals convert parents' responses of yes, sometimes, or not yet, to points - 10, 5, and 0, respectively - and total the points for each developmental area. These five area scores are compared to empirically derived cut-off points which are shown on a bar graph. If the child's score falls in the shaded portion of the bar graph in any developmental area, then professionals can easily spot general weaknesses or serious concerns in any area and make recommendations for further evaluation on an as-needed basis. Research on the accuracy of the ASQ has been conducted at the Center on Human Development, University of Oregon, USA, using more than 7,700 completed questionnaires. Validity has been studied by comparing the classification of questionnaires completed by parents with the classification of standardized assessments by trained examiners. These comparisons were made using the Revised Gesell Developmental Schedules, the Bayley Scales of Infant Development, the Stanford-Binet Intelligence Scale, the McCarthy Scales of Children's Abilities, and the Battelle Developmental Inventory. Overall agreement across questionnaires was 83%, reaching 91% with the 36-month questionnaire. Research on the reliability of the questionnaires has examined interrupter and test-retest reliability as well as internal consistency, and all studies have exceeded 90% agreement. Sensitivity and specificity studies are also high across questionnaire intervals and standardized assessments.

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Sample Questionnaire

Ages & Stages Questionnaire: A Parent Completed Child Monitoring System

48 Month Questionnaire Communication

*Be sure to try each activity with your child

Yes

Sometimes

Not Yet

1.

Does your child name at least three items from a common category? For example, if you say to your child "Tell me some things that you can eat," does your child answer with something like "Cookies, eggs, and cereal"? Of if you say, "Tell me the names of animals," does your child answer with something like, "Cow, dog, and elephant"? Does your child answer the following questions: a. "What do you do when you are hungry?" (Acceptable answers include: "Get food," "Eat," "Ask for something to eat," and "Have a snack.") Please write your child's response: b. "What do you do when you are tired?" (Acceptable answers include: "Take a nap," "Rest," "Go sleep," "Go to bed," "Lie down," and "Sit down,") Please write your child's response: to

2.

3. 4. 5. 6.

Does your child tell you at least two things about common objects? For example, if you say to your child, "Tell me about your ball," does he say something like, "It's round, I throw it. It's big"? Does your child use endings of words such as "s," "ed," and "ing"? For example, does your child say things like, "I see two cats," "I am playing," or "I kicked the ball"? Without giving help by pointing or repeating, does your child follow three directions that are unrelated to one another? For example, you may ask your child to "Clap your hands, walk to the door, and sit down." Does your child use all the word in a sentence (for example, "a," "the," "am, " "is," and "are") to make complete sentences, such as "I am going to the park," or "Is there a toy to play with?" or "Are you coming, too?"

Ages & Stages Questionnaire: A Parent Completed Child Monitoring System

48 Month Questionnaire Gross Motor

*Be sure to try each activity with your child

Yes Sometimes

Not Yet

1. Does your child catch a large ball with both hands? You should stand about 5 feet away and give your

child two or three tries.

2. Does your child climb the rungs of a ladder of a playground slide and slide down without help? 3. While standing, does your child throw a ball overhand in the direction of a person standing at least 6 feet

away? To throw overhand, your child must raise her arm to shoulder height and throw the ball forward. (Dropping the ball, letting the ball go, or throwing the ball underhand should be scored as "not yet.")

4. Does your child hop up and down on either the right or left foot at least one time without losing his balance or

falling?

5. Does your child jump forward a distance of 20 inches from a standing position, starting with her feet together? 6. Without holding onto anything, does your child stand on one foot for at least 5 seconds without losing his

balance and putting his foot down? You may give your child two or three tries before you mark the question.

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Ages & Stages Questionnaire: A Parent Completed Child Monitoring System

48 Month Questionnaire Fine Motor

*Be sure to try each activity with your child

Yes Sometimes

Not Yet

1. Does your child put together a six-piece interlocking puzzle? (If one is not available, take a full-page picture from a

magazine or catalog and cut it into six pieces. Does your child put it back together correctly?)

2. Using child-safe scissors, does your child cut a paper in half on a more or less straight line,

making the blades go up and down? (Carefully watch your child's use of scissors for safety reasons.)

3. Using the shapes below to look at, does your child copy at least three shapes onto a large piece of paper using a pencil or

crayon, without tracing? Your child's drawing should look similar to the design of the shapes below, but they may be different in size.

4. Does your child unbutton one or more buttons? Your child may use his own clothing or a doll's clothing. 5. Does your child draw pictures of people that have at least three of the following features: head, eyes, nose, mouth, neck,

hair, trunk, arms, hands, legs, or feet?

6. Does your child color mostly within the lines in a coloring book?

Your child should not go more than 1/4 inch outside the lines on most of the picture.

Ages & Stages Questionnaire: A Parent Completed Child Monitoring System

48 Month Questionnaire Problem Solving

*Be sure to try each activity with your child

Yes Sometimes

Not Yet

1. When you say, "Say five eight three," does your child repeat just the three numbers in the correct order? Do not repeat the

numbers. If necessary, try another series of numbers and say "Say six nine two." Your child must repeat just one series of three numbers for you to answer "yes" to this question.

2. When asked, "Which circle is the smallest?" does your

child point to the smallest circle? Ask this question without providing help by pointing, gesturing, or looking at the smallest circle.

3. Without giving help by pointing, does your child follow three different directions using the words "under," "between," and

"middle"? For example, ask your child to put a book "under the coach," Then as her to put the ball "between the chairs" and the shoe "in the middle of the table."

4. When shown an object and asked, "What color is this?" does your child name five different colors like red, blue, yellow,

orange, black, white, or pink? Answer "yes" only if your child answers the question correctly using five colors.

5. Does your child dress up and "play-act," pretending to be someone or something else? For example, your child may dress up

in different clothes and pretend to be a mommy, daddy, brother or sister, or an imaginary animal or figure.

6. If you place five objects in front of your child, can he count them saying, "One, two, three, four, five," in order? Ask this

question without providing help by pointing, gesturing, or naming.

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Ages & Stages Questionnaire: A Parent Completed Child Monitoring System

48 Month Questionnaire Personal-Social

*Be sure to try each activity with your child

Yes Sometimes

Not Yet

1. Does your child serve herself, taking food from one container to another using utensils? For example, can your child use a

large spoon to scoop applesauce from a jar to a bowl?

2. Does your child tell you at least four of the following:

a. First name b. Age c. City she lives in d. Last name e. Boy or girl f. Telephone number

3. Does your child wash his hands and face using soap and dry off with a towel without help? 4. Does your child tell you the names of two or more playmates, not including brothers or sisters? Ask this question without

providing help by suggesting names of playmates or friends.

5. Does your child brush her teeth by putting toothpaste on the toothbrush and brushing all her teeth without help? You may

still need to check and rebrush your child's teeth.

6. Does your child dress or undress himself without help (except for snaps, buttons, and zippers)?

Ages & Stages Questionnaire: A Parent Completed Child Monitoring System

48 Month Questionnaire Overall

*Be sure to try each activity with your child

Yes

No

1. Do you think your child hears well?

If no, explain:

2. Do you think your child talks like other toddlers his age?

If no, explain:

3. Can you understand most of what your child says?

If no, explain:

4. Do you think your child walks, runs, and climbs like other toddlers her age

If no, explain:

5. Does either parent have a family history of childhood deafness or hearing impairment?

if yes, explain:

6. Has your child had any medical problems in the last several months?

If yes, explain: Does any thing about your child worry you? If yes, explain:

1. b

First STEp Screening Test ­ Second Gate Screener

FirstSTEpTM Screening Test for Evaluating Preschoolers (FirstSTEp) is an individually administered screening test designed to identify preschool children who are at risk for developmental delays or who may have mild to severe school-related problems. The test 24

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can be adapted for ages 2 years 9 months through 6 years 2 months, and takes only 15 minutes to administer. The results indicate whether the child is functioning within normal limits or is in need of a complete diagnostic evaluation. The purpose of FirstSTEp is to screen for the existence of developmental delays in five domains. Research has shown that developmental delays have a 10 percent prevalence rate. What are developmental delays? A developmental delay is the failure to reach developmental milestones at the expected age range for normal children. Dissociation between rates of development of at least one-third below the expected age level constitutes a developmental delay. This may be the result of biological factors (e.g. a chromosomal disorder) and environmental factors (e.g. maternal depression) however, delays are most often the result of the interaction of both biological and environmental conditions. Developmental delays may signal sensory problems, perceptual or learning difficulties or minimal brain dysfunction. Rationale for Assessing the Various Domains The FirstSTEp Screening instrument assesses five major developmental domains: Cognitive, Communication (language), Motor, Social-Emotional, and Adaptive Functioning. The Gross Motor Domain milestone covers independent locomotion and the delay in this area often leads to a diagnosis of cerebral palsy. The Language Domain covers the development of symbolic thought. This can be subdivided into expressive (that which is said), receptive (that which is understood), speech (the manner in which things are said) and visual language (nonverbal communication, e.g. play). Language is the best predictor of cognition. Recognition of early language delay is probably the most sensitive indicator of subsequent mental retardation. Subtle manifestations of language delay or deviancy indicate risk for schoolage learning disability and general academic underachievement. The Fine Motor Domain involves hand function, problem solving and visual motor abilities. This domain comprises the other major cognitive stream of development and forms the basis for most of the infant intelligence scales. In the case of global mental retardation, there is broad cognitive delay in language and Visio-motor skills. In a communication disorder, Visio-motor skills tend to be preserved. Social-Emotional Scale assesses the child's task confidence, cooperative mood, temperament and emotionality, uncooperative antisocial behavior and attention communication difficulties. Abilities in this domain are the end result of multiple streams including problem solving, motor, and language. They depend on environmental factors but are associated with cognitive threshold. For example, social dysfunction may be a system of neurodevelopment abnormality as well as environmental problems.

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The Adaptive Behavior Checklist is an optional measure designed to assess the child's self-help and adaptive living skills. The areas assessed are: daily living, self-management and social interaction and functioning within the community, including feeding, dressing, and hygiene. This self-help domain provides information on how the child integrates the developmental stream into basic daily functioning. Most daily living skills require a minimum level of motor, language, problem solving and attention maturity. The screener contains twelve (12) subtests, which are presented to the child as a series of `games'. The games include: Money Game (Quantitative reasoning), What's Missing Game (picture competition), Which Way Game (Visual position in space), Put together Game (problem solving), Listening Game (Auditory Discrimination), How Many Can You Spy Game (Word Retrieval Game), Finish up Game (Word Association), Copy Me Game (Sentence and Digit Repetition), Drawing Game (visual motor integration) Things with Strings Game (Fine Motor planning), Statue Game (Balance) and Jumping Game (Gross Motor planning). The reliability of a screening instrument refers to the precision of measurement and the consistency of scores over time. FirstSTEp's research is very comprehensive. Every domain was studied using split-half reliability. Coefficients ranged from .83 to .89 with an average of .87 for Language. Coefficients ranged from .65 to .75 for Motor with an average of .71. For the Cognitive domain, coefficients ranged from .72 to .79 with an average of .75. Test-retest (1 to 2 weeks intervals) reliability coefficients were high, with the highest domain coefficient in Language, .91. A coefficient for other domains in the test-retest study ranged from .82 to .85. Hence, the Language Factor is the strongest measure on the instrument. Evidence of test validity involves defining what the test measures. In order to establish the validity of First STEp, test developers received reviews from a variety of sources and were assessed by several analytic techniques. Therefore to establish the validity of the test the test developers received expert reviews, factor analytic studies, correlations with other tests of develop and ability, studies of the specificity and sensitivity of the test to discriminate among a variety of clinical groups and studies of the test ability to predict a child performance were completed. The results from the validity study were strong however the instrument appears to have a weakness in identification of false positives. A false positive indicates that a complete psycho-educational assessment is needed .The percentage of false positives were approximately 15-21% and for false negatives 1-3 %. As a result a great deal of confidence that most students at risk will b identified for additional testing. However some will be identified who truly do not need additional testing (false positives), but fewer students will slip through the cracks. 1. c Psycho-educational Evaluation ­ Third ­ Gate Screener

Psychological Evaluation is a general term which can have a variety of meanings. If a person were recommended to have a psychological evaluation, it would be appropriate, even recommended, to ask what his/her particular evaluation would involve. Psychological evaluations are usually requested when there is some question about what

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might be troubling a particular person or to gather information about a person's current emotional well-being, psychological or personality make-up, or academic and intellectual functioning. At the minimum, a psychological evaluation typically involves an individual interview with a psychologist that would last for at least an hour. An evaluation like this might also be called an "assessment" or an "initial assessment" for the purpose of gaining information about a person or his/her particular problem or situation. In the most comprehensive use of the term, a psychological evaluation would start with an interview, and then proceed to include any number of psychological tests which can sometimes take several hours or even several days of separate appointments. The evaluation may also include interviews with significant others such as, parents, spouses or teachers as well as a review of past records and relevant documents. A psychological evaluation is a compilation of tests that gives us information about a child's level of functioning. A Cognitive evaluation looks at the child's potential to understand and apply new information. For example, if a child is not doing well in school, he/she may have limited ability to learn or a learning disability or an emotional problem (or all three). A cognitive evaluation will help to shed light on what the child needs to be successful. An evaluation of Personality or Emotional functioning looks at how a child is functioning on an emotional level. For example, you may have a child in your home that is always oppositional. This can be due to a number of factors. It may be that the child is very angry and does not know how to express it. It may be that the child is depressed and is acting angry because he/she does not understand why he/she is feeling bad. It could also mean that the child is fearful or doesn't know how to form relationships. A psychological evaluation will shed light on the underlying feelings so that parents and teachers will have more information on how to deal with that child's behavior. Psychological tests are often an important part of a psychological evaluation. Psychological tests are used as an additional way of gathering objective information about a person for the purpose of making decisions and sorting out questions about that particular individual. For example, a psychologist may use a battery of psychological tests to determine whether a child has an Attention Deficit Disorder or if the child is instead, depressed or has a learning disorder. 1. d Communication & Audiology Screening

Hearing loss occurs in one to three of 1,000 live births annually and, when left undetected, can result in developmental delays. Many students are never identified with some degree of hearing loss until they are between the ages of 1.5--3.0 years, which is past the start of the critical period for optimal language acquisition. (Infants Tested for Hearing Loss - United States, 1999-2001). Early identification and intervention are keys to the development of language and learning for children with hearing loss. Hearing screening tests provide a quick and cost effective way to separate people into two groups: a pass group and a fail group. Those who pass hearing screening are presumed to have no hearing loss. Those who fail are in need of an in-depth evaluation by an audiologist and may also need follow-up care from other professionals.

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1. e

Vision Screening The purpose of Vision Screening is to determine if each student has 20/20 vision in both eyes or if referral for further evaluation is necessary. Undetected visual problems may lead to academic difficulties. As a result, visual screeners are utilized to rule out vision difficulties as contributing to academic difficulties. Visual abilities include: 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. To see clearly at a distance; To see clearly near; To maintain binocular (two-eyed) fixation at a distance or near; To change fixation easily from one place to another; To maintain focus at far or near and to change focus easily; To perceive size and space relationships; To have good eye-hand coordination; and To determine colors accurately.

Instruments Grades 1 ­ 6 Archival data collection and analysis of the GLAT, BJC, BGCSE, report cards and District Examinations were conducted to gain an understanding of the level of academic achievement and a representation of the number of students throughout the system who meet the criteria for a low base rate programme. 2. a Grade Level Assessment Test (GLAT)

The Grade Level Assessment Test (GLAT) was first implemented in 1985 and is administered in The Bahamas for grades 3 and 6 in the content areas of Math and Language (writing skills, listening, and language comprehension). Students in grade six also take Science and Social Studies. The purposes of the GLAT exams are to assess students' understanding of the syllabus/curriculum, to identify weaknesses and strengths of educational programmes, and to provide educators, parents and students with feedback. The GLAT exams are also beneficial for placement and selection of students. The Commission had extensive consultative sessions with the Testing and Evaluation Section of The Ministry of Education to ascertain the current status of the examination. The GLAT began as a norm-referenced test when Harcourt Publishing Company introduced it to The Bahamas. In 1996, it became a criterion reference test and was transferred from Harcourt to The Ministry of Education, Testing and Evaluation Section. The Ministry regards the GLAT as a diagnostic achievement test, the main purpose of which is to provide useful information to primary schools on the individual and overall performance of students. It is used along with school-based assessment measures for school placement. Classroom teachers are expected to utilize the information to develop individualized instruction and remediation for students who perform below grade level. More than ninety-five percent of primary level students participate in the GLAT. More specifically, the results from the GLAT can be used to evaluate school programmes, report on students' progress, diagnose students' strengths and weaknesses, select students

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BAHAMAS NATIONAL SCREENING PROGRAMME

for special programmes, place students in special groups and certify students' achievements. 2. b District Examinations for Grades 1, 2, 4 and 5

The district examinations are tools schools use within a school district to give a common measure of students' performance because a large number of students within a district take the same tests so that educators have a common yardstick or `standard' of measure. Additionally, standard schemes were created to assist in the development of the common examination, particularly in the Northwestern District. Unfortunately, a national scheme is not presently available. Administrators may use the test to tell how well school programmes are succeeding or to give themselves a picture of the skills and abilities of various students. These tests can also help teachers/administrators make decisions regarding the instructional programme hence, providing valuable data which can be used for curriculum reform. 2. c End of Year Report Card Indicators

End of year report cards are critical tools for promoting accountability for schools, local school districts and The Ministry of Education who publicize data about student performance and programme effectiveness for parents, policy makers, and other stakeholders. Report cards can help parents and the general public see where schools and districts are succeeding and where there is still work to do. Such data enable educators to make better decisions about teaching and learning; data can help parents and other community members work more effectively with educators and local school officials to promote school change. Report cards have been identified as being integral to accountability as they provide information on schools' and students' achievements and identify where improvements need to be made. Report cards are designed to portray children's scholastic progress, traits and conduct for their years in school. Listed below are report card indicators: Grades on report cards (letter and number grade) Term work Homework percentages Teachers' comments Qualitative and quantitative data Behavioral information When you look at these collectively you get a general idea of the child's level of academic functioning and, to a certain extent, you can see some of the factors that influence his/her performance based on the qualitative data provided by teachers in the form of teachers' comments. Procedures

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BAHAMAS NATIONAL SCREENING PROGRAMME

Timeline The following timeline was developed for the implementation of the BNSP: January 2004 National Screening Programme Protocol implemented throughout The Bahamas for children ages 0 ­ 5 and Grades 1 ­ 6. (New Initiative) ALL CHILDREN AGES 0 ­ 5 THE FAMILY ISLANDS WERE INCLUDED December 2004 National Vocational and Career Screening. (New Initiative) ALL NINTH GRADE STUDENTS April 2005 National Screening Programme Initiatives Continued with improvements in GLAT ALL THIRD AND SIXTH GRADE STUDENTS May/June 2005 National Screening Programme Initiatives Continued with improvements in BJC ALL NINTH GRADE STUDENTS

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BAHAMAS NATIONAL SCREENING PROGRAMME

CHAPTER THREE

Findings, Discussion & Recommendations

In January 2004, The Bahamas National Management Committee for the National Screening Programme was appointed. In early February, Mrs. Cynthia Stanko, Director of The Bahamas Infant Stimulation Centre and a professional therapist who was appointed a member of The Bahamas National Management Committee for the National Screening Programme, conducted 3 training sessions with a selective group of government operated and privately-operated preschool teachers and nurses from three public health clinics. As a result, the first phase of The Bahamas National Screening Pilot Programme was launched utilizing the ASQ Questionnaire. The screening for children ages 0 ­ 5 was implemented in February 2004. In any pilot programme adjustments are made as the programme develops. As a result, during the Preschool Pilot Programme there was one major adjustment that needed to be made. Teachers did not receive the age appropriate questionnaire for certain students within their classrooms. For example, in several instances, preschoolers who were 60 months were administered a questionnaire for 38 month old preschoolers. This problem was discovered within the first three weeks of the screening and schools were notified and received the age appropriate questionnaire. This re-screening in no way compromised the reliability of the screening process or the integrity of the results obtained. As with any questionnaire, the researcher assumes that participants (i.e. teachers, parents/guardians, and students) respond honestly to the questions asked and that each respondent provided data that represented their true abilities and capabilities. This section presents the findings obtained from The Bahamas National Screening Preschool Pilot Programme for 2003­2004 and 2004­2005 school years. Tables 3.1 and 3.2 describe the respondents based on the schools or clinics where the ASQ was administered. Tables 3.3 and 3.4 describe the number of students screened who demonstrated `possible' developmental delays on the ASQ. Tables 3.5 and 3.6 describe the number of students in need of a second level screener.

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BAHAMAS NATIONAL SCREENING PROGRAMME

The Ages and Stages Questionnaire was administered at the following Table 3.1 schools and Ministry of Health Clinics 2003 ­ 2004

Schools & Clinics Willard Patton Preschool Uriah McPhee Primary Pre-school Unit Thelma Gibson Primary Pre-school Unit Maurice Moore Primary / Pre-school Sir Gerald Cash Primary / Pre-school Unit Columbus Primary / Pre-school Unit Carlton Francis Primary / Pre-school Unit Blue Hill Christian Pre-school Tekanell's Kindergarten Bartlett Hill Primary / Pre-school Unit Tiny Tot Pre-school Sadie Curtis Primary / Pre-school Unit Cleveland Eneas Primary / Pre-school Unit Stephen Dillet Primary / Pre-school Unit Claridge Primary / Pre-school Unit Salem Academy of Excellence The Remnant MiniVersity Preschool St. John's Kindergarten Center for Early Education Clinics- Elizabeth Estate & Coconut Grove Sponsor Government Government Location New Providence New Providence

Government

New Providence

Government Government

Grand Bahama New Providence

Government Government

New Providence New Providence

Private Private Government Private Government Government

New Providence Grand Bahama Grand Bahama New Providence New Providence New Providence

Government Government Private Private Private Private Government

New Providence New Providence New Providence New Providence New Providence New Providence New Providence

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BAHAMAS NATIONAL SCREENING PROGRAMME

Table 3.2 The Ages and Stages Questionnaire was administered at the following Schools 2004 ­ 2005

Schools Gambier Primary Preschool Palmdale Primary Preschool Claridge Primary Preschool Thelma Gibson Primary Preschool Uriah McPhee Primary Preschool Hillcrest Academy Willard Patton Preschool Stephen Dillet Primary Preschool Columbus Primary Preschool Cleveland Eneas Primary Preschool C. W. Sawyer Primary Preschool Workers Academy & Child Care Centre Garvin Tynes Primary Preschool Coconut Grove Preschool Tiny Tot Preschool Carlton Francis Primary Preschool Sadie Curtis Primary Preschool Gerald Cash Primary Preschool Sponsor Government Government Government Government Government Private Government Government Government Government Government Private Government Government Private Government Government Government Location New Providence New Providence New Providence New Providence New Providence New Providence New Providence New Providence New Providence New Providence New Providence New Providence New Providence New Providence New Providence New Providence New Providence New Providence

33

BAHAMAS NATIONAL SCREENING PROGRAMME

Table 3.3 `Possible' Developmental Delays as indicated by the ASQ 2003-2004

Schools

Willard Patton Uriah McPhee Thelma Gibson Maurice Moore Sir Gerald Cash Columbus Carlton Francis Blue Hill Tekanell's Bartlett Hill Tiny Tot Sadie Curtis Cleveland Eneas Stephen Dillet Claridge Salem The Remnant MiniVersity St. John's Center for Early Education Clinics Total

Amount of Students Screened 82 64 24 20 24 13 29 29 10 12 49 45 42 22 19 10 14

Vision

Hearing

Communication

Gross Motor

Fine Motor

Problem Solving

Personal Social

23 1 2 1 2 1 10 9 7 2 5 4 6 12 2 3 2 2 3 1 1 6 3 7 5 1 1 3 3 11 1

7 2

15 4

4

2 1 1 2 2 1 4 2 2

1 2 1 5 1 1 11 1 1

N/A 7

N/A

1

1 1 1 2

1 1

1

25 62

0 1

0 1

0

0

0

0

0 5

127 722

21

9

4 107

3 21

6 33

8 43

5 29

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BAHAMAS NATIONAL SCREENING PROGRAMME

Table 3.4 `Possible' Developmental Delays as indicated by the ASQ 2004 -2005 Schools

Gambier Preschool Palmdale Preschool Claridge Preschool Thelma Gibson Preschool Uriah McPhee Preschool Hillcrest Preschool Willard Patton Preschool Stephen Dillet Preschool Columbus Preschool Cleveland Eneas Preschool C. W. Sawyer Preschool Workers Academy & Child Care Centre Garvin Tynes Preschool Coconut Grove Preschool Tiny Tot Preschool Carlton Francis Preschool Sadie Curtis Preschool Gerald Cash Preschool Total

Number Of Students Screened Vision Hearing Communication Gross Motor Fine Motor Problem Solving Personal Social

10 18 21 26 60 30 71 20 34 52 20 71 27 30 65 35 39 30 659

1 2 2 1

4 2 5 9 28 4 25 1 10 13 1 1

3 3 1 3 15 6 9 3 3 1

5 3 3 3 6 2 7 2 2 3

1

1 1 2 2 2 1

1

5 7

1

5 1 2 4 1 2 1

4 2 3 4 4 1 54 12 2

1 1 1 1 3 8

11 8 15 6 5 158 3

63

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BAHAMAS NATIONAL SCREENING PROGRAMME

Table 3.5 Students in need of Second Level Screener 2003 - 2004 Name of School Sir Gerald Cash Primary Preschool Unit Carlton Francis Primary Preschool Unit Columbus Primary Preschool Unit Uriah McPhee Primary Preschool Unit Thelma Gibson Primary Preschool Unit Tiny Tot Preschool Blue Hill Christian Preschool St. John's Kindergarten Cleveland Eneas Primary Preschool Unit Center for Early Education Claridge Primary Preschool Unit Sadie Curtis Primary Preschool Unit The Remnant MiniVersity Preschool Salem Academy of Excellence Stephen Dillet Primary Preschool Unit Tekanell's Kindergarten Bartlett Hill Primary Preschool Unit Maurice Moore Primary Preschool Unit Willard Patton Preschool Clinics ­ Elizabeth Estates & Coconut Grove Total Number of Students 6 7 7 20 10 12 13 0 10 7 3 9 3 1 7 2 12 20 14 21 184

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BAHAMAS NATIONAL SCREENING PROGRAMME

Table 3.6 Students in need of Second Level Screener 2004 ­ 2005 Name of School Gambier Primary Preschool Unit Palmdale Primary Preschool Unit Claridge Primary Preschool Unit Thelma Gibson Preschool Unit Uriah McPhee Preschool Unit Hillcrest Academy Willard Patton Preschool Stephen Dillet Preschool Unit Columbus Primary Preschool Unit Cleveland Eneas Preschool Unit C.W. Sawyer Preschool Unit Workers Academy & Child Care Centre Garvin Tynes Preschool Unit Coconut Grove Preschool Tiny Tot Preschool Carlton Francis Preschool Unit Sadie Curtis Preschool Unit Gerald Cash Preschool Unit Total Number of Students 8 4 10 12 33 9 38 1 11 19 0 10 7 13 10 15 11 8 219

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BAHAMAS NATIONAL SCREENING PROGRAMME

Listed below is a summary of the findings obtained from The Bahamas National Screening Programme's Preschool Screening Pilot Programme: Summary of findings 2003/2004 School Year The major findings of the BNSP were: 1. Nineteen (19) operated preschools participated in the pilot programme, 7 private and 14 government. 2 government operated clinics were also included in the pilot programme. 2. Of the 19 schools that participated in the pilot programme 3 of those schools were located in Grand Bahama and the other 16 were in New Providence. 3. A total of 722 students were administered the ASQ. 4. 14.8 % of the screened population has possible communication delays. 5. 6% of the screened population has possible problem solving difficulties. 6. 4.5 % of the screened population has possible fine motor difficulties. 7. 4 % of the screened population has possible personal/social difficulties. 8. 2.9 % of the screened population has possible vision difficulties. 9. 2.9 % of the screened population has gross motor difficulties. 10. 1.2 % of the screened population has possible hearing difficulties. 11. A total of 184 students are in need of additional screening. This represents 25.4% of the population screened. 2004/2005 School Year 1. Eighteen (18) operated preschools participated in the pilot programme, 3 private and 15 government. 2. A total of 659 students were administered the ASQ. 3. 16% of the screened population has possible communication delays. 4. 5% of the screened population has possible problem solving difficulties. 5. 6% of the screened population has possible fine motor difficulties. 6. 1% of the screened population has possible personal/social difficulties. 7. 3% of the screened population has possible speech difficulties. 8. 1% of the screened population has possible vision difficulties. 9. Less than 1% of the screened population has possible vision and/or gross motor difficulties. 10. A total of 219 students are in need of additional screening. This represents 33.2% of the population screened.

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BAHAMAS NATIONAL SCREENING PROGRAMME

Discussion A review of results revealed that there was an increase of students with `possible' Communication and Fine Motor delays for the period 2004 through 2005. There was a decrease in the percentage during the period 2004 ­ 2005 in the areas of Personal Social, Gross Motor, Vision and Hearing delays. Although there was a decrease in the percentage of students with Problem Solving delays, there is still a need for concern. In 2004 ­ 2005, there was a decrease in the percentage of students with vision and hearing difficulties. However, it is evident that screening in these areas should be mandatory for ALL students entering school for the first time (See Figure 3.1). Figure 3.1 Percentage Analyses of ASQ Results for 2003 -2004 and 2004 ­ 2005

ASQ DOMAINS

18

16

14

% OF STUDENTS AT EACH DOMAIN

12

10

2003/2004 2004/2005

8

6

4

2

0 COM GM FM PrSo PeSo V H DEVELOPMENTAL DOMAINS

National Screening Programme Training Initiatives - Preschools 2004/2005 The preschool training initiatives were designed to provide an opportunity for preschool teachers to enhance their knowledge and skills in the field of early childhood special education by addressing the developmental areas targeted by the ASQ. Teachers shared their experiences with colleagues within an atmosphere of exchange and mutual growth.

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BAHAMAS NATIONAL SCREENING PROGRAMME

Following is a description of each training session held with forty-five preschool teachers and teacher aides (See Figure 3.2): Figure 3.2: Listing of Preschool Training Initiatives 2004/2005

Overview of workshops Children with special needs are more like their non-disabled peers than they are different. This workshop demonstrated skills to work toward maximizing children's development. A presentation of guidelines for detecting expressive and receptive language difficulties and a full description of major communication disorders. A demonstration of strategies for working with children who have a variety of communication difficulties. A presentation of principles of cognitive development and the effects of handicapping conditions on the attainment of cognitive skills. A demonstration of techniques and strategies to promote cognitive growth in preschoolers with special needs. Demonstration of techniques and strategies which promote social and emotional growth in children in home and school settings. Duration 2 hours 30 minutes

Workshop dates, titles and Facilitators Breaking Barriers 21-305 Ms. Cynthia Stanko Bahamas Infant Stimulation Teaching Communication to Young Children With Special Needs 21-03-05 Mrs. Fruson Langdon Special Services Section MOE Teaching Problem Solving to Children with Special Needs 22-03-05 Dr. Novia Carter-Higgs Special Services Section MOE Teaching Personal/Social Skills to Children with Special Needs 22-03-05 Ms. Sharon Dean NCOSE

2 hours 30 minutes

2 hours 30 minutes

2 hours 30 minutes

Teaching Fine Motor Skills to Children with Special Needs 29-04-05 Ms. Sharon Dean NCOSE Teaching Gross Motor Skills to Children with Special Needs 29-04-05 Mrs. Carolynn Hall-Knowles NCOSE

To enrich participants with techniques and ideas that help special needs students develop their fine motor skills.

2 hours 30 minutes

Demonstrate approaches for encouraging the attainment of major gross motor milestones. Demonstrate strategies useful for children with mild to severe motor impairment.

2 hours 30 minutes

Summary of Training Initiatives Feedback To raise the quality of preschool education, we must also improve the training and preparation of pre-school teachers. High-quality early childhood programmes can make a difference. The most recent follow-up of the High/Scope Perry Preschool study indicates that high-quality early childhood programs can have lasting benefits for children living in poverty and at high risk of school failure. (Schweinhart, Montie, Xiang, Barnett, Belfield, & Nores, 2005).

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BAHAMAS NATIONAL SCREENING PROGRAMME

The benefits of an early childhood programme can only be achieved if that programme is of a very high quality. High-quality programmes can only be delivered by well-trained teachers. Professional Development Training improves teaching practices by actively involving participants in workshops, periodic classroom visits by a trainer who observes and provides feedback to teachers; it also provides opportunities for participants to reflect on their learning and share their experiences, as well as expose them to curriculum-based training models that have been proven to work for programme providers and children. The Professional Development Training sessions for preschool teachers and aides were very successful. The educational and informational objectives were met and all facilitators received high ratings. Most teachers felt that the training sessions were very important in understanding how to cope with special needs students in the regular classroom, and, as we embark on our initiative in September 2005, the strategies presented will assist with special needs students' essential adjustment within the classroom setting. It is our hope that The National Screening Programme Preschool Training Initiatives will offer a validated method for achieving the goal of high-quality early childhood programmes. Screening Level 2 PRIMARY SCHOOL Grades 1 ­ 6

Selection of Pilot Primary Schools and Orientation Meetings

On December 14, 2004 the National Commission on Special Education conducted a meeting at the Willard Patton Preschool for superintendents and principals to share information on the proposed Bahamas National Screening Programme. The superintendent or the principal selected the following primary schools to participate in the Pilot Programmes in New Providence - Mable Walker, Sadie Curtis, Sandilands, Stephen Dillet; and in the Family Islands ­ Georgetown, Exuma; Simms/Glintons, Long Island; and Nicholls's Town, Andros. The National Commission on Special Education held orientation sessions with teachers at these New Providence and Family Island schools. The meetings commenced with Stephen Dillet on January 10th, 2005. The Family Island schools were scheduled as follows: Nicholls Town Andros ­ February 15th, 2005; Georgetown, Exuma February 16th, 2005; and Simms/Glintons, Long Island on February 17th, 2005.

Data review and analysis at the primary school level

In targeted pilot schools a variety of data were used at all levels for the purpose of analysis and to plan professional development activities. National Examinations results were mainly used to identify students with possible learning challenges.

41

BAHAMAS NATIONAL SCREENING PROGRAMME

National Examinations The general goal of the Testing and Evaluation Section of the Ministry of Education is to efficiently and effectively evaluate the educational system in The Bahamas. The stated intent of the Section is to design instruments with high validity, reliability and fitness of purpose to manage, direct, measure and assess performance of students at key stages in the schooling process. The Testing and Evaluation Section of the Ministry of Education administer National Examinations. There are three national examinations: The Grade Level Assessment Test (GLAT) for grades three and six, The Bahamas Junior Certificate (BJC) and The Bahamas General Certificate of Secondary Examination (BGCSE). End of unit reading tests as well as end of term, end of year and district tests are used at local school and district levels. National, district and local school examinations are administered by classroom teachers, while psychologists administer standardized psychological assessment and other tests from the Ministry of Education, Special Services Division School Psychological Services. Grade Level Assessment Test (GLAT) The Grade Level Assessment Test (GLAT) was first implemented in 1985 and is administered in The Bahamas for grades 3 and 6 in the content areas of Math and Language (writing skills, listening, and language comprehension). Students in grade six also take Science and Social Studies. The Commission had extensive consultation with the Testing and Evaluation Section of The Ministry of Education to ascertain the current status of the examination. The GLAT began as a norm referenced test when Harcourt Publishing Company introduced it to The Bahamas. In 1996, it became a criterion referenced test and was transferred from Harcourt to The Ministry of Education, Testing and Evaluation Section. The Ministry regards the GLAT as a diagnostic achievement test, the main purpose being to provide useful information to primary schools on the individual and overall performance of students. It is used along with school-based assessment measures for school placement. Classroom teachers are expected to utilize the information to develop individualized instruction and remediation for students who perform below grade level. More than ninety-five percent of primary level students participate in the GLAT. The Commission requested performance trends data for the GLAT Examinations for the years 2001-2003 from Testing and Evaluation. The Commission was informed by the Testing and Evaluation Section that statistical data on the GLAT in both grades 3 and 6 are not available for the years prior to 2003 despite the fact the GLAT Examinations have been held in The Bahamas for almost twenty years. Testing and Evaluation Section's data processing of the GLAT began in 2002 with the introduction of the new exam data processing system offered by the Hamlet Computer Group. Unfortunately, the use of the results of the first trial run for the processing of the GLAT is limited since only a single component of the Language Arts examinations had been processed. As a result, trend analysis for GLAT for grades 3 and 6 are only provided for the school year ending 2003

42

BAHAMAS NATIONAL SCREENING PROGRAMME

and 2004 for Language Arts. Trend analyses however, are provided for Mathematics for the school year ending 2002, 2003 and 2004. The following are performance data trends for GLAT in Language Arts for Grade 3 provided by the Testing and Evaluation Section of the Ministry of Education for the period 2003 ­ 2004: Table 3.7 Performance data trends for GLAT in Language Arts for Grade 3 for the period 2003 -2004

GRADE A B C D 2003 # 141 1089 1032 994 % 2.4 18.9 17.9 17.2 2004 # 244 1267 1058 984 % 4.0 20.9 17.5 16.3

E

769

13.3

841

13.9

F

671

11.6

681

11.2

G

577

10.0

491

8.1

U TOTAL #

493 5766

8.6

488 6054

8.1

Figure 3.3 Trend Analyses for GLAT 2003-2004 Language Arts Grade 3

TREND ANALYSIS FOR LANGUAGE ARTS GLAT EXAMINATIONS FOR GRADE 3 FOR THE PERIOD 2003 - 2004

25

STUDENTS

20

15

2003 2004

10

% OF

5

0 A B C D E F G U

GRADES

43

BAHAMAS NATIONAL SCREENING PROGRAMME

A review of results revealed that on the average more than 59% of the students in grade 3 who took the Language Arts examinations performed at a grade D level or below overall for the period 2003 - 2004. The following are performance data trends for GLAT in Language Arts for Grade 6 provided by the Testing and Evaluation Section of the Ministry of Education for the period 2003 ­ 2004: Table 3.8 Performance data trends for GLAT Language Arts Examinations for Grade 6 for the period 2003 - 2004

GRADE A B C D E F G U TOTAL # 2003 # 6 255 750 1166 1303 997 566 614 5657 % 0.1 4.5 13.3 20.6 23.0 17.6 10.0 10.9 2004 # 4 161 450 898 1343 1295 841 871 5954 % 0.1 2.7 7.6 15.1 24.1 21.8 14.1 14.6

Figure 3.4

Trend Analysis for GLAT Language Arts Examinations for grade 6 for the period 2003 - 2004

TREND ANALYSIS FOR GLAT LANGUAGE ARTS EXAMINATIONS GRADE 6 FOR THE PERIOD 2003 -2004

30

% OF STUDENTS ACHIEVING VARIOUS GRADES

25

20

Series1

15

Series2

10

5

0 A B C D E F G U

GRADES

A review of results revealed that more than 85% of the students taking Language Arts GLAT Examinations in grade 6 performed at a grade D level or below overall for the period 2003 - 2004. From Figure 3.4 it is evident that the percentage of students

44

BAHAMAS NATIONAL SCREENING PROGRAMME

performing at specific grade levels is fairly consistent with the highest percentage of students performing at an E grade (23% - 24%). This shows a drastic decline of Language Arts performance of children in primary schools over the years and indicates a crisis situation for The Bahamas. Following are performance data trends for the GLAT in Mathematics for Grade 3 provided by the Testing and Evaluation Section of the Ministry of Education for the period 2002 ­ 2004 Table 3.9 Performance data trends for GLAT Mathematics Examinations for grade 3 for the period 2002 ­ 2004

GRADE A B C D E F G U TOTAL EXAMINED 2002 # 1050 1029 719 1280 416 235 212 881 5822 % 18.0 117.7 12.3 22.0 7.1 4.0 3.6 15.1 2003 # 1026 886 941 926 737 531 396 520 5963 % 17.2 14.9 15.8 15.5 12.4 8.9 6.6 8.7 2004 # 1123 935 915 849 689 543 332 652 6038 % 18.6 15.5 15.2 14.1 11.4 9.0 5.5 10.8

Figure 3.5

Trend analysis for GLAT Mathematics Examinations for grade 3 for the period 2002 - 2004

TREND ANALYSIS FOR GLAT MATHEMATICS EXAMINATIONS FOR GRADE 3 FOR THE PERIOD 2002 - 2004

25

20

GRADES

15

2002 2003 2004

10

5

0 A B C D E F G U % OF STUDENTS ACHIEVING VARIOUS GRADES

A review of results revealed that more than 51% of the students taking the Mathematics GLAT Examinations in grade 3 performed at a grade D level or below overall for the

45

BAHAMAS NATIONAL SCREENING PROGRAMME

period 2002 - 2004. From Figure 3.5 it is evident that the percentage of students performing at specific grade levels varies. During the 2002 sitting an alarming number of students performed at the D level or below. In subsequent years however, there has been a steady improvement in Mathematics performance in grade 3. Following are performance data trends for the GLAT Mathematics Examinations for Grade 6 provided by the Testing and Evaluation Section of the Ministry of Education for the period 2002 ­ 2004 Table 3.10 Performance data trends for GLAT Mathematics examinations for grade 6 for the period 2002 - 2004

GRADE A B C D E F G U TOTAL EXAMINED 2002 # 479 555 695 825 834 803 635 469 5211 % 9.2 10.7 13.3 15.8 16.0 15.4 12.2 8.2 2003 # 617 751 937 974 848 714 432 469 5740 % 10.7 13.1 16.3 17.0 14.8 12.4 7.5 8.2 2004 # 380 658 860 973 953 62.8 678 697 6092 % 6.2 10.8 14.1 16.0 15.6 893 11.1 11.4

Figure 3.6

Trend analysis for GLAT Mathematics Examinations for grade 6 for the period 2002 ­ 2004

TREND ANALYSIS FOR GLAT MATHEMATICS EXAMINATIONS FOR GRADE 6 FOR THE PERIOD 2002 - 2004

18

16

14

12

GRADES

10

2002 2003

8

2004

6

4

2

0 A B C D E F G U % OF STUDENTS ACHIEVING VARIOUS GRADES

A review of results revealed that more than 65% of the students taking the Mathematics GLAT Examinations in grade 6 performed at a grade D level or below overall for the period 2002 through 2004. From Figure 3.6 it is evident that the percentage of students

46

BAHAMAS NATIONAL SCREENING PROGRAMME

performing at specific grade levels varies. Results indicate that by grade 6 student's performance in Mathematics declined overall. During the most recent sitting Mathematics performance of students receiving A, B or C grades decreased while students receiving D through G grades increased. The GLAT has a 7-point grading scale from A to U. According to the Testing and Evaluation Section, this D grade reflects "positive achievement". The marks represent the total out of 100. The GLAT scores are weighted; what constitutes an `A' grade may differ from year to year depending upon the difficulty of the examination. For example, grade boundaries for the Language Arts exam for Grade 3 for 2002 could be different for 2005. The Commission requested grade boundaries for the GLAT for corresponding analysis. Testing and Evaluation Section indicated that the grade boundaries have not changed for GLAT since 2002. Tables representing grade boundaries for grades 3 and 6 for Language Arts since 2002 follows: Figure 3.7: Grade boundaries for Grade 3 Language Arts for the period 2002 ­ 2004

GRADE A GRADE B GRADE C GRADE D GRADE E GRADE F GRADE G GRADE U 70 ­ 100% 60 ­ 69% 50 ­ 59% 40 ­ 49% 30 ­ 39% 20 ­ 29% 10 ­ 19 % 0 ­ 9%

Figure 3.8:

Grade boundaries for Grade 6 Language Arts for the period 2002-2004

GRADE A GRADE B GRADE C GRADE D GRADE E GRADE F GRADE G GRADE U 85 ­ 100% 70 ­ 84 % 60 ­ 50 ­ 40 ­ 30 ­ 20 ­ 0 69 % 59% 49% 39% 29% 19%

Grade boundaries for Mathematics have not been provided. A more in-depth review of GLAT results for the school year 2002/2003 revealed the following: Of the approximately 6,300 third grade students who sat the GLAT: · 53% scored below 50% out of 100% in Language Arts Comprehension; · 83% scored below 50% out of 100% in Language Arts Writing; and · 50% scored below 50% out of 100% in Math. · Of 5,814 sixth graders who sat the GLAT:

47

BAHAMAS NATIONAL SCREENING PROGRAMME

· ·

59% scored below 50% out of 100% in Language Arts; and 42% scored below 50% out of 100% in Math.

Written communication relative to the grade 3 GLAT for 2003 provided by the Ministry of Education Testing and Evaluation Section revealed that there was a general decline in the performance of students in both Mathematics and Language Arts. It was further reported that in Mathematics weaknesses were evident in students' inability to follow through to the final answer, regrouping, transferring to the wrong columns and not showing the numbers that are being carried out. It was further noted that many students seemed not to have been paying attention to the signs, while some struggled with the use of the multiplication tables and remainders in division gave students problems. More than 80% of the students taking the Language Arts Examination in 2003 achieved a grade of less than 50% out of 100% on the Language Arts writing component of the examination. An important concept in any review of assessment tools is an understanding of the terms validity and reliability. In the 1994 National Task Force on Education Report, the term validity is defined as "an examination which does what it is designed to do". It must demonstrate that what is being examined constitutes a representative sample of the behaviours being taught. Reliability is defined as the degree of consistency between markers on different occasions. A reliable examination is one that consistently and accurately measures over time whatever it is purported to be measuring. Upon review of the GLAT, the following issues, related to validity and reliability, were noted: 1. The GLAT appears to have content validity concerns because several objectives are only measured by one question. For example, on the 2001 Grade 3 Math Examination there were 8 objectives with only one question each. Similarly, on the 2003 Grade 3 Math Examinations there were 9 objectives with only one question each. Such a small sample makes it problematic to use data from these tests to determine whether or not these particular objectives were mastered. Specification grids for the Math and Language Examinations for the years 2002 and 2003 were not provided. Therefore, the Commission was unable to substantiate the Section's claim that there is a very high degree of content validity. 2. In addition to the issue of content validity, the reliability of the GLAT must also be questioned as the Committee's assessment experts found the construction of some examinations (i.e., the methods of questioning used) to be weak. 3. Analysis showed the level of questioning according to Bloom's taxonomy to be inconsistent from year to year within each content area. A specification grid provided by Testing and Evaluation for Social Studies 2003 GLAT revealed that the majority of the questions for that year were written based on the lower levels of learning (knowledge and comprehension). In October 2003, School Psychologist and lecturer in Assessment and Measurement at The College of The Bahamas along with fourth year Teacher Education students at The College of The Bahamas made a comparative analysis of the cognitive level of questioning in the 2001 and 2003 Grade 3 Math GLAT Examinations. This analysis revealed considerable inconsistencies in the level of questioning as seen in the following

48

BAHAMAS NATIONAL SCREENING PROGRAMME

data representative of three components overall (number concepts, application and computation): Figure 3.9 GLAT Mathematics Grade 3 Analysis of Learning Taxonomy Application to the construction of National Examinations GLAT Mathematics Grade 3 2001 Knowledge 16% Comprehension 31% Application 14% Analysis 39% Synthesis 0% Evaluation 0%

2003 Knowledge 70% Comprehension 3.5% Application 16% Analysis 0.5% Synthesis 0% Evaluation 0%

The GLAT has a 7-point grading scale from A to U. A national average of a D was reported. According to the Testing and Evaluation Section, this D grade reflects "positive achievement". The GLAT scores are weighted; what constitutes an `A', therefore, may differ from year to year depending upon the difficulty of the examination. For example grade boundaries for language Arts Grade 3 for 2002 may be different for 2003. With no clear grade boundaries, letter grades provide no standardized marker of content mastery. The Commission feels that this method of grading may be problematic for diagnostic purposes since there are no clear grade boundaries. 4. Overall, reports are provided for the school, and for individual students. A computer programme, Family Management Application Information, generates these reports. At the moment this programme provides information on the age, gender, grade, school, and the score of each child. It does not identify, however, the children's strengths and weaknesses on the objectives in each area. Therefore, the reports are not useful for developing individualized remediation plans. 5. A student who is identified as a special needs learner, with visual and/or hearing impairment, can be given testing modifications. However, many children with special needs are reportedly exempted from testing due to the anticipation of low examination scores. 6. It was reported that test security for the GLAT is the same as the other national examinations. Teachers in the classroom and officers from Testing and Evaluation construct the tests. The Subject Secretaries and the officers are the only two groups from each content area team that decides on the final version of each test. The tests are distributed by officers to every school in The Bahamas, including the Family Islands, in plastic sealed envelopes. Periodically, officer's conduct spotchecks during the sitting of examinations. Classroom teachers score the tests. The candidate's name appears on the cover of each test. This lack of anonymity, and the fact that classroom teachers both write and grade the exams, leads the

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Committee to strongly question the test security of GLAT and other national examinations. It appears that teachers and parents do not know how to interpret the results of the national examinations. Teachers complain that individual grade sheets do not give guidance for planning remediation or as a guide for planning learning objectives, therefore, their relevance is limited, and so the information is under-utilized. This inability to harvest meaningful information from the GLAT has serious implications, given the discouraging exam results in recent years.

Student profile completion data

The Student Academic Survey was designed for classroom teachers of schools participating in The Bahamas National Screening Programme to identify students performing below the academic standards set by The Ministry of Education. The teacher of the identified student completed the survey. Literacy, Numeracy and Personal traits were examined in the Lower and Upper Primary school levels, (See Appendix 2). At the lower primary level, subject area components for Literacy were oral expression, recognition of letters, recognition of words, sentence making / writing, recognition of letter sounds, spells basic sight words, reads basic trade books and experience stories, and listens and follows directions. The subject components for numeracy were oral activities/mental math, recognizes and writes numerals 1-50 / 1-100, computation (+) (-), recognizes and applies concepts of numbers, practical activities, skip counting- twos, fives, tens, recognition of shapes, money, tells time on the hour, uses number language. At the upper primary the following subject components were included in the student survey: comprehension, word study, literature, written comprehension, word study, literature, grammar & usage, spelling, handwriting and listening and speaking. Numeracy included the following components: concepts of numbers, computation, application and mental math. Traits of students at both levels were as follows: attitudes, leadership, work habits, social maturity, responsibility, personal appearance and conduct. Additionally, the teachers were asked to include information that would shed light on the students' academic performance.

Professional Development Needs Assessment Data Collection and Analysis

The National Commission on Special Education established a Professional Development Survey for teachers in the Pilot Programme. Areas of attention were Instructional Pedagogy as it relates to standards-based units of instruction, assessment strategies, and classroom management techniques. Topics for inclusion in workshops were offered. Educational leadership topics included, using data analysis, creating a District Professional Improvement Plan and creating a school improvement plan. (See Appendix 50

BAHAMAS NATIONAL SCREENING PROGRAMME

3). Teachers at New Providence and Family Island schools, i.e. Mable Walker, Sadie Curtis, Sandilands, Stephen Dillet, Georgetown-Exuma, Glintons and Simms, Long Island, and Nicholl's Town, Andros, completed the survey that was distributed during the orientation presentations to identify professional development requirements. Findings The New Providence schools indicated a need for reading / writing strategies, using data in decision-making and working effectively with parents to strengthen communications between home and school. Family Island schools indicated a need for instructional strategies, writing strategies and adapting texts for students.

Professional Development Training Initiatives

Mrs. Bridgette Cooper and Mrs. Carolynn Hall-Knowles, Technical Officers, conducted a workshop entitled Phonemic Awareness at Mabel Walker Primary on February 23, 2005 as Mr. Victor Cooper; Principal expressed this need for his staff. The objectives of the presentation were to establish the Five Elements of Reading: Phonemic Awareness; Phonics; Vocabulary; Fluency; and Comprehension. The facilitators focused on actual sounds and sound symbol relationships to assist teachers with demonstrating the concept to students. Mrs. Carolynn Hall-Knowles returned to Nicholls Town Primary, in Andros on April 19, 2005. Ms Sharon Dean accompanied Mrs. Hall-Knowles to Georgetown Primary, in Exuma on May 19, 2005 and Simms, Long Island on May 25 - 26, to conduct a workshop entitled, Strategies for Teaching Mixed Ability Groups. Workshop results The objective of the sessions was to ensure that educators enhanced their knowledge to augment instructional practices. The participants of the workshops were empowered, as indicated by the evaluation forms and more confident to address the educational requirements of individual students with special needs within the regular school population. The workshops have fortified the skills of teachers and enhanced their professional abilities. Challenges The duration of the educational process. Southern Air greatly islands. Therefore, postponed. workshops was sometimes short and rushed, interfering with the Additionally, scheduling of flights for Bahamasair, Western and affected the visits of officers as they caused delays in arrival to the several scheduled professional development workshops were

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General Outcomes, Concerns and Recommendations

Educators have reported that they were taught new methods that will enable them to address the special needs of students. Many were concerned about students that have already passed through the system. Others reported a need for workshops such as those presented to be shared with high school teachers. The teachers were encouraged to continue professional development initiatives to assist in the education of students particularly those with special needs. Although teachers are accepting of development and skill building, more sharing among teachers and collaboration would greatly advance professional development initiatives. Parental liaisons are very good in the Family Islands as the small school population allows for better partnerships. Most teachers were found to be flexible in instructional methodologies but workshops presented additional options. It is unfortunate that the New Providence selected pilot schools were not as accommodating of The Bahamas National Screening Programme Initiatives. In the case of the four schools, scheduling of professional development workshops proved problematic in that principals had difficulty fitting them in. Most often calls from the National Commission would go unanswered. Technical officers Cooper and Hall-Knowles visited Nassau schools on many occasions. Some teachers listened with trepidation because the assumption was that the Commission would be directing disabled students with special needs to their respective schools.

Recommendations

· · · · · · The professional staff at schools be required to engage in in-service courses of study in Special Education to include but not limited to, Remedial Instruction, Screening and Diagnostics, Resource Room, and English as a Second Language; Additionally, training should be made available to those educators who desire to refocus their areas of concentration; Teachers must begin to research the areas that comprise Special Education ­ for all students to be served in their respective schools. Teachers must sensitize themselves to the needs of students with disabilities; Ongoing investigations regarding particular disabilities will inform educators to respond in alignment with characteristics and expectations of the malady; Screening should be standardized throughout the entire school system. The following tools are suggested ­ the Schonell Word Test, San Diego Quick Word Assessment, Slosson Word Test, Binion / Beck Readiness Test for Kindergarten & First Grade, Ekwall Reading Test and/or The Gates MacGinite Reading Test. (Clement C. Maxwell Library, Bridgewater State College); and Better use should be made of the GLAT to guide teachers in developing remediation plans for students.

·

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Screening Level 3 JUNIOR HIGH Grades 7 ­9

Data review and analysis at the junior high school level

The BJC was introduced in 1953 as a replacement to the Cambridge Junior Examinations. The original purpose of the examination was to serve as: (1) A culminating exercise for students completing their education at the statutory legal minimum school leaving age of 14 years; and (2) A minimum entry-level requirement into the Public Service and the Teaching Profession. Currently, the BJC is used to provide schools with an internal evaluation mechanism at the mid-point of the six (6) year high school programme. Children's performances are graded on a 7-point scale from A-U. In examining the Mathematics and English Language BJC Exams, The College of The Bahamas fourth year Teacher Education students under the guidance of a trained school psychologist found that there were 28 objectives with only one question each. The validity of the BJC 2001 English Language Exam was satisfactory. In 2002, 5,006 children sat the English Language BJC, and 67% received grades of A-D. During the same year, some 5,158 children sat the Mathematics BJC with 57% receiving A-D grades. These figures however, do not adequately reflect the national level of numeracy and literacy among junior high students, since all ninth grade students are not required to sit these examinations. The following are performance data trends of the BJC Mathematics Examinations provided by the Testing and Evaluation Section of the Ministry of Education for the period 2001 ­ 2004: Table 3.11 Performance data trends for BJC Mathematics Examinations for the period 2001 ­ 2004

2001 # % 221 4.5 647 13.16 1121 22.81 820 16.68 769 15.65 653 13.29 431 8.77 253 5.15 4915 2002 # 281 829 1025 813 717 571 540 393 5169 % 5.4 16.0 19.8 15.7 13.9 11.0 10.4 7.6 2003 # 198 862 1178 776 807 603 486 706 5616 % 3.53 15.35 20.98 13.82 14.37 10.74 8.65 12.57 2004 # % 202 3.60 870 15.52 1208 21.56 711 12.69 753 13.44 599 10.69 597 10.65 664 11.85 5604

GRADE A B C D E F G U TOTAL #

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Figure 3.10

Trend Analysis for BJC Mathematics Examinations 2001 - 2004

TREND ANALYSIS FOR BJC MATHEMATICS EXAMINATIONS 2001 - 2004

% OF STUDENTS PERFORMING AT VARIOUS GRADE LEVELS

25

20

15

2001 2002 2003

10

2004

5

0 A B C D GRADES E F G U

National Overall Performance on BJC Mathematics Examinations 2001-2004 A review of results revealed that more than 59% of the students taking the Mathematics BJC Examinations performed at a grade D level or below overall for the period 2001 2004. From Figure 3.9 it is evident that the percentage of students performing at specific grade levels is fairly consistent with the highest percentage of students performing at a C grade (19 ­ 23%). One exception is the constant increase of the G grade across the four years. The following are data trends of the BJC English Language Examinations provided by the Testing and Evaluation Section of the Ministry of Education for the period 2000 ­ 2003: Table 3.12 Data trends for BJC English Language Examinations for the period 2000 -2003

GRADE A B C D E F G H TOTAL

#

2000 # 126 821 1053 1368 844 402 225 179 5018

% 2.5 16.4 21.0 27.3 16.8 8.0 4.5 3.6

2001 # % 110 2.23 516 10.45 1381 27.97 1140 23.09 800 16.20 674 13.65 190 3.85 126 2.55 4937

2002 # 195 961 1082 1106 825 431 255 152 5007

% 3.9 19.2 21.6 22.1 16.5 8.6 5.1 3.0

2003 # % 142 2.62 852 15.7 1148 21.15 1196 22.02 935 17.23 535 9.86 362 6.67 257 4.74 5427

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Figure 3.11

Trend Analysis for BJC English Language Examinations for the period 2000 - 2003

TREND ANALYSIS FOR BJC ENGLISH LANGUAGE EXAMINATIONS 2000-2003

30 % OF STUDENTS PERFORMING AT VARIOUS GRADE LEVELS

25

20 2000 15 2001 2002 2003 10

5

0 A B C D GRADES E F G U

Figure 3. 12 Overall performances on BJC Language Arts Examinations for The period 2000 ­ 2003

OVERALL PERFORMANCE ON BJC LANGUAGE ARTS EXAMINATIONS 2000 - 2003

25 22.93 23.6275

% OF STUDENTS PERFORMING @ VARIOUS GRADE LEVELS

20

16.6825 15 15.4375

2000-2003 10 10.0275

5 2.8125

5.03 3.4725

0 A B C D GRADES E F G U

A review of results revealed that more than 59% of the students taking the English Language BJC Examinations performed at a grade D level or below overall for the period 2000 - 2003. From Figure 3.10 it is evident that the percentage of students performing at specific grade levels is fairly consistent with the highest percentage of students performing at a D grade level (23.62%). One exception is seen in 2001 where the number of students performing at a B grade level significantly decreased while the number of students performing at the C grade level significantly increased for the same year.

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Results generated from the BJC are used primarily for grouping students in tenth grade. However, with modifications to the structure and administration of this exam, the BJC can be transformed to a more useful measure that: (a) Identifies strengths and weaknesses; (b) Aids in the development of programming for educational services; (c) Engages parents and teachers in the process; and (d) Identifies children with significant academic delays and special education needs. NB: One of the major concerns about national testing at the junior high school level is that there are no measures to indicate students' vocational interests by the end of grade nine. This has serious implications for career opportunities, employment placement and independent life adjustment of students with special needs who are attending regular schools. Additional informational data review The following data review and analysis is included to provide the reader with extended information on the national trends of the performance of students exiting grade 12. Senior High School National Examinations The Bahamas General Certificate of Secondary Education (BGCSE) was first administered in 1993, and was designed to cater to at least 85% of the total population. The Testing and Evaluation Section of the Ministry of Education states that the BGCSE emphasizes, "The new thrust in education ­ skills- based teaching and testing". The BGCSE does not target selected students or focus on limited skills. It does not maintain written papers comprising not more than two components nor does it encourage rote learning. The examination is designed to give access to a greater number of students of varying abilities, and includes wider and more relevant content and skills. The BGCSE is administered to twelfth graders, although many private schools allow their students to sit the English Language and Math Examinations in the tenth and eleventh grades. The following are performance data trends for the BGCSE Mathematics Examinations provided by the Testing and Evaluation Section of the Ministry of Education for the period 2001 ­ 2004: Table 3.13 Performance data trends for BGCSE Mathematics Examinations for the period 2001 - 2004

GRADE A B C 2001 # % 159 3.87 141 3.43 892 21.7 2002 # % 154 3.5 145 3.3 907 20.9 2003 # % 104 2.31 130 2.88 908 20.14 2004 # % 141 3.23 131 3.0 896 20.52

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D E F G U TOTAL #

712 17.31 628 15.28 630 16.54 550 13.38 349 8.42 4111

591 781 720 670 376 4346

13.6 18.0 16.6 15.4 8.7

620 13.75 697 15.46 704 15.62 671 14.88 674 14.95 4508

673 15.42 657 15.04 599 13.72 656 15.02 614 14.06 4387

Figure 3.13 Trend Analyses for BGCSE Mathematics Examinations for the period 2001 ­2004

TREND ANALYSIS FOR BGCSE MATHEMATICS EXAMINATIONS 2001 - 2004

25

% OF STUDENTS PERFORMING AT SPECFIC GRADE LEVELS

20

15

2001 2002 2003

10

2004

5

0

A

B

C

D

GRADES

E

F

G

U

Figure 3.14

Overall performance of students on BGCSE Examinations for period 2001 - 2004

OVERALL PERFORMANCE OF STUDENTS ON BGCSE EXAMINATIONS 2001-2004

% OF STUDENTS PERFORMING AT VARIOUS GRADE LEVELS

25 20 15 10 5 0

20.815 15.02 15.945 15.62 14.67 11.5325 3.2275 A B GRADES 20011004 3.1525 C D E F G U

Series1

GRADES

A review of results revealed that more than 72% of the students taking the BGCSE Mathematics Examinations performed at a grade D level or below overall for the period 2001 - 2004. This indicates a 13% decline in Mathematics performance on national examinations. Approximately 6.3 percent of the remaining 28% performed at grades A ­ B levels. From Figure 3.12 it is evident that the percentage of students performing at specific grade levels is fairly consistent from 2001 to 2004.

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The following are performance data trends for the BGCSE English Language Examinations provided by the Testing and Evaluation Section of the Ministry of Education for the period 2001 ­ 2003: Table 3.14 Performance data trends for the BGCSE English Examinations for the period 2001 ­ 2003

GRADE A B C D E F G U TOTAL 2001 # % 154 3.8 249 6.14 652 16.09 1189 29.34 1031 25.44 461 11.37 211 5.21 106 2.62 4053 2002 # 187 212 783 1078 1080 464 208 101 4113 % 4.5 5.2 19.0 26.2 26.3 11.3 5.1 2.5 2003 # % 147 3.4 189 4.4 1085 25.05 1151 26.6 922 21.3 457 10.55 261 6.03 119 2.75 4331

#

Figure 3. 15 Performance of students on BGCSE English Examinations for the period 2001 - 2003

PERFORMANCE OF STUDENTS ON BGCSE ENGLISH LANGUAGE EXAMINATIONS 20012003

% OF STUDENTS PERFORMING AT VARIOUS GRADE LEVELS

35 30 25 20 15 10 5 0

2001 2002 2003

A

B

C

D GRADES

E

F

G

U

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Figure 3. 16 Overall Performance on BGCSE English Examinations 2001 ­ 2003

OVERALL PERFORMANCE ON BGCSE ENGLISH LANGUAGE EXAMINATIONS 2001-2003 30

% OF STUDENTS PEFORMING AT VARIOUS GRADE LEVELS

27.38 25 24.34667 20.04667

20

15 11.07333

Series1

10

5

5.246667 3.9

5.446667 2.623333

0 GRADES 20012003 A B C D E F G U

GRADES

A review of results revealed that more than 70.87% of the students taking the English Language BGCSE Examinations performed at a grade D level or below overall for the period 2001 - 2003. Figure 3.14 shows a consistent decline of students performing at a D and E level while a small but consistent increase of students, performing at a C level. The highest percentage of students however, performed at a D grade (27.38%) and E (24. 34) grade levels for the years reviewed. National Examinations and Public Debate There is much public debate concerning the overall performance of students on national examinations. The Testing and Evaluation Section indicated that national examinations are reported on a 7 point grading scale. Each grade on the 7 point scale reflects a measure of positive achievement `A' being the highest and G being the lowest with the `D' being the mid-point. Officers from the Section suggested that students performing below a `D' should be considered for special instructional assistance and that all grades `D' and above should be considered acceptable performance. For example, a student performing at a `D' grade level on an English Language BGCSE Examination shows ability in the following: · Understanding and conveying information at a straightforward level and occasionally at a fairly complex level;

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· · · · · ·

Understanding basic facts, ideas and opinions and presenting them clearly and with basic accuracy; Selecting material, commenting on it in a detailed way, and demonstrating an ability to begin to evaluate; Describing and considering experience and expressing, often effectively, what is felt and what is imagined; Recognizing meanings and attitudes, occasionally recognizing more obvious implicit meanings and attitudes; Showing some sense of audience and an awareness of a variety of uses of language with some understanding of their appropriateness; Writing in clear sentences of various kinds generally arranged correctly in paragraphs and usually exercising care over punctuation and spelling.

The greater challenge would be to convince the public and private sectors to look favourably at individuals who have performed at the `D' level' when they are being considered for employment, college entrance, promotions and other opportunities pertaining to career development and professional advancement. The variation from year to year of the corresponding percentages for letter grades further complicates the problem. For example, in 2003 a "D" grade was given on the GLAT grade 3 Language Arts Examination if the student scored a 40% to 49% out of 100%. The Testing and Evaluation Section is asking that this percentage be considered favourable since the "D" grade is the mid-point of the letter system that is applied in national examinations. The following concerns were raised at meetings held with technical officers at the Ministry and Department of Education: · · All 12th grade students do not take the BGCSE examinations therefore a true national average for any given subject could not be determined. The school culture is that school administrators only recommend students to take examinations if they feel that the student would be successful. Examination results are compared across schools therefore, administrators want to ensure that students get grades that would boost the image of the school. The `D' grade is accepted at certain colleges abroad but not at The College of The Bahamas.

·

Special Accommodations Special accommodations are made for visually impaired candidates who sit national examinations. However, no such accommodations are made for other persons with disabilities such as the hearing impaired, individuals with learning disabilities and others. Adequate accommodations are needed to allow all students with special needs to access national examinations.

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CHAPTER FOUR

Summary, Conclusions, Challenges and Recommendations

The results of the country's national assessment initiatives inclusive of data provided from The Department of Statistics, the Testing and Evaluation Section of The Ministry of Education and the Special Services Section of the Department of Education, substantiate an urgent and critical need for a Bahamas National Screening Programme. National Screening Initiatives throughout the world have provided the framework upon which Special Education Programmes have been built. As a result, NCOSE recognizes the need to enhance the development of children with disabilities, reduce the educational cost by minimizing the need for extensive special education through early intervention initiatives, and enhance the capacity of families to meet the needs of the special needs child. The BNSP seeks to ensure that Bahamian children are given a chance to achieve their full academic and social potential. Hence, screening provides the framework for improving all areas of special education and it is this spirit that guides the development of this document. The implications of this Progress Report's findings give indications of the National Screening's potential to: Define an individual's strengths, weaknesses and learning style; Develop an individual management plan; Promote emotional well-being and metacognition; Determine the services required to enhance learning during the school hours; Provide insight to those working with the individual about his/her learning difficulties; Ensure that preschoolers who may have peripheral sensory functioning difficulties are identified at an early age and the appropriate services provided; Utilize strengths that can enhance learning and self-esteem; and Identify any other factors that may complicate a management plan. Conclusions This progress report presented information on the progress of The Bahamas National Screening Programme. The screening, thus far, has generated information about the screened children's strengths and weaknesses in several areas. Many students will go on to the second phase of the assessment, which includes an examination of one or all of the areas of the student's developmental, cognitive, behavioral and social/emotional levels of functioning. For students who are struggling academically or for students showing advanced progress, the information from an assessment can help stakeholders to understand, in most cases, what their educational needs might be. For students showing advanced progress, the assessment results usually highlight what their educational needs might be. As a result, this screener has the potential to determine the classification that

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best reflects the child's level and type of functioning. It also has the potential to assist in the determination of mental illness, educational disabilities, and making recommendations for placement and intervention. Hence, early intervention of children with developmental delays or disabilities can lead to treatment or intervention for a disability. Early intervention has the potential to positively impact the functioning of children and families thus, improving the overall national average for all children throughout The Commonwealth of the Bahamas. At the local school level, although a small number of professional staff accept development and skill-building, collegiality among teachers is limited to non-existent. However parental liaisons are very good at small school populations as they allow for better partnerships. Most teachers were found to be flexible in instructional methodologies. The workshops presented additional options. Challenges During the Pilot Programme for the BNSP many of challenges arose: 1. Teachers need extensive training on how to administer the ASQ. 2. Psychologists need to be assigned to the programme on a full time basis. 3. Professional development opportunities are needed for the officers presently attached to the BNSP. 4. Financing of services is needed. 5. Teachers may not have involved parents/caregivers in the ASQ. 6. Some ASQ's were not completed appropriately. 7. Insufficient clerical staff. 8. Lack of transportation to expedite testing 9. Additional nursing staff is needed to assist with screening at the clinics. 10. At the local school level the duration of workshops was sometimes short and rushed, interfering with the educational process. Additionally, flight scheduling of Western and Southern Air greatly affected the visits of officers due to long delays. General Recommendations A comprehensive system of early intervention needs to be developed. Special Education Teachers are needed to begin developing Individual Education Plans for the identified students. There is a need to ensure that every teacher or nurse will assist in the administration of the questionnaires and is properly trained in the administration of the screener. Additional testing materials need to be ordered. Those who screen and assess very young children need extensive and comprehensive training. Family members should be an integral part of the screening and assessment process.

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An evaluation of the screening programme needs to be incorporated into the programme. The following evaluation questions might guide evaluation efforts: Are there children who passed the screening and later found in need of special education services? Are the children who are referred for evaluation found not to be eligible for services? Are the families who participated in screening satisfied with the experience? Is evaluation being completed in a timely fashion for those children who are referred for evaluation as a result of screening? Develop a programme to meet the needs of the increasing number of children who have limited English Language proficiency. Additional psychologists and other professionals are needed to assist with the Level 2 and Level 3 of the Preschool Screening. Develop a Language Enrichment Programme for preschools. A clearly articulated eligibility policy needs to be developed. This policy should state the types of disabilities and who should qualify for special services; it should state the transition procedures, child identification procedures, individual family services, an Individual Educational plan format and the identification of which psychological test and criteria should be used to identify learning disabilities. Curriculum reform is needed throughout all levels of schooling. Establish parent-based early childhood interventions with high risk infants/ preschoolers. Develop of assessment methods that are based on universal assessment, alternative assessment, and evaluation methods for assessing the adequate yearly progress of students with disabilities. Additional training for Ministry of Education psychologists is needed in the area of cognitive testing. Develop a National Screening Initiative to assess auditory and peripheral needs. Hence, the need for additional interagency collaboration. Additional persons trained in Speech Therapy are needed. An audiologist (contracted fulltime) is necessary. All children entering school for the first time should be given screening tests to determine if they might have vision or hearing impairments or speech and language disabilities. The professional staff at all schools requires in-service courses of study in Special Education to include, Remedial, Screening and Diagnostics, Resource Room and English as a Second Language. Teachers must begin to research the areas that comprise Special Education - for all students must be served in their respective schools.

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National Examinations · All 9th and 12th grade students should be required to take BJC and BGCSE Mathematics and English Language Examinations respectively. The sitting of these examinations should be government-funded. These results would allow the government to better determine the national average. National exams need to make accommodations for hearing-impaired students. The evaluation of the deaf student is a specialized skill, and specialists should be employed to provide guidance during the grading of national examination submissions of deaf students. Proper accommodations should be made for students with specific learning disabilities, hearing impairments and other disabilities. All students with special needs have the right to require testing modifications. A protocol for requesting such modifications from the Testing and Evaluation Section should be devised and disseminated to all educators, parents and students. Such a protocol should make reference to the advance notice required for specific testing modifications. An itinerant team of assessors should be made available each year to travel to the Family Islands in order to test, produce summary reports and conduct workshops. The Testing and Evaluation Section should acquire the services of a consulting psychologist with expertise in assessment to address validity and reliability concerns. Special educators and school psychologists should be included as a part of the Examination Team for national examinations. The GLAT and BJC Examinations should be modified in their structure so that they become more useful as diagnostic tools to identify strengths and weaknesses to aid in the development of educational programming, and identify students who are academically challenged. As a result, teachers would be able to implement remediation strategies based on test results with specific goals being set for parent and student reference. Public school national examination results should be made available to the public, since they are the sponsors of public education. Publications should be made readily available to educational researchers and various institutions that are interested in tracking the progress of students. Public education information should not be withheld. National examinations should be initiated during the final term of grade one. This would give educators an opportunity to identify children with learning difficulties very early and to provide special instruction and support services where needed.

·

·

· · · ·

·

·

National Screening · · The National Screening Programme, established by the National Commission on Special Education in collaboration with the Ministry of Education, should be continued and strengthened. All teachers, parents and health-care professionals must be made aware of what the assessment process entails. A multidisciplinary team should carry out

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screening. Students who experience learning difficulties should be reassessed at appropriate time intervals for on-going tracking purposes.

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APPENDIX 1

List of Terms

Assessment: The ongoing process by which qualified professionals, together with families, through standardized tests and observation, look at all areas of a child's development: motor, language, intellectual, social/emotional and self-help skills, including dressing, toileting, etc. Both areas of strength and those requiring support and intervention are identified. Types of assessments include:

·

·

·

·

·

Developmental assessment: An ongoing process of observing and thinking about a child's current competencies (including knowledge, skills, and personality), and the best ways to help the child develop further. Family assessment: A systematic process of learning about family members' their ideas about a child's development and their strengths, priorities, and concerns as these relate to the child's development. Multidisciplinary assessment: A form of developmental assessment (see above) in which a group of professionals with different kinds of training and experience works with a child and family, directly or indirectly. This type of assessment can be helpful because professionals with different kinds of training are skilled in observing and interpreting different aspects of a child's development and behavior. Play-based assessment: A form of developmental assessment that involves observation of how a child plays alone, with peers or with parents or other familiar caregivers in free play or in special games. This type of assessment can be helpful because play is a natural way for children to show what they can do, how they feel, how they learn new things, and how they behave with familiar people. The four generally accepted purposes for assessment of children are: 1. To promote children's learning and development 2. To identify children for health and special services 3. To monitor trends and to evaluate programmes and services 4. To hold individual children, teachers, and schools accountable (NEGP). 5. Characteristics of effective assessment of young children: Assessments should bring about benefits for children. Assessments should be tailored to a specific purpose and should be reliable, valid, and fair. Assessments should be age-appropriate in both content and the method of data collection. Assessments should be linguistically appropriate, recognizing that to some extent, all assessments are measures of language. Parents should be a valued source of assessment information. (NEGP).

· ·

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·

·

· · ·

When children are assessed, the information is used to make decisions about programming and to communicate information about children's strengths and needs and their progress to their families and others. Assessment is often used as a synonym for evaluation; it is useful to distinguish them by using assessment for the gathering of information and evaluation for the process of making judgments. In special education the related term "evaluation" often refers to the assessment process used to determine a child's eligibility for services. The terms "assessment" and "test" are not synonymous; however, the results of tests contribute to judgments made when assessing children and/or programmes. The reliability and validity of assessments increase with children's age.

Audiologist: A professional trained in assessing a child's hearing. In a developmental assessment of an infant or young child, an audiologist would look for signs of whether or not there are any hearing impairments or loss, usually by placing on a child's ears earphones through which sounds are transmitted at various frequencies. Audiologists often work closely with speech and language specialists to address problems in communication. Developmentally Delayed/Disabled: A term used to describe infants and toddlers who need early intervention services because they: a. are experiencing developmental delays, a term used when a child has not achieved skills and abilities which are expected to be mastered by children of the same age. Delays can be in any of the following areas: physical, social, emotional, intellectual, speech and language and/or adaptive development, sometimes called self-help skills, which include dressing, toileting, feeding, etc.; or b. have a diagnosed physical or mental condition, which has a high probability of resulting in a developmental delay. Some examples include: chromosomal abnormalities; genetic or congenital disorders; severe sensory impairments, including hearing and vision; inborn errors of metabolism; disorders reflecting disturbance of the development of the nervous system; congenital infections; disorders secondary to exposure to toxic substances, including fetal alcohol syndrome and severe attachment disorders. Developmental Domains: Term used by professionals to describe areas of a child's development, for example: "gross motor development" (large muscle movement and control); "fine motor development" (hand and finger skills, and hand-eye coordination); speech and language/communication; the child's relationship to toys and other objects, to people and to the larger world around him/her; and the child's emotions and feeling states, coping behavior and self-help skills. Diagnosis: A term used to describe the critical analysis of a child's development in all the developmental domains after reviewing all the assessment results, and the conclusion reached by such analysis. From this diagnosis, professionals should offer parents a

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precise and detailed description of the characteristics of a child's development, including strengths and the ways in which a child learns. Early Childhood Special Educator: A professional trained in young children's typical and atypical development. An early childhood special educator would assist with developing plans and implementing intervention services based on the outcomes of the evaluation/assessment. In a developmental assessment of an infant or young child, the early childhood educator might administer developmental tests looking at the child's developmental domains. Early Intervention: Refers to the range of services designed to enhance the development of infants and toddlers with disabilities or at risk of developmental delays. These services should be offered, to the maximum extent possible in a natural environment such as, the home or in community settings in which children without disabilities participate. Early intervention services that are under public supervision must be given by qualified personnel and require the development of an individualized family service plan, developed in conjunction with the family, to guide the early intervention or therapeutic services given to a child. Early intervention services should also enhance the capacity of families to meet the needs of their infants and toddlers with disabilities. Services may include but are not limited to: speech and language therapy, physical and/or occupational therapy, special education, and a range of family support services. Early intervention is sometimes used to refer to any systematic effort to improve developmental outcomes for young children. Speech/Language: A formal evaluation of articulation skills, phonology, grammar, vocabulary development, language development, functional use of language (pragmatics), voice, and fluency. Hearing Screening: A brief screening completed by the school nurse that assesses hearing ability through a functional assessment, in which a series of questions about the child's use of hearing are answered by observation and evaluation or an evaluation using an audiometer, in which the hearing is measured in decibel levels. If a child fails two hearing screenings, then an audiological assessment will be done. Audiological Assessment: A complete assessment of the child's hearing ability, including tests, which assess middle and inner ear functioning, completed by a certified audiologist. Developmental Assessment: An evaluation of the developmental areas of personal/social skills, adaptive behavior, gross and fine motor skills, receptive and expressive communication, and cognitive ability.

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Psychological Assessment: A series of tests completed by a qualified psychologist that assess the child's intellectual, social, and emotional development. These tests look at what information a child has acquired, and how a child processes and uses information. The child's psychological development is compared to that of other children of the same age. Occupational and Physical Therapy: Therapy Assessment of the motor skills of a child as they relate to physical functioning in the educational environment. A qualified Occupational or Physical Therapist conducts these evaluations. . Vision Evaluation: An evaluation of the functional use of vision by a child, completed by a vision teacher on children with suspected visual impairments. Eligibility: Specific criteria of developmental delay that meets the eligibility level needed for publicly funded services. This criterion is unique to each state's definition. Children who have a diagnosed physical or mental condition or are experiencing developmental delays are "eligible" for services. In addition, states may choose to serve children who are "at risk" of developmental delay by making them eligible for publicly funded early intervention services. Children who may be "at risk" of a developmental delay, may be provided services in some states. Risk factors include:

· ·

·

Established risk: a diagnosed physical or mental condition that has a high probability of resulting in developmental delay; Biological/medical risk: significant biological or medical conditions or events that give a child a greater chance of developing a delay or a disability than children in the general population; and Environmental risk: care giving circumstances and current family situations that may place children at a greater risk for delay than the general population. Examples include: parental substance abuse, family social disorganization, poverty, parental developmental disability, parent age, parental educational attainment, and child abuse or neglect.

Etiology: The cause or origin of a disabling condition. Evaluation: A term that is often used interchangeably with "assessment." However, in the context of services supported by the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) (see below), evaluation refers to a procedure that is used to determine a child's eligibility for early intervention services. Multidisciplinary Team: A group of people with different kinds of training and experience working together, usually on an ongoing basis. Professionals often use the word "discipline" to mean a "field of study," such as medicine, social work, or education; therefore, a multidisciplinary team might include a pediatrician, an occupational therapist, a social worker, and an early childhood educator. Norm: A pattern or average regarded as typical for a specific group.

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Referral: The process of helping a child or family to access a service for example, a more in-depth assessment or an organization that provides childcare or early intervention. Reliability: The extent to which a test is consistent in measuring whatever it measures. Sensory Integration: The process of how a child (person) takes in information and processes it based on their senses (touch, taste, smell, sound, sight). This may include; how a child perceives his body or the world around him or how a child adapts himself to his world. According to the theory of sensory integration, the many parts of the nervous system work together so that a child can interact with the environment effectively and experience appropriate satisfaction. Having poor sensory integration may interfere with many activities necessary for daily functioning such as, brushing teeth, playing on play equipment or even hugging. Screening: A brief assessment procedure designed to identify children who should receive more intensive assessment. Screening is designed to identify children who are at risk for health problems, developmental problems, and/or disabling conditions who may need to receive helpful intervention services as early as possible. Speech/Language Pathologist: A professional who is trained in assessing and treating problems in communication including: articulation (pronunciation of sounds), receptive language (understanding and processing what is communicated by others), expressive language (the ability to communicate to others), fluency (including stuttering), and voice problems (including pitch and intonation). A speech and language pathologist is also trained to work with oral/motor problems, such as swallowing, and other feeding difficulties. Tests

· · · · · ·

Achievement test: A test that measures the extent to which an individual has acquired certain information or mastered certain skills. Criterion-referenced test: A test that measures a specific level of performance or a specific degree of mastery. Norm: A pattern or average regarded as typical for a specific group. Psychometric test: Quantitative assessment of an individual's psychological and other developmental traits or abilities. Readiness test: A test that measures the extent to which a child has acquired certain skills for successfully undertaking some new learning activity. Standardized test: A systematic sample of performance obtained under prescribed conditions, scored according to definite rules, which allows professionals to compare the child's performance to every other child who takes the same test.

Validity: The extent to which a test or observation measures what it is intended to measure.

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Concurrent validity: When criterion data and instrument data are collected near the same time and the results are then compared. Criterion-referenced instrument: An instrument that assesses the child based upon curriculum data (Lerner et al., 2003). Developmental screener: Tests used to assess whether or not a group of children may be at-risk for a developmental delay (Lerner et al., 2003). Dynamic assessment: An approach or model that involves an interaction between the examinee and the examiner, which focuses on the metacognitive processes of the learner and how the learner responds to intervention, and uses a pretest-intervention-posttest format (Lidz, 1997). Ecobehavioral assessment: Evaluation of the child by considering his/her cultural and family background, life experiences and development in cognitive, motor, adaptive, language and social/emotional areas (Meisels, 1996). False negative: A child initially identified as performing within the normal range when in fact he/she may have a possible developmental delay. False positive: a child initially identified as possibly being at-risk for a developmental delay when in fact he/she is performing within the normal range. Index of sensitivity: The number of children who perform poorly in school and who were identified as at risk on a screening instrument (Rafoth, 1997). Index of specificity: The number of children performing adequately in school and who were identified as not at risk (Rafoth, 1997). Multiple gating techniques: A technique used for screening a large number of children to identify those who may be at-risk for a possible delay. This technique involves multiple measures to ensure that only those who truly are at-risk for a possible developmental delay are identified. Positive predictive validity: A computation derived from four possible outcomes of an administration of a screening instrument: the number of children who were identified as not being at risk who later performed adequately, and finally, the number identified as not being at risk who later performed adequately (Gredler, 1997). Predictive validity: The percentage of children who were identified as at risk and who later actually developed problems (Gredler, 1997). Valid negative: A child is identified as not at risk for a possible delay whose later performance is adequate.

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Valid positive: A child is identified as at risk for a possible delay who later performs poorly

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APPENDIX 2

THE MINISTRY OF EDUCATION NATIONAL COMMISSION ON SPECIAL EDUCATION

Victoria Gardens, P.O. Box N-3913/4, Nassau, The Bahamas Telephone: (242) 323-4321 / 323-7817, Fax: (242) 323-4321 Email: [email protected]

BAHAMAS NATIONAL SCREENING PROGRAMME STUDENT ACADEMIC SURVEY FORM

This instrument has been designed for classroom teachers of schools participating in The Bahamas National Screening Pilot Programme to identify students performing below academic standards set by the Ministry of Education. It is to be completed by the classroom teacher of the identified student.

BACKGROUND INFORMATION

Name of School ________________________________________________________________ Name of Student _______________________________________________________________ Student's Age_____________________________ Date of Birth _________________________ Grade_____________________________ No. of students in class _______________________ Teacher's Name _______________________________________________________________

ACADEMIC PERFORMANCE

Where applicable indicate subject area component(s) in which student performed below average in literacy and numeracy areas this past Christmas term 2004.

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LOWER PRIMARY Literacy

D's E's

Numeracy

D's E's

Traits

Oral Expression Recognition Of Letters Recognition Of Words Sentence Making / Writing Discriminate Letter Sounds Recognition Of Letter Sounds Hand Control and Writing Spells Basic Sight Words Read Basic / Trade Books / Experience Stories Listens and Follows Directions

Oral Activities / Mental Math Recognizes and Writes Numerals 1-50 / 1-100 Computation (+) (-) Recognizes and Applies Concepts Of Numbers Practical Activities Skip Counting - Twos, Fives, Tens Recognition Of Shapes, Money Tells Time On The Hour Uses Number Language

Attitudes Leadership Work Habits Social Maturity Responsibility Personal Appearance Conduct

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UPPER PRIMARY Literacy

D's E's

Numeracy

D's E's

Traits Attitudes

Comprehension Word Study Literature Written Comprehension Grammar & Usage Spelling Handwriting Listening / Speaking STUDENT'S HISTORY

Concepts Of Numbers Computation Application Mental Math

Leadership Work Habits

Social Maturity

Responsibility Personal Appearance Conduct

Give any background information on student that may shed light on child's academic performance.

OTHER CONCERNS

State other concerns you may have that might affect the child's learning.

Completed by __________________________________ Date ___________________________

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APPENDIX 3 National Commission On Special Education Pilot Programme Professional Development Survey for Teachers Name of School: _________________________________________ District: ________________________________________________

1. Of the INSTRUCTIONAL PEDAGOGY topics below, please choose two (2) that would be of most value in doing your job. Standards-based units of instruction Instructional strategies Assessment strategies Reading strategies for all educators Adapting text to meet student needs Differentiated instruction Classroom management techniques Behavior management Using instructional technology Time management Not Applicable 2. Of the NEXT GENERATION OF TEACHERS topics below, please choose one (1) that you would participate in if given the opportunity. New teacher induction New teacher orientation Mentor training for veteran teachers Working effectively with parents and the community Not Applicable 3. Of the WORKSHOPS FOR PROFESSIONAL topics below, please choose two (2) that would be of most value in managing your career. Reading strategies Writing strategies Mathematical strategies Classroom management Time management

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Communicating with parents Not Applicable 4. Of the EDUCATIONAL LEADERSHIP topics below, please choose two (2) that would be of most value in managing your career. Understanding data analysis Using data in decision making Creating a School Improvement Plan Creating a District Professional Development Plan Creating a district mentoring programme Creating an in-district licensure programme Not Applicable 5. During which time(s) of the year are you most likely to participate in professional development programmes? (Check all that apply.) Summer vacation During the school year Winter or spring vacation weeks Weekends

Other _____________________________________________________

6. During which times of the day are you most likely to participate in professional development programmes? (Check all that apply.) In-service, during the school day During the day on a vacation day Before or after school hours 7. Of the professional development programme delivery formats listed below, please indicate if you would be likely or not likely to participate:

Likely Not Likely Not Sure/NA One-session workshop, 3 hours or less Multi-session workshops Weeklong institutes 4 week courses 8 week courses 12 week courses

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8.

Where do you prefer to attend professional development programmes? In my school building In a nearby school district Away from school, at an area campus, meeting facility or hotel Other _____________________________________________________

9.

Which of the following factors are obstacles to your participation in professional development opportunities? (Check all that apply.) Too much time out of work No/difficult substitute coverage Lack of personal time for attendance/study Training offered at inconvenient locations Training offered at inconvenient times Lack of quality courses or workshops Lack of relevant courses or workshops Classes fill up too quickly Lack of support or encouragement from administration Administration seeks to control professional development activities Lack of funding to attend professional development programs Family issues (child care, etc.) Leave of absence status Don't Know/NA Other ______________________________________________________

10.

I have been working in education Less than 3 years 3-10 years 10-20 years More than 20 years

11.

My highest level of education is High School Some college or post-high school technical training Associate's degree

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Bachelor's degree Master's degree Doctorate Other ______________________________________________________ 12. My current job position is Education Support Professional (including paraprofessionals, teaching assistants, aides, administrative, technical services, etc.) PK-12 Teacher PK-12 Professional Staff Higher Education Faculty Member Administrative, central office School nurse or other health care professional Other ______________________________________________________

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Fuchs, L. S., Fuchs, D., Hosp, M. K., & Hamlett, cC. L. (2003). The potential for diagnostic analysis within curriculum-based measurement. Assessment for Effective Intervention, 28, 3 & 4, 13-22. Gansle, K. A., Noell, G. H., VanDerHyden, A. M., Naquin, G. M., & Slider, N. J. (2002). Moving beyond total words written: The reliability, criterion validity, and time cost of alternate measures for curriculum-based measurement in writing. School Psychology Review, 31, 4, 477-497. Garden, J. L., Zins, J. E., & Curtis, M. J. (Eds.). (1989). Alternative educational delivery systems: Enhancing instructional options for all children. Washington, DC: National Association of School Psychologists. Gronlund, N. E. (1998). Assessment of student achievement, (6th ed.). Needham Heights, MA: Allyn & Bacon.

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Han, K., Marvin, C., & Walden, A classroom-based observation approach. Assessment for Effective Intervention, 28, 1, 9-18. Helwig, R. & Tindal, G. (2002). Using general outcome measures in mathematics to measure adequate yearly progress as mandated by Title I. Assessment for Effective Intervention, 28, 1, 9-18. Hintze, J. M., Callahan, J. E., Matthews, W. J., Williams, S. A. S., & Tobin, K. G. (2002). Oral reading fluency and prediction of reading comprehension in African American and Caucasian elementary school children. School Psychology Review, 31, 4, 540-553. Hintze, J. M., Christ, T. J., & Keller, L. A. (2002). The generalizability of CMB surveylevel mathematics assessments: Just how many samples do we need? School Psychology Review, 31, 4, 514-528. Howe, K. B., Scierka, B. J., Gibbons, K. A., & Silberglitt, B. (2003). A schoolwide organization system for raising reading achievement using general outcome measures and evidence-based instruction: One education district's experience. Assessment for Effective Intervention, 28, 3 & 4, 59-71. Howell, K. W. & Nolet, V. (2000). Curriculum-based evaluation: Teaching and decision making, (3rd ed.). Belmont, CA: Wadsworth/Thomson Learning. Howell, K. W. (2000). Resources for implementing Howell's and Nolet's curriculumbased evaluation: Teaching and decision making. (3rd ed.). Belmont, CA: Wadsworth/Thomson Learning. Jones, C. J. (1998). Curriculum-based assessment: The easy way. Springfield, IL: Charles C. Thomas Publisher, Ltd. Kupermintz, H., Le, V., & Snow, R. E. (1999). Construct validity of mathematics achievement: Evidence from interview procedures. Center for the Study of Evaluation National Center for Research on Evaluation, Standards, and Student Testing, 493. Retrieved October21, 2003, Lembke, E., Deno, S. L., & Hall, K. (2003). Identifying an indicator of growth in early writing proficiency for elementary school children. Assessment for Effective Intervention, 28, 3 & 4, 23-35. Marston, D., Muyskens, P., Matthew, L., & Canter, A. (2003). Problem-solving model for decision making with high-incidence disabilities: The Minneapolis experience. Learning Disabilities Research and Practice, 18, 3, 187-200. Retrieved September 29, 2003, from EBSCO Publishing database.

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McConnell, S. R., McEvoy, M. A., & Priest, J. S. (2002). "Growing" measures for monitoring progress in early childhood education: A research and development process for individual growth and development indicators. Assessment for Effective Intervention, 27, 4, 3-14. McMaster, K., Fuchs, D., Fuchs, L. S., & Compton, D. L. (2002). Monitoring the academic progress of children who are unresponsive to generally effective early reading intervention. Assessment for Effective Intervention, 27, 4, 23-33. McNamara, K. & Hollinger, C. (2003). Intervention-based assessment: Evaluation rates and eligibility findings. Council for Exceptional Children, 69, 2, 181-193. Meisels, S. J. & Atkins-Burnett, S. (1999). Developmental screening in early childhood: A guide, (4th ed.). Washington, DC: National Association for the Education of Young Children. National Association of School Psychologists. (1997). Best practices, (2nd ed.). Washington, DC: Author. National Association of School Psychologists. (2003). Position statement: Using large scale assessment for high stakes decisions. Communique, 1-5. O'Connor, E. A. & Yasik, A. E. (2001). Curriculum based assessment: The role of reading recovery data. Washington, DC: Poster presentation at the National Association of School Psychologists Annual Convention. Pemberton, J. B. (2003). Communicating academic progress as an integral part assessment. Council for Exceptional Children, Teaching Exceptional Children, 35, 4, 1620. Prakash, N., West, J., & Denton, K. (2003). Statistics in brief: Schools' use of assessment for kindergarten entrance and placement: 1998-99. Retrieved October 21, 2003, from http://nces.ed.gov/pubs2003/2003004.pdf Pretti-Frontczak, K. L. (2002). Using curriculum-based measures to promote a linked system approach. Assessment for Effective Intervention, 27, 4, 487-506. Schulte, A. C., Villwock, D. N., Whichard, S. M., & Stallings, C. F. (2001). High stakes testing and expected progress standards for children with learning disabilities: A fiveyear study of one district. School Psychology Review, 30, 4, 487-506. Shinn, M. R. (Ed.). (1998). Advanced applications of curriculum-based measurement. New York, NY: The Guilford Press.

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Acknowledgements

Gratitude is extended to all those who have helped personally and professionally in the writing of this document. Thank you to Judith Tynes-Jones, Anne Albury, Psychologists as well as the Screening Committee Members who willingly shared their expertise.

The National Screening Programme Committee Members

Mrs. Lois Symonette Dr. Beulah L. Gardiner-Farquharson Mrs. Carnetta Ferguson Ms. Agatha Archer Ms. Darryl Moncur-Poitier Dr. Novia Carter-Higgs Dr. Edwin Demeritte Ms. Lyn Lewis Ms. Cynthia Stanko Ms. Sharon Dean Mrs. Bridgette Cooper Mrs. Carolyn Hall-Knowles Ms. Brenda Bain Chairperson of The National Commission on Special Education Deputy Chair of The National Commission on Special Education Assistant Director of Education for Special Education / Preschools Senior Education Officer; Preschool Acting Education Officer; Preschool Unit School Psychologist; Special Services Section, MOE Pediatric Neurologist, Public Health Authority Registered Nurse, Health Visitor; Department of Health Programme Director; Bahamas Infant Stimulation Programme Technical Officer NCOSE Technical Officer NCOSE Technical Officer NCOSE Technical Officer NCOSE

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