Accessing State Standards

State Standards

Providing high-quality, rigorous education opportunities equips students with the skills necessary to prepare for employment and independence. State standards have been established to help do just that!

The overall goal of state standards within education is to provide a clear, consistent learning framework so that students across the board can be successful in their education and beyond.

State standards vary across the United States. Many states, as well as Washington D.C., the four territories and the Department of Defense Education Activity, have adopted the Common Core Standards. Other states create and update their own versions. All state standards can be accessed via your state’s Department of Education website.

For students with the most significant cognitive learning disabilities, the Every Student Success Act (ESSA) permits 1 percent of all students assessed to participate in the Alternate Assessment aligned with Alternate Academic Achievement Standards (AA-AAAS).

State standards in special education

According to the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, students with disabilities should be educated in the least restrictive environment. This means students with disabilities should receive their education and services with their typically developing peers as much as possible, as well as have access to the same academic content that is taught within general education classrooms.

All students who receive special education and/or related services are required to receive an individualized education program (IEP), which must outline how the student is provided a free and appropriate education (FAPE) in the least restrictive environment. This includes access to grade-aligned instruction. If a child’s IEP doesn’t align to state standards, it can be considered a violation of FAPE.

Standards-based instruction

In order to provide students with autism spectrum disorder and extensive support needs with access to standards-based instruction, materials and instruction should be modified to meet individual needs via evidence-based practices (EBP).

Some evidence-based practices that have been documented as effective for students with autism spectrum disorder and extensive support needs include but are not limited to:

  • Systematic and explicit instruction: providing well-defined instruction that is planned in a strategic sequence to promote clear understanding and accessibility for all students
  • Time delay: incrementally decreasing the utilization of prompts during instructional learning, while simultaneously utilizing reinforcement
  • Prompting: offering cues to assist students with learning desired skills or behaviors
  • Reinforcement: a fundamental concept in Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) that increases the future likelihood of a behavior occurring.
Everyone can learn 

The principle of the least dangerous assumption indicates that educators should believe that all of their students, regardless of ability or disability, are capable of learning. Utilizing this assumption as well as state standards ensures that students with disabilities receive the high-quality education they deserve to prepare them for post-school engagements and potential future employment.

After considering these factors and assumptions, we can set up our students with disabilities for academic success, more opportunity and increased independence in and out of the classroom.

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