Nondiscriminatory Education: Everything You Need to Know

This refers to the principle that states that all assessments done in schools must be fair and accurate, without any discrimination. This is used to ensure that children from minority ethnic groups don’t receive discriminatory education.

The term ‘nondiscriminatory’ means that education must be deemed ‘valid’ as per educational standards. In other words, education imparted shouldn’t be biased against or for any individual or group. For instance, education shouldn’t be imparted in an environment in which students with disabilities aren’t appropriately segregated, or where it discriminates based on the student’s financial status, culture, race, language, etc. Any such discriminatory elements should be removed to ensure they don’t affect the student’s results in the assessments.

Multiple steps are involved in a nondiscriminatory assessment, especially for students with disabilities. First, the stakeholders must decide whether a nondiscriminatory evaluation is essential. The evaluation process can either be started by someone at the school or the parents themselves. Either way, parents’ written consent is mandatory before the initial evaluation and each reevaluation. In case the parents don’t consent to the initial evaluation, the school may use dispute resolution procedures to get the necessary approval. It’s also mandatory to get parents’ consent prior to any reevaluation unless the school has used all measures and the parents haven’t responded.

Student evaluations must be completed within 30 days of its commencement. Students already getting special education services must be reassessed every three years or more often. Apart from the student and their parents, some workers from the school or school district must be involved in a student’s nondiscriminatory assessment in case the student has some disability. These may include but aren’t limited to a principal, a special education teacher, a subject-area expert, and a guidance counselor. 

Sometimes, one or more classroom teachers may also be involved in the assessment process, especially for older students or those who have participated in classroom activities. After the assessment period has commenced, the group of stakeholders will collect information about the student’s disability. This could include examples of classwork, logs of social and behavior skills, and more. Sometimes, the student will be given a norm-referenced test or a standardized test as part of a nondiscriminatory assessment. Interviews or observational evaluations based on written criteria too could be used.

After evaluation, the group of stakeholders will reconvene to decide the best plan for students. This may include special classes, like sessions with a speech therapist. Other help may consist of 504 plans, IEPs, or more extensive assistance.

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