Connecting Standards Based Learning to SDI
(SDI=Specially designed Instruction)


What will benefit the student the most?


1.      What is (are) the student’s disabilit(ies)?

2.      Does the student have more than one disability?  If so, than specify how each disability effects the child’s
performance or discuss how the total set of disabilities effects performance.

3.      What are the most significant problems the student has in each class/subject area? Be specific.

4.      Given the disability and the problems, what will make the biggest difference for the student in the coming year?  What would we like the student to be able to do by the end of the year? 

5.      What is the student’s rate of learning/change? Consider this in planning how much we can ask the student to realistically be able to do.

6.      Accommodations: What are the key things that we can do in each class/subject that will allow the student successful access to the day-to-day classroom activities?


These are interventions that can be done primarily using consultation of the special education team members and can be implemented by the general classroom teacher.


They do NOT require specially designed, direct instruction.


Accommodations do not change the standard of performance or the core content of the work.  They tend to be applicable to all subjects but may be subject specific.


If your IEP consists only of accommodations, it is NOT an IEP. An IEP must have specially designed instruction. If this is the case, regroup and consider whether or not the student really requires SDI or can the needs that are a direct result of their disability be managed through a 504 Accommodation plan.


7.      Modifications: Is the student able to do the day-to-day work in the same way as other students? If not, what changes to content, instruction, or performance (output type and/or grading) must happen?


 Modifications must be designed by the special educator (or other member of the special education team) but may be implemented by the special educator, paraprofessional, or the general classroom teacher. It is considered a part of specially designed instruction. The designer AND the person implementing the modifications are responsible for insuring that the modification is done.


The result of a modification is that the student is receiving direct instruction. Simply giving the student an alternate text (an example of a content modification) without also giving him other specially designed instruction so he can work on his comprehension skills, for example, is not good practice.


8.      Other Specially designed instruction: Some Questions to consider

 In order for the student to make real progress in their long-term performance in the academic areas, what other specially designed, direct instruction may be needed?  Does this student need a pull-aside or pull-out service? What is going to help them gain access to the general education curriculum/standards? While this is a delivery of instruction question, it must be considered.


Does the student need to be taught specific strategies or taught in a way that is not available to students in the class (Methodology/Delivery of Instruction)?  Where, when, how and by who will it be implemented. Does the student require a content modification? Is the student able to learn the quantity and quality of material that other students in the general curriculum are doing? If not, what changes to the materials or course content must be made for the student?  Again, proceed with caution. Simply changing content without providing instruction to the student to potentially enable him to be able to use/access the regular education materials without modification is not good instructional practice.


Performance modifications speak to the needs of students who are not able to complete the work at the same level of other students or in the same way.  HOWEVER, please be cautious in their use. Simply changing the performance criteria, such as reducing the percentage or number of correct problems, is not direct instruction. Consider performance modifications of this type as a means to an end, but no more.


Performance modifications can also be the way the student will show competency.  Pictorial essays versus written essays, oral testing. Inclusion classes that call for co-teaching/planning in order to present learning in multiple ways, modifications of content/instruction/performance for individual students, and that use pull-aside instructional opportunities are all methods for providing specially designed instruction.


Is an inclusion class an accommodation or a modification? It could be either one. It depends on what the student is expected to do with the class, meaning…


It is an accommodation if the student benefits from increased student teacher ratios in order to stay more focused on learning but does not require specially designed instruction intervention.  It could be used as an IEP accommodation or a 504 accommodation.


It is a modification if the student will have goals and objectives that are directly linked to classroom performance or is receiving modifications while other interventions, such as supplemental/intensive reading instruction are implemented in order for the student to eventually reduce the need for modifications.


9.      All modifications require connection to Annual Goals and Objectives.


Connecting to the Academic Frameworks

1.      Given the disability, what is the impact on the general Learning Strands?

2.      Which standards under each learning strand are primarily effected?

3.      Which standards are most important right now for this student?

4.      How can we minimize the impact – short term and long term? What can we do with the student to make the biggest difference? (Direct instruction)

5.      What are the reasonable parts of the standards our student can be expected to achieve this year?  (Modifications)


Scenarios of Instruction

1.      If the student is performing at a level that is significantly below their peers in the class, than modifications and other specially designed instruction in the strand/standard are going to be required in some combination. A student with a SLD in reading, functioning 2.5 years below grade level, will require accommodations and modifications (SDI) in each subject area. We can write these to be implemented across environments or for each subject area (IEP2). The student will also require direct instruction in intensive/ additional reading because learning to read better will make the biggest difference to him.

2.      For students who have intellectual or multiple handicaps that effect cognition, the curriculum of the alternative programs (self-contained, collaborative, or out-of-district) must be inline with the Curriculum Frameworks (such as Math: Number Sense).  The curriculum is presented in ways that are appropriate to the ability of the child.  Again, focus on the things that will make the biggest difference for the child in the long term (vision). The curriculum is inherent in the class/program and should be clearly defined.  It will most often be a subset of the overall standards.  These students will likely get alternate MCAS assessment.

3.      For students whose disability does not effect aptitude but who is not achieving because of the disability’s impact, every effort should be made to have the student reach grade-level performance. The disability should be examined from the point of HOW is it preventing the student from making effective progress and what can we do to help the student achieve successfully. An example would be a child with emotional impairment who is unable to complete tasks, follow directions, etc.  The curriculum would be driven and follow the grade-level Curriculum Frameworks supported by a combination of accommodations, modifications, and other specially designed instruction in the subject(s) areas. The vision for these students is to be able to pass the MCAS and achieve a high school diploma. Some students may also be given the MCAS alternate assessment in some or all areas if their disability is significantly impacting overall performance.

4.      If the student is going to be held to 5th grade standards in 5th grade and is only going to receive accommodations and related services, it may be a 504 plan or may be imbedded as a regular education instruction best practice (not requiring additional paperwork).