The Assignment Routine
At the middle-school level, students are expected to record each homework assignment in writing, take the necessary materials home, complete the assignments at home, return the materials to the school, andhand the assignments in on time. Although this multistep process is formidable enough for students with disabilities, it becomes even moredifficult when all the students in the class are expected to complete thesame assignment in the same way, and individual differences and preferences are not taken into account.
Even when contentadaptations are specified on an IEP, assignments do not always reflecttheir modified expectations. As a result, students with disabilities oftendo not complete their homework assignments. This two-part adaptationwas developed to be useful across subject-matter areas. It can help you planand present assignments that all students in the class can complete, aswell as help students record and complete the assignments.
In the first part of this adaptation, you adapt the assignment to fitthe skills and needs of the students in the class. Next, you presentthe assignment to students using a visual display, and have them record theassignment in a special assignment planner that contains prompts for all steps in the assignment-completion process.
The first part of the adaptation helps you plan, present, and evaluate the assignment. A special worksheet prompts you to consider thefollowing:
- The purpose of the assignment
- Its relevance to students
- Student choices for completing the assignment that take intoaccount their skills. For example, students might choose a book tobe read for a book report so that it will be at their reading level.For the "report" they could draw an ad, create a test withan answer key, create several pictures of scenery, or make a poster.
- Problems students might encounter while completing the assignment
- Solutions to those problems, which can be explained to the students
The worksheet also helps you to plan clear directions for the assignment, supplies and resources that might need to be made available, and the grading criteria for the assignment.Next, plan how you can visually display this information for the students. For simple assignments, a graphic device called the Assignment Window can be used. For complex assignments, an Assignment Handout can be created.
When you present the assignment in class, refer students to the information on the Assignment Handout or Window and give them time to plan how they will complete the assignment. Students can record basic information in assignment planners specifically designed for students who have difficulty with writing tasks, scheduling time, and completing assignments.
More on Adapting Existing Materials.