The saddest acronym in Education is DNQ – Does Not Qualify.
The TAKS test lurks around the corner so testing is going on at warp speed in the hopes of diagnosing learning disabilities. I’m not a special education teacher so I don’t know the official definition but basically it’s assigned to children who have a gap between their IQ and their school performance.
The child can have dyslexia, a processing problem, ADD, ADAH, emotional problems, poor hearing, autism – any of the alphabet soup of learning disorders.
Once diagnosed they qualify for special education, Resource, and modifications.
They can have the test read to them, take it a small group situation, take a special TAKS type test or take one for a lower grade level. These kids are expected to pass A Test but it isn’t necessarily THE TEST.
It’s devastating for many parents when their child is diagnosed and many refuse to accept it and insist, at least for a time that their child is “fine”. Some on the other hand are delighted since there are government subsidies for some of these kids – known on the street as “The Crazy Money”.
However, they feel, sooner or later the parents usually come round the child starts getting the services they need.
No so the DNQ kids. DNQ means a child is learning at the best of their capability, they just aren’t capable of learning very much or learning it quickly. An IQ of 70 or below indicates mental retardation (or mentally challenged in today’s PC parlance), an IQ of 71 means that learning is long and difficult process.
Yet, this child with the 71 IQ is expected to pass the very same test that a child with an IQ of 100 or 110 or 120 is expected to take. And this DNQ child is expected to get the same score, or at least produce a 90% passing rate.
It’s not fair to the child who must spend every hour of school in special tutoring try to grasp what comes to easily to his or her classmates. It isn’t fair to the parents who are pulled in for conference after conference and given dire warnings about what will happen to their child should he not pass. And it’s not fair to the teachers who will be held accountable.
Every politician should be required to prove mastery of the concept of the Bell Curve before being allowed to file election papers.