Sunday, January 28, 2007


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.


MsAbcMom said...

UGH! This made me mad just to read this post. (not at you, but this system that we are in) I hate this dumb testing game. What have we really gained from all of this testing? It makes no sense at all. When will it end?

Anonymous said...

I am a parent of one of those students. His I.Q. is 113 yet fails to remember things.He is now under a 504 plan after independant testing. Teachers still refuse to except his memory lapses as "laziness","immaturity",etc. Many need to be made aware that just because a child doesnot qualify for special ed. they still need modifications so they can succeed in school.The laws are not in favor nor strong enough to ensure these children to not "slip between the cracks".

Marianne said...

Unfortunately, our legislators and president live in the land where all women are good looking and all children above average.

Julie said...

"Every politician should be required to prove mastery of the concept of the Bell Curve before being allowed to file election papers."


amy said...

What a very interesting post! I wanted to thank you for stopping our adoption site! I work with special needs kids in the hospital and was interested in this post

ms. whatsit said...

This post hits home for me, because I work with adolescents who DNQ. Every year I find myself fretting over the fact that they do not read and think at a high enough level to be successful in high school. It is a sorrowful reflection of the system when the federal guidelines purposefully deny those who are most in need of extra special accomodations and academic support.

Also, it is the goal of my district to graduate all students to be "college ready" (this continues to be a growing trend among districts in my region), so very little money is allocated to vocational education programs. I cannot shake the feeling that such inflexible thinking about this uniform goal that we must set for every child makes the situation for those who DNQ even more dire.

sarala said...

I cannot agree more.
Worse yet was one kid I know with an IQ of 73 who was classified (incorrectly) as LD and forced to endure an Algebra class even though he couldn't do his times tables.