The Continuous Feedback System
Each dimension of the Continuous Feedback System (CFS) will help you gain a deeper understanding of how we assess and understand both learning disabilities and students strengths as well as examples of individualized program we develop for each student. Moreover, each area in the bottom portion of the CFS will reveal how our process is truly continual in that our teachers are trained how to evaluate students responses every day and their internal psychological and social landscape in such a way that allows us to help gain skills and personal independence that results in outcomes that include, but are not limited to 90% of our graduates going to college.
Assessment at WPS is meant to be a way to understand a child’s strengths and weaknesses so that we can most effectively help them learn through precise and individualized curricular design. Assessment is not a ranking mechanism, an end-point, or used for creating labels and limits. It is constant, drives understanding, is individualized and highly focused. Assessment allows educators to measure skills, track progress, refine goals, give feedback, and realize potential and improve ability to learn.
The design and implementation of each student’s educational program begins with an understanding of their learning profile in the context of a neuropsychological model of learning disorders. This model is a result of neuropsychological and educational research that describes the learning process as an interactive one that involves three-part processing; language based, nonverbal and executive function. Although it is merely a starting point in our ongoing assessment of students’ strengths and weaknesses, it is an important diagnostic characterization that allows us to begin to focus upon and investigate primary areas of learning difficulties. Click below to learn more about each area of learning and learning disorders.
Language Processing Difficulties
Dyslexia is a specific learning disability that is neurological in origin. It is characterized by difficulties with accurate and/or fluent word recognition and by poor spelling and decoding abilities. These difficulties typically result from a deficit in the phonological component of language that is often unexpected in relation to other cognitive abilities and the provision of effective classroom instruction. Secondary consequences may include problems in reading comprehension and reduced reading experience that can impede growth of vocabulary and background knowledge.
Nonverbal Processing Difficulties
Nonverbal learning disorders are characterized by a combination of neuropsychological deficits. NLD is a spectrum of disorders characterized by variations in severity. NLD is a pervasive and overlapping school and social problem characterized by difficulties with reasoning and comprehension, socialization and communication, visual spatial tasks, mathematics and executive functions. Primary assets frequently include auditory perception, rote verbal memory and some simple motor and psychomotor skills. Socio-emotional deficits include adaption to novelty, social competence, emotional stability and activity level. Researchers note that the clinical features of NLD and Asperger Syndrome reveal a strikingly similar pattern of behavior and functioning.
Executive Functioning Difficulties
Executive function is an umbrella term that describes the supervisory and self-regulatory mental processes involved in planning, organizing and responding in a flexible, strategic and appropriate way. Researchers highlight a variety of processes associated with executive functions, including (but not limited to), goal selection, planning, regulation of goal directed behavior, delay of gratification, mental and behavior flexibility, metacognition, adjusting to changing rules, utilization of attention and decision making. Students that have executive functions difficulties exhibit difficulties with many if not all of the processes noted as executive functions.
The individualized educational process begins with the review of each student’s psycho-educational evaluation, standardized testing, informal testing, and social-emotional development. WPS then groups students based on their learning difficulty, skill level, and educational and social-emotional needs. This allows educators to more precisely develop, adjust and refine curriculum that meets the skills and content needs of each student in a small group. The design of precisely individualized instruction (program) that encourages skill acquisition and independence is one of the most challenging tasks for an educator, and to do so successfully one must fully assess, understand, and evaluate the responses of each student as an individual learner. As such, instructional design is at the heart of WPS’s Continuous Feedback System and relies on educator knowledge of each student and a myriad of instructional methods and materials.