Family Friendly Tech and Advocacy: Tech Psychologist's Guide by Dr. Jeanne Beckman

Family Friendly Tech and Advocacy: Tech Psychologist's Guide   by Dr. Jeanne Beckman
Finally, a book to help families find the right technology to accommodate reading disorders (dyslexia) and other disabilties! ISBN 978-1-60264-089-4

How to purchase my book

To purchase through Virtual Bookworm (my publisher) you can click Virtual Bookworm Publisher: Tech Psychologist's Guide or
Amazon no longer allows Illinois professionals to get credit for referrals to Amazon due to a sales tax dispute. I will be referring to Powell's in the near future.

What is that TinyURL notation that you see in my blog? For those who use a screen reader, the link that is hidden behind words like Tech Psychologist Guide remains hidden. However, screen readers can read aloud the website address, or URL, if it was produced by Also, sometimes these addresses are so long that they wrap around several lines or overlap into colored areas of a website that obscure the actual address. Intrigued? You can create your own tinyurl's at

Friday, October 19, 2007

Exit Exam and Disability: Does It Make Sense?

Everywhere, I see articles about governments passing laws requiring students to pass an "exit exam" in order to receive a high school diploma. Those who do not pass the exam, including those with disabilities, receive a certificate to indicate they have completed school but did not receive a diploma. So what's wrong with this picture?

Schools are obligated by law to provide an appropriate education. According to, education is defined as

  • "the act or process of imparting or acquiring general knowledge, developing the powers of reasoning and judgment, and generally of preparing oneself or others intellectually for mature life."
It only makes sense that if students "fail" their curriculum, it is because the school has failed to provide an education that has meaningful benefit for the student. For those with disabilities, the law is clear that the education must be "appropriate," yet every day schools provide watered down curricula in segregated settings that have no resemblance to the opportunities to learn in "regular" settings. A big difference between poor communities and well-to-do communities that is rarely mentioned is that parents in well-to-do communities pay tens of thousands of dollars per year for private tutoring so that their children are adequately prepared for post-high school academic and work settings. Politicians ignore parents' testimony at hearings about what children need, instead listening to administrators who have a vested interest in keeping the focus on blaming the students for the administration's failure.

If someone hires a plumber to install a new sink, and find that the pipes leak, we would not blame the sink for the leaking pipes, instead we would not pay the plumber until the sink was fully functional and the pipes did not leak. If we took our child to a physician for a broken arm, and the physician told us to put the arm in a sling and told us that performing arm curl exercises would heal the arm, we would not accept that it was our child's fault that the arm did not heal. We would sue the physician for malpractice and take our child to a physician who utilized known medical practice to properly set and cast the arm.

What if the teachers had to pass standardized practical exams to demonstrate that they are capable of administering appropriate educational interventions and understand the importance of following standardized protocol? What would happen if school administrators' salaries were tied to yearly, documented performance scores of their teachers in proper, standardized administration of research-validated reading programs? Physicians, psychologists, plumbers, and electricians have to pass exams to prove that they have a command of the essential techniques of their profession before they are allowed to practice independently. Why not teachers and administrators?

High stakes testing for "student failure?" It doesn't make sense to me.

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