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sick of vgla's Message:

In response, I agree that I am sick of VGLA! Our county had an inservice at the beginning of the year on how to help our special ed kids pass it, and our director said, and I quote, "My dog could pass VGLA". I am sick and tired of how hard we work as teachers to go over and above the call of duty to make it look on paper how these 'special ed' kids know the SOLS, which always takes time away from helping our 'normal' students. When is our state going to wake up and start elementary programs for special ed kids that teaches them trades which they will need as life skills? Let us teach these stupid SOLs to the 'average' kids, and quit making us work so hard creating passing scores for those kids who will never have a snowball's chance so to speak.

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Discussion Review (newest messages first)
Jennifer ks 04-20-2015 05:07 AM

This message is for all the teachers who are complaining about the VGLA binders... First, let me say I have been a high school and middle school teacher so I have a teaching background... I also have a son adopted from China who had ELL, language delays, a math learning disability, and receives OT at school... That being said, many of the teachers here that protest the VGLA have never been in the position of trying to get your child to pass the SOL's when you have all those hurdles to jump as I have listed... Without this system in place, where would that leave children like this?

Yes, the SOL system is not perfect, but neither are our children and it is our duty as educators and parents, to get them thru this challenging program.

LongTallSally 04-01-2012 04:33 AM

Although I have no idea what VGLA represents, I DO believe that ALL children can and do learn, and I never feel a child is not worth my effort. I do not do worksheets, grill, and drill as my regular teaching strategies, and I do use porfolios. I offer opportunities for my special needs students to share with partners, small groups, and whole group. All students use ''hands-on" activities. The problem I am facing is that only 5 of my 20 students are those "normal" students at proficient or advanced. This places a very heavy burden on them when trying to do a small group task. Many of the struggling students have chronic absenteeism. Our district has no judicial support for this, and as a teacher I am limited to speaking to parents of the need for the child to be in school, and letters go home from our counselor. I have incorporated as much outside support as our school allows (high school mentors, counselor, principal, study buddies) and stay in touch with all my parents daily. Several of my students receive outside counseling, a few ADD/ADHD students take medication, some don't, and our special education teacher is stretched to the max in helping with inclusion. I am not a novice teacher. If this were my first year of teaching, I would be looking for a new professiosn. However, I love teaching, but I am exhausted, depressed, and desperately need some encouragement and/or advice. I teach fourth grade.

guest4 10-18-2011 01:53 PM

Is there anyone else out there that continues to fell the pressure of completing VGLA's? I am a sped teacher for 3rd graders. I would like to see my students given the opportunity to take SOL's, as I did last year. But because our school did not make AYP, now they want everyone taking a VGLA. It is frustrating.

Sharon 04-26-2010 05:32 AM

Where do you live, in an area with very few children that have multiple learning disabilities. It seems that the only problem that you are facing is a student's inability to read english. These teachers are not stressed out solely because of that, they are stressed out because some of their kids cannot read in any language and are still expected to pass.

Sharon 04-26-2010 05:15 AM

mabsab, your message is not very objective, I am a parent who can see both sides of the issue. the teachers are not saying your child is dumb or unable to learn. They are saying that at this rate things are going, you are not going to have a great special ed. teacher anymore. At six days a week, 12 hours a day, they are going to burn out and have to quit, if they want to maintain their health, raise their own children and save their marriage! Then who is going to teach your child? Your child might not be one of those that are 2-4 years behind and is expected to pass on grade level. Listen before you jump to conclusion. America is considered to be low on the list for public education when compared to the developed world. This is one of the reasons. We are keeping up appearances; everyone has to pass. I like most aspects of No Child Left behind, it keeps teachers and administrators accountable, but it should not be used in all cases! I f a child cannot pass, then teachers should focus on reading, math and life skills rather than passing a test, which is not going to help that child when he become an adult.
VGLA might be good for some students, but not all. The SOLs are fine for the average kids, but in many countries children have to master 5-7 subjects given in open-ended formats to graduate highschools . If students fail due to lack of studying, teachers are not blamed. Teachers are blamed if their day to day teaching are not producing expected results.

I say when it comes to special ed children, they should NOT be lumped together and all thrown into VGLA. It should be according to their ability. Some students should not have to worry about SOLs but should be put in classes designed with their future in mind. This goes back to learning life skills while not limiting the kids ability to learn. Meaning, find as many ways as possible to teach the kids their core subjects in a way that they will understand and take in as much as possible without the added pressure of VGLA.

VA Sped Ed 04-18-2010 08:38 AM

Thanks so much for this comment, not only am I a special ed educator but a mother of an LD child and I dont consider him a waste of anyones time and effort.... how offensive and sad some people are. My son takes his SOL's but with accomodations and I am working on wrapping up my VGLA's now. Nothing is a waste of time when it comes to children. Prehaps some of the people on this forum should find another profession!!

yippee 03-25-2010 06:40 PM

I agree with you about the ESL students and the unfairness of the SOL. I just question if they understand the work they are completing. The time spent on collecting binder evidence could be better spent on activities that help their language acquisition. They stop getting services when they reach a certain level and have spent valuable time working VGLA's that won't help them get a diploma.

tirededucatr 03-22-2010 03:50 PM

Glad to hear someone is doing the VGLA correctly. Unfortunately our school needs these binders in order to make a passing score. Students are burned out on reteaching and redoing work to collect evidence. They are pulled from special classes and made to keep reworking the papers. It is sad. Because of the pressure on teachers, students are not reaping the benefit of VGLA.

iCaresped 03-11-2010 04:40 PM

I have 3 more weeks to teach 40 more years of history for a binder...everyone else has 3 more months for the same content.

kaydee33 03-10-2010 05:44 PM

I am a regular ed teacher and have had to complete 14 VGLA binders this year alone. The binders are simply evidence that the standards have been taught and mastered by each student. I have my whole class complete each piece of evidence as it's what I am supposed to teach anyway! So as far as the extra time goes, the only extra time that I put into these binders is in organizing them.
The kids who I have had to complete a binder for have no chance of passing the regular SOL because their level of English is not high enough to understand the reading test. The VGLA gives them a way to show that they can and do meet the standards in their grade without having to struggle through a test that is wordy and frustrating (and not in their native language). Put yourself in this situation.... You arrive in Mexico in August and enroll in school speaking NO Spanish. It doesn't mean you aren't smart or that you couldn't master the content for that grade, it just means that you are not proficient in the language the test is given in. If they gave you the same test in English, you could pass. Hell, why don't they offer the SOL in more than one language? That would solve a whole bundle of problems!
I will not deny that the VGLA could be easily skewed just to bump AYP. But I also can not be comfortable with standing by and watching my ESOL kids struggle through a test that they can not complete simply because they have not yet mastered the English language for their age. After all, it's a reading test, not a language test.

yippee 02-28-2010 08:23 PM

Our special education students deserve so much more than the VGLA. The truth has been told and maybe know we can move forward with what our students education. My heart is broken for all the eighth graders who will only get a modified diploma because the only thing they can do is fill in a worksheet.

VGLA 02-14-2010 10:38 PM

Do you think it would ever be possible to provide the option that ALL students take the SOL.... but if a student fails, they are provided EVIDENCE that the student did in fact learn/was previously assessed/shown evidence on this material? Essentially, allowing students to take both?? This way students earn a chance to TRY to take the SOL-- if they don't pass, the school can still earn AYP w/this collection of evidence "backup"

I work w/so many students who are "borderline" not passing...and unfotunately the "IEP team" (aKa the Principal) leans towards the "student" (aKa the teacher) doing VGLA. Frustrating, if they could in fact take the SOL.

read&see 02-03-2010 01:11 PM

The students are not learning or learning how to understand is what is criminal about the VGLA.

read&see 02-03-2010 12:50 PM

But were they required to take the VGLA?

Brenda W. 02-01-2010 06:49 PM

VGLA has no real-life application. Life is about multiple choice(s). These students will someday leave school and have to pass standardized tests whether for medical asst, dental asst, cosmetology school,, heck, the DMV drivers test---how will they pass with little exposure on test-taking and test-taking skills? VGLA says "we have no faith in your ability to learn nor your teachers ability to teach so just forget it---don't take the test." Try showing up with all your pieces of evidence at the DMV and see if you don't have to take the drivers test---it's not going to happen. Get real and keep the faith and teach kids test-taking strategies so that they can pass tests. A class-action suit is awaiting someday. These kids will grow up and realize they have been had and can't pass a test with the help of the school system---and taxpayers will have to pay for remediation when they are in their 20's and 30''s just a matter of time...what goes around comes around...

RPS SPED 01-04-2010 01:00 PM

Are you out of your mind lizziew?You don't deal with VGLA so you don't have any darn idea how much work it really takes to not only do one binder for one student but to have to do 25 biders in two different subjects, and that's not even a lot! Their are teachers in Richmond who have to do 40 or more, BY THEMSELVES!!!!!! Its not just having to do WORK! as you so eloquently put it. Its having to do work that general ed kids dont have to do. General ed kids dont have to do at least three or more pieces of evidence for every single bullet and the work that they do has to be different than everyone elses work. Which means you have to change every assignment i dont know how many times.
There is also the problem of having to constantly prod a student and in my case many students that from the first day they walk through the door dont do a darn thing to help themself learn what they need to. Don't let me forget that most of my students can't read on grade level or even at all!!!!!!!!!!! I have four students who are six graders and they cant ever read spot words. they don't know basic word blends like st, sl, ch, so every time we do work they have no idea what we are talking about. We also have administrators who place children into VGLA just so they won't fail the test because a handful of them won't do a darn thing with anyone. You same HAVE TO DO SOME WORK? i DON'T GET TO SPEND QUEIT EVENINGS WITH MY FAMILY! I spend just about every darn night making work, grading work, putting work into protective sleeves. Oh and did I mention you are supposed to do all this work in the INCLUSION MODEL! how the heck can you get anything done when your "general education" classroom is 70 percent sped? THAT IS ILLEGAL! by law ist only supposed to be 40percent at the most. There are some schools in richmond city that are higher than 70%.
Oh, and then we have to write IEP's by ourselves. We have to try and keep track of 20 students that you are on your caseload. Half of them i don't ever get to see in class because they are placed on the other side of the school. i dont know the child yet I am supposed to write a comprehensive IEP for him.

You have no idea what you are talking about, have no idea how stressful this is and how little help you get from the people on high, when you tell them that two girls you have can barely spell their names right yet are supposed to be able to perform in a six grade class on grade level. Be fortunate that you don't have to go through this stress. I have been here only two years and the only reason that I have stayed is because I actually wan't to teach children who need the help. You don't know how many people out there just don't care.
VGLA is a bad idea and Virginia is the only state in the country that has this bad idea and think its actually helping someone.

Sister In Ed. 12-31-2009 06:31 PM

Your message should be sent to the government: Federal and State. Thank You,

April20 12-15-2009 07:03 PM

I never did a VGLA myself but heard the horror stories from SPED and general edu teachers who had to compile the notebooks. One issue was that our county demanded the notebooks months before the SOL test in May. Basically, low level students had to learn (ahem: worksheet completion) the material at a faster pace than the regular education students had to learn the same material. Huh? They have learning disabilities and/or lower IQs but need to do the work in less time than normal learning/average IQ students? Really?

Students were not really learning the material. They would stay during remediation to do worksheets instead of actually learn how to read better or solve math problems. They would have catch up days in which they would comlete endless worksheets to be used in the VGLA notebook. "Do this one. Now do this one. Now do this one." All so our county's AYP scores would be acceptable. We had a kid with severe dyslexia--he could not read above a 1st grade level but was in the 8th grade. They did a VGLA notebook, using 8th grade SOL standards, for this young man. Huh?

SOLs are bad enough, but VGLAs are ridiculous. As for those taking offense at the teacher's remarks that the SPED kids should just learn a trade, are you saying there is something wrong with being a carpenter or mechanic? See how easy it is to take offense at a comment? I think the fact that vocational training is going out the window in many states is horrible. It has nothing to do with intellectual ability. There are kids who are very smart and could do well in college; however, not everyone is meant for college or even wants to go to college. What is wrong with learning a trade and making decent money? Do you really think your kid becoming a philosophy student is going to get him anywhere? I think too many kids go to college who would do better to wait until they are older and ready to make that commitment: intellectual levels have nothing to do with it.

I had a student who was wonderful with his hands--really talented. He could also solve spatial puzzles that the academic kids couldn't even figure out. Should he really be forced to pass SOL tests or leave school with no diploma? He will probably not make it through school. He'll drop out because he can't pass the SOL tests in reading/writing for sure. We don't have much of a vocational training program in our county anyway. Vocational training might have given him some self-esteem. I oohed and awwed over his brilliance with puzzles and carpentry. I needed him to know that intellectual gifts are not the only things that matter. The government says kids shouldn't be left behind but forces children to be left behind every day. We tell them with these tests and notebooks that if they can't pass a test or circle the right answer that they aren't worthy. What crap. A child with learning disabilities or even a low IQ can still be valuable members of society.

By all means, most people can learn. Problem is that not everyone can learn everything that is on that test, all at the same time, in the same way, at this moment, right now. I couldn't learn integers until I was in the 9th grade, no matter what my various math teachers did in middle school. My brain wasn't ready for integers. Do state assessments take into consideration that all children, SPED and regular, learn at different paces? No. VGLA is bogus. It is too easily misused by counties to get their AYP numbers up. Most of the kids with binders aren't really learning a darn thing. Teachers are forced to waste hours upons hours of time that could be better spent preparing engaging, enriching lessons and/or teaching students (both regular and SPED) than waste hours pushing worksheets in front of kids and then compiling, labeling, cross referencing, tabbing, etc. VGLA notebooks. Yikes!

SPEDnovice 12-14-2009 03:42 PM

I is so ridiculous to expect special education students to do the same academics as the regular students. Education needs revamping so it makes sense and everyone has a chance to get a relevant education!!

teach sped 12-14-2009 02:56 PM

I can't believe that women said students with exceptionalities are a waste of time. I agree with you completely about the ridiculous labels that are to help all students receive an equal education. Putting them in trade schools and saying they are a waste of time is how negative trends start about people who are different than us. I could go on and on, I am APPALLED someone could call themselves a teacher when they have such negative views of students. Yes VGLAs are long and tedious but if it is what needs to be done for our students to receive the same equal education- then DO IT-- EDUCATIONAL BENEFIT!!! IT IS ALL ABOUT THE STUDENT's EDUCATION!!!

unhappy 12-03-2009 04:00 AM

Interesting how many of us have signed out when responding! I'm feeling the pressure to agree to VGLA testing for my ELL students. Most cannot read on grade level although they been in the United States since at least kindergarten. Our ELL program is worthless. Morally, I don't agree with them taking the VGLA. It will not truly represent how we are doing with our ELL students. We are short-changing them and giving up on them if we don't set the bar for them to pass the SOL reading test.

jparete 12-02-2009 10:27 AM

Rich- Im one who LOVES VGLA because, for the first time, many kids with disabilities are truly passing benchmarks. This is a great opportunity to re-teach basic skills and provide a positive learning experience for kids who often don't have any. They are time consuming - but even more time consuming is the failure that results when they reach high school, and haven't mastered basic skills.

Anonanon 11-19-2009 08:16 AM

From what I've seen, VGLA is a mass of busy work for teachers that doesn't improve education much at all. The notebooks are a complete waste of time.

That's my perspective as the husband of a teacher who has to do all the VGLA work. As a parent of three students in Virginia public schools, one of whom goes through the same VGLA process, I am appalled that this is in place. I think my 4th-grade daughter's level of education relative to her peers has dropped since she moved into the 'notebook' method even though her grades are better.

As far as I can tell, VGLA was created to raise grades but does nothing to help my daughter LEARN. The whole thing was obviously developed by bureaucrats and political hacks with an ax to grind, when it should have been TEACHERS involved from start to finish.

VGLA 11-11-2009 04:35 PM

Amen to the message from Rose above!!!!! It is frightening how delighted schools are when Reading/Math SOL scores go up....hello...that's largely because more "VGLAs" are being done for students that "can't access the SOLs"--
VGLAs in middle school are doing students a big dis-service...WTF (another SPED acronym) are they going to do in high school when they actually have to take a real multiple choice test- and they haven't been as prepared as their peers because they have been doing millions of VGLA crap instead?

AWRose 10-20-2009 12:59 PM

The answer is NOT VGLA. The answer is not to create a document that falcifies the child's level of performance. That is NO BETTER than giving that child an SOL - and maybe worse, as parents walk away believing that rubbish!

The answer is in the hands of the teachers and the principals. Flood your union with calls, and say "no, I won't create a lie," "no, I'm going to TEACH, not create scrapbooks," "no, I'm not going to make my student who is four grades below grade level into a "pass advance" so my school meets AYP." Protest the unreasonableness of NCLB, and demand testing on yearly progress, not impossible and inappropriate benchmarks!

If a model school district like Fairfax County had taken a stand, and every school failed to meet AYP, NCLB's ridiculous benchmark measurements would have been changed a long time ago.

Our children deserve to be appropriately measured in a way that provides accountability and actionable information.

Maybe it can start with HS principals, who get a group of freshman every year who passed their 8th grade SOLs, in the form of VGLA, but can't read or do simple math!

amom 10-09-2009 05:16 AM

Please keep in mind that some 'special ed' kids have learning difficulties that makes it more difficult for them to learn...but doesn't mean that they need to give up on an education and 'learn a trade'. I am sure that if you researched it, you would find that many kids with learning disabilities (a big percentage of special education students), have gone on to lead successful lives.

MariaC 10-03-2009 04:34 PM

Can anyone give me an idea how many teacher hours go into each VGLA notebook? Fairfax County administered over 9000 VGLA examinations last year. How can we possibly afford to waste the valuable time of our teachers, especially during this budget crunch? Who evaluates these notebooks? Is this more time and money taken from instruction?

dyslexic 1 09-29-2009 08:03 AM

As a parent of a child in Hanover County School's, it infuriates me to see that a "teacher" who is supposed to be sympathetic and loving to every child's needs could be so harsh in his/her statements. You act, as if, special needs children are not worthy of learning. As you call them, "these 'special ed' kids" comparing to "our 'normal' students. What are special ed children to you?? Not 'normal'. How insensitive? Wish I knew your administrator and superintendent. Your place is not in a classroom.

By the way, our 'normal special ed' child was diagnosed with dyslexia two years ago (5th grade) due to 'normal ed' teachers in elementary school that discouraged us from the fact that our child may have a learning disability. We began asking this question in the 3rd grade. Who do we believe? We believe the college educated teachers who should know whether or not a child is having difficulty. We put our TRUST in individuals, such as you, to teach our child. As a child with dyslexia, they are able to function AND go to college. Look at all of the politicians, scientist, etc. that were dyslexic.

So to answer your question, teaching them trade skills for life?? You need to do your research teacher and THINK before you speak. Some of these individual's WILL have a "snowball's chance" to speak on your behalf one day as....let's see a politician or president???

Your ignorance really shows in your letter.

No VLGA 09-17-2009 04:25 PM

Reading most of the above posts has helped me feel better about my school year.Then I read your post. Myself and another MR (now ID) teacher are being forced to teach our below 60 IQ middle school kids following the VGLA collection of evidence. WORK? PLEASE!!! Do you even understand the amount of work SPED teachers do? Most gene ed teachers have teachers manuals and a curriculum that is on or nearly on grade level for their students. WE DO NOT!!! We create and adapt 99% of the work our students do very day. And Guess what, we teach 5 or 6 subjects every single day. We even sometimes teach more than one grade level, which by the way doubles the curriculum we are covering. While doing all of this, we are dealing with the LOW functioning education and behavior issues of our entire class. Oh yea, we also have beyond reasonable amounts of SPED paper work to complete.
Not all SPED teachers are created equal and many of us are putting in 25 - 30 hours of work outside of the classroom each and every week already. Work? Have you ever even thought about how that much time focusing on skills which your students will NEVER use again is destroying and disillusioning the SPED teachers at your school?
Work? I too could care less about AYP. I would like to have a weekend off once in a while, and be able to spend time with my own children. It sure would be nice to teach my students that a nickel is worth 5 cents and STOP spells stop. Skills that might actually help them in life - novel idea, huh? Work, gasp, my foot!

spedteacher6 08-18-2009 11:09 AM

I, too, have a lot of issues with VGLA... namely being that I just do not think it is the right way to assess students with disabilities. I wish I had an answer as to what WOULD be the right way to assess them, but I just don't think that having them focus on one objective at a time, assess, then move on (all while the student throws out the information assessed and moves on, without truly retaining the information, because as one student told me, "I'm done with that [skill].... I don't need to remember how to do it because I'm not taking the SOL"- yes, a middle school student SAID that to me this year!).

Unfortunately, VGLA is here and we are all having to work within the system that is established. It seems to me that many people coming to this forum (myself included) are looking for ways to make this somewhat easier on US, the teachers. Therefore, I've decided that my motto this year is "Proactive, not reactive!" My binders were torn up from beginning to end during each review last year, and I felt that much of the assessments that I created and gave were more reactive to the statements from administration- meaning I was assessing waaaay more than I needed to. I also found that I was constantly playing "catch up". Lastly, I despised that I was doing all the work and the students were NOT taking ownership of their work. My plan this year is to have ALL my students (VLGA or SOL) create binders set up in exactly the same format as the VGLA binders. Students will take responsibility of filing their graded assessments under the correct SOL objectives, and weekly, they will review their binders to determine what areas they need to review and be re-assessed on (of course, I will check behind them, but they will help with the initial stickering and filing). At the end of the year, the non-VGLA students will get to take their binders home, and it will be an excellent study tool for the SOLs.

Yes, this sounds like a daunting task, but I've spent the past 2 years doing it the hard way and taking full responsibility of the binders. I had great success in passing last year (8 out of 9 LD/ED/autistic students), but I was exhausted and spent more time stressed and upset than I should have.

I will be very happy to share my success (or failure) in this venture with you all.... and I'm very open to hear what other people are doing to make this easier on us!

spedtchr1979 08-12-2009 08:04 PM

I too am against VGLA but not for the same reasons. Many studnets with learning disabilities can pass the test if they have the correct accomodations and the right teacher. I taught a self contained class of students with learning disabilities. All of them took the SOL test and 77% of them passed. Students with learning disailities still have to live in the same world as everyone else. Many of them will be attending college and will have to take the SATs. If they never practice taking a standarized test then they will not do well on the SATs.

lizziew 08-02-2009 10:21 AM

I should be shocked at what I am reading on this thread about VGLA, but sadly I am not. The sped teachers at my school are so anti-VGLA as many of you are. The sad thing is that the reason they are against it is because it's a lot of work. They would rather our school not make AYP each year as 99% of our SPED kids fails the multiple choice assessments. They have petitioned each year to the principal to not have to do the binders because they know they will need to actually (gasp!) work?! The regular education teachers have been begging to do VGLA's for our kids for years only to get vetoed by the sped teachers. When the score report comes out whose name are the sped kid under? Yup..the classroom teacher so it should be my decision if I want to do VGLA. I realize it is an incredible amount of work, but I would rather do the work than have my kids fail the SOL tests.

So..those of you that are anti-VGLA...what is the alternative? Would you rather just let the kids take the multiple choice tests and fail? I agree that it might not be a perfect situation. The reality is that all kids should have the ability to do a portfolio rather than a multiple choice test. I would love if my "slow learners" could do a portfolio, but they don't have that option. I think that we should be really grateful that Virginia has given us the opportunity to show that our sped kids CAN show progress in their SOL's.

I know that some people will bash me for my opinion, but it's a real sore spot at my school. We could have passed AYP this year IF our sped teachers were not such brats about doing the work.

1st year Sped 08-02-2009 07:03 AM

Hi Everyone! First of all, thank you so much for the informative posts that have already been placed regarding VGLA.

I am writing to learn more information about procedure and resources for collecting evidence for the VGLA. I am working with 5th and 6th graders and I'm not sure where I can find worksheets to use for them.

ahh!! I'm getting nervous, as the school year is quickly approaching and would GREATLY appreciate any suggestions or helpful hints to make data/evidence collecting more straightforward and mangagable.

Does any one have strategies or ways of collecting and managing evidence they would be willing to share? I am COMPLETELY new to this!!


New in Fifth 07-23-2009 11:39 AM

Kris, I am new to fifth grade and I will be teaching all the reading for my school. I was told I have four students who will need VGLA. Your response was very helpful. I was wondering if you could give me some suggestions on where to start and how to get this started from the beginning of the year. I am not sure how much help my SPED department is going to be so I would like to be prepared and ready to go when school starts. Thanks for any help you can offer.

Scratch 07-21-2009 04:45 PM

Try designing assessments that cover multiple objectives on one worksheet. Teacher created materials do much better because they can be designed to match the SOL. No it is not easy but are we not supposed to be teaching the SOLs and assessing what we teach? How is that a disservice to any student? You definitely do not need 6 pieces to cover an SOL. You just need to cover the standards. I get the frustration if you are being forced to complete a VGLA for students that don't qualify. If they qualify, it works. If you have to re-teach until a student reaches proficiency, that's good teaching. if you are having students do the same worksheet until they get the answers correct (through memorization) shame on you. .

scratch 07-21-2009 04:36 PM

VGLA does not dictate the type of diploma a student recieves.

Science 8 07-14-2009 03:58 AM

I am a 8th grade science teacher trying desperatly to put this VGLA together. It is composed of 6th, 7th and 8th grade evidence. I have an example of one that has already been done and do not mind sharing if anyone wants help. However, I need to gather blank sheets of evidence to start my own portfolio. It is not that hard but it is very time consuming. Working together could make things alot easier on all of us.

KADAPPY 06-03-2009 06:02 AM

I believe VGLA's are beneficial to the students who need them. Having taught 31 years, I have seen what happens when special education students and their teachers are not accountable for anything. At least, now the students and teachers do have objectives and are accountable for learning/teaching. Last year, I, as a classroom teacher, had 8 students who worked on VGLA's, and I believe they did learn. Granted, it was difficult collecting materials and finding work on their level. This year has been so much easier because I kept a notebook of materials I used for each objective last year. ( I only had 3 who qualified this year.) As they work in class, I keep a portfolio and use what I can in their books. They feel a sense of accomplishment too.

shenell 05-12-2009 10:44 AM

dont just blame Richmond! it eveywhere

Shenell 05-12-2009 10:36 AM

let form a group as teachers and connect with parents. Email me at

Shenell 05-12-2009 10:34 AM

let form a group as teachers and connect with parents.

Caringteacher 05-10-2009 05:11 PM

Try collecting data for the VGLA on students with Autism. Other teachers and admin. compare them to LD students and expect me to give them handouts to complete like the LD students.This is entirely a different area. Most of the students with Autism could care less about History and Science. These kids need to know functional skills, social skills and being independent in their lives. Unless the VGLA discusses what the day of the week it is, what is currently happening in the lives of each student (ex. A student with Autism can go into great detail of what interests him) and how to be independent, students with Autism should be exempt. I have taught in the clinical setting and public schools. There are more "politics" going on (ex. I was told to do whatever it takes to pass my students) than ever over testing of special ed. kids. It's sad. I just keep focusing on the everyday progress these children make. These are the true rewards of teaching.

shannon presn 05-07-2009 05:00 AM

I totally agree with you. It is a disservice to the students and all in the name of passing the SOL'S and getting AYP... The students learn nothing. I am unable to teach to the IEP and that is very frustrating as an ED teacher. Their disability is anger, frustration and how to deal with problems in a manner that they can survive in this world. It saddens me deeply and I have been struggling with how to resolve this issue..

Hang in there it will all work itself out, as long as teachers continue to be advocates for the students, and what is in their best interest.

Liesa 05-05-2009 12:33 PM

I agree 100%!! These students who participate in the VGLA's obviously already have trouble with testing, but going through all of the SOL's and bullets and having 3-6 pieces of evidence for each.....these students are doing nothing but busy work, especially with Math and Science. They do NOT have time to LEARN the material. They should design a test that works for them! I could come up with a lot of different ways to test their knowledge, why can't VDOE? Come on No Child Left Behind, these kids are NOT LEARNING on this fast pace they are made to do, it is overwhelming!

Lori7777 05-03-2009 11:13 AM

I could not agree with you more!! My note books get "tore up" with sticky notes every time the administration takes a look at them. It is absolutely riduclous! I have stayed after school up until 11:30 at night just to get work done and all they do is tear them up!!! I am so frustrated!

Dee Dee Gard 04-26-2009 12:53 PM

We are under great pressure to complete all objectives by May 1. This is sooooooo idiotic.

If only the students were motivated to succeed this would not be so taxing.

If only the administration would offer an incentive to do all of this overwhelming work. Or they could give us a day and a substitute to devote to this nonsense.

The students are not learning or understanding. We cover so many topics at such a rapid pace, they cannot absorb the information. They are just going thru the motions.

If only the administration could show us how it's done instead of just telling us to do it by a certain date.

I think they should take a shorter version of the SOL and be done with it.

Teaching in the 21st century is too much work.

voile 04-19-2009 04:35 AM

As a veteran VGLAer, the most frustrating aspect of the testing is the way in which the state splits the objectives into separate sub-strands. In the classroom, the totality of the SOL objectives are taught, but to pull general ed classroom information requires 2,3 or 4 sheets of paper to satisfy one VGLA strand. One strand on a history VGLA for example can equate to 5 separate sheets of paper! Wow, one objective down, on to the rest.

Another concern - if the students are being raised in a test-taking world, they need to learn how the world takes tests. I know of college graduates who are expected to take tests when they interview for a job. No alternative opportunities there. Oops, maybe you don't get the job. So are we really serving the needs of students with disabilities using alternative testing formats? I don't think so - the ones being served and protected are the school districts. Making AYP is ALL that matters$$$$. Teachers need to stand up for the rights of students, and to teach them how to manage the "real" world.School districts need to support teachers in their efforts to do so.

Amy Darden 03-25-2009 11:14 AM

There is a great deal of extra work to do to compile the materials for the VGLA. It really encourages me to change the way I teach and assess a student. I think having a network of teachers that are doing VGLA could share their resources, instead of re-inventing the wheel.

jam33 03-20-2009 10:46 AM

Thank you KrisF, for taking the time to answer our questions so specifically. I appreciate your help so much!

KrisF 03-17-2009 06:43 PM

Although I teach 5th grade, I have some suggestions. For information, I would suggest details or descriptions as an insight to Author's purpose. For example, if it is a Sci. Fi. selection, it would have descriptions that would tell about characters or plot.(try the Black Lagoon books)

For 4.5a, I think the organizers are for different reading selections. For categorize, I have my students read a story about the desert and Antartica. Then they put the clues in the two categories. For type, I find a selection that has afew important words in BOLD, then have the student find those words, and define them. For headings, I have the go to a specific page in the SS book. Write the headings, then answer a question like - why do you think the author used headings? Are they helpful? Graphics - you can use time lines, or charts (I use KWL) For predictions - use temperatures on a chart and then have the students predict what the temperature will be on the next day. (If you collect the data, then you might be able to make a graph and use it for math.) Or read part of an article, stop, make a prediction, then finish the article. Sometimes I have had the student predict what a picture in the paper is about. Then let them read the caption. Was the prediction correct? Sometimes, I have had them write captions.

jam33 03-13-2009 07:53 AM

We are also working hard to complete VGLA for some of our students. It seems to me that there are a LOT of teachers who are all trying to complete the same tasks at the same time. Why can't we all submit ideas/assessments/actitivites for each of the SOL objectives to compile into folders? There would still be a lot of work to do with the students, but the effort in trying to interpret what assessment/activity will fulfill each objective would decrease. There has got to be a database somewhere for items to be sent????!!!! If not, there should be!
Does anyone have any suggestions on how to interpret SOL 4.4b? ("Describe how the choice of language, setting, and information contributes to the author's purpose.") We are confused about what "information" means in relationship to fiction.
How about 4.5a? ("Use text organizers, such as type, headings, and graphics, to predict and categorize information.") This is related to nonfiction. We are unsure of how a student can categorize information if he has not read it yet. . .or, is he supposed to predict, then read, and then categorize what he has read? HELP PLEASE.

cathyb 03-11-2009 04:11 PM

I was wondering if anyone out there has any examples of 8th grade reading SOL's to put in notebooks. Maybe if we got on the same page and used similar samples, it would be much easier for all of us.
Thanks and waiting for HELP!

Agreeable 01-27-2009 07:41 PM

The last two messages summed up the problems completely and accurately. Now, why doesn't someone who can actually change things do something about this.

shapingminds 01-24-2009 09:39 AM

I currently teach students who are mildly mentally handicapped and doing VAAP AND VGLA notebooks. I have 2 students doing 3 subject VAAP's, 4 students doing 4 subject VAAP's, 1 student doing 6th grade Reading and Math VGLA, and 1 student doing 7th grade Reading and Math VGLA. And I'm suppose to teach basic skills they all need??? I'm just 1 person! I don't even feel like I'm teaching any more. I have to teach the objectives that I've chosen for each student, and unfortunately, they don't all have the same SOL's. Even with the VGLA students, I show them the skill and then give them a worksheet. They don't understand what they are doing! With the Reading VGLA's, my students don't understand "making inferences," "making predictions," "choosing a theme," and figurative language is really hard. It's very hard for them to summarize/paraphase because their writing skills are weak. And I'm not suppose to help them! I have students who can't read pre-primer words (VAAP students) but I don't have time to work on Reading/Phonics skills. I just have to work in "mini-lessons" on that with whatever I'm teaching at the time. I understand the students who are below grade level needs some type of assessment but there has GOT TO BE A BETTER WAY! These students need repetition of the same skill not just introduce it one day, test it, and then move on. I know my kids can learn - it just takes them a little longer than most students. Wouldn't it be better to have them recall/retain/apply these skills instead of having to "rush" through the material just to get a notebook turned in? I know they can learn and they need knowledge of history, english, math, and science but isn't learning to read, count money, tell time, etc. more important than having them apply probability to flipping a coin, finding a theme in a story, etc.?? We aren't helping these students by leaving out all the functional things they will need to help them manage/function after high school. Also, we are suppose to be helping them get job skills and teaching them how to live independently. Doing probability isn't getting that accomplished. These students are already middle schoolers and still can't count money, tell time, or add/subtract without a calculator. I'm just venting but there has GOT TO BE A BETTER WAY!!!

#1PainInA 01-23-2009 06:10 PM

It is time the federal govenment put an end to the VGLA notebooks. It is obvious the only thing that VA DOE is concerned about is making high enough points to make the grade on AYP for the NCLB mandate.

Parents really don't understand how truly useless all this SOL paperwork evidence is to their child's educational advancement and progress. If they really understood I am sure that something would be done to put an end to this stupidity. The only thing that the parents understand is that their child is more apt to pass a notebook----but we the teachers all know why that is----don't we----hours spent organizing material and locating just the right information that fits a particular SOL objective and going over it until they can finally get it down on a piece of paper and then putting the right sticker on it with the right standard listed. So to all of you teachers who are doing this --- CONGRATULATIONS----job well done. But for all you students who are moving on up in school years---say the 8th grade---- sorry you don't read well, can't sound out words phonetically, can't write complete sentences, don't understand general social studies, science, or manage your own spending money...

tiredofpapers 12-19-2008 12:38 PM

I agree. I can't even begin to calculate how many hundreds of hours I put in towards the VGLA outside of my regular school hours. Then there's my teaching, parent meetings, IEPs, etc.

I would never get a VGLA binder finished if I didn't work an incredible amount of over time. If I didn't love my job there's no way I would do it. I think it's funny when we ask for worksheets because I know they are out there - other schools must have materials that we don't. We're told we're supposed to use "authentic assessment." Someone needs to get real, get into the classroom and see what it's really like to work with a group of 7 or 8 kids who are being assessed via the VGLA. It's like pulling teeth to teach the teeniest of concepts. Authentic assessment...okay, sure.

rainydayandfr 12-19-2008 12:32 PM

Those of us doing the VGLA may feel like it's a huge burden and that it's not doing what it was meant to do but it sure is boosting those test scores. When our principal saw how well our SPED students did on those tests last year she was sold on the VGLA. We are now doing VGLA on all SPED students who didn't pass the SOL and looking very closely at every child who didn't pass the SOL to make sure they are receiving services if necessary.

The VGLA has raised SOL scores -- that's all that counts these days. No one really cares how it's being done.

NVATeacher 12-12-2008 12:45 PM

I'm a teacher in Loudoun County. Along with ridiculously long weekly staff meetings, VGLA is a big waste of UNCOMPENSATED time placed on dedicated and hard working teachers. Compiling VGLA binders is an unfair burden on teachers. Administrators (who do not have to spend exhausting hours collecting "EVIDENCE") do not understand the amount of time spent on VGLA work.

Too many people expect teachers to work miracles. I for one am not a miracle worker, and I have yet to meet a colleague who is. While I do believe that every student can learn, I don't believe that every student wants to learn, or has all of the support necessary to encourage learning.

When will we require ALL parents to share the burden in educating their child? In my opinion, some parents do not seem to care if their child learns or not. For if they cared, instead of spending money on senseless video games, movies, and other things that do not provide educational value, they'd spend a few dollars on a couple of at-home workbooks or a tutor to help give their child the special one-on-one attention he/she needs. Heck! I'd take a few parent volunteers to come in and help photocopy worksheets, videotape learning in progrees, put SOL objective stickers on worksheets, hole-punch worksheets, or do the other little time-consuming tasks that take away from planning time and actual teaching.

ESLMAESTRA 12-08-2008 09:50 AM

HEY-Children who have not previously attended American school are excemt for a year from VGLA

Iagree 11-15-2008 10:07 AM

I agree with the teacher that said these kids, have "a snowballs chance to pass Sol's" without VGLA.....the students our school has, cannot remember from day to day what they have learned, thus the disabilities......Just because we prove it on paper that they have mastered the SOL's, doesn't mean anything tomorrow..... quit badgering the teachers who are complaining and are against VGLA, and realize it is just a total and complete waste of time.....fault our liberal government for creating this crap, not fellow teachers

BTerry 11-12-2008 10:39 AM

Does anyone have a notebook of math samples for the VGLA? We are working to put one together in our district for 3rd-5th, but would love to hear what others have done.


CHANGE 11-09-2008 04:02 AM

As a general ed. teacher I had to have 17 students complete their social studies VGLA portfolios last year. I did not have a special education teacher with me, I had a an aide. In addition, I had to make sure my other students were prepared for the SOL. I HATED EVERY MINUTE of it!!! VGLA took up my entire life!! Every lesson that I did was geared towards my VGLA students. EVERY SINGLE DAY I had to have an assignment for VGLA kids to complete. These kids had to stay after school and also come in on some Saturdays to complete work.

Even though my VGLA students received 100% pass rate I am still angry and bitter. VGLA is a waste of time!! It takes time away from teaching the bulk of your students, those taking the SOL. It takes time away from you and your family and you lose your joy of teaching.

In the summer when the scores came back and my principal called me and told me that my VGLA students had 100% and my SOL students 86% I felt no joy in it. She then told me I was going to be doing VGLA again for the upcoming school year. I told her ABSOLUTELY NOT!!! If I ever had to do VGLAs again I would quit my job and go find another and I meant that! This year, I have no VGLA students and I am HAPPY!! I am helping those teachers who are working with VGLA students and they HATE it!! Nothing has changed since last year, the staff is unhappy, disgruntled and just like last year, a huge turnover will take place. WHY? My principal believes in VGLAing too many students!! Even those who come to us in January!!! Give me a break!!

VGLA needs to be revamped. Students should not have to complete 200 assignments when the SOL may only assess 30 SOL strands. (what's wrong with this picture) VGLA= WASTE OF TIME!!!!

momcares 11-06-2008 11:27 AM

I am just a mom of an ADHD/ Bi-Polar 6th grader with a 3rd grade reading level and a working memory of a MR 73. I read every entry here trying to understand the problems with VGLA. ( I had been told there isn't any 8th grade science VGLA, only to find out later that our school doesn't let anyone do it.) After reading all these entries I finally understand! I want so badly to make things better for my daughter and help her to feel successful when she has tried her best to get good grades and learn the info. just like her peers. We were forced last February to change her IEP so that she could take the writting SOL because her spec. ed. teacher never started her VGLA folder. There just wasn't time to do it.
I think we need to let the media get a hold of all this and get it out in the open. If we deal with this by using deceit, (There isn't any science VGLA for 8th Gr.) or grumble behind coded names for fear of retaliation, then nothing will quickly change. I plan on visiting our congressman and getting him involved. I plan on writting and contacting the media and hopefully getting this out-there. I feel so bad for the teachers who are not given the help they need. With 1:4 ratio now of children with disabilities our schools have got to go back to the drawing board and provide adequate numbers of special ed teachers and aides so that every child who has a special need can be given the full education spectrum. We also need to keep good teachers from giving up and losing their desire to teach because they can make a difference in these childrens lives! They need you. I am just one parent but I will do all I can to change this.

Crazy in VA 11-05-2008 07:14 PM

My assistant principal informed me today that we are doing VGLAs for 8 out of my 11 students in both 4th and 5th grade in the areas of reading, writing, math, and maybe VA Studies and Science(5th Grade). He wants all my students to "pass" the SOLs. He's mostly basing it on last year's scores, which we're not supposed to do. I feel overwhelmed! This seems crazy! What can we learn from this? That it is a good way to burn out Special Ed. teachers!

vava 10-20-2008 05:35 PM

I understand the frustration with VGLA. The system isn't working and someone needs to fix it. However the only reason the "special ed" kids won't have a snowball's chance in hell is because of teachers like you who are not qualified to teach them. The "life skills" they need to be learning are reading and writing. I don't blame you though. Money could be better spent on teaching teachers a "trade skill" or two to use in their classrooms.

flah 07-28-2008 09:11 PM

I am glad that your son had a positive experience. You have the right to expect the best for your son and never give up. He might need a lot of support, but it does not mean that he cannot achieve. People who are disrespectful to you or your son should leave the teaching profession. The parents that I have learned the most from are the ones who are positive adovocates for their children. I will admit, that it is a struggle to meet the demands of students and parents at times. But, seeing a student's achievement academically and socially even in small ways makes it worth the effort.

mabsab 07-28-2008 08:48 PM

I appreciate the very long list of people with learning disabilities.

I also appreciate the teachers who seem very supportive of special ed students.

I am a parent of a special needs son (11 years old). He has had too many teachers with the wrong attitude. For example - "Just teach them a trade. They don't have a snowball's chance..."

We moved to Virginia last year from Georgia.

I'm happy to say that our first year in Virginia was excellent. He learned more than ever before.

I pray that he gets another caring and supportive teacher this year. It will be his first year of middle school and I hope that he does NOT get a teacher that is more concerned with all of the work that he/she has to do instead of teaching him in the best possible way.

I just felt like I needed to express my opinion here.

Flah 07-28-2008 08:15 PM

The VGLA's seemed like a good idea to me the first year they were implemented, but I have truly seen more success with my students taking the SOL's. I provided after school tutoring and a time for my students to ask questions. With accommodations, many of my students are passing state testing. They need to take these tests to get a standard diploma. I have not met a high school teacher who does VSEP yet! My hats off to those of you who help your students in this way. Why does the education of a student with LD or ADHD have to stop at the 8th grade? I have students who passed SOL's in elementary and now are taking VGLA in middle school. Is it because they can't pass a multiple choice test or because schools want the easy way out? Make sure the parents of your students understand the impact of VGLA. Yes, it is meaningful for some students, but we all know it is being abused. How can we allow our students to be kicked off a team that they have never been allowed to play on? My students have made me a better human being and I feel honored to be a small part of their lives. My place is not to judge their parents, but to be a positive support in their lives. We owe them honesty and the opportunity for an appropriate education. If the day comes when I can't do that in the classroom, I will take my knowledge to parent advocacy groups. What you do each day does make a difference for your students, hang in there!

Dorritt 07-07-2008 01:24 PM

The VGLA is a valid measure of student achievement only when it is administered responsibily and professionally. It makes me cringe to think that folks out there are literally giving kids the same worksheet over and over again until they achieve 80% accuracy! The idea is to demonstrate that our sped students are genuinely mastering the curriculum, not a particular worksheet or test.

I also cringe at the idea that some school districts are using VGLA to assess students with low IQs or low reading levels. I am grateful that in Fx County the IEP form specifically states that VGLA may NOT be utilized if the student is expected to fail due to cognitive level or low reading level. VGLA is meant to catch kids who are capable of mastering the curriculum but whose disabilities impair their ability to demonstrate that mastery via standardized testing. At the school where I teach, kids who aren't capable of mastering the curriculum take the SOL, since any responsibly-prepared VGLA binder isn't going to demonstrate mastery that they don't have, so why waste the time?

Yes, I find VGLAs to be a royal pain in the #*&! And don't get me started on whether standardized testing is a valid measure of whether our kids have learned anything genuinely useful :-). But nothing feels better than watching the joy on the face of a kid with ADHD or LD who worked hard, learned the material, and "passed" the SOLs for the first time in their lives thanks to VGLA.

Matt 06-17-2008 06:29 PM

I left public school afte 14 years as a special education teacher. Thankfully, I took a chance on a private special education school and it has made all the difference. I love teaching and going to work and knowing that I'm actually making a difference. It took the VGLA and VAAP and all of the other ridiculous testing to finally push me out the door. I just completed my 16th year of teaching and look back at what has been done to my former school. The principal was sacked, despite rising test scores in favor of a principal who has a 100 percent pass rate, believe it or not. The only way that is possible is if all the kids are doing the VGLA and VAAP or something fishy is going on. At any rate, careers have been destroyed, people have left public education or education altogether and the only one paying are the kids. I worked in a low income neighborhood with many problem, atypical for Fairfax County. The kids and their families have been railroaded.

Ann411a 05-03-2008 03:45 PM

I could not have said what you did better myself. Every day when I worked with my students on the VGLA, thoughts of how our time could be put to much better use went through my head. Most of the students came in at lunch and after school and for many, they still were not able to finish all the the bullets. I feel like after all their work and mine, I have failed them.

CAMteacher 05-02-2008 09:31 AM

VGLA is supposed to be an opportunity for teachers to collect evidence of student work related to the SOL objectives for that grade level. If you're teaching students the standards using modifications, it should be relatively easy to take the student's work and organize it in a notebook. Yes, it's cumbersome, and the labeling takes extra time, but if you feel your students can show that they've mastered grade level objectives in a way other than a multiple choice test, isn't that pretty fair?

virginia 4/5 04-30-2008 02:07 PM

I have seen many rants about the VGLA, and I hear ya! Having an admin. who pushes too many VGLA's in order to get AYP/passing rates for the school and not knowing where to begin at first are both negatives. However, I have seen it as a positive for many of my students (esp. the ones who do it for reading and math). We teach these kids along with everyone else as much as we can with push in SPED support, then we worry about doing the assessment/evidence collection piece about once or twice a week in small chunks. Being able to show what they know in little chunks is way easier for them to do than doing a long, multiple choice assessment. I use the time when I administer practice SOL tests to the rest of my class to pull my VGLA students and collect evidence. We also have a wonderful after school program at our school, which allows me to pull students for a few minutes here and there as needed to keep up with evidence collection. Our team also truly works as a team, and we make notes in the binders, passing them around as needed to team members who can help collect or collate evidence. Back to how it is great for my kids...I feel they are learning MORE than ever. I may not have pushed some aspects of the curriculum before because it felt like beating my head against a wall, but now I feel more pressure to cover everything. Therefore, I have spent more time really figuring out HOW to teach it properly so they DO get it! And they are doing great. I have 5 different VGLA's and it is TONS of work (and I complain about it a lot at this time of year), but it is worth every minute to show what my kids do know. We don't view as an automatic pass, but rather as an opportunity to show what our kids have accomplished. Our students understand this piece, and it makes them feel proud (even my fifth graders). The other students also get it, and I have never heard any negatives from any of them about the program. If it was a perfect world, I would be getting paid something extra for all the extra time and effort creating assessments, giving them individually and sorting and stickering until my brain is about to bust. Until that time I will cheerfully continue to do VGLA's as needed. What is the other option? Watching these students who can learn struggle to take a 50 question m.c. test and fail? No thanks! It's my job to make sure they can demonstrate what they've learned and feel proud about it!

BusyWithVGLA 04-20-2008 05:05 PM

I am very torn about VGLA. I do believe that SOL multiple choice tests are not the best indicator or mastery for all students, but I feel that VGLA has become a "sure pass" for students who may not pass otherwise. That's the question that I am asked by my administration - "will s/he pass the SOL?" If the answer is no, we go VGLA. I do not agree with this. Some students will not pass SOLs because they do not test well, or because they do not handle multiple choice well, or because they cannot handle the cumulative nature of the test, and they should have VGLA as a option. But SOME students don't pass because they have NOT MASTERED the standards. I believe that some students deserve to fail - through no fault of their teachers or the school. It seems like a lie for them to pass because their teacher is able to put together a passing notebook.

Secondly, VGLA is supposed to be GRADE LEVEL. SO many of my special education students are multiple grade levels behind! HOW ARE THEY DOING VGLA? I have 3rd grade students who are reading on K or 1st grade levels...THIS IS NOT GRADE LEVEL! I am SO tired of stressing myself with these notebooks because these particular students have been wrongly passed on year after year.

I HATE VGLA on the 3rd grade level because I am expected to prove mastery of K - 3rd grade SOLs. It's SO MUCH STUFF! My math notebooks are huge! I know we're allowed to "infer" some stuff, but why should I have to sift through and determine which lower grade SOLs are inferred by 3rd grade SOLs. Why doesn't the state just tell me which ones I REALLY need to prove!

If VGLA is done correctly - evidence was simply a collection of what was done in the classroom throughout the school year, and it was only used for the few students who would truly benefit from it, it is wonderful. I just think it's being abused. Many administrators are pushing it and making teachers feel like they don't have a choice. I feel that I don't have time to actually TEACH my students because I am so busy redoing work that they didn't prove mastery on in the first place. Also, many regular education teachers do not use things in the classroom that are good evidence. Either they're multiple choice or the students don't pass. I am CONSTANTLY having to recreate or redo things that were done in the regular classroom. Who has time to teach, and/or write and manage IEPs? Lastly, while I am working with small groups, my ED students begin to act up, and then I get pulled for social skills or behavior modification. I was told at the beginning of the school year that VGLA notebooks were a group effort, but seems to me, I am the only one working on them. What happened to my group? The only "assistance" I get is when I have to turn my collection in to be reviewed and then get told what is missing or needs fixing. Not that anyone helps me find or fix any of these said problems.

There are non-special ed students who also suffer from test anxiety or test better on non-multiple choice tests, or struggle with the cumulative nature of the SOLs, and they're expected to suck it up and take the test. If giving accommodations and modifications is supposed to level the playing field, why should sped students get another option. Doesn't seem fair to me.

Wow...didn't realize all this was pent up...sorry to vent!

Maria 04-03-2008 04:16 PM

I am loving these comments. I thought I was alone. How did you manage to refuse the VGLA reading assessments and still have a job? If there is a way, I'm in. I feel I am being forced to pass students who don't have any interest in doing their work!

Lottalove 04-03-2008 12:53 PM

test for our "low-end" kids but it doesn't seem quite as bad as what you describe here. Nonetheless, I am always saying that it has nothing at all to do with the kids and is all about how well I can follow directions and jump through hoops!!

I feel for you. But a pp is right--about the time we get any good at it, they [the various states] will change it...

BTW, we have NOTHING for those "bridge" kids that have mild MR or LD...if they are not "bad off" enough to take the alternate exam (one criteria is a "high likelihood the student will be institutionalized as an adult") then they have to take the regular grade level exam--no exceptions...nevermind that they are at least 2-4 grade levels behind in all academic areas...

Tounces 04-03-2008 12:50 PM

For those of you who don't expect much from the "special kids"--


This list of famous people with ADD or Learning Disability has been compiled over the years from various lectures, books, websites and individual communication. I believe very strongly that having ADD or ADHD or a Learning Disability should NEVER hold you back from accomplishing anything that you really want.
Let this list be an inspiration to you:
Albert Einstein

Wolfgang A. Mozart

F. Scott Fitzgerald

Louis Pasteur

Alexander Graham Bell


Hans Christian Anderson

Ernest Hemmingway

Henry Ford


Wright Brothers

Benjamin Franklin

Winston Churchill

Thomas Jefferson

Leonardo Da Vinci

Thomas Edison

George Bernard Shaw

Woodrow Wilson

Thomas Thoreau

Werner Von Braun

George C. Scott

Eddie Rickenbacker

General Westmoreland

Nelson Rockefeller

Dwight D. Eisenhower

Charles Schwab

Robert Kennedy

John F. Kennedy

Sylvester Stallone

Prince Charles

Harry Belafonte

Mariel Hemingway

Steve McQueen

Tom Smothers

Suzanne Somers

Lindsay Wagner

Kirk Douglas

Michael Jordan

John Denver

Carl Lewis

Jackie Stewart

John Corcoran

"Magic" Johnson

Luci Baines Johnson Nugent

Robin Williams

Jason Kidd

Pete Rose

Dustin Hoffman

Whoopi Goldberg


Agatha Christie


General George Patton

Bruce Jenner

Greg Louganis

John Lennon

Walt Disney

Tom Cruise

Henry Winkler

Danny Glover

Jules Verne

Steven Spielberg

Pablo Picasso

Jonathan Winters

Elvis Presley

George Burns

William J. Clinton

Tommy Lee

Jimi Hendrix

Stevie Wonder

Will Smith

Jim Carey

Ozzy Osborne

Babe Ruth

Andrew Carnegie

Salvador Dali

Bill Cosby

David Letterman

So you see that this is quite a list of famous people with ADHD and/or LD. It certainly didn't seem to slow these successful, famous ADHD'ers.
World Class? 04-03-2008 12:15 PM

Everybody always says "not watered down, just more repetition and practice." Exactly when are we supposed to do that? Are we wasting time in our regular classes? We repeat and practice as all children need it to learn, however, special education students need much more and when am I supposed to find the time to spend with them? What are the other kids in the room supposed to be doing? I've heard "lateral" work. Once again, "No Child Left Behind" really means no child gets ahead!!!

virginia1958 04-02-2008 04:30 PM

It's been interesting to read all the posts here. First of all - I am truely against VGLA. Also, for the comments about learning a trade and/or useful skills, I feel they are not putting the students down. I teach middle school LD and many of my students are doing VGLA. The other day, I was having to use a ruler to measure a triangle. Most of them had no idea how to measure with a ruler. Some didn't even know which side of the ruler to use -- inches or cm. The ruler was placed in all different locations. I have had students tell me they could not count money and/or count change. They don't know their multiplication tables. Many of these students will go to high school and graduate but will probably not attend college. Most will probably enter the work force and do very well. They need "daily living skills" such as checkbook, counting money, using a ruler, figuring pay, etc. etc. Those skills are what will benefit students. With VGLA and "attempting to teach" the grade level SOL's the students are not mastering the skills. They are learning them only to pass the assessment at that time. I feel I'm doing a disservice to them because I'm only trying to get them to pass each SOL - not striving for mastery. All students can learn and should be given the opportunity to succeed in a well-rounded environment but in the real world, not all students go on to college. Solving for x and y are just not needed in the working world. Yes, they will usually have a calculator but I think they should at least know how to add, subtract, multiply and divide without one. In my class, the students will put in one digit + one digit numbers in their calculator. I have had students put in 1 x(times) a number in their calculators. Lets give our special ed. students what they need. Aren't we suppose to be meeting their needs?? Some LD students do well in inclusion and regular ed. SOL's but some still need that small setting and a slower paced instruction (not watered down - just more practice and repetition). I feel I could teach the grade level SOL's if I had time to really teach them and strive for mastery. VGLA is putting a deadline on covering all the SOL's which is about a month before school is even out. We are having to cover the SOL's in less time than the regular ed. classes. How is that helping students who already have difficulties learning/retaining the concepts?? It sounds like we are setting them up to just get by for the moment. It doesn't place importance on mastery. They don't want to put forth any effort - they just want to get finished. Sorry for carrying on- I just have to vent. The words VGLA and NCLB gets me really upset! Do the "powers that be" know how many kids they are actually leaving behind?????

jenna 03-25-2008 03:19 PM

Please pray that you don't have children with a disability. Kindness such as yours is scary!!! I've been teaching special ed. kids for many years. They have more character and perseverence than any group I've ever taught.

I would never suggest that my students strive only for a trade. How disappointing that you only want success for "normal" kids.

sped 03-24-2008 03:12 PM

YeaH! The VGLA is a LOT of work. My dr., when I went in for the second case of strepin a month asked me what I was doing and when I told him about the 3rd grade Math VGLA, which is comprehensive fromkindergarten to third grade (yep, I have to document that my little guy who was supposed to do the VAAP but because of Margaret Spellings and the 1% rule has to do every bulllet, and if or but on every SOL from kindergarten up. I took six hours one day just labeling the monstrosity. It is a beast. If we could utilize the VGLA as a diagnostic tool to remediate weak academic areas then it would serve a great purpose--and I'd advocate for EVERY third grade child to do it. Right now I am so swamped--my 3 VAAPs look like nothing next to this BEAST. But back to my dr, who asked if the state of VA has lost its mind? Which one of us teacher is going to "bell the cat?" and write Margaret Spellings, etc, etc and tell that NCLB is not working. HOw about RTI? Now that really scares me!!! We need to unote and write our legislators in force!!

World Class? 03-12-2008 01:15 PM

I'm curious to know how many regular education teachers are solely responsible for the VGLA notebooks of the special education students. It seems to me that they would be better served if special education teachers were monitoring their progress since they have been trained specifically for such. And is anyone else out there doing VGLA for 6th grade Science? We don't have an SOL test but my school is "getting ready."

World Class? 03-12-2008 01:05 PM

I have been teaching Science in the middle school for 20 years in the Charlottesville area. I have had leveled classes and heterogenous classes and have differentiated my lessons to accommodate the needs of all students. I have had ESOL students speaking as many as 11 different languages in one class and children with IQ's below 70 in the same class with gifted students. In all of my years of struggling to reach all students, I have never encountered anything as stupid as VGLA. I have 8 students who supposedly need this accommodation (but only in middle school because in high school they will take the SOL). I have never seen a VGLA notebook or received any training on how to create materials or how to collect or organize said notebooks. I graduated from the University of Virginia with a degree in elementary education and did not specialize in special education. I teach a hands-on lab science in which students learn to work as a team, discover, analyze, and infer. But I've been told that I cannot collect samples of their investigations because VGLA materials have to be work they have done without assistance. What am I suppose to do - sit them alone in a corner? Putting in 11 - 12 hours a day to prepare interesting lessons for young people, purchasing the materials, preparing the lab stations, copying the handouts, teaching the background information, monitoring the lab activities, collecting and grading papers, and doing formative as well as summative assessments isn't enough for my school system. Now I have to become proficient in creating special ed. materials? (and several variations of each assessment at that because they don't show mastery). I could work 24 hours a day and not fully accomplish this task. I have graciously been assigned my very first collaborative teacher who comes into one of the 3 block periods for only half of the class. She has informed me that although she is a trained, licensed special ed. teacher, her only part in this mess is to ADVISE me not to help me modify the assignments. My county talks about delivering a "world class" education to students, but assigning the VGLA notebooks to the core classroom teachers is destroying education for all levels of students. It takes enormous amounts of time for copying and filing, and the main purpose is to meet AYP and falsely inflate the percent of student passing the SOL's by removing the lowest scoring students. My school made over 70 notebooks last year and we were the only middle school in the county to meet AYP- what does that tell you?

stressed101 03-04-2008 06:53 PM

Thanks for the information about when you all have to turn in the notebooks.

LetemLearn 03-04-2008 08:02 AM

The distict where I work has set the due date for portfolios to be the first week of May and they will be graded around the middle of the month. I'm assuming the state will want scores and the portfolios that will be audited to them in June.

VGLA Writing 03-01-2008 04:47 AM

The writing SOL is coming up in the next week or so. Does this also mean that the writing VGLA notebook has to be turned in to. I am getting conflicting information from administration.

shapingminds 02-28-2008 01:59 PM

I've wondered why we have to construct items and/or do things that the SOL test doesn't require. We have to do things to present "concrete" examples of some skills. I'm teaching the SOL's however, not to the extent that I should be -- I would stay on a skill for at least a few days to be sure the student "has it" and understands the concept. There isn't time for that with VGLA - I teach the concept, we practice a few examples and then students that can solve the problems are then given the assessment sheet for the VGLA. Then I move on to the next skill. I'm only teaching the skill so they will know it at the time to correctly answer the problem given for the assessment. It doesn't mean they will have any idea how to work the same problem next week. Something is totally wrong with this picture.

shapingminds 02-28-2008 01:50 PM

I haven't taught as long as you have but I agree with you. I think with AYP now, the schools don't want a large number of failures so a passing VGLA stands as a pass for the school. Everyone doesn't pass SOL's but everyone should have a chance to try. I have taught mildly mentally handicapped and a few have gotten a Modified Standard Diploma. They had to pass 8th grade Math and English SOL's. They were in high school but they still had the chance to attempt them. To me, a multiple choice test would be better than giving a problem and having them work it from scratch. At least with choices, if their answer isn't there, they can work it again and try to get one of the answers given. That's just my 2 cents worth.

Shameful 02-27-2008 05:44 PM

Collecting evidence for VA's VGLA notebooks has got to be the biggest waste of student and teacher time ever known to the teaching profession. It is just hard for me to believe that the state of VA is going along with so many notebooks being presented. The only ones who really should be allowed to do a notebook is someone who just totally freaks out on testing day---anxiety or something like that (Dr. note required for documentation for need). I have worked with all types of disabilities for over 35 years and with accommodations most students can take a multiple choice test---now as kids go down the IQ ladder the odds of passing it are very bad---but at least it's an honest measure---but maybe the DOE isn't interested in honesty anymore---accountability maybe. Isn't it a shame!

MelissaVA 02-22-2008 08:13 AM

My frustration comes from the fact that I have Level 1 Middle School ESOL students who have to complete the VGLA since they have been in the states since July 1. That means most of my students have less than a year of English acquisition. Yet, I am having to teach the impact of imagery, poetry devices, on and on. My students do not have the vocabulary required of these objectives. And research proves that it takes 7 years for an ESOL students to become fluent in English. I am tired of having to frustrate my students to obtain an objective. The student's misbehavior in class increases during my VGLA period because they are frustrated, and how can I blame them?

shapingminds 02-18-2008 09:25 PM

This is my first year doing VGLA. So far, I can honestly say I'm not impressed. What are we teaching kids when we tell them - If you don't pass, you can do it again? I have students that have passed only a few SOL's so far (We've attempted about 25 so far). Some of my kids are really struggling with the grade level SOL's. If they can do the grade level work, why do they have an IEP?? I believe we should be teaching these kids skills that they will need. Many of my students use their calculator to do simple addition. They need money skills, telling time, basic addition/subtraction, learning multiplication tables, etc., etc. They do not need to know how to solve for x. I'm struggling and getting stressed out that many won't pass all the SOL's by the time they are due. If they don't then it will look like I didn't do my job. I'm teaching the SOL's to the best of my ability and emphasizing the importance in putting forth effort to try to pass each one. The students aren't motivated and don't seem to care - they say they can do it again.

sick of vgla 02-03-2008 06:41 PM

I currently have 8 students that I am trying to collect VGLA evidence. It is ridiculously hard and is like having another job without planning time or support. I feel like I barely have time to teach b/c I'm trying so hard to collect evidence and none of the evidence is allowed to look the same in each binder. It's ridiculous.

To PP, there is no VGLA in high school. They have what is called VSEP (or something like that). The teachers have to write an intensive plan, submit it to the state and aren't allowed to collect evidence until it's been approved. I think our testing coordinator said there is only a handful of students doing this right now. It is tied to earning weighted credits.

I feel like we are setting our kids up for failure by pulling them out of the testing loop. VGLA should be for your few kids who really know the material, but have severe testing anxiety or who have trouble on multiple choice/written tests, but can verbalize and show their knowledge in other ways. It's not meant for the type of kids that we're being made to VGLA. It's a result on number panic when scores come in.

Seen Enough 02-01-2008 11:55 AM

It's all about the numbers. We need to have a certain percentage of students pass the SOLs (which we completely "teach to"). Oh, you think there might be a problem with getting a high enough percentage? Well, let's have the teachers save materials to show these students really know the material, they just can't take multiple choice tests. Excuse me! They don't know the material! The numbers are all that matter because of the misnamed and ill-conceived no child left behind. It is amazing to me how you can "frame" something like that to make people think it is actually a good thing. So here's the answer--or at least something we can do. Call, write, e-mail your Congress men and women. Let them know what is really going on. NCLB is up for renewal soon. Take action. And I don't mean spend another weekend working on a VGLA notebook.

WASTED TIME 10-23-2007 06:58 PM

Wow!!! You All Are Lucky You Only Have A Few Books. This Year I Am Required To Make 40+ Books For Ed,ld,ohi,md 6th 7th And 8th Grade Students. I Feel So Sorry For Them They Struggle To Get It Done. I Struggle To Get It Done And In The End They Have Not Learned A Thing. I Had Some Of My Last Year Students Complete The Same Worksheets Because We All Know English Spirals ... Anyway They Had No Clue What To Do. It Is Horrible. They Need Life Skills And An Education That Will Provide Them With The Tools To Be Productive Citizens. Sol And Vgla Will Not Cut It. I Hate Nclb For This Stupid Idea.

disgusted 10-21-2007 03:00 PM

Nope! They get modified standard diplomas! Not advanced diplomas. Not standard diplomas. Modified diplomas. It's only for if they take vsep in high school, so vgla doesn't really "matter" but again, let's face it, once vgla always vgla, and pile them on! I found this out after I did two vgla notebooks last year for 6th graders who entirely, completely, and fully should be earning regular diplomas.

The discrimination against sped students by the districts of the state of Virginia is appalling.

SPEDTCHR514 10-16-2007 03:36 PM

I am new to VGLA, mainly because I do not have students taking SOL's at this time, do students still receive a standard diploma if they take these tests throughout their educational career or will they receive a "certificate of completion". I have 3 parents who are being pushed toward the VGLA, I am adamant that they do not give in, their children can take multiple choice formatted tests, however they require more time and a quiet setting, they are all on the Autism spectrum. I can find this all out in my handy dandy SPED handbook, but was hoping some genius would be online now so I can email my former student's parents and let them know!


Kay Williams 09-28-2007 07:03 AM

I am sorry that you are feeling so frustrated about VGLA. I am an instructional support specialist for a school district in virginia. A large part of my job is working with teachers on VGLA. It is hard to know where to begin. As if teaching to the test for SOLs wasn't enough, now teachers have to find the time to put together portfolios for students in their classroom that have alot of difficulty with learning. Since both the SOL test and the VGLA involve teaching the SOLS I usually suggest to teachers that they really take a hard look at "what" they are supposed to be teaching and make sure they are still on track. Look at the verbs in the standards. Second, collaborate with their special ed teachers for suggestions on how they need to differentiate their instruction. Changing up your instruction may benefit other students as well. Third, it is all very overwhelming and it is hard to move forward if you do not have the support of your central office, building administrators, and faculty. The key is to work together.

VGLA Neg 09-23-2007 01:32 PM

I'm doing the VGLA this year and will probably end up doing 15 binders. The funny thing this year is our district is pushing the "team" approach. The classroom teacher, administrators, ESOL and special education are all supposed to be working together gathering information on each student. I was told the VGLA binder or folder should be kept in the general education room as this was where most of the material would be collected. WHO IS KIDDING WHO? The general ed teachers I work with have 24 or more students and they are certainly not going to stop and say oh goodness, I need to document Math SOL 4.2 a for JD so let me make sure he's answered these questions and I'll keep this worksheet. Then, we'll move onto Math SOL 4.2 c. Of course, when count down time comes around who is everyone going to come running to to see that the binder is complete and ready to be turned in --- the special education teacher. Yet, I'm being pressured to let go of the control. I don't want to put in more unpaid time - Teaching special ed is already like working 2 jobs. First you teach, then the second full-time job for which you aren't paid is writing and holding IEP meetings, adapting curriculum, preparing specialized curriculum, meeting with parents and now tediously collecting and documenting each and every strand of a curriculum for which a student is unable to show progress via a SOL test. OR, lets face it. Doing a VGLA for students who fail the SOL. We have to do something to correct those failing scores - the VGLA is the only option at this point.

Mzip 09-05-2007 01:34 PM

I have 2 students in my 4th grade class that are ESL and I found out Friday that they are VGLA for reading. I don't have the first idea what this means other than I have to keep a copy of all of their work.

vgla burnout 09-05-2007 12:44 PM

We've been in school for 3 weeks and my students and I are already falling behind in their vgla notebooks (I rotate among three groups of sped kids in three sets of thankfully-same-grade general ed classes). My poor kids have to stay afterschool where they don't get instruction, just collecting vgla evidence, because the gen ed teacher forgot to save the work, sent it home, spilled stuff on it, doesn't "want to do vgla", etc etc. So my district's solution? Brilliant! (ha). Stick most of the vgla kids into selfcontained sped whether it's appropriate or not! So stupid. But it still leaves me with 5 notebooks for general ed kids plus a self-contained reading class (8 vglas). While I could be teaching my kids useful reading things, or practicing decoding and sightwords (which proved useful with this group after vgla last year), I sit and do vgla- using the simplest activites. My goal in reading at least is just to get it done with as early as possible. These notebooks don't show mastery or growth. They just show that after 10 times students can do the same worksheet correctly....

It COULD be a good system if work actually were collected, and if all kids who failed the SOL regardless of reason are now VGLA. (yes, "we" found several kids eligble last year solely to get vgla instead of sol).

tired of it 09-02-2007 01:31 PM

dear cbuyrn

who are you kidding... you cannot say that your ADHD and LD kids know every bullet of every SOL for every subject !!! In no way does VGLA do that !! It is a complete and total waste of time. Let us do things with our ADD and LD kids that are meaningful!

Fancy07 08-29-2007 06:36 PM

How do students that are in the six and seventh grade pass SOL's or VGLA's that are reading on a pre-primer and Kindergarden level pass these test that are given on grade level? Seems it's a lot of work for teachers and no rewards for the students or teachers.

virginiateach 05-14-2007 07:17 PM

I am a special education teacher in Virginia, and I truly hate VGLA. This is my 3rd year of VGLA, and contrary to what I have been told, it does NOT get any easier. Someone mentioned that VGLA makes IEP writing seem simple. I agree. Another individual mentioned that he/she felt VGLA does have benefit. I completely disagree. Over three years and sixty kids, I've not found one child that this has proven an appropriate method of assessment for. VGLA may easily result in a passing score, but it is not a true reflection of what a child is capable of. I had one student who was labeled MR, and missed 90 out of 180 math classes, and received a pass on her math VGLA. Additionally, I received a student from a lower grade who's VGLA scores indicated that the student was pass/proficient in 4th grade reading. When I began working with this student I realized that he couldn't read a word. He could not even consistently match all the letters of the alphabet with the corresponding sounds! As well, he couldn't answer even the simplest of comprehension questions, and has yet to score over 60% on an accelerated reader test. How can VGLA be an accurate assessment. For many administrators it is just a guaranteed pass. VGLA is just a way to ensure AYP is met. Unfortunately for the students who take VGLA, they sometimes loose play time, and instructional time in order to get that pass. This year I refused to do any VGLA reading assessments because of the loss of reading instruction my students would suffer from. If I have a student who can only consistently read his own name, am I not doing him a gross disservice by demonstrating that he can comprehend on 5th grade level? Should I not be using every minute of this child's reading time trying to teach him how to read so that he can be an independent adult (this is a child with average intelligence with a severe learning disability involving reading)?
I hate VGLA because it takes precious time away from my family. My husband hates VGLA! I hate VGLA because I now work at LEAST 12 hours a day, Monday through Saturday, and get paid no extra for it. I hate VGLA because other teachers who have never had a hand in it don't understand how much extra work we do for no extra pay (I know what a regular education teacher has to do. I work in an inclusion classroom, and I take attendance, collect money for various things, deal with discipline, take lunch count, average grades for 20 kids, work on cumulative folders, update records, administer regular SOL testing, everything a regular education teacher does, PLUS manage IEPs, attend ADDITIONAL spec ed meetings, meeting constantly with parents, and collect VGLA.) Mostly though, I hate VGLA because I have been involved in it for 3 years, and can say without hesitation that it only hurts students. It does hurt the regular education students because time is taken away from them to collect VGLA, and it hurts the special education student as well. Someone earlier mentioned that special education students needed to be working toward a trade. I completely disagree with that at an elementary level. However, if VGLA continues to be an optional method of assessment, and adminstrators continue to demand high scores at all cost, then trade will be the only option for my students because they will have missed years of the skills necessary for an academics driven career. However, the school will have met AYP.

Tired 05-10-2007 06:10 PM

As a special education teacher I feel the VGLA has not benefited my students at all. I found it necessary to almost give the easiest work just to get the SOL's covered. Please tell me why the general education population only test on the blue print information yet my students must be introduced to every little bullet. Something is truly wrong with this system. I Pray for the day I will be able to teach my students the necessary skill to survive in this country. Last time I looked I did not have to tell any one the difference between an even and odd integer.

DD1 06-06-2006 05:49 AM

I'll agree with Rivergirl that putting the silly things together is a huge hassel and a time consuming process...and just when you get in a groove, ooops, time to change subjects.

Somebody in my district got the bright idea that they would look better with pretty covers and page if we didn't have enough to do and that would make a difference in the scoring vs focusing on what was in there.

DD1 06-06-2006 05:41 AM

While I can see the benefit of the VGLA for certain students - I have to give it to some children who in some cases, have multiple disabilities and IQs of less than 60...and the expectation is that they pass. When the books come back without a passing grade, because there is an assumption that this is a "slam dunk process", I feel its placed in terms of my failure vs my students inability to do the work.

I'm really tired this year, and am rethinking my career options - I had 34 of these things to do crossing 3 grade levels, 8 different subjects, grades 6-8. Didn't even have a planning period the first six weeks - complaints were answered with "you have an aide" or "it all spirals" .
6th grade math is NOT 7th grade math and the amount of "spiral" is not even worth talking about.

We got a new assistant principal from Richmond, she had done the VGLA last year and presented herself as some sort of "expert" on the process. We have another "expert" here now. It's amazing how many "experts" there are on a program that is 2 years old.

cbuyrn 04-28-2006 04:31 PM

I'm really sad to see an educator say that special needs students are a waste of time and should be put to work in trades at the elementary level. Attitudes like that have lead to NCLB. My ADHD and LD students really do demonstrate mastery of the SOLs throughout the year. They have tremendous potential. It is about time they have a reasonable opportunity to access assessment that recognizes their strengths. Multiple choice assessments don't provide a true picture of their abilities. Their inability to sift through multiple choice options doesn't mean they're hopeless. I have been tearing my hair out working on 21 portfolios. I see the potential for abuse, but I believe this is a good thing. As I review their work, I am proud of their ability to solve problems in open ended format activities. It shows how good they are at problem solving and critical thinking. Multiple choice testing is not a true test of ability. The LD and ADHD students benefiting from this option have higher IQs than many of the so called "normal" students. Many of the "normal" kids who ace the multiple choice SOL due to classroom focus on grill and drill test taking strategies can't figure their way out of a paper bag at the end of the day.

Rivergirl 03-30-2006 08:33 PM

I finished my VGLA books and turned them in today.This has been the most overwhelmingly daunting task in my life, with the exception of my final exams for my master's degree a few years ago. Collecting the evidence wasn't so bad; it was the cataloging, cross-referencing, verifying the SOL the evidence incorporated, and typing the matrix. Is there anyone else out there feeling the same way? I cannot count the extra hours and entire weekends that I have spent on this. Writing an IEP seems simple now. I feel as though I need to splurge for a massage, as I cannot let go of the tension.

sick of vgla 03-23-2006 01:11 PM

In response, I agree that I am sick of VGLA! Our county had an inservice at the beginning of the year on how to help our special ed kids pass it, and our director said, and I quote, "My dog could pass VGLA". I am sick and tired of how hard we work as teachers to go over and above the call of duty to make it look on paper how these 'special ed' kids know the SOLS, which always takes time away from helping our 'normal' students. When is our state going to wake up and start elementary programs for special ed kids that teaches them trades which they will need as life skills? Let us teach these stupid SOLs to the 'average' kids, and quit making us work so hard creating passing scores for those kids who will never have a snowball's chance so to speak.

RickOBrien 03-19-2006 07:48 AM

Very interesting that only one person has responded to this post.

How many teachers are here from Virginia? How many teachers here don't know anything about VGLA?

Curious as to why the lack of responses.

Rick OBrien

aud 03-12-2006 05:37 PM

I have heard nothing positive about VGLA. I feel so sorry for the teachers who are trying desperately to get all this information compiled.

good luck!

RickOBrien 03-09-2006 04:06 PM

Is there ANYONE on this board that is from/in Virginia that has comments, either pro or con, about VGLA?

I am VERY anti-VGLA because I don't believe it is teaching students ANYTHING except how to keep going over wrong answers until they are correct. As a classroom teacher I am finding it rather overwhelming and am getting NO support from the Office/Admin.

However I have an open mind. If you can convince me, or hell, even give me some good pointers about how this program isn't just about 'passing the test' and is good for the students, I'd love to hear about it.

Oh yeah, I work from Richmond City Public Schools.

Rick OBrien

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