Janesville’sAssistive Technology (AT) Specialist Kathy White first brought uPAR to the attention of the District after learning about it at a conference. For years she has utilized technology to empower students with special needs, helping to transform learning and challenge the perception of what students are capable of achieving.
uPAR, White saw, produces clear data that not only removes the guesswork from choosing a particular accommodation, it goes further, finding each student’s grade-level comprehension. “Across the grades,” White says, “we had students with reading deficits, and we had no way of proving what they could comprehend with the right supports.” Without an effective way to access the general education curriculum, they risked falling further and further behind. “uPAR would tell us if students can understand the material in their general education classrooms [with accommodations] or if students need scaffolded materials.” With the support of Dr. Kelley and AT Specialist Sara Vold, White deployed uPAR to a group of third through twelfth graders. “And what we found was a huge gap between these students’ ability to decode on their own and their ability to understand.”