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Help!! Reasons school can't do SMART targets are...

(98 Posts)
StarlightMcKenzie Tue 30-Nov-10 14:34:15

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auntevil Tue 30-Nov-10 14:45:25

My opinion is they're talking b*****ks.
If they reckon he has made 'good' and not 'adequate' progress then they must be quantifying progress in some random way. What is the difference between the two if it's all subjective and unquantifiable.

silverfrog Tue 30-Nov-10 14:49:01

hold on, who says social skills can't be measured (and, as auntevil points out, they are doing so anyway)

weren't some of your targets things like "respond to 3 different questions asked by a peer" or similar (sorry, might be quoting dd1s IEP there grin)

how on earth is that not measurable?

what are they observing? (yes, I know, social skills grin) but they are making a decision based on something, aren't they?!

StarlightMcKenzie Tue 30-Nov-10 14:49:17

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StarlightMcKenzie Tue 30-Nov-10 14:50:34

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silverfrog Tue 30-Nov-10 14:51:40

also, i htought the whole point of the VB MAPP being developed was to address social skills (disclaimer, haven't ever set eyes on this document - dd1's school uses it, but I only have experience with ABLLS)

there are also other Early Intervention Programmes that address social skills - how would they be doing this if they weren't measuring progress? Somewhere, somehow, they are measuring your ds' progress on a scale - otherwise who is to say that "adequate" isn't better than "satisfactory" or "good"?

moondog Tue 30-Nov-10 14:51:50

That is insane.
Uttelry insane.

Why are you wasting your energy fighting with these people who can't or won't engage in the way they are meant to?

StarlightMcKenzie Tue 30-Nov-10 14:51:50

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StarlightMcKenzie Tue 30-Nov-10 14:52:33

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silverfrog Tue 30-Nov-10 14:54:44

get them to draw out in a linear fashion what their woolly terms mean.

write them on a piece of paper, then carve it up into a scale for them to prove just how stupid they are being.

are htey really sayng that subjective observation is ok?

can you set up a trial for them - ask them to watch a video of your ds doing somehting, and as they are watching a before/after scenario relating to social skills, write down what their interpretation of his improvement is?

bet they would write different things, which serves to show what a mockery it is that they refuse to quantify appropriately.

one persons adequate is another person deeply unsatisfactory (as we all know!)

moondog Tue 30-Nov-10 14:55:07

There must be somewhere else which can take your ds?
I have worked in scores of schools with hundreds of teaching staff and even the most difficult ones come nowhere near to the level of refusal to co-operate thet you are experiencing.

Jesus, everyone I know sincerely wants paretns to be happy, both with them and their child's progress.

It sounds unreal.

silverfrog Tue 30-Nov-10 14:57:52

yes, I did see they had replaced it all

so they are saying that they cant have a target like "will respond to 3 different questions form peers" because they cannot measure this?!

as in, they cannot tell when your ds is responding to a question, or cannot remember if he is responding to a different question?

do they have the same trouble when teaching the other children? can they remember what they are supposed ot be teaching the,m? are they able to specifically say whether jonny and Arabella can now recognise their name/alphabet/numbers form 1 to 10? or is it all woolly?

have you asked them why they are reluctant to map your ds' progress?

is it becasue they know he isn't making any?

IndigoBell Tue 30-Nov-10 15:14:41

I know you'll all disagree with me, but I think they mean that measuring 'will respond to 3 different questions form peers' doesn't really measure if he's made progress with social skills.

For example he could respond wrongly with 1 word answers to 3 questions, or he could engage in an appropriate conversation only once, but demonstrate far better 'social skills'.....

I really do find all this measuring of social skills uncomfortable. It can be quantified, but may not get you the results you are looking for.....

(i.e. you will get what you measure. But you may find out too late that you were measuring the wrong thing.)

StarlightMcKenzie Tue 30-Nov-10 15:17:08

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StarlightMcKenzie Tue 30-Nov-10 15:18:49

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StarlightMcKenzie Tue 30-Nov-10 15:20:32

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moondog Tue 30-Nov-10 15:24:44

If it's a target, they will of course be working on it.
Ask them then how they will work on it then.If, as they seem to believe, their intervention will have a positive effect thne whyt would they not neausre it.

I suspect, like a lot of people who argue that this stuff is 'not measurable' they say this because they don't know how to measure it.

Once again ,it is easy-count frequency of interactions over a time period (say a day) over a long period of time.

We do this loads- I wouldn't even consider a PECS based intervention to be run properly unless I had daily data on amount of times exchanges take place.

'He's using PECS' as a statemtn or 'She is getting better at initiatiing' means nothing without data to back up the observation.

This is what education (amd a lot of 'therapy') has come to-half observes assessment and observational and personal viewpoints at the expense of clear cut evidence.


silverfrog Tue 30-Nov-10 15:25:38

Indigo, i can see your point.

But without specific intervention in this, dd1 would never have learnt ot respond to peers.

she has a similar target in her IEP - one of the PSHE ones I htink.

they have 3 specific questions they are working on - dd1 is so petrified of other children, it has to be worked in this way. does it make for fluent social skills?

no, probably not. but it does show dd1 that talking to her peers - listening to them, and responding to their questions can be rewarding.

they started out by getting her to cooperate with 3 different demands forma peer, btw - something like "I want the red crayon please" (as they were colouring), and have built it up form there.

Today, i was as proud as anything that, on approaching a group of children at dd2's school (dd1 off sick), dd1 said "excuse me please" as we walked up to get past and go to the car. (she actually said "excuse me please, people, so clearly her social skills need a little more work grin), so teaching her overtly has had an effect nd she is now spontaneously talking to strangers.

Starlight: that is so patently bonkers its unreal.

"They should observe and see what he does and when he is doing it consistently they can say that he is responding to peers." - what if wht he is doing is not appropriate? would they intervene then? or is it another stupidly low aim of "let him do what feels natural, we shouldn't impose our values on him, if that is what he wants ot do/say/think when another child talks to him then that is ok" would they teach him the appropriate response? if so, why can't they include 3 specific responses to work on as this IEP target? (which of course does not mean that the rest shouldn't be worked on as it arises, just that they would be addressign these specific responses as learning targets)

StarlightMcKenzie Tue 30-Nov-10 15:28:29

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StarlightMcKenzie Tue 30-Nov-10 15:32:43

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silverfrog Tue 30-Nov-10 15:34:43

but that's ridiculous.

do they set about teaching the rest of the children their numbers by just letting them run wild and free with them? and not specifically addressing any issues which might arise? what if an NT child has a belief that the number 3 is actually the number 4 (or, like dd2, who seems to have forgotten to learn that 16 exists - she goes straight form 15 to 17!) they don't just throw the children in with numbers, formulae and algorithms and hope for the best. they provide clear, small steps along the way, with guidance where necessary. what is the difference in breaking down "social skills"?

they have agreed that your ds needs help and support ot respond ot peers, as they have kept that target (albeit in woolly manner). so what, they're aiming for the whole of langugae, appropriate to 4 year olds, in just the one IEP? bloody hell, I wish they would come and solve dd1's language issues in one fell swoop like that1

do they not see that asking your ds to "respond to peers" is just too big an aim? and might well end up with him learning all sorts of inappropriate responses?

StarlightMcKenzie Tue 30-Nov-10 15:38:04

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IndigoBell Tue 30-Nov-10 15:39:15

Ok, I'm not sure if I can explain it all in a post, but I'm heavily influenced by lean management principles.

When I measure a team I never set targets like 'deliver x by y' because it will encourage them to do the wrong thing ( gaming the system ). I.e. if I pay them a bonus for delivering on time, they will deliver on time, but probably at the expense of quality or something else.

So the only thing I want to measure is what I really want - which in this case is company profit. Measuring anything else will cause them to sub-optimize and game the system.

So, this is why I think it is dangerous to measure anything else besides improved social skills. It would be perfectly possible to improve the frequency of responding to peers, but be further away from your real goal of improving his social skills. For example his eye contact might decrease, or the appropriateness of his response might deteriorate, or his stimming might increase.

So you want to always focus on your real goal of improving social skills. By heavily targeting one area you implicitly encourage staff to not do the most sensible thing, but rather to do the thing you are measuring. So there might be a great opportunity for teaching eye contact, but they don't do it because the IEP is measuring 'responding to peers'.

Does that make any sense? It is certainly a very valid and popular management philosophy....

silverfrog Tue 30-Nov-10 15:41:48

ask them to point out the bit in the COP that says that IEPs should be SMART unless they are social skills targets.

It isn't there.

If they think social skills hsould not be included in this way as cannot be SMART quantified, then ask them why they are wasting on of your ds' targets. there are (I assume) plenty of other quantifiable things they could write instead.

not perfect, but it at least sidesteps this ridiculous farce.

btw, agree it never ends - we had years of this shit too.

so the HT thinks SMART targets are for ABA only? and that his/her establishment are exempt form them?

the bit I don't like about the explanation they provided: They should observe and see what he does and when he is doing it consistently they can say that he is responding to peers.
is - where is the correction/teaching factor? they observe what he does (for arguments sake lets say he covers his ears), and when he does that consistently, he is responding to his peers?! when in fact, surely they mean that they will then prompt him/model an appropriate response, and when he is doing that consistently, say he is responding to his peers? so why can't they just list the likely, easy intro peer response stuff - you know, form "hello" through answering questions about his family/lunch/play/whatever

StarlightMcKenzie Tue 30-Nov-10 15:43:47

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