141: My Evaluation (by Jaffa Davies)
1;6;99 6\57Nite
Hi kids, how the hell are ya???? Fist off, Lance has some exciting announcements to make. Well, no. But he has some storries.

Last night your dear Lance went bowling. He bowled 3 games against 2 other people. He bowled a 103 in the 2nd game, winning him the game, but that was pure luck. The other two were complete losses. Lance never bowled a strike.

In other news, I bought a Chia Pet. I don't much like the Chia Heads, but they had one Chia pet left, which was the hippopotimous. I bought it. I realised a bit later though that i didnt really want a hippopotomous because, you know my screen name is HippoBreth, and i figured people might start thinking that i have an obsession with hippopotimouses. I didnt want people to think that so i decided to return it. Well, I never did get around to it. But i had a better idea. Why don't I make people think i'm obsessed with hippopotimouses? I mean, my screen name is HippoBreth, I have a hippopotimous chia pet.... maybe i will get some hippopotimous curtains and bed sheets and start making more jokes about hippopotimous and learn everything i can possably learn about the hippopotimous. I am not obsessed with hippopotimouses, but it sure could be fun to make people think I am. People will say "are you obsessed with hippopotimouses?" I will just say "no, im just playing a joke on everybody." So, if you know any place that sells hippopotimous stuff, let me know!

I've herd it a million zillion time: "lance, your such a retard". Am I? My usual response is "if you say so". Well, here I present to you a documented annalysis of me, as analised and wrtten by Jaffa K. Davies, MS of Delta Consultants. This analysis was conducted on 5/9/96 and 6/17/96, me being 16 years old. It is a bit long and boaring, as it was done professionaly, but you might find it amusing anyways. It is good cause its honest. If you don't want to read the whole thing, there is a summery twards the bottom. So here now is a complete and unedited, professional evaluation of your list writer, the former Ben Garber.


REASON FOR REFERRAL
Ben has had a history of inconsistent academic performance and school adjustment difficulties. Attentional and organizational inconsistencies have been noted throughout his school career. At present, Ben is in the process of changing schools and will be transferring to Providence Country Day School in the Fall. he was referred for the present educational evaluation in order to obtain updated information regarding his present levels of academic functioning and thus, clarify his learning needs.


BEHAVIORAL OBSERVATIONS
During this assessment, Ben related in a pleasant, friendly manner. He cooperated with all that was asked of him. He appeared motivated and exerted good effort throughout. Ben was quite open about the difficulties he had experienced this past year. He said he often felt overwhelmed by the amount of material he was supposed to remember in history, and in biology, he had difficulty understanding the assignments and frequently spent his time studying material that was not on tests.

During the formal testing, Ben's approach to task was generally very slow and deliberate; yet. when faced with copying or writing tasks he became hasty and disorganized. He did not seem to have a great deal of confidence in his skills but did respond to encouragement. Ben also needed directions repeated and clarified. His verbalizations were hesitant, and he exhibited some difficulties retrieving and organizing information. He seemed to have a need for movement, and kept tapping his foot and rocking in his chair. Because of the length of time it took him to get through the achievement tests, this assessment was conducted over two sessions.


ACADEMIC COMPONENTS
Ben' performance on achievement testing reflects a great deal of variability in his functioning. While reading skills are quite strong when measured in a structured, untimed format, significant difficulties are apparent when Ben is placed under time constraints. Ben is performing within the average range for his age in the areas of mathematics and in his fund of school related information. Written language continues to be Ben's area of greatest difficulty both in terms of spelling and mechanics as well as organization and development of content.

[I have omitted a chart of test scores here]


READING
In this area, Ben appears to do far better with short, structured reading tasks which are presented in an untimed format as opposed to timed, multiple choice format tests. On the Woodcock-Johnson tests, comprehension is measured by a modified cloze procedure in which students are asked to read passages of increasing difficulty and fill in the word that is missing in each passage. Ben worked very slowly on this test -- often looking up for encouragement. He was penalized for his slow rate on the Nelson - Denny Tests in which he was asked to read lengthy paragraphs and then respond to multiple choice questions.

Ben's word attack and decoding skills are in tact, and he did well on both these subtests on the Woodcock - Johnson. He continues to have difficulty, however, decoding multisyllable words effectively-- often omitting sound sequences or inverting their order.


WRITTEN LANGUAGE
This is Ben's most problematic area. He tends to spell words how they sound to him and relies little on memory of phonetic patterns. He has particular difficulty with words containing double consonants. On the Test of Written Language, Ben was asked to write a story in response to a picture with a prehistoric theme. His story was a literal description of the picture of the details of the picture. Ben did not describe the time or setting of the picture and his vocabulary usage and thematic development were immature. Editing skills were inefficient, and Ben sometimes left off endings of words. The following is an excerpt:

THE ELEPHANT IN THE BACK JUST TOOK A GUY WIFE AND IS NOW EATING HER. THIS GOT EVERY BODY ANGRY DO NOW EVERYBODY IS TRYING TO KILL ALL THE ELEPHANTS SO THEY DON'T EAT ANYONE ELSE. THEY ALREAD KNOCKED DOWN SAM, WHO IS LAYING ON THE GROUND IN FRONT OF THE ELEPHANT ON THE RIGHT.


MATHEMATICS
On math computation skills, Ben did not attempt any long division problems. He did not reduce fractions, and had difficulty performing the more complicated multiplication and division problems involving fractions. Algebraic principles do not appear firmly grounded. On the Applied Problems subtest step neccessarry to solve the problem. He resisted using paper and pencil even though this was encouraged. Interestingly, Ben was strong at estimating his answers but ran into difficulty with specifics. Thus, his response would be, "around 80" when the answer was actualy 80.5.


KNOWLEDGE
Ben demonstrated average skills in this cluster. He has a very strong fund of information in the humanities area which measures skills in art, music and literature. He also has a good amount of factual knowledge in the social studies area while his knowledge in science is not not as fully developed.


AUDITORY/VERBAL SKILLS
Ben is exhibiting vulnerabilities in his language profile. As stated earlier, he had some difficulties with directions during this assessment, and he related that this was also an area of difficulty in school. Similarly, he demonstrated inefficiencies when asked to repeat directions on the Test of Auditory Perceptual Skills. His overall performance on this test was within the lower end of the average range with strengths noted in his ability to repeat digits in forward position and in his ability to discriminate between like sounding words. Ben had significant difficulty repeating digits in reversed order (a task which involves revisualization and organizational skills). He also demonstrated inefficient skills in repeating sentences and words. Auditory reasoning skills were within the average range. On this latter test, however, Ben became overwhelmed as the questions increased in complexity.

[I have omitted a chart of test scores here]

Ben also evidences some gaps in his vocabulary base. On the Peabody Picture Vocabulary Test - Revised, he achieved somewhat below age expectations with a Standard Score of 96 and a Percentile rank of 39. Similarly, on the Reading Vocabulary subtest of the Woodcock-Johnson in which he was asked to read a word out loud then provide an antonym, he achieved a Standard Score of 97 and Percentile Rank of 41. On this latter test, Ben often seemed to understand the meaning of the words but had difficulty coming up with a specific, one word response. For example, his synonym for require was "have to."


VISUAL/PERCEPTUAL/MOTOR SKILLS
Ben hold his pencil in his right hand. His grasp is fairly normal although his index finger is almost at the writing tip. In contrast to his very slow approach to language based tasks, Ben seemed to rush through paper and pencil tasks in a rather unreflective manner. He prints his letters using all upper case forms which are often incorrectly or incompletely written. Ben's writing also reflects difficulties with spatial organization and alignment.

These difficulties with organization, planning, and spatial orientation were also apparent on the Beery Developmental Test of Visual Motor Integration. On this test, Ben was asked to copy geometric designs of increasing complexity in clearly defined spaces. Ben's attention to detail on this task was poor. His designs lacked closure, and he demonstrated difficulties in terms of tangency and integration of component parts. He had particular difficulty organizing the overlaps on the three dimensional designs and ended up ignoring them. His overall performance on this task was well below age expectations.


SUMMARY AND RECOMMENDATIONS
Ben Garber is a sixteen year old young man of strong intellectual potential who has had a history of academic difficulties. He has a learning disability involving visual motor organizational skills, and attentional issues have also been problematic. During the present educational assessment Ben appeared well motivated and cooperated with all task demands. He was open about the difficulties he had experienced and expressed hesitant optimism about the coming year.

Ben's approach to task varied from very slow and deliberate on more language based tasks such as reading to hasty and disorganized on copying and written language tasks. Academic test results indicate that he can demonstrate strong reading comprehension skills when tasks are structured and untimed, but he has considerable difficulty with lengthier material material when time constraints are involved. Math skills are in the average range; however, Been has difficulty with sequential processes, and thus, operations involving several steps are problematic. He does have a good sense of math and exhibits strong estimating skills, but seems to lack patience and organization for going through the steps that are required to get the final answer. Similarly, organizational difficulties are noted in written language where Ben has a tendency to write in brief, concrete fashion. His writing is immature in terms of mechanics as well as thematic development.

Ben demonstrated some vulnerability in his auditory memory and processing skills, and he needed information presented in a short, structured fashion and repeated when necessary. Some gaps were also noted in his vocabulary base -- both expressive and receptive.

Given this profile, the following recommendations are offered:

1. Ben will need the organizational support of the Learning Center at PCD. He will need help in understanding his assignments (making sure he is focusing on the correct material) as well as breaking these assignments into smaller, more manageable parts so that he does not become overwhelmed by the complexity of the entire task. helping him keep a calender time line for long term assignments will also be helpful. Providing him with study guides for classes where he must get through a great deal of sequential material would also be helpful (e.g. history, sciences, etc.). Giving him a blank web, chart or outline to use for notetaking would also be helpful for organizing the information for studying and follow-up assignments.

2. Within the classroom, Ben should sit close to where the instruction is taking place. Verbal information should be presented in short, structured chunks and supplemented by concrete visual cues whenever possible. New information should be linked with previously learned and mastered material for effective carryover.

3. Extended time limits are recommended for test taking situations including standardized testing such as the Scholastic Aptitude Tests.

4. Given the length of time it takes Ben to get through complex reading material, providing him with Books on Tape is also recommended.

5. Ben would profit by direct instruction in higher level reading comprehension and written expressive skills. For reading comprehension, instruction in prereading skills, such as surveying, questioning, and predicting is recommended. This would help prepare him for reading the selection and aid in comprehension while reading. In addition, Ben would benefit from learning strategies that help him reformulate the text he has read. Outlining skills which emphasize the main ideas in relationship to supportive detail may be helpful for improving this formulation. In particular, key words can be provided to orient attention to appropriate details such as who, what, when, where, and why. Summary writing would also improve comprehension while strengthening writing skills.

6. Teaching Ben more effective memorization skills such as use of mnemonics, chunking information, visual diagrams, etc. would also be recommended.

Jaffa Kessler Davies, M.S.
Educational Specialist


AND BACK TO LANCE
Ok, yeah yeah. yeah, i figure thats pretty good, theres not much there i dont aggree with. except when she says my writing is immature. I say that my writing is only immature if i want it to be. But none the less, what it basicly says is i have poor hand writing and reading skills, im not very good at lissening, imimpatient when it comes to math, but i do have fantastic estimation skills. So in other words, do ever expect me to write a full length book, let alone read one. However, if you ever need an estimate, i'm the one you should call.


There will be no letter section this week do to lack of boredom. However, next issue shall have letters. The next issue will also tell you more about my plans to run for the mayer of providence (which i really am doing, this aint no joke), including when and how i will start campaigning, as well as when i will be getting my name on the ballot. ALSO NEXT ISSSUE is what will I be doing next year for school (hint: not berklee). Also, my review of the nutcracker, and my top movie choices for 1998.

Until next time, hippopotomouses.

Love,
your hippopotomous obssessed mayer,
Lance Romañce


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