Deaf student frustrated by FSA audio requirements

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A Seminole County student says she’s worried she may not do well on an upcoming Florida Standards Assessment because she’s hearing impaired. 

Cancer left Peyton Bogert hearing impaired when she was just a baby.

“I work really hard to keep up with my classmates,” said Bogert, who’s now a sophomore at Oviedo High School.

Bogert has been hitting the books – even during her spring break. But she says no amount of studying will be enough for an upcoming language arts FSA that tests students on their ability to hear and comprehend conversation.

“You’re leaving 4,000 kids behind when you’re doing that, so it’s unfair,” said Bogert.

Bogert says she usually understands everything just fine with the help of closed captioning. But right now, the FSA isn’t set up to provide that.

I reached out to state education officials, who say they are providing sign language videos for hearing-impaired students. 

Peyton says she’s still learning sign language, so that’s not an option.  State officials say they are also allowing a teacher to read the audio portion of the test out loud, which would allow students like Peyton to read lips and understand that way.

But Peyton says that will just draw more attention to a disability she’s trying to get past.

“If you’re having to repeat something over and over again, you’re making it really obvious that I have a disability,” said Bogert.

“In today’s world where technology is so readily available, it is a shame that we are fighting [for what] should’ve occurred,” said Virginia Bogert, Peyton’s mother.

Bogert’s mom says state education officials promise her they’ll consider adding closed-captioning to next year’s testing. But state education officials said it’s too late to add that to this year’s FSA.

“I put in the work, so I don’t understand why you can’t accommodate me,” said Bogert.

When we reached out to the Florida Department of Education, we got the following response from Cheryl Etters, dep. director and press secretary for DOE:

“There are only a few listening items on each assessment and, for those, the Florida Department of Education worked closely with members of the hearing-impaired community and determined that the American Sign Language videos would meet the needs of Florida’s students with hearing impairments. As a result, closed captioning is not available for the 2015-2016 administration of the Florida Standards Assessments, and, as we approach the next testing window, it is not feasible to make changes to the test delivery system at this time. Students with hearing impairments who are not fluent in American Sign Language will access audio content by reading a test administrator’s lips.

"Each year, after we finalize the assessment administration, we consider carefully input that we receive from our state’s students, parents, and school and district leaders. While we cannot discuss any specific students, I can confirm that we have been contacted by a parent about this issue and we have assured that parent that this request will be considered for the 2016-2017 administration.

"While we cannot discuss any specific students, I can confirm that we have considered a number of options and, as in any other case, we have worked with the district to promptly and satisfactorily address the issue.”

Bay News 9 – local-news

March 25, 2016 |

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