Fri Nov 18 2016
Russian educators standing and talking.

"We're now starting to see the fruition of our U.S.-Russia partnership in the work of the International Institute on Progress Monitoring," says Renáta Tichá. "It has moved from an academic collaboration to actually affecting student lives." She was speaking of the November meeting between ICI and a delegation of Russian educators and special educators from Krasnoyarsk in Siberia. They traveled to Minnesota to meet with her and Brian Abery as part of the work of the International Institute on Progress Monitoring (IIPM).

IIPM, a collaboration between ICI and Krasnoyarsk State Pedagogical University (KSPU), develops and evaluates progress monitoring tools for students with significant disabilities in both the English and Russian languages. On November 2, the Russians visited Fraser School, an inclusive early childhood program, and the Simon Technology Center at PACER (pictured) to learn about the approaches and technologies used with students with disabilities in inclusive settings in Minnesota. In the evening, delegates and several members of the Rotary Club in White Bear Lake participated in an online conference together with colleagues in Russia - Anastasia Mamaeva and Olga Belaeva at KSPU, their students, and local teachers - focusing on assessment of students with significant disabilities in the two countries. Presentations included a demonstration by the Russian colleagues of students taking part in the newly developed assessments on touch-screen tablets, using an app developed at ICI. Known as "Monitoring Assessments for determining Necessary General Outcomes (MANGO)," the app works for assessments in Russian, English, and Danish. MANGO enables researchers and teachers to administer the assessments on tablets rather than on laminated cards.

"Students with significant disabilities now have access to assessments with which they can successfully interact, and thus provide meaningful information to teachers. It is a strong reminder about why we do this work," says Tichá. IIPM, co-directed by Tichá and Abery, is part of ICI's Global Resource Center for Inclusive Education and is funded by the Eurasia Foundation.