One quick silent moment passed by, which wasn’t really long enough for any true self-reflection, and the answer was something like this:
‘She doesn’t pay attention’
‘She needs to work on vocabulary’
‘She doesn’t pay attention to context’
Now go back and read those comments again, do you notice what pronoun they are using? They are starting every sentence with she. Not we, but she.
The next word or two words is a verb (needs to work, doesn’t pay) all of which carry the connotation that the student is at fault for failing to improve in spelling. These words put the onus back on the student.
Since there was evidence that this particular student did make significant progress in both reading and math, why would she choose not ‘focus, try, or be less careless’ just for spelling? More importantly, why did it take the IEP team less than 15 seconds to come to that conclusion?
It doesn’t make sense – but it does explain what the IEP believes is the problem – it’s not the instruction, it’s the student.