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 What States Are Doing
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Special Education

Special Populations: Inclusion in State High School Assessments - This database provides 50-state information on how English language learners and students with disabilities are included in statewide high school-level assessments and exit exams. (Tim Taylor and Michael Colasanti, Education Commission of the States, June 2007)...

Accommodations for English Language Learners in State Assessments PDF - Students wo do not speak English as their first language are often provided with certain testing accommodations on state assessments. For English language learners, these accommodations can be described as direct and indirect linguistic support accommodations. This ECS StateNote explores the accommodations made in each state. (Michael Colasanti, Education Commission of the States, July 2007)...

No Child Left Behind Act: Assistance from Education Could Help States Better Measure Progress of Students with Limited English Proficiency - NCLB focuses attention on the academic achievement of more than 5 million students with limited English proficiency. Obtaining valid test results for these students is challenging, given their language barriers. This report describes: (1) the extent to which these students are meeting annual academic progress goals, (2) what states have done to ensure the validity of their academic assessments, (3) what states are doing to ensure the validity of their English language proficiency assessments and (4) how the U.S. Department of Education is supporting states’ efforts to meet NCLBA’s assessment requirements for these students. The report recommends that the secretary of education: (1) support research on accommodations, (2) identify and provide technical support states need to ensure the validity of academic assessments, (3) publish additional guidance on requirements for assessing English language proficiency, and (4) explore ways to provide additional flexibility for measuring annual progress for these students. Also available are report highlights. (Government Accountability Office, July 2006) ...

Alternate Assessments Measured Against Grade-level Achievement Standards: The Massachusetts "Competency Portfolio" - States in increasing numbers are looking to verify that students graduating from high school can demonstrate the core competencies acknowledged as important in becoming productive citizens and lifelong learners. Approaches that rely on the use of only one assessment method by which students can meet these high-stakes requirements will inevitably be challenged by the families of students who claim to have these skills and competencies, but cannot demonstrate them effectively on standard tests. This report presents a model of an alternative pathway used by Massachusetts to meet diploma requirements. (Dan Wiener, National Center on Educational Outcomes, January 2006)...

Rhode Island Assessment Accommodation Study: Research Summary - This study examines current practices in assessment accommodations in Rhode Island schools. Based on survey responses of Rhode Island educators, graduate-level training may not sufficiently emphasize accommodations for assessment. Significant differences were found between the provision of instructional and assessment accommodations for students with disabilities. (Rhode Island Department of Education, National Center on Educational Outcomes, April 2003)...

The Differential Impact of Accommodations in Statewide Assessment: Research Summary - Kansas - Kansas conducted a set of studies that considered the effects of language complexity and the use of calculators on the statewide assessment performance of students with disabilities and English language learners. Findings from one study suggest that allowing students who need calculators to use them does not result in altering the construct being measured and that test scores should be comparable regardless of calculator availability. (Julia Shaftel, Evelyn Belton-Kocher, Douglas R. Glasnapp and John P. Poggio, National Center on Educational Outcomes, April 2003)...

West Virginia Department of Education SAT-9 and Testing Conditions: Research Summary - The West Virginia Department of Education examined the test performance of students with different disabilities and in various least restrictive environments as they differed according to testing conditions. Least restrictive environment was the most important predictor of performance and had the strongest relationship with assignment to testing conditions. (West Virginia Department of Education, National Center on Educational Outcomes, April 2003)...

2001 State Special Education Outcomes: A Report on State Activities at the Beginning of a New Decade - This document reports on the findings of the 2001 national survey of state directors of special education. Findings are presented on state and district assessment participation and performance, accommodations, alternate assessment, reporting and accountability systems. The report also highlights several related topics, including state activities in assessment of students with disabilities who are limited English proficient, and how states are addressing standards on Individual Education Plans. (Martha L. Thurlow, Sheryl Lazarus, Sandra Thompson, and Jennifer Robey, NCEO, July 2002)...

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