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Appropriate Inclusion of Students with Disabilities in State Accountability Systems MS Word - Passage of several recent federal laws requires that all students with disabilities participate in general assessments at the state and local level. The performance of students with disabilities can be assessed through the general assessment, with or without accommodations, or through an alternate assessment. Regardless of the assessment used, results must be reported to determine if students with disabilities are making adequate progress toward proficiency on state standards. This paper describes the policy and technical issues that states must consider when deciding how to combine general and alternate assessments. (Edward Roeber, ECS Issue Brief, Education Commission of the States, November 2002)...

The No Child Left Behind Act and the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act: A Progress Report - This report documents changes in student outcomes, professional practices and policy in response to NCLB and IDEA, with a particular focus on ten states. In general, students with disabilities appear to be doing better academically and to be graduating with diplomas and certificates at higher rates than in prior years. However, dropout rates among these students remain a concern. The report offers recommendations to address issues related to students with disabilities. (National Council on Disability, January 28, 2008)...

How Far Behind in Math and Reading are English Language Learners? - Based on the 2005 National Assessment of Educational Progress, this report compares standardized test scores of English language learner (ELL) students with white, black and Hispanic students. The data suggests ELL students are among the farthest behind in standardized testing, with about 51% of 8th grade ELL students behind whites in reading and math. Other data show significant gaps between ELL 4th graders and their white peers, and smaller, but considerable gaps compared to black and Hispanics students. The report also examines characteristics of limited English speaking students of different grade levels. (Richard Fry, Pew Hispanic Center, June 2007)...

Curriculum Access for Students with Low-Incidence Disabilities: The Promise of Universal Design for Learning - A major premise of this report is that access to the curriculum for students with low-incidence disabilities is greatly enhanced by universal design. Universal Design for Learning (UDL) is a particular framework that applies to education. More specifically, UDL is an approach that can guide curriculum reform. A universally-designed curriculum includes multiple means of representation (to allow various ways of acquiring information and knowledge), multiple means of expression (to allow alternatives for demonstrating knowledge) and multiple means of engagement (to challenge appropriately, to motivate and to allow learners to express and participate in their interests). A number of current contrasting approaches to universal design are described. (Richard Jackson, National Center on Assessing the General Curriculum, 2007)...

No Child Left Behind Act: Education's Data Improvement Efforts Could Strengthen the Basis for Distributing Title III Funds - Title III of No Child Left Behind (NCLB) designates federal funds to support the education of students with limited English proficiency and provides for formula-based grants to states. This report describes the data the U.S. Education Department used to distribute Title III funds and implications for allocating funds across states. In addition, the report describes changes in federal funding to support these students under NCLB and how states and school districts used these funds, as well as Title III oversight and support to states. The report recommends that the department provide clear instructions to states on how and where to provide data on the number of students with limited English proficiency, develop and implement a methodology for determining which is the more accurate sources of data, and seek authority to use statistical methodologies to reduce the volatility associated with the data.(Government Accountability Office, December 2006)...

Closing the Achievement Gap Series: Part III What is the Impact of NCLB on the Inclusion of Students with Disabilities? - The author of this policy brief examines several questions regarding the impact of No Child Left Behind on students with disabilities. For example: What are the benefits of the law? What are the unintended consequences? Does NCLB conflict with the federal Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act (IDEIA)? In addition, the author conducted an online survey of Indiana superintendents, principals and directors of special education to gauge the views of educators. Recommendations also are offered, such as developing a second alternate assessment for students with cognitive disabilities who may not qualify under the current alternate assessment guidelines. (Cassandra Cole, Center for Evaluation & Education Policy and the Indiana Institute on Disability and Community at Indiana University, Fall 2006)...

Improving Assessment and Accountability for English Language Learners in the No Child Left Behind Act - This report by the National Council of La Raza examines the impact of NCLB on English language learners (ELLs). It concludes that while the law has not been implemented adequately, it holds considerable promise for closing the achievement gap between ELLs and other students. The issue brief also provides a road map for policymakers and school administrators for improving the law’s effectiveness for ELLs. (Melissa Lazarín, National Council of La Raza, March 2006)...

To What Extent Are Students with Disabilities Participating in Statewide Reading Assessments? PDF - State education leaders and policymakers increasingly are concerned about the extent to which students with disabilities are participating in statewide achievement tests. Through testing, states can gauge progress and ensure that the academic needs of students with disabilities are being met. Furthermore, two federal laws are pushing states and districts toward more inclusive systems. The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act requires states to include students with disabilities in their assessments and NCLB designates students with disabilities as one of the student sub-groups whose test scores are used to determine whether individual schools have met their annual performance goals. This brief reports on the participation rates of students with disabilities in statewide reading assessments in the grades tested during the 2001-02 school year. (Abt Associates, Inc., 2005)...

Who’s Left Behind? Immigrant Children in High and Low LEP Schools - This report provides a statistical portrait comparing elementary schools with high concentrations of limited-English-proficient (LEP) students, to schools with fewer or no LEP students to examine differences that may affect schools’ abilities to meet No Child Left Behind requirements. The report focuses on three critical components: the characteristics of the schools themselves, their principals and their teachers. Selected findings include: (1) LEP students are highly concentrated in a few schools; (2) on average, principals in high-LEP schools have less education and training than those in other schools; and (3) teachers in high-LEP schools report having less academic preparation than their low-LEP and no-LEP counterparts. (Clemencia Cosentino de Cohen, Nicole Deterding and Beatriz Chu Clewell, The Urban Institute, September 2005)...

Alternate Achievement Standards for Students with the Most Significant Cognitive Disabilities - This guidance provides states with detailed information about how to use and implement alternate achievement standards. The development of alternate achievement standards for students with the most significant cognitive disabilities and their use for making adequate yearly progress (AYP) decisions was authorized through the December 9, 2003 regulation. It does not address the proposed “2 percent” policy or the issue of “modified” achievement standards.(U.S. Department of Education, August 2005) ...

Confronting the Unique Challenges of Including English Language Learners with Disabilities in Statewide Assessments - With the increasing number of students who are English language learners (ELLs), the number of ELLs who also are special education students also is increasing, and these students pose unique challenges to educators. To determine what challenges state education agencies face when including ELL students with disabilities in statewide assessments, the authors of this report conducted telephone interviews with state education department personnel in the areas of assessment, ELL programs and special education in 14 states. Commonly reported challenges were the language barrier itself and the difficulties it then caused in assessing a student's skills. (Michael E. Anderson, Jane E. Minnema, Martha L. Thurlow and Jennifer Hall-Lande, National Center on Educational Outcomes, June 2005)...

Policymaker Perspectives on the Inclusion of English Language Learners with Disabilities in Statewide Assessments - This paper presents results from interviews with state policymakers from the assessment, special education and English language learner (ELL) divisions of 14 state departments of education. The interviews were intended to gather perceptions of how ELL students with disabilities are being included and accommodated for in-state testing. (Martha L. Thurlow, Michael E. Anderson, Jane E. Minnema and Jennifer Hall-Lande, National Center on Educational Outcomes, August 2005)...

Preliminary Report on No Child Left Behind in Indian Country - This paper is a preliminary report on the findings of hearings and consultation sessions involving tribal leaders, administrators, school board members, teachers, parents and students in Indian Country. The report is intended to provide insight on the impact the act has had on American Indian, Alaska Native and Native Hawaiian students and the educational institutions they attend. (National Indian Education Association, 2005)...

The New Demography of America's Schools: Immigration and the No Child Left Behind Act - The demographics of U.S. elementary and secondary schools are changing rapidly as a result of record-high immigration, and these demographic shifts are occurring alongside implementation of No Child Left Behind. This report explores how immigration is changing the profile of the nation’s elementary and secondary student population during this era of reform. (Randy Capps, Michael Fix, Julie Murray, Jason Ost, Jeffrey S. Passell and Shinta Herwantoro, The Urban Institute, 2005)...

Improving Educational Outcomes for Students with Disabilities - Based on a literature review, as well as interviews with policymakers, researchers and practitioners nationwide, this report gauges the impact of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act and NCLB in public expectations for students with disabilities. It also provides numerous recommendations for decisionmakers and practitioners alike. The study finds both acts are having an overall positive influence on the achievement of students with disabilities, but NCLB has the potential for positive as well as negative impact on the high school dropout rate among these youth. The authors also explore the scientifically based research on serving students with disabilities, including evidence-based strategies for dropout prevention, transition to postsecondary education and the workforce, and assessments and accommodations. The report’s number one recommendation is to not revert to lower expectations for students with disabilities. (National Council on Disability, May 2004)...

Fact Sheet: NCLB Provisions Ensure Flexibility and Accountability for Limited English Proficient (LEP) Students - NCLB requires states to include the academic achievement results of all students, including LEP students, in adequate yearly progress (AYP) calculations. This new flexibility allows LEP students, during their first year of enrollment in U.S. schools, to have the option of taking the reading/language arts content assessment in addition to taking the English language proficiency assessment. They would take the mathematics assessment, with accommodations as appropriate. States may, but would not be required to, include results from the mathematics and, if given, the reading/language arts content assessments in AYP calculations, which are part of the accountability requirements under NCLB. (U.S. Department of Education, February 2004)...

No Child Left Behind Provision Gives Schools New Flexibility and Ensures Accountability for Students with Disabilities - On December 9, 2003, the U.S. Department of Education announced a more flexible policy to determine Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) status. Under the regulations, when measuring AYP, states, school districts and schools can count the "proficient" scores of students with the most significant cognitive disabilities who take assessments based on alternate achievement standards. The number of those proficient scores may not exceed 1% of all students in the grades tested. Without this flexibility, those scores would have to be measured against grade-level standards and considered "not proficient." (U.S. Department of Education, December 2003)...

Title I -- Improving the Academic Achievement of the Disadvantaged; Final Rule - These final regulations govern the programs administered under Title I, Part A, of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act regarding accountability for the academic achievement of students with the most significant cognitive disabilities and reflect the changes made by No Child Left Behind. (U.S. Department of Education, December 2003) ...


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