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Alternate Assessment for Students with Disabilities (August 2002)

The 1997 amendments to the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) require states to develop alternate assessments for students with disabilities who cannot participate in large-scale assessement programs. What practices have states developed to meet this requirement?

Alternate assessments are designed to measure the performance of students who are unable to participate in general large-scale assessments used by districts and states. Rather than the traditional standardized tests, alternative forms of testing are used. Students who have disabilities differ greatly in their ability to respond to different types of stimuli and to solve problems. Most states have implemented some type of alternate assessment. Some have decided to compile a body of evidence, often through a portfolio approach. Assessment data are collected across several months, using a variety of assessment strategies. Other approaches include student observations, teacher-completed checklists of student skills, and IEP-based reviews.

Following are selected citations from the ERIC database and the search terms we used to find the citations.


You can search the ERIC database yourself on the Internet through either of the following web sites:

ERIC Citations

The full text of citations beginning with an ED number (for example, EDxxxxxx) is available:

  • In microfiche collections worldwide; to find your nearest ERIC Resource Collection, point your web browser to: http://ericae.net/derc.htm.
  • For a fee through the ERIC Document Reproduction Service (EDRS): http://edrs.com, service@edrs.com, or 1.800.443.ERIC. (no longer available)

The full text of citations beginning with an EJ number (for example, EJxxxxxx) is available for a fee from:

ERIC Search Terms Used

disabilities OR special education

AND

educational testing OR evaluation methods OR educational assessment OR competency testing OR academic standards

AND

accountability OR outcomes of education OR state standards


ED460558 EC308778
Principles and Characteristics of Inclusive Assessment and Accountability Systems. Synthesis Report
Thurlow, Martha; Quenemoen, Rachel; Thompson, Sandra; Lehr, Camilla
2001; 24 pp.
Publication Type: Evaluative Report (142 )
Availability: National Center on Educational Outcomes, Univ. of Minnesota, 350 Elliott Hall, 75 East River Rd., Minneapolis, MN 55455 ($5). Tel: 612-626-1530; Fax: 612-624-0879; Web site: http://education.umn.edu/NCEO/. For full text: http://education.umn.edu/NCEO/OnlinePubs/Synthesis40.html.
EDRS Price: EDRS Price MF01/PC01 Plus Postage.
Institution Name: National Center on Educational Outcomes, Minneapolis, MN.; Council of Chief State School Officers, Washington, DC.; National Association of State Directors of Special Education, Alexandria, VA.
Sponsoring Agency: Special Education Programs (ED/OSERS), Washington, DC.
Contract No: H326G000001
This report presents six core principles of inclusive assessment and accountability systems with a brief rationale and specific characteristics that reflect each principle. The principles are: (1) All students with disabilities are included in the assessment system; (2) Decisions about how students with disabilities participate in the assessment system are the result of clearly articulated participation, accommodations, and alternate assessment decision-making processes; (3) All students with disabilities are included when student scores are publicly reported in the same frequency and format as all other students, whether they participate with or without accommodations, or in an alternate assessment; (4) The assessment performance of students with disabilities has the same impact on the final accountability index as the performance of other students, regardless of how the students participate in the assessment system; (5) There is improvement of both the assessment system and the accountability system over time, through the processes of formal monitoring, ongoing evaluation, and systematic training in the context of emerging research and best practice; and (6) Every policy and practice reflects the belief that all students must be included in state and district assessment and accountability systems. Descriptors: Academic Standards; Accountability; Disabilities; Educational Assessment; Educational Environment; Educational Principles; Elementary Secondary Education; Inclusive Schools; Institutional Characteristics; State Standards; Student Evaluation; Student Participation; Testing


ED452655 EC308413
Recommendations for Addressing Standards and Assessments on State and District IEP Forms. NCEO Policy Directions, Number 12.
Thompson, Sandra; Thurlow, Martha; Whetstone, Patti
National Center on Educational Outcomes, Minneapolis, MN 2001; 8pp.
Publication Type: Non-Classroom Use (055)
Availability: National Center on Educational Outcomes, University of Minnesota, 350 Elliott Hall, 75 East River Rd., Minneapolis, MN 55455; Tel: 612-626-1530; Fax: 612-624-0879; Web site: http://education.umn.edu/NCEO/ ($3.50).
EDRS Price: MF01/PC01 Plus Postage.
Sponsoring Agency: Special Education Programs (ED/OSERS), Washington, DC.
Contract No: H326G000001
Publication Type: Non-Classroom Use (055)
This paper discusses federal requirements for addressing general education curriculum standards and student participation in educational assessments in the Individualized Education Programs (IEPs) of students with disabilities. Specific regulations of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act are cited, and the following recommendations are offered for addressing standards and assessment on IEPs: (1) whenever access to the general curriculum is mentioned on an IEP, there should also be mention of access to the educational standards that apply to all children; (2) develop participation decision-making processes of IEP teams, and reflect these on the IEP form; (3) include "alternate assessment" on the list of assessment participation options; (4) specify important implications of assessment decisions on the IEP form; (5) post state IEP forms in easily accessible locations on state education agency Web sites; (6) offer statewide training, ongoing technical assistance, and easily accessible information about standards-based IEPs and assessment options; (7) clearly label IEP forms as sample, recommended, or required so that districts know their parameters in making alterations to the form; and (8) give IEP teams the time to make thoughtful decisions.
Descriptors: Academic Standards; Accountability; Compliance (Legal); Disabilities; Documentation; Educational Assessment; Educational Legislation; Elementary Secondary Education; Federal Legislation; Individualized Education Programs; Policy Formation; Student Evaluation; Student Participation; Testing
Identifiers: Alternative Assessment; Amendments; Individuals with Disabilities Educ Act Amend 1997; *Individuals with Disabilities Education Act


EJ632651 EC628276
Eight Steps to Effective Implementation of Alternate Assessments.
Thompson, Sandra J.; Quenemoen, Rachel F.
Publication Date: 2001
Publication Type: Non-Classroom Material (055); Journal Article (080)
ISSN: ISSN-0737-2477
Assessment for Effective Intervention; v26 n2 p67-74 Win 2001
These steps are described for implementation: inform stakeholders of the importance of alternate assessments, educate all students to high standards, identify partners to support participants, use a practical process to decide eligibility, develop standards-based Individualized Education Programs, use a variety of assessment strategies, use scores for school improvement, and evaluate implementation.
Descriptors: Academic Accommodations (Disabilities); Academic Standards; Accountability; Alternative Assessment; Disabilities; Educational Assessment; Elementary Secondary Education; Eligibility; Evaluation Methods; Outcomes of Education; Policy Formation; Program Implementation; Student Evaluation; Testing; Testing Accommodations

ED450523 EC308280
State & District-Wide Assessments of School Achievement. Issues in Education. Technical Assistance Bulletin.
Publication Type: Non-Classroom Materials (055)
2001; 8pp.
Availability: Center for Innovations in Special Education (CISE), Department of Special Education, Parkade Center, Suite 152, 601 Business Loop 70 West, Columbia, MO 65211-8020; Tel: 800-976-2473 (Toll-Free); Tel: 573-884-7275 (Voice).
EDRS Price: MF01/PC01 Plus Postage.
Institution: Center for Innovations in Special Education, Columbia, MO.
Sponsoring Agency: Missouri State Dept. of Elementary and Secondary Education, Jefferson City. Div. of Special Education.
This bulletin provides guidelines to Missouri educators concerning inclusion of students with disabilities in state and district-wide assessments of school achievement as required under Missouri's Outstanding Schools Act and the reauthorization of the federal Individuals with Disabilities Education Act of 1997. It stresses the greater focus on accountability for educational services provided to students with disabilities. The five questions and answers address the following topics: (1) reasons for requiring students with disabilities to participate in the Missouri Assessment Program (MAP) and district-wide assessments; (2) decisions of the individualized education program (IEP) team concerning a student's involvement in assessments; (3) assessments included in the MAP; (4) assessments that must be considered at the district level; and (5) factors that IEP teams need to consider in deciding about a student's participation and accommodation in assessment. An inset lists eligibility criteria for participation in MAP-A and a table lists accommodation codes for IEP students.
Descriptors: Academic Accommodations (Disabilities); Academic Achievement; Accountability; Achievement Tests; Compliance (Legal); Disabilities; Educational Assessment; Educational Legislation; Elementary Secondary Education; Federal Legislation; Guidelines; Inclusive Schools; State Legislation; State Standards
Identifiers: Alternative Assessment; Amendments; *Individuals with Disabilities Educ Act Amend 1997; Missouri; Missouri Assessment Program; *Outstanding Schools Act (Missouri 1993)

ED431262 EC307241
What Gets Tested, Gets Taught; Who Gets Tested, Gets Taught: Curriculum Framework Development Process.
Burgess, Patricia; Kennedy, Sarah
Author Affiliation: Mid-South Regional Resource Center, Lexington, KY
18 pp
Publication Date: August 1998
Sponsoring Agency: Special Education Programs (ED/OSERS), Washington, DC.
Contract No: H028A30008
Available from: EDRS Price MF01/PC01 Plus Postage.
Availability: Alternative formats: Mid-South Regional Resource Center, Interdisciplinary Human Development Institute, 126 Mineral Industries Building, University of Kentucky, Lexington, KY 40506-0051; Tel: 606-257-4921; Fax: 606-257-4353; Web site: http://aww.ihdi.uky.edu/msrrc
Language: English
Document Type: Reports--Research (143)
Geographic Source: U.S.; Kentucky
Journal Announcement: RIENOV1999
This paper describes the various approaches taken by six states that have accepted the challenge of establishing goals consistent with other goals and standards established by the state for students participating in alternate assessments and that have created links with the state-adopted curriculum frameworks. The purpose of a curriculum framework is to provide a foundation for teachers to use as a basis for planning instructional programs for students with moderate/severe disabilities. This paper is designed to provide state teams with options for committee purposes, committee representatives, processes for development and next steps, as well as a guide that will help create a foundation for state planning. It begins by discussing the make-up of each state's committee and the development of consistent goals and objectives. Next, efforts of the 6 states (Colorado, Kentucky, Missouri, New Jersey, New York, and West Virginia) included in the review are profiled. Results of the review indicate participants have gone through personal changes because of their work on Curriculum Framework committees, including a renewed sense of professional pride, an increased awareness of vocation, and an increased appreciation for the dedication and commitment to the success of all students.
Descriptors: *Academic Standards; Advisory Committees; Curriculum; *Curriculum Development; *Disabilities; *Educational Objectives; Elementary Secondary Education; Policy Formation; *Regular and Special Education Relationship; *State Standards; Teamwork

EJ581569 EA535636
Title: We Need Not Exclude Anyone.
Author(s) Kearns, Jacqueline Farmer; Kleinert, Harold L.; Kennedy, Sarah
Source: Educational Leadership, v56 n6 p33-38 Mar 1999
Publication Date: 1999
ISSN: 0013-1784
Language: English
Document Type: Journal articles (080); Reports--Descriptive (141)
Journal Announcement: CIJOCT1999
Under the 1997 Individuals with Disabilities Education Act Amendments, all states must now include students with disabilities in statewide and districtwide educational assessments. So far, Kentucky is the only state with a comprehensive alternative portfolio-assessment program for students unable to participate in "regular" testing programs.
Descriptors: Accountability; *Disabilities; *Educational Assessment; Elementary Secondary Education; *Inclusive Schools; Mainstreaming; *Portfolio Assessment; Special Needs Students; Standards; *State Action; Student Evaluation
Identifiers: Alternative Assessment; *Individuals with Disabilities Educ Act Amend 1997; *Kentucky

EJ599136 EC618335
Title: Accountability for All Students: Kentucky's Alternate Portfolio Assessment for Students with Moderate and Severe Cognitive Disabilities.
Author(s) Kleinert, Harold L.; Kearns, Jacqueline Farmer; Kennedy, Sarah
Source: Journal of the Association for Persons with Severe Handicaps, v22 n2 p88-101 Sum 1997
For commentaries on this document see: EJ599139, EJ599138 and EJ599137.
Publication Date: 1997
Language: English
Document Type: Journal articles (080); Reports--Descriptive (141)
Journal Announcement: CIJJUL2000
This article describes the development of Kentucky's alternative assessment for students with disabilities, including the content and scoring standards for the Alternate Portfolio. Specific examples of entries at each grade are given. Initial implementation data are presented, and critical issues in the development of alternate statewide assessment are discussed.
Descriptors: Accountability; *Disabilities; *Educational Assessment; Elementary Secondary Education; *Evaluation Methods; *Portfolio Assessment; Program Development; State Programs; *Student Evaluation
Identifiers: Alternative Assessment; *Kentucky Education Reform Act 1990

ED431263 EC307242
Title: Alternate Assessment Issues and Practices.
Author(s) Olsen, Ken; Bechard, Sue; Kennedy, Sarah; Haigh, John; Parshall, Lucian; Friedebach, Melodie
Author Affiliation: Mid-South Regional Resource Center, Lexington, KY
Publication Date: May 1998
Pages: 37
Sponsoring Agency: Special Education Programs (ED/OSERS), Washington, DC.
Contract No: H028A3008
Available from: EDRS Price MF01/PC02 Plus Postage.
Availability: Mid-South Regional Resource Center, Interdisciplinary Human Development Institute, 126 Mineral Industries Building, University of Kentucky, Lexington, KY 40506-0051; Tel: 606-257-4921; Fax: 606-257-4353; Web site: http:// www.ihdi.uky.edu/msrrc
Language: English
Document Type: Reports--Descriptive (141)
Geographic Source: U.S.; Kentucky
Journal Announcement: RIENOV1999
This report discusses the 1997 amendments to the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act that require states to develop alternate assessments for students with disabilities who cannot participate in large-scale assessment programs. The report also profiles five state alternate assessment practices that have been developed or are emerging and defines seven issues that must be addressed in developing an alternate assessment, including: why assess, who to assess, what to assess, when to assess, how to assess and score, how to report and use data, and how to engage in development and training. Practices in Colorado, Kentucky, Maryland, Michigan, and Missouri are described. As appropriate to its stage of alternate assessment development, each state report describes background and context, foundations, eligibility, content standards, assessment procedures, scoring, reporting and use, professional development, development and management, and effects. Findings indicate that most states are attempting to develop the alternate assessment as an extension of the general assessment system, with an emphasis on both accountability and program improvement. Eligibility criteria are still evolving, but it was found the alternate assessments are intended for students who have the most significant disabilities.
Descriptors: *Academic Standards; *Accountability; Educational Legislation; Elementary Secondary Education; Evaluation Methods; Federal Legislation; Policy Formation; *Portfolio Assessment; *Severe Disabilities; State Programs; *State Standards; *Student Evaluation
Identifiers: Alternative Assessment; Colorado; Individuals with Disabilities Educ Act Amend 1997; Kentucky; Maryland; Michigan; Missouri; *Testing Accommodations (Disabilities)

ED431260 EC307239
Title: What Principles Are Driving Development of State Alternate Assessments?
Author(s) Olsen, Ken
Author Affiliation: Mid-South Regional Resource Center, Lexington, KY
13pp
Publication Date: July 1998
Sponsoring Agency: Special Education Programs (ED/OSERS), Washington, DC
Contract No: H326R980003
Available from: EDRS Price MF01/PC01 Plus Postage.
Availability: Alternative formats: Mid-South Regional Resource Center, Interdisciplinary Human Development Institute, 126 Mineral Industries Building, University of Kentucky, Lexington, KY 40506-0051; Tel: 606-257-4921; Fax: 606-257- 4353; Web site: http://www.ihdi.uky.edu/msrrc
Language: English
Document Type: Reports--Research (143)
Geographic Source: U.S.; Kentucky
Journal Announcement: RIENOV1999
This paper discusses the new Individuals with Disabilities Education Act 1997 amendments that require states to develop guidelines for the participation of children with disabilities in alternate assessments who cannot participate in state and district-wide assessment programs. It describes and analyzes the efforts of 7 early starting states to define what they variously call assumptions, premises, rationale, beliefs, values, principles, parameters, or philosophies for alternate assessment. The foundations for the Kentucky, Maryland, and Michigan approaches are described first, because their work has influenced later work to a great extent. Next, foundation statements are included from Colorado, North Carolina, Tennessee, and West Virginia. The paper concludes by summarizing the effects that different orientations might have on alternate assessments. Results of the review indicate that Kentucky is the only state that fully includes all students within its statewide educational assessment and accountability system, and that state foundation statements are directing state efforts in the area of alternate assessment. The review also found that each assessment approach has its foundation in different philosophies that form the basis for the development of the alternate assessment.
Descriptors: *Academic Standards; *Disabilities; Educational Legislation; Elementary Secondary Education; Eligibility; Federal Legislation; Policy Formation; *School Policy; *Standardized Tests; State Programs; *State Standards; *Student Evaluation; Student Participation
Identifiers: Alternative Assessment; Individuals with Disabilities Educ Act Amend 1997; *Testing Accommodations (Disabilities)

EJ577381 EC620302
Title: Using Alternative Assessment for Students with Severe Disabilities: Alignment with Best Practices.
Author(s) Siegel-Causey, Ellin; Allinder, Rose M.
Source: Education and Training in Mental Retardation and Developmental Disabilities, v33 n2 p168-78 Jun 1998
Publication Date: 1998
ISSN: 1079-3917
Language: English
Document Type: Guides--Non-classroom (055); Journal articles (080)
Journal Announcement: CIJAUG1999
Reviews best practices for curricular design and instruction for students with moderate retardation and severe disabilities. Describes the benefits of alternate assessment practices such as portfolios and authentic assessment, and presents strategies for alternative assessment processes that can link best practice assumptions and can redirect instruction.
Descriptors: *Curriculum Design; Educational Practices; Educational Strategies; Elementary Secondary Education; Evaluation Methods; *Mental Retardation; Multiple Disabilities; *Performance Based Assessment; *Portfolio Assessment; *Severe Disabilities; *Student Evaluation
Identifiers: *Alternative Assessment; Authentic Assessment

ED441292 EC307807
Title: Status of the States in the Development of Alternate Assessments. Synthesis Report 31.
Author(s) Thompson, Sandra; Erickson, Ron; Thurlow, Martha; Ysseldyke, James; Callender, Stacy
Author Affiliation: National Center on Educational Outcomes, Minneapolis, MN; Council of Chief State School Officers, Washington, DC; National Association of State Directors of Special Education, Alexandria, VA.
40 pp
Publication Date: April 1999
Sponsoring Agency: Special Education Programs (ED/OSERS), Washington, DC
Contract No: H159C50004
Available from: EDRS Price MF01/PC02 Plus Postage.
Availability: National Center on Educational Outcomes, University of Minnesota, 350 Elliott Hall, 75 East River Road, Minneapolis, MN 55455 ($10). Tel: 612-624-8561; Fax: 612-624-0879; Web site: http://education.umn.edu/NCEO/.
Language: English
Document Type: Reports--Research (143)
Geographic Source: U.S.; Minnesota
Journal Announcement: RIENOV2000
This report discusses the outcomes of a survey that questioned states about their development of alternate assessments for students with disabilities who cannot participate, even with accommodations, in state or district-wide assessment programs. In the survey, states were asked about a variety of developmental features of their alternate assessments. Findings from 37 states indicate: (1) 30 states are working on the identification of curricular or content standards for which an alternate assessment will be developed; (2) 32 states reported progress

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