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Development funded by the U.S. Office of Special Education Programs

Research Connections
in Special Education


Number 2
Spring 1998

State-Wide Assessment Programs

The trend to include students with disabilities in large-scale testing programs became a requirement in the 1997 Reauthorization of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). This issue describes the promising special education research that is helping all students to participate successfully.

  In This Issue
Including Students With Disabilities


Emerging Approaches


Views from the Field


State-Wide Efforts


Contacts & Resources


ButtonERIC Clearinghouse on Disabilities and Gifted Education
ButtonERIC/OSEP Special Project Page
ButtonCEC Home Page


Including Students with Disabilities

The newly enacted Individuals with Disabilities Education Act Amendments of 1997 (IDEA) requires that students with disabilities participate in large-scale assessments. The law states:

  • As a condition of eligibility, states must have policies and procedures to ensure that children with disabilities are included in general state- and district-wide assessment programs, with appropriate accommodations where necessary.
  • Effective July 1, 1998, individualized education programs (IEPs) must include a statement of any individual modifications in the administration of state or district-wide assessments of student achievement that are needed in order for the child to participate in such assessments; and if the IEP team determines that the child will not participate in a particular state- or district-wide assessment of student achievement (or part of such assessment), the IEP must include a statement of why that assessment is not appropriate for the child; and how the child will be assessed.
  • For the students whose IEPs specify that they should be excluded from regular assessments, the state must ensure development of guidelines for their participation in alternate assessments, and develop and conduct alternate assessments no later than July 1, 2000.
  • States must have recording policies and procedures in place that ensure proper reporting of information regarding the performance of students with disabilities on large-scale assessments.

Most districts and states are in the early stages of developing and implementing assessment models that include all students. A large number are already using testing accommodations and a few are developing alternate assessments. But for the majority of state and local district practitioners, this new mandate is raising many questions and concerns. Beginning in Emerging Approaches, we'll take a look at how special education researchers are informing the discussion.

Next: Emerging Approaches

ButtonBack to this Issue's Contents

ButtonERIC Clearinghouse on Disabilities and Gifted Education
ButtonERIC/OSEP Special Project Page
ButtonCEC Home Page


Research Connections is a biannual review of research on topics in special education, focusing on research sponsored by the U.S. Office of Special Education Programs.

Kathleen McLane, Associate Director, the ERIC Clearinghouse on Disabilities and Gifted Education

Jane Burnette, Publications Manager, ERIC/OSEP Special Project

Raymond Orkwis, Production Coordinator, ERIC/OSEP Special Project

Developed by Warger, Eavy & Associates for the ERIC/OSEP Special Project.

The ERIC/OSEP Special Project is operated by The Council for Exceptional Children through the ERIC Clearinghouse for Disabilities and Gifted Education.

Research Connections was prepared with funding form the U.S. Department of Education, Office of Special Education Programs, under contract no. RR93002005. It is in the public domain and may be freely reproduced and disseminated. The opinions expressed here do not necessarily reflect the positions or policies of OSEP or the Department of Education.
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