U.S. Education Secretary Proposes Eliminating Alternative Assessments Used by Special Education Students

Modified assessments like the STAR would be fazed out after 2013-2014.

Modified assessments like the STAR would be fazed out after 2013-2014.

Are alternative assessments for students in special education fair to those students? Most parents may not know it, but school administrators have an incentive to encourage the parents of students with IEP’s to allow their children to take the alternative (easier assessment) in order to inflate their test score averages.

Unfortunately, lower expectations lead to lower test results.

Now the U.S. Department of Education has proposed regulations, published Friday, to transition away from the so-called “2 percent rule,” thus emphasizing the Department’s commitment to holding all students to high standards that better prepare them for college and career. Under the existing regulations, States have been allowed to develop alternate assessments aligned to modified academic achievement standards (AA-MAAS) for some students with disabilities and use the results of those assessments for accountability purposes under Title I of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act and the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act. In making accountability determinations, States currently may count as proficient scores for up to 2 percent of students in the grades assessed using the alternate assessments based on modified academic achievement standards.

Under the Department’s proposed regulation, students with disabilities who have been taking the AA-MAAS will transition to college and career ready standards and general assessments that are aligned to those standards and accessible to all students. Research has shown that struggling students with disabilities make academic progress when provided with appropriate supports and instruction. More accessible general assessments, in combination with such supports and instruction for students with disabilities, can promote high expectations for all students, including students with disabilities, by encouraging teaching and learning to the academic achievement standards measured by the general assessments.

“We have to expect the very best from our students and tell the truth about student performance, to prepare them for college and career,” said U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan. “That means no longer allowing the achievement of students with disabilities to be measured by these alternate assessments aligned to modified achievement standards. This prevents these students from reaching their full potential, and prevents our country from benefitting from that potential.”

Read more at Department of Education wants changes in Assessing Students with Disabilities.

[Via – Hays Post]

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