ERIC Number: ED485438
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2004-Sep
Understanding Out-of-Level Testing in Local Schools: A First Case Study of Policy Implementation and Effects. Out-of-Level Testing Report 11.
Minnema, Jane E.; Thurlow, Martha L.; Warren, Sandra Hopfengardner
National Center on Secondary Education and Transition, University of Minnesota (NCSET)
This report is the first accounting of one case study of large-scale assessment practices in a local educational agency (LEA) where students with disabilities are administered states' standards-based tests out of level. The overall purpose of the research project was to describe the specific effects of testing students with disabilities out of level as well as teachers' and students' perceptions of these effects. In 2001-2002, the large-scale assessment program for the state chosen was an augmented version of the Stanford Achievement Test, Ninth Edition (SAT-9) where items that directly measured state content standards were added to this norm-referenced test. More specifi cally, these additional test items were designed to measure students? progress on acquiring content standards in English-language arts, mathematics, science, and history/social science in grades 2 through 11. Data for this case study were collected in a unifi ed school district located in the northern region of a large western state. The district served approximately 16,881 kindergarten through grade 4. The study project addressed the following research questions: (1) What are the instructional effects on students with disabilities who are tested out of level in statewide assessments?(2) What are teachers? learning expectations for students with disabilities who are tested out of level? (3) How are students with disabilities selected for an out-of-level test? (4) How do students with disabilities perceive out of level testing? The sample included students with disabilities (n = 14), general education teachers (n = 5), special education teachers (n = 8), school administrators (n = 3), special education coordinators (n = 1), and other school staff such as guidance counselors (n = 1) and district test coordinators (n = 1). A case study design was used to address the research questions by employing mixed methods to garner numeric and narrative data. Data collection techniques included face-to (n = 33) and a document review of students? Individualized Education Programs (n = 14) and students? school records (n = 54). The findings indicated that (1) Students with disabilities who were tested out of level were not instructed on the grade level in which they were enrolled in school; (2) Of the students tested out of level in these two schools, only 30% of the test scores were enteredinto accountability indexes; (3) Of the students tested out of level in these two schools, only 30% of the test scores were entered into accountability indexes; (4) Uneven out-of-level testing policy implementation occurred within and between schools;(5) ome students with disabilities ho are tested out of level appear to be experiencing lost opportunities to learn. The findings accentuate the need for policymakers, educators, and parents to think critically about the immediate and long term unintended consequences of testing students with disabilities out of level in states? large-scale assessment programs. Included are nine tables and four "alternative findings."
Descriptors: Disabilities, Case Studies, Testing Accommodations, Academic Accommodations (Disabilities), Public Agencies, State Standards, Academic Standards, Teacher Attitudes, Student Attitudes
National Center on Educational Outcomes, University of Minnesota, 350 Elliott Hall, 75 East River Road, Minneapolis, MN 55455. Tel: 612-624-8561.
Publication Type: Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Audience: Parents; Practitioners; Policymakers
Sponsor: Special Education Programs (ED/OSERS), Washington, DC.
Authoring Institution: National Center on Educational Outcomes, Minneapolis, MN.Council of Chief State School Officers, Washington, DC.; National Association of State Directors of Special Education, Washington, DC.
Identifiers - Assessments and Surveys: Stanford Achievement Tests