DRC|CTB offers a variety of assessments that help educators place students in appropriate special needs programs.
DRC|CTB recognizes that access for all students is of paramount importance for all assessment programs. We are committed to publishing tests that allow all students to demonstrate their knowledge, skills, and abilities in an equitable manner.
The process of promoting access for all students begins with the principles of universal design. Our research team collaborates with other departments to develop test items and test delivery systems that are inherently accessible. By designing accessibility into tests from the beginning, all students will be able to engage fully with the assessments and demonstrate their knowledge.
DRC|CTB Research is proud of its work in developing alternate and modified assessments. These tests are designed to assess students with cognitive disabilities for whom states' standardized tests are not appropriate. In close collaboration with our customers, we have helped develop statewide assessments of alternate academic standards and of modified achievement standards. These tests have helped our customers comply with pertinent federal legislation, and have also allowed special education teachers to gain reliable, quantitative insight into the academic performance of their students.
|• Identify students with special needs||• Target instruction to help students with special needs|
|• Language proficiency assessments||• Diagnostic assessments|
|• Aptitude assessments|
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DRC|CTB understands the need to include all students in large-scale testing programs as part of the educational process. We have been a leader in providing guidance to districts and states on the use of accommodations in large-scale assessments since 2000. Our previous guidelines have been widely used and referenced. These new guidelines are based on the more recent research and insight into inclusive assessments including English language learner (ELL) students. Federal, state, and local regulations or policies stipulate that students be provided with appropriate accommodations during testing. The characteristics of the tested population of large-scale state and district testing programs are expected to change in response to the movement toward inclusiveness. Test publishers and those who desire to make valid interpretations of test results must consider how these changes affect the concept and practice of standardized assessments.
DRC|CTB is committed to supporting the use of appropriate testing accommodations for students taking large-scale assessments, including standardized tests, and the ability of decision-makers to make valid and useful interpretations of test data. This document provides guidelines on the use and appropriate interpretation of the results of inclusive test administrations. These guidelines are intended to facilitate the valid interpretation of individual student results and valid comparisons of year-to-year and group-to-group summary data for students with disabilities, as well as limited English proficiency (LEP) and ELL students. These guidelines are not comprehensive in covering the many needs and issues of such students. Agencies must become familiar with the specific requirements that apply to testing these special student populations, as with all students.
In the first section, we present a general framework for reconciling standardization and accommodation in support of inclusive testing practice. In the next section, we discuss how to interpret criterion-referenced and norm-referenced test results that arise from inclusive test administrations and present recommendations on the use of individual and summary results. In the third section, we detail a simple framework for classifying accommodations in terms of the potential effect on the appropriate interpretation of student test scores. This framework is illustrated using an arrangement of accommodations provided by the National Center on Educational Outcomes (Thurlow, House, Boys, Scott, & Ysseldyke, 2000).
Finally, we list recommendations for constructive interpretations of aggregate results with regard to the use of accommodations. This approach provides relevant information for the use of test results that maintains student privacy and avoids the unintended negative consequences of labeling or—flagging—accommodated students.
Testing, or "assessment," plays a vital role in education today. Test results are often a major force in shaping public perception about the quality of our schools. As a primary tool of educators and policy makers, assessment is used for a multitude of purposes. Educators use assessment results to help improve teaching and learning and to evaluate programs and schools. Assessment is also used to generate the data on which policy decisions are made. Because of its important role, educational assessment is a foundation activity in every school, every school district and every state—a vital component in innovation, higher standards and educational excellence.
Testing has been a pivotal part of American education since early in this century when educators began to seek more reliable and valid means to evaluate students and programs. In the past 40 years, there has been explosive growth and profound change in education. At every step of the way, educational assessment has responded with innovation in measurement and technical expertise. In the past ten years alone, the field of testing has undergone tremendous change because of the emphasis on education reform and development of new education standards.
Local and state education agencies are called upon today, to make many crucial decisions regarding how students and programs are assessed—decisions often involving significant time, effort and public resources. Making the right decisions about testing begins with having a basic understanding of the need for assessments that are valid, reliable and fair, and that fulfill their designed purposes. Though testing is often perceived as a technical field, these "basics" of assessment are not difficult.
This information addresses those "basics." For decades, DRC|CTB has worked in partnership with school districts and states to create successful assessment systems. We hope this information will serve not only as a starting point but also as a continuing reference tool for local and state school board members, educators and policy leaders seeking a firm footing in assessment.
understanding of key assessment concepts.