NICHCY Connections to...Including Students with Disabilities in State & District Assessments
NICHCY is pleased to connect you with sources of information on including children with disabilities in state and district-wide assessments. This is an area of considerable concern and endeavor for state and local education agencies, educators, and families alike. Federal law--specifically, the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA)--requires that students with disabilities be included in large state or district assessment programs. In order to enable children with disabilities to participate in such general assessments, appropriate accommodations may be made, as necessary, as well as modifications in how the assessments are administered (including individual modifications, as appropriate). The decision as to whether a particular child will participate in a particular assessment belongs to the IEP team. The IEP team also specifies what accommodations or modifications that child will need in order to participate.
However, a student's IEP team may also determine that the student cannot participate in a particular State or district-wide assessment of student achievement or part of such an assessment, even with modifications. If this is the case, the team must include a statement in the IEP as to why the assessment is not appropriate for the student and how he or she will be assessed. Under the law, the state or local education agency (SEA / LEA) must then assess the child using an alternate assessment.
It's complicated---and yet very important. There is enormous pressure for accountability, and states routinely use high stakes testing programs that require students to reach a specified competency level in order to graduate. Thus, how these tests affect students with disabilities is an area of continuing concern. We hope the resources we've listed below will be useful to parents and professionals alike. They focus upon discussions of what high stakes testing means for students, what types of accommodations and modifications states are using to enable their participation, and what alternate assessments are being designed for students whose IEP teams determine that they cannot participate in a particular state or district test.
The list below isn't intended to be exhaustive of the resources available on including children with disabilities in state and district assessments---it's ever-growing. We'll be adding to this page throughout the year, so check back now and again to see what's new!
Reprinted with the permission of the National Dissemination Center.
Washington Virtual Academies
Tuition-free online school for Washington students.
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