Fact File on Assessment
This fact sheet compiles information on standardized testing and historical and recommend efforts for testing modifications for children with disabilities and bilingual children.
- In 210 B.C., the Chinese, who invented paper, also produced the first national, group-administered test with standardized procedures for administration and scoring. This highly competitive test was used to identify the most promising applicants for government jobs (Madaus, Raczek, & Clarke, 1997).
- Group-administered, paper-and-pencil, standardized tests comprise 80 percent of the systemwide tests used by school districts across the United States (Goodwin, 1997).
- In 1975, Congress passed the Education of All Handicapped Children Act (Public Law 94-142), which required each state to administer placement tests in the child's first language. Prior to this act, many children were tested in English and erroneously placed in special education classes. This act further required communication with parents regarding testing and the development of an individualized educational program for each child. It also specified that any hearing or appeal must be conducted in the family's native language (Glazer, 1998).
- Comprehensive language assessment needs to consider children's language at home as well as in school. This is particularly important for bilingual students (Munoz-Sandoval, Cummins, Alvarado, & Ruef, 1998; Paez, DeTemple, & Snow, 2000).
- Students in the United States are the most tested students in the world, taking over 100 million standardized tests each year (Neill, 1998). By the end of the 1980s, between three and nine standardized tests were administered annually to each of the nation's 44 million students (Madaus et al., 1997).
- Recent studies of infants (Hamilton, Plunkett, & Schafer, 2000), toddlers (Rescorla & Alley, 2001), bilingual toddlers (Paterson, 2000), and bilingual preschoolers (ThaI, O'Hanlon, Clemmons, & Fralin, 1999) all suggest that parents' and families' reports on their children's language development are useful and reasonably reliable.
- Because gesturing plays such an important role in the communication of young children with hearing impairments, researchers recommend assessing speech and gestures separately (Hoskin & Herman, 2001).
- Most referrals for intervention services in schools are based on readily observable expressive oral language behavior (speaking). Researchers argue that failing to assess receptive oral language (listening) tends to overlook children who need support services (Zhang & Tomblin, 2000).
- Research on parents' expectations for high-quality early childhood programs has identified four criteria: (1) convenience and affordability, (2) supportive relationships with teachers and providers, (3) caregivers and teachers with positive effect (e.g., warm, sensitive, caring), and (4) a curriculum that provides the cognitive stimulation needed for children's success in school (Fuller, Holloway, & Bozzi, 1997).
- In a national poll, 73 percent of the respondents thought that it was "very important or quite important" for students to pass a national standardized achievement test in order to be promoted to the next grade (Elam, Rose, & Gallup, 1994).
- In this first decade of the twenty-first century, it is clear that one of the major trends in U.S. education is the so-called standards movement—a nationwide effort, applied at the state level, to align the written, taught, and tested aspects of the curriculum (Black & Wiliam, 1998; French, 1998).
- Some of the major concerns of teachers today include how to redefine effective practice; reshape the school curriculum to incorporate local, state, and national standards; decide who is to teach and assess each standard; and create a comprehensive assessment system (Carr & Harris, 2001).
- The National Association of Education Progress (November, 2003) indicated that among fourth-grade children in the United States, 31 percent perform at or above the proficient level in reading and 37 percent perform below the proficient level in reading (Lonigan, 2005, p. 2).
- New technology is providing more efficient ways of assessing children's speech, including computer software that converts speech into a written transcript (Parisse & Le Normand, 2000).
© ______ 2007, Allyn & Bacon, an imprint of Pearson Education Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. The reproduction, duplication, or distribution of this material by any means including but not limited to email and blogs is strictly prohibited without the explicit permission of the publisher.
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