Wrightslaw l No Child Left Behind l IDEA 2004 l Fetaweb l Yellow Pages for Kids l Harbor House Law Press
 Home > Articles > Battle Over High Stakes Testing - Judge Asked to Grant Injunction So Seniors Can  Graduate


The Special Ed Advocate
It's Unique ... and Free!

Enter your email address below:

 

2014 - 2015 Training Programs

Oct 23 - Wilton, CT

Oct 25 - Olympia, WA

Oct 30 - Phoenix, AZ

Nov. 1 - Grand Rapids, MI

Nov 6 - McAllen, TX

Nov 18 - DesMoines, IA

Nov 21 - Temecula, CA

Dec 4 - OKC, OK

Full Schedule

Be a Hero ...

 Jason at Ft. Benning
... to a Hero
Learn more

Wrightslaw

Home
Topics from A-Z
Free Newsletter
Seminars & Training
Consultations
Yellow Pages for Kids
Press Room
FAQs
Sitemap

Books & Training

Wrightslaw Books & DVDs
Wrightslaw Storesecure store lock
  Advocate's Store
  Student Bookstore
  Exam Copies
Training Center
Bulk Discounts
New! Military Discounts
Mail & Fax Orders

Advocacy Library

Articles
Doing Your Homework
Ask the Advocate
FAQs
Newsletter Archives
Summer School Series
Success Stories
Tips

Law Library

Articles
Caselaw
IDEA 2004
No Child Left Behind
McKinney-Vento Homeless
FERPA
Section 504
Fed Court Complaints

Topics

Advocacy
ADD/ADHD
Allergy/Anaphylaxis
Assistive Technology
Autism Spectrum
Behavior & Discipline
Bullying
College/Continuing Ed
Damages
Discrimination
Due Process
Early Intervention (Part C)
Eligibility
ESY
Evaluations
FAPE
Flyers
Future Planning
Harassment
High-Stakes Tests
Homeless Children
IDEA 2004
Identification & Child Find
IEPs
ISEA
Juvenile Justice
Law School & Clinics
Letters & Paper Trails
LRE/Inclusion
Mediation
Military / DOD
No Child Left Behind
NCLB Directories
NCLB Law & Regs
Parental Protections
PE and Adapted PE
Privacy & Records
Procedural Safeguards
Progress Monitoring
Reading
Related Services
Research Based Instruction
Response to Intervention (RTI)
Restraints/Abuse
Retention
Retaliation
School Report Cards
Section 504
Self-Advocacy
Teachers & Principals
Transition
Twice Exceptional (2e)
VA Special Education

Resources & Directories

Advocate's Bookstore
Advocacy Resources
Directories
  Disability Groups
  International
  State DOEs
  State PTIs
Free Flyers
Free Pubs
Free Newsletters
Legal & Advocacy
Glossaries
   Legal Terms
   Assessment Terms
Best School Websites

 

HIGH STAKES TESTING

INDIANA JUDGE ASKED FOR INJUNCTION SO SENIORS CAN GRADUATE

High expectations? Fairness? Accountability? Most people have strong opinions about these issues. Think you have the answers? Read on.

Last week, the Indiana Civil Liberties Union asked a state judge to grant an injunction that would prevent Indiana from requiring special education students to pass an exit test before receiving a high school diploma. To receive a high school diploma, this year's graduating class must pass Indiana's exit exam or receive a waiver. 

With the increased emphasis on accountability and improving the quality of education, including special education, similar battles are being waged in several states. 

BACKGROUND: CLASS ACTION SUIT

In 1998, the Indiana Civil Liberties Union filed a class action suit on behalf of learning disabled students in "Meghan Rene et. al. v. Dr. Suellen Reed et al." Meghan Rene, a nineteen year-old honor student, represents a class of more than 1,000 Indiana students with disabilities who haven't passed the state exit exam that was mandated in 1997. 

DUE PROCESS RIGHTS & IEP REQUIREMENTS

The class action suit alleges that Indiana violated the students' due process rights by changing the rules for graduation without allowing adequate time for the students to learn the required information. The suit also asserts that if a student's Individualized Educational Program (IEP) provides for an exemption from this testing or provides modifications or adaptations for testing, these must be honored. 

Some say it's unreasonable and unfair to expect children with disabilities to pass exit tests. 

Others say it's unreasonable and unfair to expect children with disabilities to pass exit tests when schools haven't provided children with the remediation they need. If schools don't teach children to read, write and spell, is it reasonable or fair to penalize these children because they haven't learned the skills they need to pass exit exams? 

We asked Indiana advocate Pat Howey for her thoughts about the issues in this case. 

"I HAVE MIXED FEELINGS ABOUT THIS ISSUE"

Pat wrote, "I have mixed feelings about this issue. If requiring students to pass Indiana's Gateway Exam (ISTEP+) before receiving a diploma will ensure that schools provide them with an appropriate education, then I'm all for it. I agree with Indiana Department of Education, that students with learning disabilities are capable of passing."

"On the other hand, schools have failed to provide these students with the education that will enable them to pass." 

SCHOOLS ARE PUSHING FOR WAIVERS 

Pat explained, "It's important to realize that schools are pushing for these waivers. Schools are encouraging parents to fight the ISTEP+ requirements. Why? Because schools don't want to provide these students with the education they need to pass the test! So I'm wary of the schools' intentions." 

"Students with disabilities have always had the option of taking the group achievement tests (including ISTEP) on a diagnostic basis. This means they were not subject to retention or remediation. In other words, the test was meaningless."

"EENIE, MEENIE, MINY, MOE"

Pat said, "In R.T. v. Chesterton IN, (link follows) Robert testified that he was repeatedly told that he did not have to worry about passing the ISTEP tests . . . that he would not have to pass or go to summer school." 

http://www.wrightslaw.com/law/caselaw/Indiana_Kerr_Howey_00_0121.pdf

"So Robert guessed at the answers on the ISTEP tests, from first through seventh grade. 'Eenie, meenie, miny, moe.' When I tried to interpret the results of these tests, his scores bounced all over the place!"

INDIVIDUALS WITH DISABILITIES ACT OF 1997

When Congress re-authorized the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act in 1997, they found that implementation of the statute "has been impeded by low expectations, and an insufficient focus on applying replicable research on proven methods of teaching and learning for children with disabilities." (WRIGHTSLAW: SPECIAL EDUCATION LAW, page 20)

"Over 20 years of research and experience has demonstrated that the education of children with disabilities can be made more effective by -

(A) having high expectations for such children and ensuring their access to the general curriculum to the maximum extent possible;

(B) strengthening the role of parents and ensuring that families of such children have meaningful opportunities to participate in the education of their children at school and at home;" 

(C) coordinating this Act with . . . school improvement efforts to ensure that such children benefit from such efforts and that special education can become a service for such children rather than a place where they are sent." (20 U.S.C. 1400 (c)(4)) 

(Source: WRIGHTSLAW: SPECIAL EDUCATION LAW, page 20-21)


INFORMATION AND LINKS

Are you interested in learning more about high stakes testing? Here are some articles and links to help you get started: 

"Indiana Case Focuses on Special Ed" 

In this informative article, Lynn Olson uses the Indiana case as a springboard to discuss ramifications of high stakes testing for special education students. Olson notes "Twenty-eight states have exit exams that students must pass to graduate or are phasing in these exams . . . Twelve states, including Indiana, require students with disabilities to pass the same exam with the same score as other students." She describes a patchwork quilt system of diploma requirements enacted by states. (Delaware devised a system with three levels of diplomas.) (Education Week, May 31, 2000)

http://www.edweek.org/ew/ewstory.cfm?slug=38stakes.h19

Last year, a group of Oregon parents filed a federal lawsuit. Because the Oregon testing system does not allow accommodations for learning disabled students, they assert that the system discriminates against learning disabled students. The students and their families are represented by the California-based Disabilities Rights Education and Defense Fund: http://www.dredf.org/

Legal information in this article is from WRIGHTSLAW: SPECIAL EDUCATION LAW. For more information about this book, including sample chapters and reviews, follow this link: 

http://www.wrightslaw.com/bkstore/ourbooks/Wrightslaw_Sped_Law.htm

Pat Howey wrote an excellent advice article in our "Special IEP Issue." If you missed it, you can get this article at -

http://www.wrightslaw.com/advoc/guest/Howey_Advice.htm

NOTE FROM WRIGHTSLAW 

Do you have questions about high stakes testing of children with disabilities? If so, you need to get a copy of the new Memorandum on
Assessment that was published on August 24, 2000 by the U. S. Department of Education.

Download OSEP Memorandum on Assessment in pdf at this URL

http://www.wrightslaw.com/law/reports/osep_memorandum_assessment_000824.pdf

Download OSEP Memorandum on Assessment in rich text at this URL:

http://www.wrightslaw.com/law/reports/osep_memorandum_assessment_000824.rtf

Email Newsletter icon, E-mail Newsletter icon, Email List icon, E-mail List icon The Special Ed Advocate: It's Free!

 

Wrightslaw: Special Education Law, 2nd Edition, by Pam and Pete Wright
About the Book

Wrightslaw: All About IEPs
About the Book

Wrightslaw: All About Tests and Assessments
About the Book

Surviving Due Process: Stephen Jeffers v. School Board
About the DVD Video

 

Copyright 1998-2014, Peter W. D. Wright and Pamela Darr Wright. All rights reserved.

Contact Us | Press Mission l Our Awards l Privacy Policy l Disclaimer l Site Map