I am a special education teacher. My administrators are saying that if a child receives accommodations on the state assessment, the student will receive a "0". This will lower the school and sub-group score. Therefore, we are being "encouraged" to not recommend accommodations.
What about the 5th grader who is reading at the 1st grade level? How painful and frustrating will this test be for him? He will not be able to demonstrate what he knows.
Why can't his test be scored with accommodations? Isn't it discriminatory to give him a "0" because he got legal accommodations based on his needs? Can you recommend any resources for addressing these questions?
if the "accommodation" actually accommodates the child's
lack of knowledge, the child's score cannot be counted. This would
have the same effect as if the child did not take the test at all.
An alternate test or out-of-level test that does not test grade level
knowledge will also have the same result, for accountability purposes,
as if the child did not take the test.
purpose of the No Child Left Behind Act is to ensure that all children
are proficient in reading, math and science by 2014. The purpose
of the testing required under No Child Left Behind is to determine
the percentage of children who have been educated to proficiency in
the school as a whole and for specific subgroups.
"a statement of an individual appropriate accommodations that are necessary to measure the academic achievement and functional performance of the child on State and districtwide assessments ..."
"If the IEP Team determines that the child shall take an alternate assessment on a particular State or districtwide assessment of student achievement, a statement of why --
Test Information to Get Appropriate Instruction
you go to the next IEP meeting for him, use the information gained
from this test to get appropriate daily reading instruction written
into his IEP so that he will be taught to read.
 In some situations, school districts may test students with significant cognitive disabilities using tests at the student's instructional level rather than at their grade level without this having an impact on accountability. Read the notice of proposed rule making and the policy letter from the Secretary of Education Rod Paige
The Statement of Purpose is the most important section in No Child
Left Behind because it describes the overall purpose of the law: "that
all children will have a fair, equal, and significant opportunity
to receive a high-quality education and reach, at a minimum, proficiency
on challenging State academic achievement standards and state academic
assessments." (20 U. S. C. § 6301)
For a good overview of the issues, read OSEP Memorandum: Questions & Answers About IDEA, Students with Disabilities and State and District-wide Assessments
Children with Disabilities Should Take High Stakes Tests: One Parent's
View. Parent of child with Down Syndrome describes her child's
case. Over the objections of school staff, her child took tests and
passed with average or above average scores. More about High-Stakes
We receive dozens of emails a week about retention, social promotion and high-stakes testing. Despite clear evidence that retention does not work - and that it damages children - many school districts continue to use this outmoded policy.
If you are dealing with a retention problem, you must educate yourself before you can advocate for the child. We gathered resource information you can use to fight these damaging policies. Please download and read these articles about retention.
504, Accommodations & Discrimination
The National Center on Educational Outcomes site has a page about Accommodations for Students with Disabilities that includes general information about accommodations, frequently asked questions, and links to state accommodations policies.
More Articles by Sue Whitney
Meet Sue Whitney
In Doing Your Homework, she
writes about reading, research based instruction, No Child Left Behind, and
strategies for using federal education standards to advocate for
and to improve public schools. Her articles have been reprinted by SchwabLearning.org, EducationNews.org, Bridges4Kids.org, The Beacon: Journal of Special Education Law and Practice, the Schafer Autism Report, and have been used in CLE presentations to attorneys. Sue Whitney's bio.
Copyright © 2002-2015 by Suzanne Whitney.