Measuring Educational Progress:
Test Scores

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The facts about your child are contained in the various tests and evaluations that have been administered. You need to learn what different tests measure and what the test results mean.

Last week we featured what reading tests measure.  There are other comprehensive educational achievement tests that measure the academic skills children acquire through instruction - spelling, math, writing, vocabulary, science, and social studies.

To receive FAPE, your child must receive educational benefit. How can you tell if your child is receiving educational benefit? By comparing educational achievement test scores over time.

In this issue of the Special Ed Advocate you will learn how to use psychological and educational achievement test scores to measure your child's educational growth.

Please don't hesitate to forward this issue to other friends, families, or colleagues.

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Interpreting Test Scores

  • How is your child functioning, compared with other children the same age?
  • How is your child functioning, compared with others in the same grade?
  • How much educational progress has your child made (what has been learned) since the last test battery?
  • If your child is receiving special education, has the child progressed or regressed in the special education placement?
  • If your child has shown an increase in age and grade equivalent test scores, has the child actually fallen further behind the peer group?

When you learn the basic principles of Tests and Measurements you will be able to demonstrate the answers to these questions. You can track your child's progress or lack of progress.


Measuring Progress

The results of most educational tests are reported as standard scores. Standard scores are NOT like grades (100 as the highest, 0 as the lowest).

Changes in test scores over time provide the means to assess educational benefit or regression. To successfully negotiate for special ed services that provide educational benefit, you need to know how to interpret test scores.

It is essential for parents and advocates to understand all of the scoring methods used in measuring and evaluating educational progress. Follow The Parent's "To Do List" to learn how.

Mastering the Bell Curve

The bell curve is a powerful tool. When you use the bell curve, you can objectively compare any child's percentile rank to that of a group of children. You can also compare a single child's progress or regression when compared to the group.

Read Tests and Measurements to learn how to convert standard scores into percentile ranks. By using the conversion table and the bell curve, you can convert any standard score into a percentile rank.

When you understand your child's test scores, you will be able to measure progress.

Wrightslaw: From Emotions to Advocacy, 2nd Edition

Evaluating Children

If you have a copy of Wrightslaw:From Emotions to Advocacy, 2nd Edition, turn to Chapters 10 & 11 to learn more about tests and measurements. These chapters now include information about dozens of tests (comprehensive achievement tests, personality tests, behavior rating scales, speech/language tests, neurophsycological tests, etc.) that are used to evaluate children.

For more information about evaluations, see the Glossary of Assessment Terms.


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