2001 State Policies on Assessment Participation and Accommodations

NCEO Synthesis Report 46


Published by the National Center on Educational Outcomes

Prepared by:

Martha L. Thurlow, Sheryl Lazarus, Sandra Thompson, and Jennifer Robey

July 2002


Any or all portions of this document may be reproduced and distributed without prior permission, provided the source is cited as:

Thurlow, M.L., Lazarus, S., Thompson, S., & Robey, J. (2002). 2001 state policies on assessment participation and accommodations (Synthesis Report 46). Minneapolis, MN: University of Minnesota, National Center on Educational Outcomes. Retrieved [today's date], from the World Wide Web: http://education.umn.edu/NCEO/OnlinePubs/Synthesis46.html


Executive Summary

State assessment systems continue to evolve as federal requirements change and more and more students are included in assessment systems. The National Center on Educational Outcomes (NCEO) has been tracking and analyzing state policies on participation in assessments and accommodations for more than a decade now. The purpose of this analysis is to update information on these policies last conducted by NCEO in 1999.

The current analysis of states’ 2001 participation and accommodations policies confirm that states’ policies continue to evolve, although the changes are not as dramatic as in the past. Among the major findings from this analysis are:

• Participation options beyond the usual three (participation without accommodations, participation with accommodations, alternate assessment) have become more evident — generally these are: partial participation, additional alternate assessments, and out-of-level testing.

• "Emotional anxiety" is noted by many more states than previously as a reason for students to not participate in assessments.

• Policies for both participation and accommodations are becoming more specific. This is particularly evident in accommodation policies. These clarifications sometimes indicate the implications for scores, specifically whether they will be aggregated with other scores.

• Five states allow accommodations for all students. Additional states allow some accommodations to be used with all students (generally setting and scheduling accommodations), and one state allows accommodations to continue to be used with students who are no longer on IEPs.

• The most controversial accommodations continue to be read aloud, calculator, and scribe.

Our analyses of state policies and guidelines suggest that states have continued to adjust their policies to ensure that students with disabilities have opportunities to participate in statewide assessments, and at the same time to understand the meaning of the scores from their assessments.


Overview

Statewide assessment systems continue to be a key component of educational accountability at the federal and state levels. Since all students now must participate in state assessment systems, there is continued interest in policies that determine the ways in which students participate (e.g., general assessment or alternate assessment), and the treatment of accommodations in testing (e.g., allowed or not allowed, reported, etc.). Both the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act reauthorized in 1997, and the Title I provisions of the No Child Left Behind Act reauthorized in 2001, mention participation and accommodations for students with disabilities (see Table 1).

The National Center on Educational Outcomes (NCEO) has tracked information on state participation and accommodation policies for students with disabilities since 1990, with the most recent analysis examining 1999 policies (Thurlow, House, Boys, Scott, & Ysseldyke, 2000). Each time that NCEO has examined state policies (1993–Thurlow, Ysseldyke, & Silverstein, 1993; 1995–Thurlow, Scott, & Ysseldyke, 1995a, b; 1997–Thurlow, Seyfarth, Scott, & Ysseldyke, 1997; 1999–Thurlow, House, et al., 2000), there have been significant changes from the time before.

In the early years, the changes in policies were most often reflected in increases in number of states with policies–adding states that previously had no written policies at all, from about 25 in the early 1990s to about 40 states by the mid-1990s. Toward the end of the 1990s, all states had policies in place, but changes continued. Most of these changes in policies reflected alterations in the specifics of participation criteria or in the accommodations that were listed as appropriate or not appropriate for students to use in state testing. These types of changes are expected to continue as states focus on increasing the participation of students with disabilities in their assessments.

 

Table 1.   Excepts of Federal Laws Related to Participation and Accommodation

 Taken From Document: No Child Left Behind Act of 2001, P.L. 107-110 (2001)

 Participation

"the participation in such assessments of all students" (Section 1111 (3) (C)(i));(The term “such assessments” refers to a set of high-quality, yearly student academic assessments.)

Accommodation

"the reasonable adaptations and accommodations for students with disabilities (as defined under section 602(3) of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act) necessary to measure the academic achievement of such students relative to State academic content and State student academic achievement standards"(Section 1111 (3) (C)(ii)).

 Taken from Document:  Amendments to the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, P.L. 105-17

(1997)

 Participation

 "Children with disabilities are included in general State and district-wide assessment programs, with appropriate accommodations, where necessary.” (Sec. 612 (a) (17) (A) (i)

As appropriate, the State or local educational agency develops guidelines for the participation of children with disabilities in alternate assessments for those children who cannot participate in State and district-wide assessment programs; (Sec. 612 (a) (18) (A) (i))

Accommodation

"Children with disabilities are included in general State and district-wide assessment programs, with appropriate accommodations, where necessary.” (Sec. 612 (a) (17) (A))

The term ‘individualized education program’ or ‘IEP’ means a written statement for each child with a disability that is developed, reviewed, and revised in accordance with this section and that includes…a statement of any individual modifications in the administration of State or district wide assessments of student achievement that are needed in order for the child to participate in such assessment; and if the IEP Team determines that the child will not participate in a particular State or districtwide assessment of student achievement (or part of such an assessment), a statement of why that assessment is not appropriate for the child; and how the child will be assessed” (Sec. 614 (d) (1) (A)   (vI) (II) (aa) (bb)    

Sources: Amendments to the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (NCEO, 2001); No Child Shall Be Left Behind (NCEO, 2002a and 2002b)
1 Items from Section 612 are eligibility requirements for states to receive assistance under the Grants to States program


Need to Update and Analyze

It is expected that evolution in the policies that states have will continue as small adjustments are made. These adjustments may be in response to a variety of within-state factors (e.g., implementation of a new assessment) and federal-level factors (e.g., non-approval of state assessment systems by Title I). It is important to keep track of these adjustments, and we do that in this report. But, it is also important to step back a bit and analyze what policies are telling us about some of the broader issues. With this goal in mind, we address the following questions in this report:

1. How many states’ policies reflect the three basic participation options for students with disabilities–general assessment without accommodations, general assessment with accommodations, alternate assessment? How many states have other options that are evident in their policies?

2. What, if any, qualitative differences exist in current participation policies?

3. How many states have policies that allow accommodations for all students?

4. What are the indications that some accommodations may be treated differently from others in reporting and accountability, and how many states make those implications clear in their policies?

5. What are the most controversial accommodations (e.g., read aloud, calculator, scribe), and what are states’ policies like for them?

In addition to answering these questions, we provide our typical tables, so that comparisons can be made to past policies.


Updating Procedures

In general, the same procedures were used for this analysis of states’ written participation and accommodations policies as have been used in the past. Unlike other analyses of policies, which often ask an informed respondent to answer survey questions (e.g., Bond, Jones, & Olson, 2001), NCEO examines publicly available written documents.



Gathering Policies

All 50 states were contacted via phone and email to update our files on participation and accommodation policies. We asked each state for copies of any policies they had revised since 1999. All 50 states responded to our request, with 45 states sending revisions and only four noting that they had not changed their participation and accommodations policies. We accepted new documents through September, 2001.

All of the tabled results of our analyses were sent back to the states for validation. State officials could indicate that there were no changes needed, ask for more information in order to decide whether the tables were accurate, or change the tables. If a state indicated the need for a change after reviewing the summary tables, we requested written documentation before making the changes. We accepted new changes or revisions through October 31, 2001. A complete list of state documents used to compile the tables is in Appendix A.



Presenting the Policies

We summarized the information in two sets of tables; one set for participation policies and the second set for accommodation policies. These tables are included in the Appendices in this report, thus enabling readers to make direct comparisons to the tables in the 1999 analysis. As always, presenting policy information in tables makes the information easily accessible, but it can sometimes obscure the underlying complexity of the individual state policies. For example, it is not apparent in any of the tables that the documents describing each state’s policies ranged from a few pages to hundreds of pages. Some states specify accommodations for each individual test, while others provide general accommodation guidelines that apply to all tests administered in the state. Some of these complexities are apparent in some of the tables, but others are evident only by looking at the actual written documents.


Participation Policies

In 2001, as in 1999, all states had a state-level participation policy for students with disabilities in state or district testing. Table 2 summarizes the numbers of states using different policy variables either without restrictions or with some restrictions, or prohibiting the use of a variable, or not mentioning each variable in determining how students participate in assessments. Details on the policies of specific states are provided in Tables B1 and B2 in Appendix B.



Participation Policy Variables

As is evident in Table 2, the primary variables that are used without restrictions in determining how students participate in assessments are: (1) course content or curricular validity (27 states), (2) parent involvement (20 states), and (3) non-pursuit of standard diploma or the general curriculum (12 states). All but one state indicated that the participation decision was an IEP team decision. Few variables are used with restrictions. However, states did prohibit the use of some variables, primarily: (1) the nature or category of a student’s disability (22 states) and (2) the percentage of time that the student received special education services (10 states).

Table 2.   Summary of Participation Policy Variables

 Policy Variable

Used without Restrictions

Used with Restrictions

Prohibited

Not Mentioned

 IEP Team Decides

 49

 0

 0

 1

 Nature/Category of Disability

 5

 0

 22

 23

 Course Content or Curricular Validity

 27

 1

 0

 22

Parent/Guardian Involvement Specified

 20

 5

 1

 24

Receiving Spec Ed Services/Percent Time

 1

 0

 10

 39

Non-Pursuit of Standard Diploma or General Curriculum

 12

 1

 0

 37

 Student Emotional Anxiety

 3

 3

 0

 44

 Other

 24

 9

 3

 14

Definitions:  IEP Team Decides = decision is based, in part or in whole, on what the IEP team recommends; other variables may or may not be included.  Nature/Category of Disability = decision is based in whole or part, on the disability category of the student.  Course Content or Curricular Validity = decision is based, in part or in whole, on whether the student received course or content areas covered by the assessment, or whether the assessment provides a valid measure of the student’s curriculum.  Parent/Guardian Involvement Specified = decision based specifically on the parents’ desires, or decision must be specifically signed off by the parents. Non-Pursuit of Standard Diploma or General Curriculum = Decision is based, in part or in whole, on whether the student participates in the general academic curriculum.  Receiving Spec Ed Services/percent Time = decision is based, in part or in whole, on whether the student receives special education services, what kind of services the student receives, or the percentage of time that the student receives special education services.



For the first time our analysis of participation policies included a new variable–"student emotional anxiety." This addition reflects the increased frequency of its use in state policies in 2001; 6 states permitted the assessment participation decision to be based, in whole or part, on a student’s emotional anxiety and the student’s possible adverse reaction to the testing situation.

Many states’ policies on participation also cite various "other" variables that are either used (with or without restrictions) or that are prohibited. Details on these are in Table B2 of Appendix B. Evident in this table is the diversity of the "other" criteria that states use, from requiring certification of a medical condition to requests for exclusion for religious beliefs. The most frequently mentioned "other" criterion refers to making decisions on the basis of possible poor performance. Nine states refer to performance considerations, with most indicating that poor performance is not an acceptable reason for exclusion from the assessment. Two states (Montana, Oregon) do indicate that performance levels may determine which testing option is most appropriate. The next most frequent "other" criterion refers to extended student absence–seven states have policies that do not permit exclusion due to excessive or extended absence, while two states permit exclusion for absence. Six states prohibit decisions being based on social, cultural, or economic differences. Another frequently mentioned criterion is the location of the student (students not at their home school, in treatment facilities, in hospitals, etc.).

Changes Since 1999. In comparing data in Table 2 (and in Appendix B, Tables B1 and B2) to 1999 data (Thurlow et al., 2000), several changes are evident. Most notably, there has been an increase from 11 to 22 states that specifically do not allow the nature or category of a student’s disability to be used in the assessment participation decision-making process. Twenty-eight states now allow participation decisions to be based at least partially on whether the student received instruction in the course or content areas covered by the assessment (27 states with no restrictions and 1 state with restrictions). Only 15 states considered course content in the 1999 analysis.

The number of states specifically requiring parental involvement is now half of the states (24 states without restrictions, 1 state with restrictions). This is up considerably from the 9 states that required parental involvement in the 1999 analysis.

In the 1999 analysis, 4 states allowed participation decisions to be based at least partially on the amount of time students received special education services. This has been reduced to a single state in 2001, while the number of states that explicitly do not allow this as a criterion increased from 6 to 10 states; 39 states do not address this criterion at all in their state policy.


Additional Testing Options

In Table 3 we summarize three additional testing options that are evident in the participation policies in some states: out-of-level testing, partial participation in testing, and multiple alternate assessment options. In this table we indicate whether the state’s written policy indicates that the option is: (1) available, (2) available, but the score from the option might not be aggregated, (3) not allowed, or (4) not mentioned. Details on the policies of specific states are provided in Tables B3 and B4 in Appendix B.

 

Table 3.  Summary of Additional Testing Options

Testing Option

Available

Available, Not Aggregated

Not Allowed

Not Mentioned

Out-of-Level Testing*

9

12

8

27

Partial Participation

21

0

4

25

More Than One Alternate Assessment Option

9

0

0

41

Definitions: Out-of-Level Testing = student may take the assessment designated for a lower level than the one in which he or she actually is placed to receive instruction; Partial Participation = students make take certain parts of the assessment, without being required to take others (e.g., content areas or subparts); Alternate Assessment = student participates in a different assessment designed specifically for a subgroup of students, including assessments for students with severe cognitive disabilities and assessments for students who have not passed a graduation exam (i.e., however the state defines alternate assessment).
* Many states have complicated written policies on out-of-level testing.  Some policies allow out-of-level for some tests but not others, or allow for all but do not aggregate the scores only for some of them.  As a result, the numbers in the Out-of-Level Testing row do not total 50.  Check Tables B3 and B4 in Appendix B for details.



It is clear in Table 3 that the most frequently allowed option is partial participation. Out-of-level testing is much less frequently allowed (at least, as evident in written participation policies), and quite often prohibited. The final option refers to the availability of more than one alternate assessment. Since all states now indicate that an alternate assessment is available (Thompson & Thurlow, 2001), we considered it important to look at those policies indicating that more than one alternate assessment option is available.

It is clear in Table 3 that out-of-level testing is a controversial testing option. As noted in the table’s footnote, the total number in the out-of-level testing row does not equal 50 because of the combinations of allowed, allowed but not aggregated, and not allowed within six states. A common scenario in these states (but not the only one) was that out-of-level testing was allowed for the state’s norm-referenced test, but only for a limited number of levels below the tested grade level–if beyond that number of levels out, then the scores would not be aggregated; at the same time, the states’ criterion referenced test could not be taken out-of-level. Only 5 states’ written policies indicated that out-of-level testing was allowed without any limitations.

The number of states showing up as allowing out-of-level testing in this analysis of state policies is different from the number showing up in surveys of state directors of special education (Thompson & Thurlow, 2001). There are a number of reasons why this may be the case (e.g., it is considered part of the regular test administration, particularly for norm-referenced tests; written policy changes are evident later than actual changes in policy as reflected in survey responses). Still, this discrepancy is worth further investigation.

The written policies in 9 states indicated that more than one alternate assessment is available. Vermont, for example, has three alternate assessment options: modified assessments, adapted assessments, and life skills assessments. Connecticut refers to its out-of-level test as an alternate assessment, which is in addition to another alternate assessment–a developmental checklist.

Changes Since 1999 . Comparing the information in Table 3 (and in Table B3 and B4 in Appendix B) to 1999 information indicates that several changes have occurred in written policies about out-of-level testing. In 2001, written policies in 21 states indicated that out-of-level testing was available in some form for one or more tests, up from 9 states in the 1999 analysis. Many of these policies, however, have caveats, the most frequent being that out-of-level test scores are not included in the aggregate scores of the student population.

In contrast, the number of states permitting partial participation has remained basically the same, with only one fewer state allowing this option in 2001 (n = 21) compared to 1999 (n = 22). Whether this change is related to the new availability of an alternate assessment is unknown.


Accommodations Policies

In this report, we use the term "accommodation" to indicate any change or adjustment to what are considered to be standard testing procedures or materials. Accommodations are those changes intended to enable a student with a disability to participate in state or district assessments, or for the student to better show knowledge and skills. Accommodations can be categorized in a variety of ways. For this report, we organize accommodations into five categories: presentation, presentation equipment and materials, response, scheduling/timing, and setting.



Terminology and Definitions

For many years now, terminology used to indicate testing changes has been variable from one place to the next, and often contradictory in meaning. Thurlow and Wiener (1999) found that five states (Florida, Maine, New Mexico, New York, and Ohio) used the term "modification" to refer to valid test changes. Other states used a variety of other terms. An analysis of the terminology used in 2001 policies to distinguish between test changes that produce "okay" and "not okay" scores reveals that terminology is changing. For example, only New York continues to use the term "modification" to indicate a test change that produces valid scores. [The terms "okay" and "not okay" are used to reflect a wide range of terms used in states to indicate that a score earned with accommodations is considered to be comparable to other scores versus being considered to be different in some way–whether "invalid," "non-aggregatable," or "non-standard".]

Table 4 is a summary of the terms used in state policies to distinguish between accommodations that produce okay scores and those that do not. For example, the Massachusetts policy now states: "The terms standard and non-standard accommodations will be used to designate those accommodations previously referred to as allowable and non-allowable under the MCAS guidelines."

 

Table 4. Terms Used to Indicate Okay and Not Okay Test Changes

 

Okay Accommodations

Not Okay Accommodationsa

AL

Standard administration

Nonstandard administration--Report will indicate nonstandard administration.

AK

Appropriate accommodation

Modified tests produce marked scores; Modified high school grad exam does not lead to high school diploma.

AZ

Allowable accommodations do not require special coding on student answer document.

Modification – Requires special coding on student answer document; not included in score summary reports.

AR

Permitted accommodations

Not permitted accommodations

CA

Standard test administration with accommodations – All scores reported and aggregated into summary reports.

Non standard test administration – scores reported in individual score reports, not in summary reports.

CO

Accommodations that must be documented, and accommodations that do not need to be documented on student test book.

 

CT

Allowable accommodations

Modification – Scores cannot be interpreted in same way.

DE

Accommodations that permit aggregation of test scores.

Accommodations that produce non-aggregated scores.

FL

Allowable accommodations are limited to those listed in the test administration manuals.

Nonvalid administration – Results are reported individually with indication of the modifications used.

GA

Standard administration – Procedures in administration manual are followed exactly (e.g., large-print test, small-group setting).

Nonstandard administration – Procedures in admin manual are not followed exactly (e.g., reading test to student, use word processor).

HI

Allowed accommodations

Non-allowed accommodations

IDb

Accommodations

 

IL

Appropriate accommodations

 

IN

On CRT – Accommodations that are permitted and documented.

On CRT – Accommodations that are permitted are not documented; other accommodations are prohibited.
Accommodated NRT scores are not included in any aggregate reports.
Modifications are not allowed.

IA

Standard administration, Standard administration with accommodations

Modifications – Scores cannot be aggregated.

KS

Allowable Accommodation

Modification

KY

Accommodations

Modifications

LA

NRT - Scores included in group averages for large print, transferred answers, individual/small group admin, and repeated directions.
CRT – approved accommodations

NRT - Scores for any other accommodations will not be included when group averages are calculated.

ME

Specific allowable accommodations

 

MD

Permitted accommodations

Accommodation invalidates comparison to national norms--Score is invalidated in the scoring/data processing process; Accommodation not permitted.

MA

Standard accommodations

Non-standard accommodations are modifications.

MI

Accommodations

 

MN

Accommodations

Modifications – Allowed on basic standards test, not allowed on accountability assessments.

MS

Allowable accommodations

Non-allowable accommodations, Modifications

MO

Accommodations that do not impact a student’s score or results.

Accommodations that do impact a student’s score or results.

MT

Standard accommodations

Nonstandard accommodations – Scores are not compared with those of other students.

NE

Standard administration – allowable accommodations

Modified administration

NV

Permissible accommodations

Non-permissible accommodations result in an invalid administration of the test.

NH

Reportable test accommodations

Test administered using nonstandard procedures: Student counted in the novice category and assigned a scaled score of 200 in pertinent content area school, district, and state report.

NJ

Allowable accommodations

Modifications in test materials or procedures

NM

Standardized administration

Not allowable

NY

Modification*

 

NC

Appropriate accommodations

 

ND

Accommodations that require documentation.

Accommodations that compromise the standardization of the test.

OH

Appropriate accommodations

Modifications-- Not allowed

OK

Allowable accommodations

Modifications – Results cannot be reported with results from other students.

OR

Allowable accommodations are considered standard administration.

Modifications – Results are not included in group performance reporting and do not count toward meeting performance standards for individual students.

PA

Accommodation

 

RI

Permitted accommodations

 

SC

Accommodation

Modification

SD

Accommodation – standard administration

Accommodation – non-standard administration

TN

Allowable test accommodations

Not allowed

TX

Allowable accommodations

Non-allowable accommodations

UT

Accommodations

Modifications – May invalidate or alter interpretation of assessment results.

VT

Allowable accommodation

Nonallowable accommodation – Invalidates a student’s assessment results and entered into the school accountability index as a zero.

VA

Standard Accommodations - maintain standard conditions

Nonstandard Accommodations - Permissible but do not maintain standard conditions; Scores are not aggregated into school and division summaries.

WA

Accommodations

 

WV

Accommodations – do not affect standardization

Modifications – no longer standard conditions

WI

Accommodations

No modifications may be made.

WY

Allowable accommodations that require or do not require documentation.

 

aAccommodations or modifications considered invalid; score is flagged, aggregated separately, or removed from general score reports.
b New policies will be available soon.
*New York uses the term "modification" to mean okay test changes.



Most states’ policies made a distinction between test changes that are viewed as "okay" and those that are viewed as "not okay" for some reason. The sets of terms that states used to reflect this distinction are:

• Accommodation vs. Modification (15 states)

• Allowed vs. Not Allowed (7 states)

• Standard vs. Non-Standard (6 states)

• Permitted/Permissible vs. Not Permitted/Non-Permissible (2 states)

• Reportable vs. Not Reportable (1 state)

Rather than using specific terms, some states provide references to what happens when certain test changes are implemented. For example, states indicate that scores are:

• Removed from summary reports (11 states)

• Flagged or marked (2 states)

• Reported as zero or in lowest category (2 states)

Many states do not indicate in their written accommodations policies what happens to scores that are in the "not okay" category.

The 11 states that do not make a distinction between okay and not okay accommodations (Colorado, Idaho, Illinois, Maine, Michigan, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Washington, and Wyoming) treat them in different ways. For example, Colorado and Wyoming indicate that the use of certain accommodations must be documented while others need not be documented. Maine refers to "specific allowable accommodations" but does not address the consequences of using accommodations that are not allowable.



Eligible Groups

Accommodation policies may apply to students on IEPs, students with 504 plans, students with limited English proficiency, or simply all students. Table 5 provides information about the extent to which different groups of students are included in state accommodations policies sent to NCEO. Because we did not ask for LEP accommodation policies (Rivera, Stansfield, Scialdone, & Sharkey, 2000), the final column in the table indicates only those states that listed within their special education policies (or their all students accommodation policies) a type of accommodation specifically designated for LEP students (e.g., a bilingual dictionary). Twelve states have embedded some LEP accommodations policies within their policies for students with disabilities.

As is evident in Table 5, most states’ policies indicate that accommodations are for IEP and 504 plan students. In general, those that do not are the states that have broader policies that apply to all students, or a broader group of students than just those with IEPs and 504 plans.

 

Table 5. Student Groups Eligible for Accommodations* Policy Specifications by Student Characteristics

 

 All Students

Special Circumstances**

 IEP Students

 504 Students

IEP/LEP (Inferred)

AL

 

 

X

X

 

AK

 

 

X

X

 

AZ

 

 

X

X

 

AR

 

 

X

X

 

CA

 

 

X

X

 

CO

X

 

 

 

X

CT

 

 

X

X

 

DE

 

 

X

X

X

FL

 

 

X

X

 

GA

 

 

X

X

 

HI

 

 

X

X

 

ID

 

 

X

X

 

IL

 

 

X

X

 

IN

 

 

X

X

 

IA

 

 

X

X

X

KS

X

 

 

 

 

KY

 

X

X

X

 

LA

 

 

X

X

 

ME

 

X

 

 

X

MD

 

X

X

X

X

MA

 

X

X

X

 

MI

 

 

X

X

 

MN

 

Xa

X

X

 

MS

 

X

X

X

X

MO

 

 

X

X

 

MT

 

 

X

X

X

NE

 

 

X

X

 

NV

 

 

X

X

 

NH

 

 

X

X

X

NJ

 

 

X

X

 

NM

 

 

X

X

 

NY

 

Xa

X

X

 

NC

 

 

X

X

 

ND

 

X

X

X

 

OH

 

 

X

 

 

OK

 

 

X

X

 

OR

X

 

 

 

X

PA

 

 

X

X

X

RI

X

 

 

 

X

SC

 

 

X

X

 

SD

 

 

X

X

 

TN

 

 

X

X

 

TX

 

 

X

X

 

UT

 

 

X

X

 

VT

 

Xa

X

X

 

VA

 

 

X

X

 

WA

 

Xa

X

X

X

WV

 

 

X

X

 

WI

 

 

X

X

 

WY

X

 

 

 

 

*Student groups listed as eligible in this table were identified if they were mentioned in the policies sent to NCEO to address students with disabilities.
**Special circumstances indicate conditions under which "all" is in policy.
aIndicates the availability of certain types of accommodations to all students (MN, WA), or to students who previously were on IEPs (NY) or to students who have been referred to an education support team (VT).

 

Of the 15 states that do not limit their accommodations to IEP or 504 students, only 5 states (Colorado, Kansas, Oregon, Rhode Island, Wyoming) specifically indicate that assessment accommodations are available to all students, without restrictions. Three states (listed in Table 5 under the Special Circumstances column) either allow certain accommodations to all students (Minnesota, Washington) or allow accommodations to a certain subset of all students, specifically those who formerly were on IEPs but no longer are (New York). The remaining states in the Special Circumstances column indicate the special circumstances under which a student who is not on an IEP or 504 plan may use accommodations during testing (e.g., temporary disability or injury). Details on the exact nature of the "all students" and "special considerations" columns is provided in Table B5 of Appendix B.



Decision-Making Criteria

Making decisions about accommodations also is addressed in some accommodation policies. States use a variety of criteria to guide the decision-making process (see Table 6 and Table B6 in Appendix B). In all but one state, the IEP team is identified in policy as the decision-making body for the determination of assessment accommodations for individual students. Most states (n = 39) indicate that the use of instructional accommodations must be considered in making decisions. Twenty-four states require that another factor that must be considered in decision making is whether the accommodation maintains validity or does not produce an unfair advantage. Nineteen states require that the individual needs or characteristics of students be considered when test accommodation decisions are made. A handful of states specifically prohibit basing the decision about accommodations either on the program setting (6 states) or on the student’s disability category (8 states).

 

Table 6.  Summary of Accommodation Policy Variables

Policy Variable

Used without Restrictions

Used with Restrictions

Prohibited

IEP Team Determined

49

0

0

Used for Instruction

39

0

0

Maintains Validity/No Unfair Advantage

24

0

0

Student Needs/Characteristics

19

0

0

Program Setting

0

0

6

Disability Category

0

0

8

Other

20

1

0

Definitions:  IEP Team Determines = general guideline indicating that IEP team identifies needed accommodations. Used for Instruction = accommodation must be used for instruction before it can be considered for use during an assessment.  Maintains Validity/No Unfair Advantage = determination about accommodation is based on evidence (opinion or research) that resulting score will be valid and not provide an unfair advantage.  Student Needs/Characteristics = based explicitly on the specific needs and learning characteristics of the student.  Program Setting = where the student receives special education services, what kind of services, or the percentage of time that the student receives them.  Disability Category = specific nature or category of the student’s disability. 



Many states cite a variety of other variables that might be considered without restrictions. These other variables are detailed in Table B7 in Appendix B. As is evident, some states require that an accommodation be used for a minimum period of time before it can be an assessment accommodation. Alaska, Arizona, Colorado, and Wyoming all require an accommodation to be used for at least three months for instruction prior to use in a statewide test. Several states indicate that for certain accommodations, the final decision about use is made by a state-level person or group (see Alabama, Connecticut, Kansas, Maine). Several other unique decision variables are also evident. For example, Oklahoma indicates that accommodation decisions should not be based on convenience or ease. Missouri indicates that students should be involved in making accommodation decisions. Arizona indicates that accommodation decisions must be specific to each content area.

Changes Since 1999 . Many of the variables used in 2001 are similar to those used in 1999. There was a slight in increase in the number of states specifically indicating that the accommodation must maintain validity or not provide an unfair advantage (up from 16 to 24). Generally, the factors that are not to be considered have remained constant. As in 1999, no states permit the use of program setting or disability category in the determination of accommodations use, and several states specifically prohibit use of those criteria.



Presentation Accommodations

Presentation accommodations alter the way in which a test is presented to a student. Table 7 gives a summary of the presentation accommodations documented in state policy. Detailed information on these accommodations for each state are presented in Table B8 in Appendix B.

 

Table 7.   Summary of Presentation Accommodations

Presentation Accommodation

Allowed without Restrictions

Allowed with Restrictions

Completely Prohibited

Not Mentioned

Large Print

46

3

0

1

Braille

35

14

0

1

Read Aloud

5

41

1

3

Sign Interpretation

37

8

0

5

Read/Re-read/Clarify

29

10

1

10

Visual Cues

20

2

0

28

Administration by Other

18

0

0

32

Additional Examples

7

1

0

42

Other

29

7

1

13

Definitions: Large Print = all parts of the assessment are in large print. Braille = all parts of the assessment are presented in Braille.   Read Aloud = all of the assessment is read to the student (directions and items), or just part of the assessment is read to the student (e.g., directions).  Sign Interpretation = all of the assessment (directions and items) is presented to the student via sign language (or other version, such as cued speech, signed English, etc.), or just part of the assessment is presented to the student via sign language (or other version such as cued speech, signed English, etc.).  Read/Re-read/Clarify Directions = directions may be clarified through restatement for the student either in response to the administrators’ decision that clarification is needed for all directions, or in response to student questions. Visual Cues = additional visual cues are provided for students, such as arrows, stickers, or stop signs, highlighting of key words or verbs, or supplementing text with pictures.   Administration by Other = someone other than regular test administrator gives test to the student (e.g., special or regular education teacher or other school personnel).  Additional Examples = in response to student request for more information or clarification, test administrator can supply additional examples to assist the student in understanding the intent of the question. 



The two most frequently documented presentation accommodations are large print and Braille (each allowed by 49 states). However, large print is more often allowed without restrictions while Braille is more often restricted (14 states) in the sense that it is considered a non-standard accommodation, frequently resulting in a score that is not aggregated with other scores (11 states). In some states (4 states), Braille is prohibited for use on specific assessments.

Read Aloud is still one of the more controversial accommodations. Forty-six states permit some or all tests to be read aloud, but many of these states do not aggregate the scores of students who use this accommodation (12 states). Most often, states allow a math test to be read aloud but do not allow the reading aloud of a test that assesses reading skills. Only Hawaii completely prohibits the read aloud accommodation for all content areas. Five states allow the read aloud accommodation without any restrictions (Kentucky, Massachusetts, Missouri, New York, and Vermont).

While sign language interpretation of assessment instructions also is allowed by 45 states, it less often has restrictions attached to its use. Restrictions reflect both the non-aggregation of scores and the restriction of use to some assessments. Read/re-read/clarify directions is similar in that it is allowed in most states without restrictions, and in several additional states with restrictions. Generally the restrictions involve non-aggregation of scores or limitations in use to certain assessments.

The remaining presentation accommodations summarized in Table 7 (visual cues, administration by other, additional examples) are generally allowed without restrictions. In many cases, these accommodations are simply not mentioned–perhaps because they are becoming viewed as good assessment practice. Still, there are a large number of "other" accommodations that states are identifying, sometimes with restrictions. A glance at Table B9 in Appendix B reveals that wide ranging accommodations are addressed in some states, including behavioral and reinforcement accommodations, paraphrasing, highlighting of key words, on-task focusing prompts, and so on. For example, 10 states (California, Florida, Idaho, Mississippi, New Mexico, North Dakota, Pennsylvania, Vermont, Washington, and Wisconsin) permit test administrators to encourage students to remain on task, while 1 state (Colorado) specifically prohibits cues or any form of feedback. Many of these other accommodations reflect the carry-over of instructional accommodations to assessment situations.

Changes Since 1999 . Not all comparisons between 1999 and 2001 analyses of policies on presentation accommodations indicate that more states are allowing these accommodations. Only eight states now allow the test administrator to provide examples of questions to students. This number is down from the 10 states that permitted this accommodation in 1999.



Equipment and Materials Accommodations

Table 8 provides a summary of the equipment and material accommodations documented in state policies. State-by-state details on these accommodations are presented in Tables B10 and B11 in Appendix B. Most of the equipment and materials accommodations listed in state policies are targeted at the presentation of the test, but some are response-related accommodations (e.g., using a calculator or abacus). Most of these accommodations are not controversial. The use of magnification or amplification equipment, special lighting or acoustics, templates/graph paper, noise buffers, and adaptive or special furniture are documented and allowed in the majority of states.

 

Table 8.   Summary of Equipment and Material Accommodations

Equipment and Material Accommodation

Allowed without Restrictions

Allowed with Restrictions

Completely Prohibited

Not Mentioned

Magnification Equipment

40

0

0

10

Amplification Equipment

34

0

0

16

Light/Acoustics

32

0

0

18

Calculator

14

23

1

12

Templates/Graph Paper

32

0

0

18

Audio/Video Cassette

16

9

2

23

Noise Buffer

27

0

0

23

Adaptive or Special Furniture

29

1

0

20

Abacus

13

6

1

30

Other

30

9

0

11

Definitions: Magnification Equipment = equipment that enlarges the print size of the test. Amplification Equipment = equipment that increases the level of sound during the test (e.g., FM systems, hearing aids).  Light/Acoustics = changes to the amount or placement of lighting or special attention to the acoustics of the test setting.  Calculator = standard calculator and special function calculators (sometimes one is allowed but not the other).  Templates/Graph Paper = Placemarkers or templates used to mark location of focus on the test. Audio/Video Cassette  = audio or video equipment.  Noise Buffer = ear mufflers, white noise, and other equipment used to block external sounds.  Adaptive or Special Furniture = any furniture the student requires for sitting upright, holding a writing instrument, etc.  Abacus = abacus or similar counting tools. 



The calculator accommodation is the most controversial of the equipment and materials accommodations. While it is mentioned in the policies in 37 states, more often than not the scores are not aggregated when it is used, or it is allowed only in limited situations. Only one state (Texas) does not permit the use of a calculator at all.

Two other equipment/materials accommodations seem to be somewhat controversial. The use of an abacus is documented in fewer states (n = 19), but like the calculator has a variety of specific conditions under which it cannot be used, and in one state (New Mexico) cannot be used at all. Similarly audio or videotapes of assessment questions also are allowed in 25 states, but with some kind of restriction in 9 of them; they are not allowed at all in 2 states.

A variety of other accommodations are mentioned in the policies in 39 states. The most common accommodation is the size or grip of pencils. Math manipulatives, arithmetic tables, and colored filters are also allowed in several states. Unique accommodations include cue cards and treats or prizes.

Changes Since 1999. The biggest changes in policies from 1999 to 2001 are evident in the clarifications and specifications attached to the calculator and audio/video cassette accommodations. Much more clarification is provided as to the specific conditions under which these accommodations are considered appropriate. Otherwise, equipment accommodations have remained relatively stable, with only a minor increase in the number of states documenting these in their policies.



Response Accommodations

Table 9 summarizes the response accommodations documented by states. Of the 48 states that permit a proctor or scribe to record a student’s responses in at least some circumstances, 31 allow this accommodation without restrictions. Most states also permit students to write in the test booklet or to use computers to provide responses for the writing test. When computers are allowed, it is often with special instructions about the availability of the spell checking function (or other similar functions, e.g., grammar checks), which are reflected in the "Spell Checker/Assistance" column in Table 9. Only 7 of the states that mention spell checkers indicate that they are allowed without restrictions; 21 of the states that mention them either allow them with restrictions (9 states) or specifically prohibit their use (11 states). Other commonly used response accommodations include the use of a tape recorder, communication device, or Brailler.

 

Table 9.   Summary of Response Accommodations

Response Accommodation

Allowed without Restrictions

Allowed with Restrictions

Completely Prohibited

Not Mentioned

Proctor/Scribe

31

17

0

2

Computer or Machine

30

9

1

10

Write in Test Booklets

37

2

0

11

Tape Recorder

21

8

0

21

Communication Device

27

8

0

15

Spell Checker/Assistance

7

9

11

23

Brailler

30

3

0

17

Pointing

21

3

0

26

Other

21

5

1

23

Definitions: Proctor/Scribe = student is responds verbally and a proctor or scribe then translates this to an answer sheet; for writing extended responses, specific instructions about how spelling or punctuation may be included.  Computer or Machine = computer or other machine (e.g., typewriter), often with instructions about disabling spellcheckers, etc.  Write in Test Booklet = responses may be written in the test booklet rather than on answer sheets, and school personnel then transcribe to answer sheets.  Tape Recorder = student’s verbal responses are tape recorded, generally for later description.  Communication Device = various devices for the student to use in giving responses (e.g., symbol boards). Spell Checker/Assistance = spell checker either as a separate device or within a word-processing program, or print materials (e.g., glossary, dictionary).  Brailler = device or computer that generates responses in Braille.  Pointing = student points to response and staff member translates this onto an answer sheet. 



Details about response accommodations allowed for each state are presented in Table B12 and B13 of Appendix B. Among the other response accommodations indicated by states (and evident in Table B13) are changing the size of answer bubbles, signing responses to an interpreter, and voice recognition software.

Changes Since 1999 . Increases in the number of states documenting specific response accommodations in their policies are small but consistent. They are most notable, perhaps, for the Brailler and pointing accommodations. In addition, there is generally more clarification provided about the use of spell checkers and other similar kinds of assistance.


Scheduling/Timing Accommodations

Scheduling/timing accommodations, which are changes in the timing or scheduling of an assessment, are summarized in Table 10. The most frequently allowed accommodations in this category are extended time (42 states) and taking the assessment with breaks (43 states). For both of these, a number of states place some kind of restriction of their use (16 states for extended time and 10 states for breaks). The only accommodations in this category that are prohibited by some states are extended time and multiple days.

 

Table 10.   Summary of Scheduling/Timing Accommodations

Scheduling/Timing Accommodation

Allowed without Restrictions

Allowed with Restrictions

Completely Prohibited

Not Mentioned

Extended Time

26

16

3

5

With Breaks

33

10

0

7

Multiple Sessions

31

1

0

18

Time Beneficial to Student

35

0

0

15

Over Multiple Days

19

6

2

23

Other

21

1

0

28

Definitions:  Extended Time = student may take long than the time typically allowed, sometimes with the time specifically designated in some way.  With Breaks = time away from test allowed during tests typically administered without breaks, sometimes with conditions about when this can occur (e.g., not within subtests) and how long they can be.   Multiple Sessions = assessments generally given in a single session can be broken into multiple sessions.  Time Beneficial to Student = administered at a time that is most advantageous to the student, often related to a medication schedule.  Over Multiple Days = administered over several days when it is normally administered in one day.



Details of which states allowed which of these accommodations are presented in Table B14 and B15 in Appendix B. Among the other scheduling/timing accommodations indicted in these tables are administration of subtests in a different order (documented in California, Georgia, Illinois, Michigan, Montana, North Dakota, and West Virginia), and permitting test administration to be terminated when the student can no longer sustain activity (documented in Alabama, Delaware, Indiana, Maine, and Mississippi).

Changes Since 1999. Documentation of extended time increased slightly to 42 states from the 37 states that permitted it in the 1999 analysis. Although most of these scheduling/timing accommodations showed an increase in the number of states documenting them, the largest increases were noted for the "time beneficial to student" accommodation, with a couple of the states that in 1999 indicated conditions under which this accommodation was prohibited, no longer doing so in 2001.



Setting Accommodations

Setting accommodations are changes in test location or environment. These accommodations include individual or small group administration, administration in a separate room or carrel, and the proximity of a student’s seat to the test administrator (see Table 11), and are generally not controversial. Forty-six states permit testing of students individually, and 46 states permit testing in small groups. Most are allowed without restriction, or are simply not mentioned in state policies. Perhaps the most "controversial" of the setting accommodations is testing in the student’s home. Six of the 18 states that allow this accommodation do so with restrictions, either in the type of students who can be assessed at home (e.g., Alabama, Mississippi, and Oregon limit to homebound students) or the specific assessment (e.g., Nevada). Hospital testing is permitted in a few states.


Table 11.   Summary of Setting Accommodations

 Setting Accommodation

Allowed without Restrictions

Allowedwith Restrictions

Completely Prohibited

Not Mentioned

Individual

46

1

0

3

Small Group

46

2

0

2

Carrel

32

0

0

18

Separate Room

36

0

0

14

Seat Location/Proximity

31

0

0

19

Minimize Distractions/Reduced Noise

22

0

0

28

Student’s Home

12

6

1

31

Special Ed. Classroom

17

0

0

33

Other

19

0

0

31

Definitions:  Individual = student assessed separately from other students.  Small Group = student assessed in small group separate from other students.  Carrel = student assessed while seated in a study carrel.  Separate Room = student assessed in separate room, usually involves also individual or small group accommodation.  Seat Location/Proximity = student is assessed in a specifically designated seat location, usually in close proximity to the test administrator.   Minimize Distractions/Reduced Noise = student assessed in a quiet environment where auditory distractions can be kept to a minimum.  Student’s Home = student assessed at home, usually when out of school for illness or other reasons.   Special Education Classroom = student assessed in special education classroom, usually implying also small group or individual administration. 


State by state information of setting accommodations is provided in Table B16 in Appendix B, and specifications for setting accommodations and other setting accommodations are provided in Table B17 of Appendix B.

Changes Since 1999 . In general, the number of states documenting specific setting accommodations increased from 1999 to 2001. Only with respect to testing in the student’s home was there a larger number of states indicating the conditions under which this was prohibited in 2001.


Alternate Assessments

Alternate assessments, designed to assess students unable to participate in general state and district assessments, were required by IDEA 97 to be in place by July, 2000. In previous analyses of state policies on participation and accommodations, we noted only the number of states indicating that alternate assessments were one participation option. NCEO has tracked the development of alternate assessments through surveys and discussions, and periodically reported on progress (see Quenemoen, Massanari, Thompson, & Thurlow, 2000; Quenemoen, Thompson, Thurlow, & Olsen, 1999; Thompson, Erickson, Thurlow, Ysseldyke, & Callender, 1999; Thompson & Thurlow, 1999, 2000, 2001), but has not looked specifically at written (and online) information on alternate assessments across all 50 states.

Most states now have information on their alternate assessments on their state education agency Web sites. For this report, we examined the extent to which states had participation policies, standards assessed by the alternate assessment, instructions for the administration of the alternate assessment, parent information on the alternate assessment, and any other information about the alternate assessment. This information is summarized in Table 12.

 

Table 12.   Summary of Alternate Assessment Information

Alternate Assessment Information

Information Available

No Information Available

Policy

41

9

Content Standards (Expanded)

30

20

Instructions for Administration

35

15

Parent Information

15

35

Other Information

12

38

No Information on Alternate Assessment


5

 
As is evident in Table 12, and detailed in Tables B18 and B19 in Appendix B, many states now have written information on their alternate assessments. In fact, only five states had no information at all about their alternate assessments. Most states have their policies, standards, and instructions for administration available, and fewer have parent information or other kinds of information available on their alternate assessments.


Summary

There have been many changes in state participation and accommodation policies as states continue to work toward increased participation and performance of students with disabilities on state and district assessments. The IEP team continues to play a key role in the participation and accommodation decision-making process, with an increase in the role of parents in this process. Decisions are now based more on an individual student’s ability to participate in an assessment than on a student’s disability category or placement. Emotional anxiety is a new category added this year, with eight states now basing participation decisions at least partially on this criterion.

States are grappling with the pros and cons of out-of-level testing. The practice of assessing students using a lower-level version of a test is controversial, with questions arising about unintended instructional consequences versus "accurately" measuring performance and avoiding student frustration (Minnema, Thurlow, Bielinski, & Scott, 2000). All states now have alternate assessments available for students, with a few states developing multiple alternate assessments.

In general, states continue to increase the number of accommodations documented within their policies, while at the same time considering the implications of accommodations that are deemed to invalidate test results. This has resulted in more detailed specifications about which accommodations can be reported. These details are evident for all of the categories of accommodations, a characteristic that makes it more and more difficult to provide simple summaries of accommodations policies.

For the first time in our analyses of participation and accommodation policies, there has been enough information on alternate assessments to begin to characterize the information that is available. Most states have placed information online. The information that was available for our analyses indicated that there are only five states that have no information at all about their alternate assessments on their state education agency Web sites. Most states have focused their information on the policies, standards, and instructions for administration. Future reports will analyze these policies in greater depth.

The 2001 analysis of participation and accommodations policies provides answers to the five questions noted at the beginning of this report.

1. The policies in all states except five reflect the three basic participation options of general assessment without accommodations, general assessment with accommodations, and alternate assessment. In addition, a number of states have additional options, in the form of partial participation, more than one alternate assessment, and out-of-level testing.

2. Qualitatively, the 2001 policies are more detailed than previous policies. Generally these details reflect greater specification of the conditions under which a specific policy applies.

3. Five states now have accommodations policies that indicate assessment accommodations can be used by any student in the state–not just those on IEPs, 504 plans, or who have limited English proficiency. A few additional states make certain accommodation categories available to all students, and several additional states indicate that any student with a temporary disability (one not requiring an IEP or a 504 plan) has access to accommodations.

4. Many states specifically indicate when the use of a specific accommodation will result in the score from the assessment not being included in aggregations. It is still unclear whether all of the states that may not aggregate certain scores have indicated this in their accommodation policies.

5. The most controversial accommodations continue to be those identified previously–read aloud, calculator, and scribe. All of these have been more carefully defined and the conditions under which they are allowed or aggregated more explicitly stated in the 2001 policies.

It is clear from this analysis that state policies continue to evolve. Dramatic changes from the previous analysis are not as evident as they were in the early days of examining participation and accommodations policies. Instead the changes are slower and represent greater understanding of the details of policies.


References

Minnema, J., Thurlow, M. Bielinski, J., & Scott., J. (2000). Past and present understandings of out-of-level testing: A research synthesis (Out-of-Level Testing Project Report 1). Minneapolis, MN: University of Minnesota, National Center on Educational Outcomes. Retrieved June 3, 2002, from the World Wide Web: http://education.umn.edu/NCEO/OnlinePubs/OOLT1.html.

National Center on Educational Outcomes. (2001). Crosswalk of Title I and IDEA assessment and accountability provisions for students with disabilities. Minneapolis MN: University of Minnesota, National Center of Educational Outcomes. Retrieved June 3, 2002, from the World Wide Web: http://education.umn.edu/NCEO/OnlinePubs/Crosswalk.htm#Part3IDEA.

National Center on Educational Outcomes (2002a). Citations from law: Comparison of selected Title I 1994 and 2001 assessment and accountability provisions for students with disabilities (Unpublished working paper). Minneapolis MN: University of Minnesota, National Center on Educational Outcomes.

National Center on Educational Outcomes. (2002b). Nuts and bolts excerpts for overview of No Child Left Behind Act (Unpublished working paper). Minneapolis MN: University of Minnesota, National Center on Educational Outcomes.

Olson, J.F., Jones, I., & Bond, L. (2001). State student assessment programs annual survey. Washington, D.C.: Council of Chief State School Officers.

Quenemoen, R., Massanari, C., Thompson, S., & Thurlow, M. (2000). Alternate assessment forum: Connecting into a whole. Minneapolis, MN: University of Minnesota, National Center on Educational Outcomes.

Quenemoen, R., Thompson, S., Thurlow, M., & Olsen, K., (1999). Forum on alternate assessment and "gray area" assessment. Minneapolis, MN: University of Minnesota, National Center on Educational Outcomes. Retrieved May 24, 2002, from the World Wide Web: http://education.umn.edu/NCEO/GrayAreaForum/Conference_Report.htm

Rivera, C., Stansfield, C., Scialdone, L., & Sharkey, M., (2000). An analysis of state policies for the inclusion and accommodation of English language learners in state assessment programs during 1998-99. Arlington VA: The George Washington University Center for Equity and Excellence in Education.

Thompson, S. J., Erickson, R., Thurlow, M. L., Ysseldyke, J. E., & Callender, S. (1999). Status of the states in the development of alternate assessments (Synthesis Report 31). Minneapolis, MN: University of Minnesota, National Center on Educational Outcomes.

Thompson, S., & Thurlow, M. (1999). 1999 State special education outcomes: A report on state activities at the end of the century. Minneapolis, MN: University of Minnesota, National Center on Educational Outcomes.

Thompson, S. J., & Thurlow, M. L. (2000). State alternate assessments: Status as IDEA alternate assessment requirements take effect (Synthesis Report 35). Minneapolis, MN: University of Minnesota, National Center on Educational Outcomes.

Thompson, S., & Thurlow, M. (2001). 2001 State special education outcomes: A report on state activities at the beginning of a new decade. Minneapolis, MN: University of Minnesota, National Center on Educational Outcomes.

Thurlow, M., Elliott, J., & Ysseldyke, J. (1999). Out-of-level testing: Pros and cons (Policy Directions 9). Minneapolis, MN: University of Minnesota, National Center on Educational Outcomes.

Thurlow, M., House, A., Boys, C., Scott, D., & Ysseldyke, J. (2000). State participation and accommodation policies for students with disabilities: 1999 update (Synthesis Report 33). Minneapolis, MN: University of Minnesota, National Center on Educational Outcomes.

Thurlow, M.L., Scott, D.L., & Ysseldyke, J.E. (1995a). A compilation of states’ guidelines for accommodations in assessments for students with disabilities (Synthesis Report 18). Minneapolis, MN: University of Minnesota, National Center on Educational Outcomes.

Thurlow, M.L., Scott, D.L., & Ysseldyke, J.E. (1995b). A compilation of states’ guidelines for including students with disabilities in assessments (Synthesis Report 17). Minneapolis, MN: University of Minnesota, National Center on Educational Outcomes.

Thurlow, M., Seyfarth, A., Scott, D., & Ysseldyke, J. (1997). State assessment policies on participation and accommodations for students with disabilities: 1997 update (Synthesis Report 29). Minneapolis, MN: University of Minnesota, National Center on Educational Outcomes.

Thurlow, M.L., Ysseldyke, J.E., & Silverstein, B. (1993). Testing accommodations for students with disabilities: A review of the literature (Synthesis Report 4). Minneapolis, MN: University of Minnesota, National Center on Educational Outcomes.

Thurlow, M., & Wiener, D. (2000). Non-approved accommodations: Recommendations for use and reporting (Policy Directions No. 11). Minneapolis, MN: University of Minnesota, National Center on Educational Outcomes.


Appendix A

State Documents Used in Analysis of Participation and Accommodations Policies

Alabama

Richardson, E. (1998, 2000). Alabama student assessment program: Policies and procedures for students of special populations. Montgomery, AL: Alabama Department of Education.

Alaska

Alaska Department of Education and Early Development (2000). Participation guidelines for Alaska students in state assessments. Juneau, AK.

Arizona

Orr, B. J., Powell, K., & Young, P. S. (2001). Arizona’s instrument to measure standards and special education. Phoenix, AZ: Academic Standards and Accountability Division of the Arizona Department of Education. http://www.ade.state.az.us/standards/AIMS/Administering/Disabilities.pdf.

Arkansas

Harcourt Educational Measurement (2000, Fall). Arkansas test coordinator’s handbook, student assessment program, grades 5, 7, and 10, 9th Ed. San Antonio, TX.

California

California Department of Education (2001). Standardized testing and reporting program: Special instructions for testing students requiring special accommodations. San Antonio TX: Harcourt Educational Measurement. http://www.cde.gov/statetests/star/specialEducation/Accomodations.pdf.

Colorado

State of Colorado (2000). Understanding accommodations. Denver, CO: Colorado Department of Education. http://www.cde.state.co.us/cdeassess/asaccomm.htm.

Connecticut

Connecticut State Department of Education, Bureau of Student Assessment and Research, and Bureau of Special Education and Pupil Services (2000). Assessment guidelines for administering the Connecticut Mastery Test, the Connecticut Academic Performance Test, and the Connecticut Alternate Assessment, 7th Ed. Hartford, CT. http://www.state.ct.us/sde/der/publications/student_assessment/index.htm

Delaware

Delaware Department of Education, Assessment and Analysis Group (2001). Delaware student testing program: Guidelines for the inclusion of students with disabilities and students with limited English proficiency (revised). Dover, DE.

Florida

Florida Department of Education, Division of Public Schools and Community Education and the Bureau of Instructional Support and Community Services (2000). Policy paper: Accountability for students with disabilities in state and district assessment programs. Tallahassee, FL.

Florida Department of Education, Bureau of Curriculum, Instruction, and Assessment, Assessment and Evaluation Services, and the Bureau of Instructional Support and Community Education (2000). Testing accommodations for students with disabilities. Tallahassee, FL.

Florida Department of Education, Division of Public Schools and Community Education and the Bureau of Instructional Support and Community Services (1999). A guide for parents of children in exceptional student education: Q & A. Tallahassee, FL.

Georgia

Georgia Department of Education (2001). Student assessment handbook. Atlanta, GA. http://www.doe.k12.ga.us/sla/ret/sah-01-02.pdf.

Hawaii

Harcourt Brace Educational Measurement (1999, Spring). Hawaii test coordinators’s handbook: Statewide student assessment program, grades 3, 5, 7, 9, Stanford Achievement Test, 9th Ed. San Antonio, TX.

Idaho

Idaho Department of Education (1999). Idaho statewide assessment accommodations guide. Boise, ID.

Idaho Department of Education (1999). Statewide/districtwide assessment participation checklist for use by IEP team. Boise, ID.

Illinois

Gidwitz, R. & McGee, G. W. (2001). Illinois standards achievement test district and school coordination manual. Springfield, IL: Illinois State Board of Education.

Indiana

Indiana Department of Education (2000). Indiana statewide testing for educational progress, program manual, 2000-2001. Indianapolis, IN. http://ideanet.doe.state.in.us/publications/pdf_istep/istep_program00.pdf

Iowa

Foegen, A. (September, 2001). Participation in district-wide assessments: A chapter for inclusion in the revised Iowa IEP manual. Des Moines, IA: Iowa Department of Education, Bureau of Children, Family, and Community Services.

Kansas

Kansas Department of Education, Kansas State Assessments (2000). Guidelines for determining state assessment accommodations for students with disabilities. Topeka, KS.

Kansas Department of Education, Kansas State Assessments (1999). Documentation of allowable accommodations for individual students for 2000 Kansas State Assessment. Topeka, KS.

Kentucky

Kentucky Department of Education (1999). Inclusion of special populations in the state-required assessment and accountability programs.

Frankfort, KY. http://www.kde.state.ky.us/oaa/implement/inclusion/inclusions_default.asp.

Louisiana

Louisiana Department of Education (2001). Louisiana statewide norm-referenced testing program, 2001 test administration manual, Grade 3. Itasca, IL: Riverside Publishing.

Louisiana Department of Education (2001). Louisiana statewide norm-referenced testing program, 2001 test administration manual, Grades 5, 6, & 7. Itasca, IL: Riverside Publishing.

Louisiana Department of Education (2001). Louisiana statewide norm-referenced testing program, 2001 test administration manual, Grade 9. Itasca, IL: Riverside Publishing.

Maine

Maine Department of Education (2001). The Maine educational assessment, principal/test coordinator’s manual, all grades. Augusta, ME.

Maryland

Maryland State Department of Education (2000). Requirements for accommodating, excusing, and exempting students in Maryland assessment programs. Baltimore, MD.

Massachusetts

Massachusetts Department of Education (2001). Requirements for the participation of students with disabilities in the MCAS (including test accommodations and alternate assessment): A guide for educators and parents – Update. Boston, MA.

Michigan

Michigan Educational Assessment Program (1995). Testing guidelines for the Michigan high school proficiency test for students with disabilities, limited English proficiency, and dual enrollment. Lansing, MI.

Michigan Department of Education, Office of Special Education and Early Intervention Services (2001). Students with disabilities and the MEAP, the MEAP with assessment accommodations, or alternate assessment: Questions and answers. Lansing, MI

Minnesota

Minnesota Department of Children, Families, and Learning (2001). Basic standards test: Guidelines for students with IEP or 504 plans. Saint Paul, MN.

Mississippi

Mississippi Office of Academic Education (2001). Mississippi curriculum content assessment system: Guidelines for students with disabilities and English language learners. Jackson, MI.

Missouri

Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, Division of Special Education (2000). Issues in education technical assistance bulletin: State and district-wide assessments of school achievement. Jefferson City, MO.

Montana

Montana Office of Public Instruction, Division of Special Education, Division of Educational Opportunity and Equity (Title I Part A Program), and Division of Measurement and Accountability (2001). Assessment handbook, Volume 2: Accommodations and alternate assessment scale. Helena, MT.

Nebraska

Nebraska Department of Education (2000). School-based, teacher-led assessment and reporting system: Update # 1 & # 3. Lincoln, NE.

Nebraska Special Education Advisory Council Ad Hoc Committee on Classroom and District-wide Assessment Practices (March, 1998). Assessment practices and the inclusion of students with diverse learning needs, volume one: A guide for educators and parents in Nebraska public schools. Lincoln, NE: Nebraska Department of Education.

Nebraska Special Education Advisory Council Ad Hoc Committee on Alternate Assessment (September, 2000). Assessment practices and the inclusion of students with diverse learning needs, volume two: A guide for educators and parents in Nebraska public schools. Lincoln, NE: Nebraska Department of Education.

Nevada

Nevada Department of Education and WestEd (1998). Nevada’s high school proficiency examinations: A communication and decision making guide for educators: Helping students with disabilities meet Nevada standards. Carson City, NV.

Nevada Department of Education (2001). Guidelines for the conduct of  the Nevada Proficiency Examinations Program. Carson City, NV.

Nevada Department of Education (2000). Guidelines for the participation in the Skills and Competencies Alternate Assessment of Nevada. Carson City, NV.

New Hampshire

New Hampshire Department of Education (2001). Procedures for determining how each student will participate in the New Hampshire Educational Improvement and Assessment Program. Concord, NH: http://www.ed.state.nh.us/SpecialEd/Downloads/AppAccProc.pdf.

New Jersey

New Jersey Department of Education (1999). Acceptable accommodations or modifications. Trenton, NJ.

New Mexico

Pasternak, R. & Brown-Kovacic, C. (2000). Memorandum: Guidance on special education assessment issues. Santa FE, NM: State of New Mexico, Department of Education.

State of New Mexico, Department of Education (2000). Guidance to IEP team members on determining accommodations for students participating in state-mandated assessments. Santa Fe, NM.

Cohen, M & Heumman, J. E. (2000). Memorandum: Clarification of the role of the IEP team in selecting individual accommodations, modifications in administration, and alternate assessments for state and district-wide assessments of student achievement. Santa FE, NM: State of New Mexico, Department of Education.

New York

New York State Department of Education and Regents of the University of the State of New York (1999). Test access and modification for individuals with disabilities. Albany, NY: ftp:unix2.nysed.gov/education.dept.pubs/vesid/oses/test.access.mod/testacce.txt.

North Carolina

North Carolina Testing Program (2001). Testing accommodations for students with disabilities. Raleigh, NC: North Carolina Department of Education. http://www.ncpublicschools.org/accountability/testing/highschoolexitexam/accommodations.pdf.

North Carolina Testing Program (January, 2001). Questions about testing and accountability for exceptional children. Raleigh, NC: North Caroline Department of Education. http://www.ncpublicschools.org/student_promotion/qatesting.html.

North Carolina Testing Program (2001).  End of grade testing for students with disabilities: Questions for waiver of promotion standards. Raleigh, NC: North Caroline Department of Education. http://222/ncpublicschools.org/00-01/040201.html.

North Dakota

North Dakota Department of Public Instruction (2001). Test coordinator’s manual, North Dakota Statewide Testing Program. Monterey, CA: CTB/McGraw-Hill.

North Dakota Department of Public Instruction (July, 2001). Alternate assessment manual: Appendix B, Examples of accommodations that require documentation. Bismarck, ND.

North Dakota Department of Public Instruction (July, 2001). Alternate assessment manual. Bismarck, ND: G:\22(C-M) Alternate Assessment Revised\Manual Revision\DPI assessment guidelins.doc.

North Dakota Department of Public Instruction (July, 2001). Questions generated from the July training on alternate assessment I.  Bismarck, ND.

Ohio

Ohio Department of Education (2001). Model policies and procedures for education of children with disabilities. Columbus, OH.

Oklahoma

Oklahoma State Department of Education (2000). Guidelines for including students with disabilities in state and districtwide assessment programs. Oklahoma City, OK.

Oregon

Oregon Department of Education, Office of Assessment and Evaluation (2001). Oregon Statewide Knowledge and Skills Assessments: Administration Manual, 2001. Salem, OR.

Oregon Department of Education (2000).  Oregon Statewide Performance Assessment: Administration manual 2000 for CIM Benchmark in writing and problem solving.  Salem, OR.

Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania Department of Education (2000). Testing accommodations for the Pennsylvania System of School Assessment. Harrisburg, PA.

Pennsylvania Department of Education (2000). Partnering for success: Assessment accommodations. Harrisburg, PA. http://www.pde.edu/connections/Partner/testacom.htm.

Rhode Island

Rhode Island Department of Education (Undated). Appendix A: Requirements for student participation and assessment accommodations for the Rhode Island State Assessment Program. Providence, RI.

South Carolina

South Carolina Department of Education (2001). BSAP Test Administrator’s manual, Appendix C: Administrative guidelines and procedures for testing students with documented disabilities. Columbia, SC.

South Dakota

Meendering, J. (1999). Considering the needs of students with disabilities in large-scale assessment programs: A handbook for parents and educators. Pierre, SD: South Dakota Department of Education and Cultural Affairs, Office of Special Education.

Harcourt Educational Measurement (2001). Handbook for test coordinator. San Antonio, TX.

Tennessee

Tennessee Department of Education (2001). Special education TCAP addenda: Allowable state test accommodations addendum (to the IEP). Nashville, TN.

Texas

Texas Department of Education (2001). District and campus coordinator manual 2001: Texas Student Assessment Program. Austin, TX: Texas Education Agency.

Utah

Utah State Office of Education (2001). Guidelines for participation of students with special needs in the Utah Performance Assessment System for Students (U-PASS). Salt Lake City, UT.

Vermont

Vermont Department of Education (2001). Design issues, accommodations, and alternative assessments. Montpelier, VT. http://www.uvm.edu/~uapvt/programs/assess/how/include.html.

Vermont Department of Education (2001). What is and appropriate assessment accommodation? Montpelier, VT. http://www.uvm.edu/~uapvt/programs/assess/how/appropriate.html.

Vermont Department of Education (2001). Some examples. Montpelier, VT. http://www.uvm.edu/~uapvt/programs/assess/how/examples.html.

Vermont Department of Education (2001). Participation guidelines for students with special assessment needs: Assessment accommodations and alternate assessment options. Montpelier, VT. http://www.state.vt.us/cses/alt/paric_guide_2001.htm.

Virginia

Virginia Department of Education (1997). Students with disabilities: Guidelines for testing in the Virginia State Assessment Program (Norm-referenced testing). Richmond, VA. http://www.pen.k12.va.us/VDOE/Assessment/SWDsol.html.

Washington

Washington Department of Public Instruction, Special Education (2000). Guidelines for participation for special populations on the Washington Assessment of Student Learning. Olympia, WA. http://www.k12.wa.us/specialed/publications/assess.pdf.

Washington Department of Public Instruction, Special Education (2001). Guidelines for IEP teams in determining WASL assessment options for students in special education programs. Olympia, WA. http://www.k12.wa.us/specialed/bulletins/guidelins%20for%20IEP%20teams%20in%20det.pdf.

West Virginia

West Virginia Department of Education, Office of Special Education (1999). Students with disabilities: Guidelines for participation in the Statewide Assessment Program. Charleston, WV.

West Virginia Department of Education, Office of Student Services and Assessment, Division of Instructional and Student Services (1998). West Virginia Statewide Assessment Program, Stanford Achievement Test, 9th Ed., test administration manual, grade 5. Charleston, WV.

Wisconsin

Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction, Office of Educational Assessment (2000). Guidelines to facilitate the participation of students with special needs in state assessments. Madison, WI. wysiwyg://27/http://www.dpi.state.wi.us/dpi/oea/specneed.html.

Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction (2000). Examples of test accommodations for students with disabilities. Madison, WI. wysiwyg://27/http://www.dpi.state.wi.us/dpi/oea/accomdis.html.

Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction (February 2000).  Educational assessment and accountability for all students: Facilitating the meaningful participation of students with disabilities in district and statewide assessment programs. Madison, WI.

Wyoming

Wyoming Department of Education, the Participation and Accommodations Guidelines Taskforce (2000). Policies for the participation of all students in district and statewide assessment and accountability systems. Cheyenne, WY.


Appendix B

Participation and Accommodation Guidelines by State

Key for Appendix B Tables

 

States

AL

Alabama

AK

Alaska

AZ

Arizona

AR

Arkansas

CA

California

CO

Colorado

CT

Connecticut

DE

Delaware

FL

Florida

GA

Georgia

HI

Hawaii

ID

Idaho

IL

Illinois

IN

Indiana

IA

Iowa

KS

Kansas

KY

Kentucky

LA

Louisiana

ME

Maine

MD

Maryland

MA

Massachusetts

MI

Michigan

MN

Minnesota

MS

Mississippi

MO

Missouri

MT

Montana

NE

Nebraska

NV

Nevada

NH

New Hampshire

NJ

New Jersey

NM

New Mexico

NY

New York

NC

North Carolina

ND

North Dakota

OH

Ohio

OK

Oklahoma

OR

Oregon

PA

Pennsylvania

RI

Rhode Island

SC

South Carolina

SD

South Dakota

TN

Tennessee

TX

Texas

UT

Utah

VT

Vermont

VA

Virginia

WA

Washington

WV

West Virginia

WI

Wisconsin

WY

Wyoming

 

Table B1. Participation Policy Variables

 

IEP Team Decides Participation

Nature or Category of Disability

Course Content or Curricular Validity

Parent/Guardian Involvement Specified

Receiving Special Education Services/% Time

Non-pursuit of Standard Diploma or General Curriculum

Emotional Anxiety

Other

AL

X

X

X

X

 

X

 

X

AK

X

O

X

X

 

 

 

X

AZ

X

 

X

 

 

X

 

 

AR

X

O

 

 

O

 

 

 

CA

X

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

CO

X

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

CT

X

O

X

X

O

 

XO

X

DE

X

 

X

 

 

X

 

X

FL

X

 

X

 

 

X

 

X

GA

X

 

X

 

 

 

 

 

HI

X

 

 

X

 

 

 

X

ID

X

 

 

 

 

 

 

X

IL

X

O

 

X

 

 

 

X

IN

X

 

X

X

 

 

 

 

IA

X

O

 

XO

 

 

 

XO

KS

X

O

 

X

O

 

 

O

KY

X

O

 

 

 

 

 

X

LA

X

O

 

X

 

X

 

 

ME

X

 

X

X

 

 

 

 

MD

X

O

 

 

O

X

X

X

MA

X

X

X

X

 

 

 

X

MI

X

X

 

X

X

 

 

X

MN

X

O

X

X

O

 

X

XO

MS

X

O

X

XO

O

X

 

X

MO

X

O

 

XO

 

X

 

XO

MT

X

 

X

XO

 

 

 

X

NE

X

O

X

 

 

 

 

X

NV

X

O

X

X

O

X

 

X

NH

X

O

X

 

 

 

XO

X

NJ

X

 

X

 

 

 

 

X

NM

X

X

 

 

 

X

 

O

NY

X

O

 

 

 

 

 

XO

NC

X

 

 

 

 

XO

 

O

ND

X

 

X

 

 

 

 

X

OH

X

 

X

 

 

 

 

 

OK

X

O

X

X

O

 

 

XO

OR

X

O

XO

X

 

 

 

X

PA

X

O

X

X

 

 

X

XO

RI

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

X

SC

X

X

 

X

 

 

 

 

SD

X

 

X

 

 

 

 

 

TN

X

 

 

 

 

 

 

XO

TX

X

 

X

 

 

 

 

 

UT

X

O

 

 

O

X

 

XO

VT

X

 

X

 

 

 

 

X

VA

X

 

X

X

 

 

 

X

WA

X

 

 

X

 

 

 

 

WV

X

 

X

X

 

X

 

 

WI

X

O

X

XO

 

 

XO

X

WY

X

O

 

O

O

 

 

XO

Note: Entries in table are: X = Criterion used, O = Criterion cannot be used.
XO = Criterion may be used in some situations, but not others. See Table B2 for specifications.

 

Table B2. Specific Nature of “Other” Variables in Participation Policies

 

Other Criteria

AL

IEP team should consider content and nature of assessment in decision making; Sp Ed students in schools chosen to pilot an assessment will participate unless the IEP team is reconvened.

AK

Students may not be exempted because they are academically behind due to excessive absences, poor attendance, visual, auditory, or physical disabilities, or lack of instruction; Student has a current IEP, or previously had an IEP; Students may not be exempted because they are unable to complete the general academic curriculum because of social, cultural, or economic differences, student IQ, disruptive behavior, below average reading level, expectations of poor performance, or low achievement in general.

CT

Decisions may not be based on student placement (e.g., mainstream class, resource room, self-contained classroom); Special education students enrolled in approved private out-of-state special education facilities are not required to be tested due to logistical problems and test security; Special education students who are functioning at or near grade level should not be administered an out-of-level test simply to alleviate stress and anxiety or to avoid the possibility of an emotional/physical outburst; Testing for a student may be stopped if the student refuses to test, becomes agitated or disruptive; If possible test should be resumed after student is calmed; If cannot resume testing score based on number of items answered correctly (test cannot be voided).

DE

In order to be exempted, a student must have cognitive and adaptive skills deficits, requiring extensive direct instruction in multiple settings for skill transfer, unable to use academic skills at minimum competency level, and inability is not due to absence, visual, auditory, physical disabilities, emotional/behavioral disabilities, specific learning disabilities, or social, cultural or economic differences; To be eligible for exemption, extensive documentation required.

FL

Participation decision should consider if student’s demonstrated cognitive ability prevents the student from completing required coursework even with appropriate and allowable course accommodations; Student requires extensive direct instruction to accomplish the application and transfer of skill and competencies needed for domestic, community living, leisure and vocational activities; Inability to complete required coursework is not due to excessive or extended absences or the result of social, cultural, or economic differences.

HI

Non-special ed and non-504 parents/guardians may request in writing that their child be excluded from testing;  Special Ed and 504 parents must process request through IEP team.

ID

Participation decision may not be based solely on the fact that the student has an IEP, student is academically behind due to excessive absences or lack of instruction, or student is unable to complete the general academic curriculum due to social, cultural, or economic differences.

IL

Students who do not receive special education services at their home school should participate in state testing if possible but may not participate if it is difficult to get test materials to the facility, it is difficult to ensure test security and confidentiality procedures, or there are not personnel at receiving site who can properly administer a standardized test.

IA

Participation decisions must be made individually for each student with a disability; Not permitted to base decision on program type or to weight level to predetermine the manner of participation; Parents of students with disabilities may only request that their child be exempted from participation if parents of non-disabled students have the same option.

KS

Excessive or extended absences, social, cultural, or economic difference may not be used in the participation decision.

KY

Students receiving instruction in home/hospital settings (i.e., homebound instruction, not home school) may be exempted on an individual basis by school personnel upon verification by a physician of an illness or injury that prohibits the student from participating in one or more assessment components; School staff may remove any student (disabled or non-disabled) during testing if student is not making progress in completing the assessment and the student’s behavior impacts the performance of other students; School will receive a novice score for the student for unfinished sections and student’s score included in school aggregate.

MA

A student with either severe emotional impairments or pervasive developmental disabilities who is unable to maintain sufficient concentration to participate in standard testing even with accommodations may take the alternate assessment.

MD

Excused – students who demonstrate, or who are expected to demonstrate, inordinate frustration, distress, or disruption of others may be excused prior to or during the administration of statewide tests; Exempted students may not participate in tests to practice test-taking skills; The LAC (Local Accountability Coordinator) makes final decisions and clarifications regarding accommodating, excusing and exempting student.

MI

Parents can request exemption from MEAP testing; Percent time in regular Reading/English instruction cannot be used to exclude scores on mathematics and science test beginning in 2001-2002, and in social studies and English/Language Arts tests beginning in 2002-2003.

MN

Students should not be excluded from testing due to anticipated low test scores, a history of low test scores, or administrative pressure. Exemptions are permitted for students who experience severe anxiety in a testing situation. This is an anxiety reaction that is beyond the normal test jitters experienced by many students. Exemptions must be documented in the IEP and also noted on an answer document at the time of testing.

MS

Parents may elect for their child to participate, but they cannot make the determination on nonparticipation in a testing program; Parents are considered IEP team members; Setting of instruction or the expectation of poor performance are not the basis for exempting a student; Students with a disability must be allowed to participate if is a 2 year vocational program completer; Students with a temporary physical disability resulting from illness or injury may be exempted from participation (except for the Functional Literacy Exam).

MO

Student’s ability to participate may not be based upon excessive absences, social cultural, language, or economic differences. Unless a school district has a policy which permits parents of non-disabled students to participate in assessment decisions, the district may not have a policy which permits the parents of disabled students to request nonparticipation. Students in vocational schools, juvenile detention centers, or placed in approved private agencies by local districts are required to participate; The only students exempt from state or district-wide assessment are those students with disabilities convicted as adults under State law and incarcerated in adult prisons.

MT

Parental permission is not required for students with disabilities to participate in statewide assessment programs if parental permission is not required for the participation of students without disabilities; Since present level of performance will reflect the extent to which a student’s instructional program is grounded in the general education curriculum, level of performance is a consideration in determining which test option is most appropriate for the student.

NE

Assessments are still being developed in Nebraska; 2001 was the pilot year for the writing assessment; All assessments except writing will be based on locally developed assessments for the first year; Participation decisions may not be based on academic deficiencies due to excessive or extended absences, lack of instruction, or the fact that a student is unable to complete the general academic curriculum because of language differences, social, cultural, or environmental factors.

NV

Districts are not required to administer the 4th and 8th grade writing assessments to students unable to take the examination under standard conditions.

NH

Students may not be excluded based on excessive absences, disruptive behavior, or social, cultural or economic factors. In extraordinary circumstances, such as a student experiencing long-term severe emotional distress, a Section 504 placement team may choose, on a case-by-case basis, to excuse the student from the current year’s general assessment.

NJ

Student required to participate unless student’s disability is so severe that student is not receiving instruction in any of the knowledge and skills measured by the Statewide assessment and the student cannot complete any of the questions on the assessment in a subject area with or without accommodations; Student then participates in locally determined assessment of student progress.

NM

Students may not be excluded based on excessive or extended absences, visual or auditory disabilities, specific learning disabilities, or social, cultural and economic differences.

NY

Decision about participation must be based on the needs, characteristics, and abilities of each student; anticipated poor performance on tests should not result in exclusion.

NC

Students with disabilities may be exempted if it is determined by the IEP team that the students do not have the ability to participate in the state standard course of study; Decisions about participation must not be the result of excessive or extended absences or social, cultural or economic differences.

ND

Students may be excluded from testing due to prolonged illness, extended absences from school, parental or student refusal, or for disciplinary, security or penological reasons.

OK

Student behavior or expectations of poor performance by the student on the assessment should not influence the participation decision; The student is to be included in any part of the assessment for which the student receives any instruction, regardless of where the instruction occurs.

OR

A student who is absent during the entire testing window and make-up testing period may be exempted; Students may be exempted if the parents object for religious or disability related reasons; Students may be exempted from the science assessment if performance is well below Benchmark 3 in science.

PA

Parents may request that their child be excluded due to religious beliefs; A student may be excused due to extend-ed absence or withdrawal from school during testing window; If a student’s extended absence was prior to testing window the student must take the test; A student may be excused if requested by the IEP team due to emotional stress caused by the assessment process or lack of environmental awareness on the part of the student.

RI

Parents may exempt students from the Health Education Assessments.

TN

Participation decision may be based on demonstration of cognitive ability and adaptive skills that prevent full involvement in state approved content standards even with program modification; May not be primarily the result of excessive or extended absences, social, cultural or economic differences.

UT

Students may be excused from Utah Basic Skills Competency Test upon parental/guardian request; The request must give a reason and include a statement indicating both parent and student awareness of possible consequences; May not excuse student because of excessive or extended absences, social cultural, or economic disability, visual, auditory, emotional-behavioral disabilities, or specific learning disabilities.

VT

Students may be exempted for one of the following reasons: (1) Written statement from medical doctor that can not participate, (2) Student experiencing a family emergency or student crisis, (3) Student enrolled in school after first day of testing, and (4) Student expelled or suspended for entire test window.

VA

Exemption from testing requires an explanation to parent and, if appropriate to student, for the ramification of the decision.

WI

504-only students suffering from acute emotional disturbance may be exempted from testing if it would be damaging to the student; Parents/guardians have the right to exclude their child from the WI Knowledge and Concepts Exam (WKCE) but not from the WI Reading Comprehension Test (WRCT).

WY

Participation decisions are based on student’s current level of functioning and learning; Expelled special education students and homebound students receiving services must be tested, but medically fragile students may be exempted if medical needs prohibit classroom participation; Parent and/or student refusal is not a valid reason for exemption; Vacationing, suspended, and transfer students are expected to participate.

 

Table B3. Additional Testing Options

 

 Out-of-Level Testing

 Partial Participation

More than One Alternate Assessment Option

AL

A*O

 

 

AK

A*

 

 

AZ

A

 

 

AR

 

O

 

CA

A,A*

 

 

CO

 

 

 

CT

A

A

 

DE

A*

 

A

FL

A

 

 

GA

 

 

A

HI

 

A

 

ID

A*

A

 

IL

O

A

 

IN

 

O

 

IA

A,A*

A

 

KS

 

A

 

KY

 

 

 

LA

A,A*

 

 

ME

 

 

 

MD

 

 

 

MA

O

A

 

MI

 

A

 

MN

 

A

 

MS

 

A

 

MO

O

O

 

MT

 

A

 

NE

O

A

 

NV

 

A

A

NH

 

 

 

NJ

 

 

 

NM

O

O

 

NY

 

A

 

NC

A

A

 

ND

AO

 

A

OH

 

 

 

OK

 

A

 

OR

A

 

 

PA

 

 

A

RI

 

 

 

SC

A*

 

 

SD

 

 

 

TN

 

 

 

TX

A*

A

 

UT

A*

A

 

VT

A*O

 

A

VA

 

A

A

WA

 

A

 

WV

A*

 

A

WI

 

A

A

WY

 

 

 

A = Available, A* = Available, but score not aggregated, O= Not allowed   See Table B4 for additional specifications.

 

Table B4. Specific Nature of Additional Testing Options

AL

Out-of-Level testing permitted on Stanford only, not for other state tests.

AZ

Students may take different subtests at different grade levels; If the IEP of a high school special ed student specifies out-of-level testing, the highest level achieved by graduation will be reported on transcript.

CA

If the test level is more than one grade different from student assignment the assessment is considered nonstandard.

CT

To provide a full range of out-of level testing options, CT has developed a grade 2 edition of the CMT; The out-of-level testing option may only be used if the student has received no instruction as yet on the curriculum/content/skills being assessed on the standard grade level version of the CMT/CAPT; Decisions may not be based on an expectation that a student will not score well on the standard grade level version of the test. Students may take subtests at different lower grade levels.

DE

Out-of-level testing permitted only for students in grade 5 and grade 10; Students may be tested only one on-grade level below their present grade; For example, a grade 10 student may only take the grade 8 out-of-level test.

FL

Using an off-grade level assessment is considered a modification appropriate for students whose cognitive ability does not permit the learning of the same content or level of skill.

IA

Out-of-level testing score aggregated if using Iowa Testing Program instruments, otherwise it is a modification and not aggregated.

LA

Score aggregated for school performance reports; Score not aggregated with on-level test score.

ND

Students must take the same level, but on school list an indication is to be made if the student took the test out of level.

OR

Students on IEPs and students in advanced coursework may “challenge” benchmark assessments above or below the benchmark associated with their grade of enrollment.

TX

SDAA (State-Developed Alternative Assessment) available for out-of-level testing.

VT

Out-of-level testing allowed as an adapted assessment, but more than one level below limits performance levels that can be attained for accountability; not available for diagnostic reading assessment and science assessment.

WI

Additional Alternate:  The IEP team may determine that, even with accommodations, a child with a disability would be unable to demonstrate at least some of the knowledge and skills tested through the standardized assessment, and, as a result, they will assess the student’s performance through alternate assessment.  The thorough review undertaken to reach this decision can function as an alternate assessment if it is documented as part of the IEP process. . . . to serve as an alternate assessment, the review must be recent, reliable, and representative of the student’s present level of educational performance relative to the academic standards. In addition, to qualify as an alternate assessment the IEP team must conduct the review within a time frame that approximates the administration of the statewide standardized assessment.

 

Table B5. Specific Nature of Accommodations Policies for “All Students” and “Special Circumstances”

 

CO

A student is eligible for any accommodation listed if that student has received the same accommodation for instruction in the content area for at least three months.

KS

Any student, including general education students who regularly receive an accommodation during routine classroom instruction and assessment activities may use the accommodation, if appropriate, for state assessments.

KY

Students who become injured or develop an ailment before or during the testing window may be allowed appropriate accommodations or modifications; A letter describing the situation should be sent to the Division of Assessment Implementation.

ME

Students without an identified disability may be considered for accommodations if they are ill or incapacitated in some way or unable to work independently in any of the subjects assessed; Any recommended accommodations for non-IEP students should be reflected in a statement in the cumulative folder.

MD

Regular education students with a temporary or long-term disability that interferes with test performance should be offered accommodations to compensate for disability; Must be justified and documented in student records.

MA

Most students eligible for accommodations have an IEP or 504 Plan, but students who do not fit this profile may still be considered for accommodations; For such students a request for accommodation with supporting evidence of disability should be made to the local administrator of special education who may authorize the accommodation.

MN

Scheduling and setting accommodations may be provided to any student with or without an IEP.

MS

Separate sets of guidelines for students with temporary disabilities; Score not aggregated if bilingual dictionary used on Language Arts or Reading sections of MCT, 4th and 7th grade Writing Assessment; English II, CTBS-5, English II Writing Assessment; FLE, Title I 10th Grade Math.

NY

Students declassified as special education may still use test accommodations if previously documented in IEP; Students with temporary or long-term disabilities that occur shortly before state examination may have access to accommodations.

ND

If a student is enrolled in some modified or accommodated course work within the general education curriculum, a decision must be made as to what accommodations may be needed for statewide assessments.

OR

Allowable accommodations are considered standard administration. These accommodations apply to all students. Accommodations should reflect the instructional approaches used in the classroom.

RI

All students in the state are eligible for assessment accommodations.

VT

Use of assessment accommodations and alternate assessments is not limited to students with IEPs; students who have been referred to a school’s educational support team may also qualify for accommodations and alternate assessments.

WA

Participation and accommodation policies for special education students, highly capable students, students with a 504 plan, ESL/Bilingual students, and migrant students. All students, not just the above populations, are permitted to have the following accommodations: extended time; frequent breaks; time of day beneficial to student; carrels; preferential seating; special lighting, furniture, acoustics, calming music, reread directions, point at item; provide physical assistance, tape-read directions, dictionaries.

WY

Any student may use an accommodation if it has been part of the students’ regular instruction.

 

Table B6. Variables Included in Accommodations Decision Criteria

 

IEP Determined

Used for Instruction

Maintains Validity/No Unfair Advantage

Individual Student Needs/Characteristics

Program Setting

Disability Category

 Other

AL

X

X

 

 

 

 

X

AK

X

X

X

X

 

 

X

AZ

X

 

X

X

 

 

X

AR

X

 

 

 

 

 

 

CA

X

 

X

 

 

 

 

CO

X

X

X

X

 

 

X

CT

X

X

X

X

O

O

X

DE

X

X

 

X

 

 

X

FL

X

X

X

X

 

 

X

GA

X

X

X

 

 

 

 

HI

X

X

 

 

 

 

 

ID

X

X

X

 

 

 

X

IL

X

 

X

 

 

 

X

IN

X

X

X

X

 

 

 

IA

X

X

 

X

 

 

X

KS

X

X

X

X

 

 

X

KY

X

X

 

X

 

 

X

LA

X

X

X

X

 

 

 

ME

X

X

 

 

 

 

X

MD

X

X

 

X

O

O

X

MA

X

X

 

 

 

 

 

MI

 

 

 

 

 

 

X

MN

X

X

X

 

O

O