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2010-2011 APR Snapshot #5:
Assessment Accommodations Use by Students Receiving Special Education Services

Martha Thurlow Miong Vang

June 2013

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

Thurlow, M., & Vang, M. (2013). 2010-2011 APR snapshot #5: Assessment accommodations use by students receiving special education services. Minneapolis, MN: University of Minnesota, National Center on Educational Outcomes.


Table of Contents


Background

Assessment accommodations are changes in testing materials or procedures that allow students to show their knowledge and skills rather than the effects of their disabilities. This brief provides information on the number of students with disabilities using accommodations and the performance of students with disabilities on the general statewide assessment used for Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) accountability. Using federally submitted data from the 2010-2011 school year, we present information on accommodations for reading and mathematics statewide assessments administered to grade 8 students (and grade 4 to show a comparison to grade 8 data). Figures displaying statewide accommodations data for other grades are provided in this report via links following Figures 1, 2, and 3.  Data tables for all grade levels are available from NCEO at http://nceo.info/APRsnapshot/data.

Throughout this report, we use the term “students with disabilities” to refer to students receiving special education services. Thus, students on 504 accommodation plans are not included in these analyses.


Findings

Accommodations Use for Reading and Mathematics Assessment

Figure 1 shows the percentage of students with disabilities using accommodations during statewide reading and mathematics assessments in grade 8. The states are ordered from those that have the highest percentages of students using accommodations for the regular mathematics assessment to those that have the lowest percentages of students using accommodations for this assessment. The figure indicates that visible differences between the percentage of students with disabilities using accommodations for mathematics and reading assessments were evident in 22 states. Seven states reported a difference in accommodation rates between content areas of more than 10 percentage points, and in all cases smaller percentages of students with disabilities used reading accommodations than math accommodations. The figure also shows that in 14 states, more than 80 percent of students with disabilities used accommodations during both the statewide reading and mathematics assessments; in 4 states, fewer than one in four students used accommodations during testing in both reading and math  (see data available at www.nceo.info/APRsnapshot/data).


Figure 1. Percentage of Grade 8 Special Education Students Using Accommodations in 2010-2011 Reading and Mathematics Assessment


Grade 3-7 and High School. Click the below images to enlarge.
Reading versus Math Grade 3 Reading versus Math Grade 3 Reading versus Math Grade 3 Reading versus Math Grade 3 Reading versus Math Grade 3 Reading versus Math Grade 3

Grade 3

Grade 4

Grade 5

Grade 6

Grade 7

Grade HS


Differences between reading and mathematics accommodations among the unique states that reported data in grade 8 (n = 5)  was less than 5 percentage points. In the five unique states, all but one had more than 80 percent of students with using accommodations for both reading and mathematics. These states are not included in Figure 1, but are included in the data tables that are available at www.nceo.info/APRsnapshot/data.

 

Accommodations Use in Grades 4 and 8

Figure 2 shows the percentage of students with disabilities using accommodations during statewide reading assessments in grade 4 and grade 8. The figure shows states ordered by their grade 4 rates of students using accommodations for the regular reading assessment. The figure indicates visible differences between the percentages of students with disabilities using accommodations in the two grade levels. In the 17 states with differences greater than 10 percentage points, 13 had lower percentages of students with disabilities using reading accommodations in grade 4 than in grade 8. The figure also shows that in 11 states, more than 75 percent of students with disabilities used accommodations during the statewide reading assessment in both grade 4 and grade 8; in 7 states, fewer than one in four students used accommodations during reading assessment in grade 4 and grade 8 (see data available at www.nceo.info/APRsnapshot/data).


Figure 2. Percentage of Grade 8 and Grade 4 Special Education Students Using Accommodations in 2010-2011 Reading Assessments

Differences in accommodation rates in unique states that reported data were as much as 33 percentage points between grade 4 and grade 8 data. These states are not included in Figure 2, but are included in data tables available at http://nceo.info/APRsnapshot/data). Rates for accommodations on the reading assessment ranged from 13.9 percent to 93.1 percent across grade 4 and grade 8 in unique states.

 

Use of Accommodations and Special Education Proficiency Rates

Figure 3 shows performance of students with disabilities on grade 8 statewide reading regular assessments (in terms of the percentage of students performing at a proficient or above level) along with the percentage of students using accommodations. This figure indicates that there is no evident relationship between the percentage of students using accommodations and performance. This conclusion should be interpreted with caution because it refers only to overall relationships. It does not speak to the performance of individual students who used accommodations.



Figure 3. Percentage of Grade 8 Special Education students Scoring Proficient or Above and Percentage of Grade 8 Special Education Students Using Accommodations in 2010-2011 Reading Regular Assessments

Figure 3 Chart


Grade 3 - 7 and High School Reading. Click the below images to enlarge.
Reading versus Math Grade 3 Reading versus Math Grade 3 Reading versus Math Grade 3 Reading versus Math Grade 3 Reading versus Math Grade 3 Reading versus Math Grade 3

Grade 3

Grade 4

Grade 5

Grade 6

Grade 7

Grade HS


Grades 3 - High School Math. Click the below images to enlarge.
Reading versus Math Grade 3 Reading versus Math Grade 3 Reading versus Math Grade 3 Reading versus Math Grade 3 Reading versus Math Grade 3 Reading versus Math Grade 3 Reading versus Math Grade 3

Grade 3

Grade 4

Grade 5

Grade 6

Grade 7

Grade 8

Grade HS


 

The same finding was true in unique states, though they are not included in Figure 3. State data for unique states (n = 6) are available in data tables available at www.nceo.info/APRsnapshot/data. Unique state regular assessment proficiency rates ranged from as low as 0.6 percent to as high as 22.5 percent while accommodation rates varied. For example the unique state with the lowest proficiency rate had the highest rate of students with disabilities using accommodations (92.5 percent).



Conclusions

The information presented in this report summarized the accommodations data submitted by states to the U.S. Department of Education for the year 2010-2011. Considerable variability among states was evident in the percentage of students with disabilities using accommodations on the grade 8 reading and mathematics statewide assessments. Further, in most states more students with disabilities received accommodations for the mathematics assessment than received them for the reading assessment. Also evident were differences in many states between the percentages of students using accommodations in grade 8 compared to grade 4, with a slight trend toward a high percentage of students with disabilities using one or more accommodations at the grade 8 level. Finally, there appeared to be no relation between the percentage of students with disabilities using accommodations and the percentage proficient on the grade 8 regular reading assessment.

 


Resources

Lazarus, S. S., Thurlow, M. L., Lail, K. E., & Christensen, L. (2009). A longitudinal analysis of state accommodations policies: Twelve years of change, 1993-2005. Journal of Special Education, 43(2), 67-80.

Lindstrom, J. H. (2010). Mathematics assessment accommodations: Implications of differential boost for students with learning disabilities. Intervention in School and Clinic, 46(1), 5-12

Rogers, C. M., Christian, E. M., & Thurlow, M. L. (2012). A summary of the research on the effects of test accommodations: 2009-2010 (Technical Report 65). Minneapolis, MN: University of Minnesota, National Center on Educational Outcomes.



 

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