Validating high stakes testing programs

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A student who needs special education is also entitled to receive related services—that is, other services that enable him or her to benefit from special education.

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For example, one IEP may call for a sign-language interpreter to enable a deaf student to participate fully in the general education curriculum; another may establish a set of instructional objectives that focus on the goal of independent living—telling time, personal hygiene, and basic safety skills.

The 1997 IDEA amendments also contemplate that state Describing appropriate assessment policies for students with disabilities is complicated by the wide variation in the characteristics of the 5 million students—10 percent of the school-age population—who qualify for special education services under the IDEA.

Cognitive, physical, sensory, and behavioral disabilities are covered.

Stakeholder views are a critical part of the evaluation of the policy assumptions implicit in any testing program.

The point is made that much of the current practice in the validation of high stakes testing programs, including high school graduation tests, is seriously flawed because only a part of the interpretive argument is evaluated.

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