several new NAEP reports became available, and we note their relevance to some of our recommendations.
This report of the committee’s findings is designed to be of use not only to those who develop policies for NAEP, administer it, or use its results, but also to others interested in the data that large-scale testing can provide about the performance of two groups of students whose educational needs are gaining increased recognition. The committee hopes that this report will be useful for NAGB as it strives to make NAEP more inclusive of students with special needs and to provide results that are more representative of the entire population of school-age children in the United States.
The committee also intends for the report to be useful to states, districts, and schools as they attempt to comply with the terms of the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001. This legislation mandates that states include all students in statewide accountability programs and that they disaggregate assessment results for students with disabilities and English language learners. It holds states accountable for demonstrating that students in these groups are making continuous academic progress. The legislation places considerable demands on state and local testing programs to produce a far greater volume of data than they have previously; because such serious decisions are to be based on test results, the importance of their reliability and validity is greater than ever. Understanding how both inclusion and accommodation decisions are implemented at the local level, as well as the effects of accommodations on test performance, will be key to understanding the meaning of test results for these groups of students.
The structure of the report corresponds to the two aspects of the committee’s charge. We first deal with the questions of which students are included in testing and the ways in which they are tested. We describe policies, procedures, and practices for identifying, classifying, and including students with disabilities and English language learners, as well as the kinds of accommodations these students are offered. We then address the meaning of scores from accommodated assessments, including what is known about the effects of accommodations on performance in large-scale assessments and the nature of validation arguments and the kinds of evidence that are needed to support inferences made from scores.
Chapter 2 provides background information on students with disabilities and English language learners, on NAEP and other large-scale assessments, and on the issues surrounding the inclusion of these students in testing and the accommodations they need. Chapter 3 discusses the impact of policies currently followed with regard to both including and accommodating these students. Chapter 4 discusses the sampling procedures that are the basis for all NAEP reports on the performance of students with disabilities and English language learners and the factors that complicate the sampling of these groups. Chapter 5 describes the