A change in some aspect of a child's educational program. A testing accommodation is a change in the way that a test is administered or responded to by the person tested. Testing accommodations are intended to offset or "correct" for distortions in scores caused by a disability. Examples of testing accommodations include braille and large-print versions of the test for students with visual disabilities, scribes for students who are not physically capable of writing, smaller or separate testing settings for students whose disabilities cause them to be easily distracted, and additional testing time.
The concept of holding schools, administrators, teachers, and/or students responsible for students' academic performance. Accountability mechanisms vary across states and local districts in the types of school and student data that are used and in whether rewards or sanctions are attached to performance. But most forms of accountability include student standardized test scores as a key element and report the information publicly.
Americans with Disabilities Act of 1992, a federal antidiscrimination law protecting individuals with disabilities.
In standards-based reform, an assessment that is substituted for the common large-scale assessment for some students with disabilities; alternate assessments are intended to evaluate students' work and performance on different standards or content. Alternate assessments require more than an accommodation and result in a different test form and/or procedure.
In standards-based reform, the concept of connecting educational goals, curriculum, instruction, and assessment so that all are consistent and working toward the same purposes.
Process of collecting data to make decisions about students;
measuring what students know and can do. Testing is the most common form of assessment.
Disabilities that affect students' learning and thinking process.
Employment in which the work of an individual with a disability is performed in an integrated setting and is not subsidized by public funds.
constructivism or constructivist learning:
An approach to teaching and learning that asserts that learners "construct" their own understanding by integrating new information with their own experiences and prior knowledge. Constructivist instruction often seeks to provide students with active learning projects, cognitively demanding projects, group interaction, and opportunities to synthesize knowledge from various sources and content areas.
As defined by the Goals 2000: Educate America Act of 1994, content standards are "broad descriptions of the knowledge and skills students should acquire in a particular subject area" (P.L. 103–227, Sec. 3).
As defined in the federal regulations for the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, "'children with disabilities' means those children evaluated in accordance with 300.530–300.534 as having mental retardation, hearing impairments including deafness, speech or language impairments, visual impairments including blindness, serious emotional disturbance, orthopedic impairments, autism, traumatic brain injury, other health impairments, specific learning disabilities, deaf-blindness, or multiple disabilities." See Box 3-1 for federal definitions of each of these categories.
Separating and analyzing group data, such as student test scores, into smaller units based on such characteristics as race, ethnicity, gender, and disability.
Education for All Handicapped Children Act of 1975:
Public Law 94–142, the first compulsory federal special education law; mandates a free, appropriate public education for all students with disabilities between the ages of 3 and 21. In 1990 the name was changed to the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA).
Eligibility for special education services under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act rests on two criteria: (1) the student meets the definition of one of the 13 disabilities (see "disability" above) and (2) the student requires special education or related services in order to receive an appropriate education.
free appropriate public education:
As defined in the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, special education and related services that (1) have been provided at public expense, under public supervision and direction, and
without charge, (2) meet the standards of the state educational agency, (3) include an appropriate preschool, elementary, or secondary school education in the state involved, and (4) are provided in conformity with the individualized education program (IEP).
Instruction and educational services regularly provided to all students in a school system.
Goals 2000: Educate America Act:
P.L. 103–227, enacted by Congress in 1994. This law provides a list of ambitious goals intended to improve education for all students and authorizes federal grants to states and school districts to set high standards and carry out reforms tied to standards.
Assessments that carry serious consequences for students or for educators. Their outcomes determine such important things as promotion to the next grade, graduation, or college admission, and often include teacher or school "report cards."
The following participants meet to develop an individualized education program (IEP) for a child: (1) a representative of the public agency, other than the child's teacher, who is qualified to provide or supervise the provision of special education, (2) the child's teacher, (3) one or both of the child's parents, (4) the child, if appropriate, and (5) other individuals at the discretion of the parent or agency.
Improving America's Schools Act of 1994 (IASA):
P.L. 103–382 amended the major federal elementary and secondary school aid programs, including the Title I program for disadvantaged children, to promote high standards for learning for all children.
individualized education program (IEP):
A written document required by law to be developed for each child with a disability. The IEP includes (1) a statement of the student's present level of educational performance, (2) a statement of annual goals and short-term objectives for achieving those goals, (3) a statement of services to be provided and the extent of the student's participation in the general education program, (4) the start date and expected duration of services, (5) evaluation procedures and criteria for monitoring progress, and (6) a statement of the transition services needed for students beginning before or at age 16.
Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA):
The primary federal law that provides funding and criteria for the education of children with disabilities. Legislation enacted in 1990 reauthorized and changed the name of the Education for All Handicapped Children Act to the IDEA.
Standardized tests and other forms of assessment designed to be administered to large numbers of individuals and to provide information about performance on a standardized scale.
least restrictive environment (LRE):
As defined in the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) regulations (300.550), each public agency shall ensure: "(1) that to the maximum extent appropriate, children with disabilities … are educated with children who are nondisabled; and (2) that special classes, separate schooling or other removal of children with disabilities from the regular educational environment occurs only when the nature or severity of the disability is such that education in regular classes with the use of supplementary aids and services cannot be achieved satisfactorily."
local educational agency (LEA):
A public board of education or other public authority legally constituted within a state for administrative control or direction of, or to perform a service function for, public elementary and secondary schools in a city, county, township, school district, or other political subdivision of a state.
National Longitudinal Transition Study of Special Education Students (NLTS):
A study funded by the Office of Special Education Programs of "a sample of handicapped students, encompassing the full range of handicapping conditions, examining their educational progress while in special education and their occupational, educational, and independent living status after graduating from secondary school or otherwise leaving special education" (PL 98–199, Sec. 618). The study sample consists of more that 8,000 students who were receiving special education during the 1985–86 school year and were between the ages of 15 and 21.
Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP):
The division of the U.S. Department of Education responsible for administering educational programs for children with disabilities.
opportunity to learn:
The concept of determining the programs, staff, and other resources sufficient to enable students to meet challenging content and performance standards.
As defined in the Goals 2000: Educate America Act of 1994, performance standards are "concrete examples and explicit definitions of what students have to know and be able to do to demonstrate that such students are proficient in the skills and knowledge framed by the content standards" (P.L. 103–227, Sec 3).
Goals and achievements expected after high school graduation. Outcomes include employment, education, independent living, and community participation.
In testing, reliability refers to the consistency of performance across different instances of measurement—for example, whether results are consistent across raters, times of measurement, or sets of test items.
Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, a federal law that prohibits discrimination in educational and other contexts against individuals with disabilities.
Disability requiring extensive continued assistance in more than one major life activity.
As defined in the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act regulations (300.17), special education means specially designed instruction, at no cost, to meet the unique needs of a child with a disability, including: (1) instruction conducted in the classroom, in the home, in hospitals, in institutions, and in other settings and (2) instruction in physical education.
Tests that are administered and scored under conditions uniform to all students. Standardization is necessary to make test scores comparable across individuals.
An approach to education reform that sets standards of performance in designated subject areas as a means of strengthening the content of school curricula, increasing the motivation and effort of students, teachers, and school systems, and thereby improving student achievement. The reform assumes high standards for all students.
state educational agency (SEA):
The agency primarily responsible for the state supervision of public elementary and secondary schools.
An approach to reform that attempts to make fundamental and interrelated changes in an entire educational system (school, district, or state) rather than changes that address only a specific group of students, a particular instructional area, or a single aspect of the curriculum.
Title I of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act:
A major federal program, first enacted in 1965, that provides funds to school districts to improve learning opportunities of educationally disadvantaged children residing in low-income areas. Title I was amended in 1994 by the Improving America's Schools Act (see above) to encourage states to set high educational standards for disadvantaged children.
Refers to whether or not a test measures what it is supposed to measure and whether appropriate inferences can be drawn from test results. Validity is judged from many types of evidence.