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New Assessment for Students with Significant Cognitive Disabilities

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1 New Assessment for Students with Significant Cognitive Disabilities
National Center and State Collaborative Approach to Defining and Teaching Content to Students with the Most Significant Cognitive Disabilities

2 National Center and State Collaborative Approach to Defining and Teaching Content to Students with the Most Significant Cognitive Disabilities The National Center and State Collaborative (NCSC) is a project led by five centers and 24 states (Tier 1 and Tier 2) including Washington D.C. and the Pacific Assessment Consortium to build an alternate assessment based on alternate achievement standards (AA-AAS) for students with significant cognitive disabilities. The goal of the NCSC project is to ensure that students with the most significant cognitive disabilities achieve increasingly higher academic outcomes and leave high school ready for post-secondary options. NCSC defines a comprehensive system that will coherently address curriculum, instruction, and assessment needs in states by: 1) producing technically defensible formative, interim, and summative assessments; 2) incorporating evidence-based instruction and curriculum models; and 3) developing comprehensive approaches to professional development (PD). This presentation focuses on the Curriculum and Instructional Resources and professional development opportunities to support teachers to provide meaningful opportunities to learn academic content for students with significant cognitive disabilities.

3 NCSC Project Goal To develop a system of assessments supported by curriculum, instruction and professional development to ensure that students with the most significant cognitive disabilities achieve increasingly higher academic outcomes and leave high school ready for post-secondary options. NCSC is developing curriculum and instructional resources and professional development support for teachers to achieve this goal. Our state, ________________, and all NCSC partners share a commitment to the development of a comprehensive system of supports that reflects a necessary shift in teaching and learning practices for these students participating in alternate assessment and their teachers.

4 NCSC State Partners The organizational partners include the National Center on Educational Outcomes (NCEO) as the host and fiscal agent, along with the National Center for the Improvement of Educational Assessment (NCIEA), the University of Kentucky (UKY), University of North Carolina at Charlotte (UNCC), and edCount, LLC. There are 18 core or Tier I state partners. These include Alaska, Arizona, Connecticut, District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Louisiana, Nevada, New York, North Dakota, Pacific Assessment Consortium (PAC-6), Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, and Wyoming. The 6 entities (American Samoa, Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Guam, Republic of Palau, and Republic of the Marshall Islands) partner as 1 state, led by the University of Guam Center for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities Education, Research, and Service (CEDDERS). Additionally, Tier II states include: Maine, Delaware, Arkansas, Oregon, Maryland, Idaho. These states do not receive NCSC staff support but do receive ready-to-implement products and processes as well as tools and protocols used for providing beta-test feedback.

5 NCSC Organization Partners
These are the organizational partners for the project. Their long standing expertise and current research continues to inform, support, and guide the work of the project.

6 NCSC: A Comprehensive Model
All partners share a commitment for a research-to-practice focus for the development of a comprehensive model of curriculum, instruction, assessment, and supportive professional development resources. All partners share a commitment to the research-to-practice focus of the project and the development of a comprehensive model of curriculum, instruction, assessment, and supportive professional development. These supports will improve the alignment of the entire system and strengthen the validity of inferences of the system of assessments.

7 Beyond the Summative Test
The NCSC long-term goal is to ensure that students with significant cognitive disabilities achieve increasingly higher academic outcomes and leave high school ready for postsecondary options. A well-designed summative assessment alone is insufficient to achieve our purpose. To achieve this goal, an AA-AAS system also requires: Curricular & instructional frameworks Teacher resources and professional development Our long-term goal is to ensure that students with significant cognitive disabilities achieve increasingly higher academic outcomes and leave high school ready for postsecondary options. A well-designed summative assessment alone is insufficient to achieve that goal. Thus, NCSC is developing a full system intended to support educators, which includes formative assessment tools and strategies, professional development on appropriate interim uses of data for progress monitoring, and management systems to ease the burdens of administration and documentation.

8 NCSC Overall Timeline January 2011-October 2015
Year 1 (2011): Content Model Phase: Define model of domain learning in math/ELA for these students, identify prioritized content for assessment Year 2 (2012): Principled Design Phase: Design Patterns, Task Templates, C/I/PD design and pilot; Technology architecture design Year 3 (2013): Item and Test Development Phase: Task Template Tryouts, Item Specs/item development/item reviews, Student Interaction Studies (SIS), Draft grade level PLDs, finalize pilot/field design, Tech build Year 4 (2014): Pilot, Field, Research Phase: – Pilot Phase 1: National Sample, generate item statistics Winter/Spring 2014, Finalize blueprints, revise items, assemble forms – Phase 2: Field Test Forms Fall 2014, finalize administration training and supports Year 5 (2015): Operational administration of NCSC assessments –Summer 2015: Set Standards –Fall 2015: Technical reporting complete

9 General Description of Assessment System
Within year classroom assessments and progress monitoring tools embedded in model curricula materials; professional development on demand modules for teachers to learn to develop their own (WIKI, LMS) making use of content, curriculum, instruction tools Summative math and ELA tests for 3-8, 11 administered in a 2 month window in winter/spring Up to 30 items, hours per test anticipated Technology delivery, teacher test facilitator/ administrator; universal design features and accommodations guidelines derived from Design Pattern/Task Templates Tryouts and Student Interaction Studies

10 Assessment Administration
Assessments will be presented via computer with the ambition of flexibility for presentation on devices/ platforms (e.g. tablets). It is expected that most students will interact with an examiner during the administration. Other students may respond to the test items directly via interaction with computer presentation. Prior access to summative content will be provided to support examiners preparation for accommodations/ adaptations. For most students, it is expected that testing time will be no more than approximately 1.5 to 2 hours per content area, divided between at least two sessions with flexibility to stop and resume. Some students will qualify to take a shorter assessment based on evidence collected before and during the assessment.

11 Item Types Approximately 2/3 (20) of the items will be machine-scored, multiple choice. Approximately 1/3 (10) of the items will require human scoring - evaluation of student work with respect to a scoring rubric. Approximately 2/3 (7) of the human scored items will be evaluated by the examiner during the assessment. Approximately 1/3 (3) of the human scored items will be scored externally. This may be accomplished through a single centralized scoring center or via distributed scoring that meets established criteria.

12 Professional Development Framework
The NCSC staff developed a framework to guide all of our webinars. The Framework uses a triangle to identify the three key components: curriculum, instruction, and assessment. The arrows are multi-directional because each component of the triangle is used to inform the other components of the triangle. The triangle is placed upon a base: communication. Without communication, students cannot adequately access the core content because academic content by definition is symbolic in nature. Therefore, all work must start with competent communicators. Finally, the triangle is located on the background of college, career, and community – ensuring that these real world components are integrated into the system of curriculum, instruction, and assessment.

13 Community Ready: History & Context
Active community access has been a goal for students with intellectual disabilities for many years (Brown et. al 1984). Students with intellectual disabilities are attending college more than ever before. The Higher Education Opportunities Act makes that possible (www.thinkcollege.net) Opportunities for careers and entrepreneurship are ever increasing. To become College, Career, and Community Ready, students with significant cognitive disabilities need support and understanding to learn the skills and expectations for the various communities in which they are and will become members.

14 College, Career, and Community Ready, and AA-AAS
Well developed academic skills for continued life-long learning Social and communication skills needed for working with others as essential for community ready Recognizing the need for and seeking assistance when needed Problem solving using academic skills Four components encompass college, career, and community ready for students who participate in alternate assessment: Well developed academic skills for continued life-long learning Social and communication skills needed for working with others as essential for community ready Recognizing the need for and seeking assistance when needed Problem solving using academic skills Kearns, Kleinert, Harrison, Shepherd-Jones, Hall, & Jones (2011). What Does College and Career Ready Mean for Students with Significant Cognitive Disabilities.

15 Curricular and Instructional Resources
Provide guidance on how to “unpack” the instructional and assessed content; Promote strategies and resources for teaching challenging academic content through professional development opportunities; and Align challenging and attainable content that is observable and measurable for use in instruction and a thorough system of assessments. Many teachers of SSCD need guidance to know how to translate academic content standards into instruction and assessments. Teachers are challenged by the fact that students with the most significant cognitive disabilities are a heterogeneous group with varying entry skills/points/levels into the content standards and may not know how to differentiate instruction for this population (Karvonen, Wakeman, Flowers, & Browder, 2007). Over the past several decades, powerful insights have been gained into how students represent knowledge and develop competence in specific domains, as well as how tasks and situations can be designed to provide evidence for inferences about what students know and can do for students across a full range of performance.

16 Quality Indicators for Instructional Resources
Promote Common Core State Standards; Set high expectations for all students; Apply principles of Universal Design for Learning (UDL); and Apply evidence-based teaching practices for students with the most significant cognitive disabilities. The Instructional Resources described in this presentation are under development and are currently being reviewed by content experts, special education experts, and project partners to leverage their knowledge and skills to produce high quality, accessible resources. Additionally, by drawing on a strong research base to produce curriculum and instructional materials and professional development opportunities, the NCSC project supports educators as they plan for and provide appropriate instruction that addresses the Common Core State Standards (CCSS). Instructional resources used eight quality indicators. The first four are shown here are applied to the development of all of the Instructional Resources.

17 Quality Indicators for Instructional Resources
Use general curriculum resources and general education content experts’ review; Offer options for ALL students in the 1%; Reflect same emphasis/ priorities being used for assessment; and Provide a teacher-friendly resource that promotes effective instruction. Over the course of the project, the NCSC partners (both the organizations and the states) were provided with multiple opportunities to draft, review, and provide feedback during the development of the resources. Additionally, field tryout of resources were completed not only within our Tier I states, but also within our Tier II states. With these multiple sources of feedback, the Instructional Resources were revised and improved to ensure that all of the indicators are met.

18 Through the creation of an evidence-based, coherent system of high quality curriculum and instruction supports and resources and sustained professional development, teachers gain the necessary knowledge and skills to provide challenging instruction and prepare students for assessment. To provide evidence of student learning consistent with the increased expectations of the CCSS, the NCSC instructional resources schema defines the “what” and “how” when planning for and teaching academic content to students with the most significant cognitive disabilities. In the schema, the purple band describes the “what to teach” containing the Common Core Sate Standards, the Core Content Connectors and the Learning Progressions. The Learning Progressions Framework presents a broad description of the essential content and general sequencing for student learning and skill development – the pathway that typical peers may take grade by grade. (Hess, 2010). In the past, we have struggled to understand how to choose content, grade by grade, to ensure inclusion of students with the most significant cognitive disabilities in grade AND age appropriate content even though they may not have acquired all of the skills in a previous grade. The LPFs give the NCSC project the educational logic and pathway to help move students with the most significant cognitive disabilities (along with their peers) toward the CCSS. The CCCs preserve the sequence of learning outlined in the Learning Progression Frameworks (LPF) while identifying the basic parts of the progress indicators into teachable and assessable segments of content. The CCCs are not “extended” - rather, they define more frequent checkpoints along the pathway of the learning progressions. The CCCs identify the prioritized academic content designed to frame the instruction and assessment of students with the most significant cognitive disabilities in kindergarten through high school while retaining the grade level content focus of the CCSS and the learning targets of the LPFs to promote success at the next grade level. The Graduated Understandings overlap the purple and the orange bands; they include the “what” and the “how”: Provide guidance on how to “unpack” the instructional and assessed content of the CCCs; and Align challenging and attainable content that is observable and measurable for use in instruction and through a comprehensive system of assessments (within year, progress monitoring, classroom based as well as summative end of year) In the schema, the orange band identifies instructional tools to support how to teach this content - based on over a decade of research on academic instruction, communication, and learner characteristics of students with the most significant cognitive disabilities.

19 Common Core State Standards
Define grade level content and achievement; Define rigorous content and skills (application knowledge); Align with expectations for college and career success; and Do not tell teachers how to teach, but they do help teachers figure out the knowledge and skills their students should have so that teachers can build the best lessons and environments for their classrooms. The project promotes an opportunity to ensure that students with the most significant cognitive disabilities benefit from the national movement toward Common Core State Standards designed to prepare all students for success in college and careers (and community). NCSC supports educators as they plan for and provide appropriate instruction that is based on the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) in English Language Arts (reading and writing) and mathematics in grades K – 8 and high school. The Common Core State Standards intentionally leave room to determine how academic goals should be reached and what additional topics should be addressed. The C & I resources provide evidenced-based strategies and tools to support how to teach this content that are based on over a decade of research on academic instruction, communication, and learner characteristics of students with the most significant cognitive disabilities.

20 Learning Progressions
Define research-based pathways for learning; Developed and refined using available research and evidence; Have clear binding threads that articulate the essential core concepts and processes of a discipline (sometimes called the ‘big ideas’ of the discipline); and Articulate movement toward increased understanding (meaning deeper, broader, more sophisticated understanding). The Learning Progressions Framework presents a broad description of the essential content and general sequencing for student learning and skill development (Hess, 2010). The LPF is a hypothesized pathway that typical peers may take, and is meant to inform what typical peers will be working on grade by grade. In the past, we have struggled to understand how to choose content grade by grade to ensure inclusion of students with the most significant cognitive disabilities in grade AND age appropriate content even though they may not have built all the skills in a previous grade. The LPFs give us the educational logic to help move these students along with their peers in a logical, educationally sound way. The LPF contain learning targets and progress indicators that are referenced in C & I materials. Learning targets(general/broad performance descriptors) are defined by grade spans, K-4, 5-8 an high school. The related specific skills and concepts are called the progress indicators (PIs). The Curriculum and Instructional materials were developed to help promote how students can engage in the CCSS while following the learning progressions. Hess, Karin K., (December 2011). Learning Progressions Frameworks Designed for Use with the Common Core State Standards in English Language Arts & Literacy K-12.

21 Core Content Connectors
SCHEMA for Common Core State Standards Resources NCSC Instructional Resources Common Core State Standards Core Content Connectors Learning Progressions Frameworks WHAT TO TEACH Instructional Families Content Modules Graduated Understandings Element Cards MS Unit UDLs Ele Unit UDLs HS Unit UDLs MS MASSIs & LASSIs Ele MASSIs & HS MASSIs & HOW TO TEACH Learning progressions Hypothesized sequence about how students learn concepts and big ideas Tested with typically developing children This project uses a developed learning progression framework (Hess et al., 2010) in ELA and math to inform what content is taught as well as the stream of content that helps students reach the concept/big idea Each step in Hess’s learning progression is called a progress indicator (PI) Advantage of Dual Alignment CCSS-1. Promotes access to grade level content standards 2. Foster instruction of common core standards for students with SCD LPF- 1. Promotes teaching towards defined learning outcomes 2. Promotes sequential instruction across grades and grade bands within big ideas or concepts (i.e., first teach this, and then this, and then this to develop mastery of big idea) The CCCs have been validated by other math and special education content experts. These experts provided information about the degree to which the priorities identified for content at each grade level is represented in the CCCs. There are concepts within a connector that provide support and understanding for other connectors. For example, there are three number and operations learning progressions- one focusing on counting and cardinality, one on operations, and one on problem solving. Many of these concepts are also embedded or utilized in other learning progressions- operations and problem solving in measurement and geometry, etc. One support for teachers that will be developed is how CCC (and the linked CCSS) interact across strands/learning progressions. This support will provide special education teachers information toward an in-depth level of understanding of the relationship between standards that can be articulated in instruction. Curriculum Resource Guides Instructional Resource Guide =Standards documents = Documents that promote teacher understanding of the content = Documents that promote instruction of the content

22 Core Content Connectors (CCCs)
Identify the most salient grade-level, core academic content in ELA and mathematics found in both the CCSS and the LPF; Illustrate the necessary knowledge and skills in order to reach the learning targets within the LPF and the CCSS; Focus on the core content, knowledge and skills needed at each grade to promote success at the next; and Identify priorities in each content area to guide the instruction for students in this population and for the alternate assessment. Student understanding of core concepts and skills characteristically develops over time with effective instruction. The CCCs pinpoint the primary content of the Common Core Standards and organize it in the conceptual model of the Learning Progressions Framework. The CCCs are the prioritized academic content designed to frame the instruction and assessment of students with the most significant cognitive disabilities in Kindergarten through high school while retaining the grade level content focus of the CCSS and the LPFs. The CCCs are not “extended.” The CCCs preserve the sequence of learning outlined in the Learning Progression Frameworks (LPF) to the extent possible while identifying the basic parts of the progress indicators into teachable and assessable segments of content.

23 Dual Alignment View: Math
This is the original view of the CCCs. This view organizes the CCCs by the progress indicators found within the Learning Progressions Frameworks. These progress indicators hypothesize a sequence of learning. Providing a view organized by the PIs allows teachers to see a potential sequence of instruction. Note that the first three CCCs are linked to the same CCSS. This is an example of how the CCCs might be broken down to allow for smaller benchmarks but at the same time, not place a ceiling on student performance. The middle column comes from the CCSS and shows the CCSS Domain/Cluster. The column on the right shows that CCSS that the specific CCC is aligned with. All CCCs were reviewed by content experts in order to validate the alignment between CCCs and CCSS.

24 What Access to the Common Core State Standards
for students with a significant cognitive disability Common Core State Standards (CCSS) Core Content Connectors (CCC) What Graduated Understandings Instructional Families Element Cards Graduated Understandings Successful engagement with the content described or identified by the Core Content Connectors,… (Advance animation) …is enhanced by Graduated Understandings. Graduated Understandings organize the Core Content Connectors into ‘Instructional Families’ and ‘Element Cards’ to provide a foundation for educators to assist in their planning and provision of instruction. (Advance slide) Instructional Families Element Cards

25 What Access to the Common Core State Standards Element Cards
for students with a significant cognitive disability Common Core State Standards (CCSS) Core Content Connectors (CCC) What Graduated Understandings Element Cards with Essential Understandings Element Cards Provide ways in which teachers can address grade-specific academic content, even if students with a significant cognitive disability have not had an opportunity to learn this content previously. Element cards provide ways in which teachers can address grade-specific academic content, even if students with a significant cognitive disability have not had an opportunity to learn this content previously. (Advance slide)

26 Element Cards They provide teachers with a key resource to further student movement towards the Core Content Connectors when used as a supplement to other instructional resources. The cards identify the essential understandings necessary to successfully address academic skills and develop assessments, including ‘Concrete Understandings’ and ‘Representation Understandings’ aligned to the Core Content Connectors. Additionally, the element cards provide suggested instructional strategies to teach the specific concepts and skills of the Core Content Connector, and provide suggested supports and scaffolds for students to be able to demonstrate what they know and can do.

27 Curriculum Resource Guides
Offer examples of how the content is taught in general education, ideas for real life use, examples of universal design for learning, and ways to promote college and career readiness. The Curriculum Resource Guides offer examples of how the content is taught in general education, ideas for real life use, examples of universal design for learning, and ways to promote college and career readiness. The guides are designed to help teachers develop the background knowledge they need to prepare students for the content, as well as the NCSC alternate assessment. (Advance slide)

28 Units & Lesson Plans Offer elementary, middle, and high school models for how to engage all students in well-designed instruction for the Common Core Standards. The elementary, middle, and high school unit UDL’s offer models for how to engage all students in well-designed instruction for the Common Core Standards. The Units and Lesson Plans illustrate how to target the Core Content Connectors within general education lessons, and provide examples of planning for multiple forms of representation, action, expression, and engagement. Additionally, many examples are offered for meeting the unique needs of students with significant cognitive disabilities. (Advance slide)

29 Math Activities for Scripted Systematic Instruction (MASSI)
Language Arts Scripted Systematic Instruction (LASSI) Offer model scripted lessons to systematically teach the Core Content Connectors to students with the most significant cognitive disabilities. MASSIs and LASSIs offer models to teach the Core Content Connectors to students with the most significant cognitive disabilities, including the teaching and learning of the Graduated Understandings. Instruction is based on scripts of evidence-based practices known to be effective in teaching skills to mastery. The first steps of a MASSI or LASSI lesson are accessible to students with little to no understanding of the content. The lesson continues building understanding through a target component of the Core Content Connector. And, the MASSIs and LASSIs use a real life activity to teach the concept that can be easily set up in most classrooms with inexpensive materials. (Advance slide)

30 Instructional Resource Guide
Offers guidance for teachers regarding evidence-based prompting and instructional strategies The Instructional Resource Guide is designed to help educators build knowledge of the essential systematic instructional methods and prompting strategies that are used in the UDL units, MASSIs and LASSIs. (Advance slide)

31 What How Instructional Resource SCHEMA Common Core State Standards
(CCSS) Core Content Connectors (CCC) What Graduated Understandings -Instructional Families -Element Cards with Essential Understandings Content Modules MS Unit UDL’s Elementary Unit HS How Curriculum Resource Guides Additional professional development modules corresponding to each of the NCSC schema components provide guidance on how the materials support the planning for, or teaching of, the core content connectors in the classroom. Together, the components of the system are designed to work to promote involvement and progress of students in the general education curriculum… (Advance slide) Instructional Resource Guide MS MASSI’s & LASSI’s Elementary HS MASSI’s &

32 For More Information Lori Nixon Lori.Nixon@tn.gov
https://wiki.ncscpartners.org/mediawiki/index.php/Main_Page For more information, contact Lori Nixon, or the ncscpartners.org and the wiki ncsc site.

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