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How IEP Teams Make Assessment Accommodation Decisions: Rhode Island’s Research Findings Paul V. Sherlock Center on Disabilities at Rhode Island College.

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Presentation on theme: "How IEP Teams Make Assessment Accommodation Decisions: Rhode Island’s Research Findings Paul V. Sherlock Center on Disabilities at Rhode Island College."— Presentation transcript:

1 How IEP Teams Make Assessment Accommodation Decisions: Rhode Island’s Research Findings Paul V. Sherlock Center on Disabilities at Rhode Island College Office of Special Needs Office of Assessment Rhode Island Department of Education

2 Research Questions How do IEP Teams make decisions about assessment accommodations? What is the relationship between: instructional accommodations recommended assessment accommodations (IEPs) accommodations used during state assessments?

3 Methodology Comprehensive survey mailed to 1200 IEP Team Members; 246 responses (21%). Observed 66 students in 9 schools during classroom instruction and state assessment. Reviewed 107 IEPs, including those of observed students. Interviewed assessment proctors, monitors, administrators.

4 Major Findings Location was the better predictor of accommodations during tests, rather than IEPs. Students testing together received same “package” of accommodations, regardless of IEPs. Test accommodations were not individualized or developed from students’ instructional accommodations.

5 Survey Respondents PositionPercent Administrator3% General education teacher24% Special education teacher43% Teacher assistant6% Therapist7% Parent4% Other14%

6 How Prepared are IEP Teams to Develop Testing Accommodations?

7 Pre-service Training 55% reported of sample had nothing or only brief training in staff’s role and responsibility in developing accommodations for instruction and assessment. Among the 104 special educators, 57% had no training re: the State Assessment Program.

8 Perceived Purpose of Assessments? Measure academic progress (23%) Compare to general ed peers (22%) Accountability (21%) Identify needs of students (11%) Assess student knowledge (8%)

9 Source of Information for Teams Paper information (articles, memos, etc.) 49% RIDE-sponsored trainings 36% In-house trainings run by school personnel 36% Pre-service trainings 15% In-house trainings run by external trainers 6% On-going technical assistance in school 6%

10 Decision-Making Resources Rhode Island State Assessment Guidebook (44%) State Assessment Program Requirements for Student Participation and Assessment Accommodations (40%) Guidance from SPED teachers (11%) Student’s IEP (7%) Individual need of student (4%) Supervisor's guidelines (3%) Classroom accommodations (2%)

11 Follow-through on assessment accommodations was almost always the job of the Special Education department. Slightly more than half of sample felt they knew a lot about the variety of possible instructional accommodations (approximately 53%), while 29% felt they had only some awareness. Only 43% felt they knew a lot about assessment accommodations, with 34% claiming they had some awareness of assessment accommodations.

12 General Educators: Not Full Partners I have very little involvement as an IEP team member. My input is rarely sought. I am asked to sit in on IEP meetings infrequently. To be honest, most decisions on accommodations are made without my input. I do not have a part in this process. I don’t have the training or the knowledge. I don’t make decisions. I have never been given information on how to assess a special education student, but I have requested it.

13 Special Educators Accommodations were determined by students’ prior teachers and staff. Elementary special educators preferred to proctor/implement for their own students. High school students could decline their accommodations; often proctored by staff who did not know the students at all.

14 Need for Instructional Accommodations Review of student performance (34%) IEP team discussions (32%) Evaluations of student’s skills (28%) Consultation with involved parties (22%) Based on student needs (19%) Parent input (12%)

15 Need for Assessment Accommodations IEP team recommendations (23%) Current classroom performance (20%) Follows instructional accommodations (17%) Student need (16%) Performance on other tests (10%) Teacher input (9%) Use state guidelines/checklist (7%)

16 Important Factors in Choosing Assessment Accommodations? Individual need of student (23%) Student's ability (17%) Disability and its impact (15%) Student’s stress or comfort level (12%) Reading/writing proficiency (11%) Same as instructional accommodations (9%) Distractibility (8%) Per IEP (8%)

17 Percentage of time in General Ed According to 30%, the amount of time spent in general education classes was somewhat or very important in decision-making about accommodations 20% said this didn’t factor at all in their decision-making.

18 Most Frequently Recommended and Implemented Assessment Accommodations Extended time Alternate location Oral administration of directions Clarified, repeated directions Frequent breaks

19 Accommodation# High School Students (N=31) IEP OBS # Mid. School Students (N=16) IEP OBS # Elementary Students (N=19) IEP OBS Alternate location Oral administration of directions Directions repeated, clarified Extended time Frequent breaks

20 Issues of Institutional Capacity Proper training for proctors Clear guidelines on individualized accommodations Appropriate rooms for testing Use of computers and other AT

21 Instruction and Assessment Significant difference between the level of support received during instruction and assessment Students may benefit from instructional accommodations but do not receive assessment accommodations in any way comparable. Respondents reported basing all accommodations on “individual need of student” yet few had individualized accommodations during tests (e.g., scribing, readers, flexible schedule).

22 2003 Follow Up Greater agreement between recommended and implemented assessment accommodations for this year’s smaller sample of students (N=39) Similar to 2002, 2003’s 5 most commonly recommended assessment accommodations were also the most frequently implemented and most generic. Students had on average more instructional accommodations (5), compared to test accommodations (3). Instructional accommodations were more specific and based on individual student needs.

23 Accommodation# High School Students (N=17) IEP OBS # Middle School Students (N=5) IEP OBS # Elementary Students (N=17) IEP OBS Alternate location Oral administration of directions Directions repeated, clarified Extended time Frequent breaks

24 Comparison of Accommodations

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26 Conclusions Proctors not sure how to implement accommodations such as scribing or support. Student-centered assessment accommodations – scribing, reading assistance, 1-on-1 support– required resources and preparation that schools did not produce. Assessment accommodations that parallel instructional accommodations not available to students during state assessments.

27 Possible Ideas Provide additional state-sponsored training for proctoring staff, not just administration (test security, etc.) Hold school-based sessions with leadership personnel to clarify “what is permitted.” Develop IEPs during same school year in which student will participate in state assessments. Insure that both classroom and assessment personnel participate. Promote individualized accommodations that approximate instructional support during assessments.


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