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Alaska Alternate Assessment: Why Teaching Content Matters Alaska Statewide Special Education Conference, February 2008 Aran Felix, Alternate Assessment.

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Presentation on theme: "Alaska Alternate Assessment: Why Teaching Content Matters Alaska Statewide Special Education Conference, February 2008 Aran Felix, Alternate Assessment."— Presentation transcript:

1 Alaska Alternate Assessment: Why Teaching Content Matters Alaska Statewide Special Education Conference, February 2008 Aran Felix, Alternate Assessment Program Manager

2 ASSEC Conference Alternate Assessment Topics 1. How is the Alternate Assessment (AA) for students with significant disabilities similar to the Standards Based Assessments (SBAs)? 2. How do students with significant cognitive disabilities gain access to the general education curriculum? 3. How will this assessment be administered to the students with the most intensive needs?

3 ASSEC Conference Alternate Assessment Glossary Handout 1 Review Terms Includes Contact Information

4 ASSEC Conference Alternate Assessment Topic 1 How is the Alternate Assessment for students with significant disabilities similar to the Standards Based Assessments? Important because federal law requires that students with cognitive disabilities have access to the general education curriculum (IDEA, NCLB)

5 ASSEC Conference Alternate Assessment How the AA is similar to Standards Based Assessments? Handout 2 Part of Comprehensive System of Student Assessments (CSSA) For students in grades Assesses Content areas of Reading, Writing, Math, and Science Grade Level Expectations and Tests Secure Assessment Test Security Agreements required

6 ASSEC Conference Alternate Assessment …more similarities Achievement Standards (cut scores and proficiency level descriptors) set by a standard setting committee Practice Tests available Individual Student Reports 4-page Parent Guide to Interpreting Student Reports, Educator Guides High technical quality Received Peer and Federal Approval

7 ASSEC Conference Alternate Assessment How is the AA different from SBA? Designed for a special population of students with disabilities (SWD): Students with significant cognitive disabilities Comprise 1% of the student population (approximately 550 students in Alaska) IEP team must designate the AA as the appropriate assessment following eligibility criteria and explain why

8 ASSEC Conference Alternate Assessment …other differences Districts encouraged to have a Qualified Mentor Trainers to help manage the delivery of the assessment and training of test administrators Test may be administered ONLY by Qualified Assessors who receive training, evaluation, and certificates Test administered one-on-one Secure tests become practice tests following year Different test security practices

9 ASSEC Conference Alternate Assessment …other differences Online components of assessment: Qualified Assessor training Secure test Data entry of scores Unofficial student report AA is a non-diploma track assessment Alternate Achievement Standards

10 ASSEC Conference Alternate Assessment Topic 2 How do students with significant cognitive disabilities gain access to the general education curriculum? Standards, instruction, and assessment are interrelated….

11 ASSEC Conference Alternate Assessment Standards Based Assessment System (Hanasche, CAS Handbook, 1998, p. 36)

12 ASSEC Conference Alternate Assessment Standards: Grade Level Expectations for All Students Part of a single statewide system of challenging academic content standards Content must be challenging and academic Provide guidance in developing and aligning curriculum and instruction Show a developmental progression of skills and consistency across the grades

13 ASSEC Conference Alternate Assessment Standards: Grade Level Expectations for Students with SCD Called Extended Grade Level Expectations Provide a connection and access to the GLEs in a way that encourages individual student growth Alignment study to verify this linkage For SCD content may show less clearly defined advances across the grades in cognitive complexity Are reduced in complexity, depth, and breadth

14 ASSEC Conference Alternate Assessment Reduced Complexity means… Less cognitive load Simplify the language Reduce the number of words Use direct sentences Provide opportunities for modeling Avoid tricky distractors

15 ASSEC Conference Alternate Assessment Reduced Depth of Knowledge means… Changing content and test items to reflect recall and comprehension Including more skills than knowledge questions Making the skills simpler and understandable Reducing the amount of information needed to be correct

16 ASSEC Conference Alternate Assessment Reduced Breadth means… Fewer ExGLEs than GLEs Fewer items and strands addressed in each grade when compared to the GLEs Though breadth increases across the grades, it is a Gradual shift in emphasis in strands & attributes across the grade clusters

17 ASSEC Conference Alternate Assessment Organization of ExGLEs Handout 3 Content Standards Performance Standards Stems Numbering System Grade level expectations Content Strands

18 ASSEC Conference Alternate Assessment Standards Based Assessment System (Hanasche, CAS Handbook, 1998, p. 36)

19 ASSEC Conference Alternate Assessment PERFORMANCE STANDARDS Performance Labels each level of levels achievement Performance Describes each level of descriptors performance separate Cut ScoresScores that separate the different levels of performance (Handout 4)

20 ASSEC Conference Alternate Assessment Purpose of Proficiency Level Descriptors (PLDs) PLDs are statements that describe the knowledge and skills expected at the different proficiency levels with respect to the content standards, performance standards, and grade level expectations. 4 proficiency levels: Advanced, Proficient, Below Proficient, Far Below Proficient

21 ASSEC Conference Alternate Assessment PLDs at a Glance Handout 4 PLDs for AA Shows all proficiency levels by grade cluster (Adv, Prof, BP, FBP) PLDs written by content expert, special educators, and other stakeholders Standard Setting occurred in May 2008 to Determine Cut Scores and finalize PLDs Both presented to and adopted by the State Board of Education in July 2008

22 ASSEC Conference Alternate Assessment Relationship of standards (ExGLEs) to proficiency descriptors Handout 5 ExGLEs written before PLDs, but not assigned grade level ExGLEs organized by grade level using PLDs as a guide Use similar language

23 ASSEC Conference Alternate Assessment How PLDs change across grade level cluster Handout 6 Progression across grades needs to be coherent Reading example - Lower grades focus on Word ID Skills Note Unevenness in Grades 5/6 which may have been addressed in new item development Breadth and complexity increases as students progress across grade levels More difficult strands addressed in upper grades

24 ASSEC Conference Alternate Assessment Test Blueprint Handout 7-Example of Grade 3 Grade Blueprints SBA (purple), AA (purple) Blueprints summarize strand, standards, GLEs, ExGLEs, and distribution of emphasis for developing test items Compare % of emphasis in Grade 3 on Handout 7 to Handout 6

25 ASSEC Conference Alternate Assessment Relationship of Alternate to Standards Based Assessment Handout 8 Comparison via PLDs Column 1 Alternate, grade 3 and 4 combined Column 3, SBAs, grade 3 and 4 Content Strands – color coded Alternate=Reduced complexity, reduced breadth Showing increasing breadth of strand coverage as grade level progresses

26 ASSEC Conference Alternate Assessment Topic 3 How will this assessment be administered to the students with the most intensive needs? To identify this population, EED required an Assistive Technology Alternative Augmentative Survey as part of 2007 assessment Accessibility Study conducted by external evaluator New test items developed

27 ASSEC Conference Alternate Assessment Assistive Technology Survey Identify Assistive Technology used by students Identify Receptive Modes of Communication: Ways your student understands people and events in his/her environment Identify Expressive Modes of Communication: Ways your student communicates with people and events in his/her environment. Identified levels of communication: Pre- emergent, Emergent, Beginning, Traditional Given to approximately 1/3 of students

28 ASSEC Conference Alternate Assessment Accessibility Study Findings In general AA viewed as accessible to students with Assessments have built in flexibility Multiple options for response (eye gaze, blinking, nodding, pointing, AT) Accessible to pre-symbolic students via Expanded Levels of Support (ELOS) 2007 ELOS: Teachers adapted Tasks 2008 ELOS: New test items developed

29 ASSEC Conference Alternate Assessment Expanded Levels of Support New Test Items 2008 Developed in response to pilot test Provides access to the assessment Provides access to content Foundational skills Additional supports in place to assist student in interacting with assessment Responses rated on student level of independence Provides a standardized administration vs. teacher adaptation of tasks

30 ASSEC Conference Alternate Assessment Decision-Making Guide Handout 9 All students first take standard administration of assessment Three Task-Three Item Minimum Rule For students who have little or no response, and scores zero on three consecutive items in three tasks on standard administration…stop assessment May move to ELOS items next year

31 ASSEC Conference Alternate Assessment ELOS Items: How to rate students Level of Independence- Handout 10

32 ASSEC Conference Alternate Assessment Example of ELOS Items

33 ASSEC Conference Alternate Assessment General AssessmentAlternate Assessment

34 ASSEC Conference Alternate Assessment Jump right in…… See what the test looks like Logon: Demo, Password: Demo Levels of Secure Access for: Demo Site (All Users) Training & Proficiency Modules (Registered Users) Secure Tests (Qualified Assessors) Scoring & Reporting (Qualified Assessors) Changing Registered Users to QA (QT-Mentors) Administrative Access

35 ASSEC Conference Alternate Assessment Contact Information Alternate Assessment Program Manager: Aran Felix Phone: , Fax: Website for Alternate Assessment Information: Website for Presentation Information: Special Education Data Manager: Karen Lipson Phone: , Fax: Test Vendor: Dillard Research Associates Help Desk: Website:


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