Policy on Assessment and Accountability

Article excerpt


To ensure that students with disabilities are appropriately assessed under educational assessment and accountability systems, it is the position of the Council for Exceptional Children (CEC) that:

a.) all students with exceptional learning needs shall be included in all assessment and accountability systems, and shall have available the opportunity to participate in general assessments, assessments with accommodations including off-grade level testing or alternate assessments that reflect valid and reliable performance for them, rather than cultural diversity, linguistic diversity, disability, or other exceptionality.

b.) all students with exceptional needs in all settings shall be included in the assessment and accountability systems. This includes students in traditional public school placements and students who change schools or placements, as well as all students receiving publicly-funded educational services in settings such as home schools, private schools, charter schools, state-operated programs and in the juvenile justice system.

c.) Only assessment processes and instruments that have been developed and validated on student samples that included students who have exceptionalities and that validly demonstrate their performance shall be used. Test designers shall be required to develop universally designed assessments.

d.) State and provincial determinations of adequate yearly progress must address the progress made on grade promotions and graduation rates for exceptional students, as well as addressing other appropriate achievement indicators for students with exceptionalities, and toward making well-grounded appraisals of the particular schools.

e.) The IEP team will determine student participation in assessments as part of the review of the overall individualized education program and be based on individual student needs.

f.) all students with exceptionalities shall be included when assessment scores are publicly reported, whether they participate with or without accommodations or participate through an alternate assessment - subject to personal confidentiality protections. If standards-based reform is to succeed all students must be held to higher standards, and every student must therefore be counted. However, assessment data focused on school system accountability shall never be the sole basis for making individual student educational decisions.

g.) To ensure equal access and opportunity for all students and to ensure inclusive accountability in all local and state/provincial accountability indices, the performance on assessments of students with exceptionalities must have the same impact on the final accountability index as the performance of other students, whether or not these students participated with accommodations or in an alternate assessment.

h.) Policy makers and all other stakeholders must be committed to the continuing development of a unified system of assessment and accountability for all students. …