Assessment and Students with Disabilities: Issues and Challenges with Educational Reform

By Bowen, Sandra K.; Rude, Harvey A. | Rural Special Education Quarterly, Summer 2006 | Go to article overview

Assessment and Students with Disabilities: Issues and Challenges with Educational Reform


Bowen, Sandra K., Rude, Harvey A., Rural Special Education Quarterly


Abstract

The No Child Left Behind (NCLB) Act seeks to correct achievement gaps that are most prevalent among students in specific subgroups including those with disabilities, linguistic and cultural diversity, and representing economic disadvantage. The reauthorization of federal special education legislation through the Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act (IDEIA) has moved to align the accountability for learners with disabilities with the guiding principles of NCLB. This paper examines the challenges of adequately assessing these learners in a manner that preserves the individualized nature of educational supports and services while focusing on the desired learning and results that are expected by education policy through accountability mandates. In this lens of increased scrutiny for results accountability, the issues of eligibility for services, summary of performance, and transition services are analyzed and aligned with these policy expectations with particular consideration given to rural impact. The emerging focus on early intervening services and assessing learners identified as at risk for school failure promotes practices that are aligned with academic and behavioral success for all learners. A summary of recommendations is provided on assessment related factors for rural school teachers and administrators.

The momentum for educational reform changes practice in schools. Two recent federal mandates, No Child Left Behind (NCLB, 2001) and The Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act (IDEIA, 2004) have strongly influenced both general education and special education and have drastically changed the way educators and the general public look at outcomes for children with special needs. While intended for two separate populations, NCLB and IDEIA have similar and often overlapping principles, which are driving assessment procedures for students in public schools. In fact, IDEIA references concepts in NCLB in a variety of different ways. This paper will describe some of the overlapping themes between NCLB and IDEIA and specifically address the issue of assessment under these two legislative guidelines and then review the implications for practice in rural schools.

NCLB and IDEIA Alignment

The No Child Left Behind Act was signed into law in January of 2002. This federal mandate was a major revision to the Elementary and secondary Education Act (ESEA) of 1965. This law significantly challenged the status quo of public schools and established the US Department of Education as a responsible party for increasing student achievement in public schools. Turnbull (2005) identified 6 primary principles of NCLB: accountability, highly qualified teachers, scientifically based instruction, local flexibility, safe schools, and parent participation and choice.

The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act was reauthorized in 2004 with the intent of improving the existing legislation with a primary purpose of aligning the provisions of IDEIA with NCLB. While the individual provisions of IDEIA are different than NCLB, the overall goal of the two is similar. The partnership of NCLB and IDEIA provide the opportunity for successful academic achievement for students with disabilities by implementing the systemic changes mandated by NCLB through the individual lens of the IEP (Individualized Education Plan) as regulated by IDEIA.

Access to the General Curriculum in the Regular Classroom

The passage of the Education for All Handicapped Children Act (PL 94-142) in 1975 opened the door for students with disabilities to attend the same neighborhood school as their nondisabled peers. While this was a significant milestone in special education history since it opened the door to the school for all learners, it did little to guarantee any level of quality education. The focus of special education was on the physical placement of the child, not the curriculum or content to be learned. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Assessment and Students with Disabilities: Issues and Challenges with Educational Reform
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Author Advanced search

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.