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IEP Issues - High Stakes Testing, Standardized Testing, Assessment & MEAP

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Assessment Resource Websites from eSchool News

Click here for ordering info.

The Assessment of Basic Language and Learning Skills (ABLLS)
An invaluable resource, the ABLLS manual contains an actual assessment (protocol) that identifies a young learner’s skills and deficits. The initial scoring allows you to systematically determine intervention priorities and establish an individualized curriculum for each child. The second part of this two part package contains the ABLLS Scoring Instructions and IEP Development Guide. Once the assessment is complete, it can be used to outline an IEP and develop a baseline for working with children at their skill level. *Note that this is a 2 booklet set that comes with one protocol already included. Price: 59.95 USD; Soft Cover, 2 Volume Set by James W. Partington, PhD and Mark L. Sundberg, PhD

Ordering info: http://www.difflearn.com/

   

Testing/High-Stakes Testing

When An Adult Took Standardized Tests Forced on Kids - A longtime friend on the school board of one of the largest school systems in America did something that few public servants are willing to do. He took versions of his state's high-stakes standardized math and reading tests for 10th graders, and said he'd make his scores public.

 

Testing? YES! -- Standardized Testing? NO! - Here, in three short sentences, is why No Child Left Behind is dumbing down America's kids: 1. Teachers always teach to the test. 2. Under NCLB, the only tests that count are standardized and machine scored rather than teacher created and scored. 3. Machines can't evaluate and attach a number to complex thought processes, so complex thought processes don't get taught.

 

Assessment and Achievement - Few issues are hotter than assessment—thanks to the No Child Left Behind Act and similar measures—but few are more misunderstood. With the generous support of Software Technology Inc., the editors at eSchool News have assembled a variety of news and information as well as outside resources to help put assessment in clearer perspective and to tie it more closely to its primary purpose—namely, better test scores through improved instruction.

 

Test Scored Fuel Laptop Debate - Eighth-graders' scores on Maine's most recent annual achievement test are refueling the debate over that state's groundbreaking effort to give laptop computers to students. Middle-school students who used laptops for two years performed about the same on a standardized test as students in the past who did not have access to computers, the results indicate--though laptop-equipped students did show gains in writing.

 

Testing Companies Mine for Gold - There has been little public outcry over the fact that private, multinational companies operating beyond public oversight are determining which students, schools, and districts in the United States are deemed "failures" and which are deemed "successes." Given the secrecy that shrouds testing company operations, information is negligible. What the public doesn't know, the public doesn't complain about.

 

Read the article "Schools: Many who failed MCAS quit" - Boston school officials announced findings yesterday that a significant number of the students in the Class of 2003 who failed the high-stakes MCAS exam in the spring of 2001 and who did not take the retest in December of 2001 have dropped out of high school.

 

Testing For Aptitude, Not For Speed

 

"Understanding Tests and Measurements for the Parent and Advocate" by Peter W. D. Wright, Esq. and Pamela Darr Wright, M.A., M.S.W. - you can view this informative document at:  http://www.wrightslaw.com/advoc/articles/tests_measurements.html

 

TestPrepReview - TestPrepReview.com is a free service "created to provide free practice test questions for students in a variety of career situations." Includes online review for ACT, SAT, GED, LSAT, GMAT, MCAT, ParaPro, Nursing, and many more.

 

The 500-Pound Gorilla - Privatizing education is predicated on an almost childlike faith in competition: let self-interested people struggle against one another, and somehow all of them -- even their children, presumably -- will benefit. It is closely related to a second ideological underpinning: a pronounced individualism in which there is no us, just you and her and him and me. Perhaps it was the implications of this threat to the value of community that led the political philosopher Benjamin Barber to observe, "Privatization is not about limiting government; it is about terminating democracy."

 

CO Low Income & Low Test Scores Linked in Colorado - Students from Colorado's poorest families scored significantly lower on this year's state proficiency exams than their better-off peers, a review of state Department of Education data show. In most cases, the gaps between high-performing low-income students and all other students on the Colorado Student Assessment Program exams were more than 30 percentage points.

 

MD SAT Camp Offers Pay to Study for Exam - Some high school students will be paid $5.25 an hour to attend an SAT prep course at Coppin State University this summer, the latest step in the school's attempt to reach out to the neighborhoods around the West Baltimore campus. Fifty students will get breakfast, lunch, bus passes and three hours a day of SAT coaching for two weeks this month. The students, most from nearby high schools, will be paid at the end of the course.

 

U.S. With SAT Changing, Questions Multiply - The new SAT college entrance exam will be administered for the first time in March 2005. But with less than a year until launch, many questions about how colleges will handle the conversion remain unanswered. The uncertainty is raising stress levels for some parents and college-bound students, but it also could provide unique opportunities for students to maximize test scores.
 

TX Website Helps Students Brush Up For TAKS Test - A new Web site offers help to high school juniors preparing to take the state's new exit-level exam this spring. The site, www.track.uttelecampus.org, features diagnostic tests and interactive learning materials.
 

AK Disabled Students in Alaska Sue Over Exam - Disabled children and their parents filed a federal class-action lawsuit yesterday against the Alaska Board of Education, the latest in a string of challenges to laws of various states requiring students to pass an exit exam to earn a high school diploma.

 

Exit Tests Hurt At-Risk Students - Report: Dropout Rates Could Increase for Poor, Minorities.

 

Read the article "A Hurdle Too High" - I am not your average kid with a learning disability. I am a unique kid with a different style of learning. I did not choose to have this learning disability. It chose me. Because I am stuck with this, I am not going to let this problem get in the way of my success.

 

ACT Ends Flagging Tests of Disabled - The maker of the ACT college entrance test followed the lead of its rival Friday, and announced that the scores of disabled students who need extra time to take the ACT exam will no longer be specially marked.

 

Beware of the Standards, Not Just the Tests

 

MI Good scores don't always cost; Schools with goals, expectations do best

 

Fail the Test, Forget the Diploma: No Exceptions for Special Education Students

 

NY Students Ousted for Stats? - Thousands of struggling students were discharged by high school administrators more concerned about their own job evaluations than the students' futures, say some public officials and children's advocates.

 

Education's Rotten Apples - From math instruction to state assessments, bad practices can undermine the good.

 

Tests & Measurements for the Parent, Teacher, Advocate and Attorney by Pete & Pam Wright - Your child has received special education for three years. Has your child caught up with the peer group? Has your child fallen further behind? How can you tell?

 

High-Stakes Lawsuit in Massachusetts: How High Are the Stakes? - Learn about the new high-stakes lawsuit in Massachusetts - and how high the stakes are.

 

A Champion in the Fight Against Testing Standards

 

State Scholarship Limits Eased - Michigan among places where bar is lower for National Merit awards.
 

New List of Over 700 Colleges that Deemphasize the SAT and ACT in Admissions: A list of more than 700 accredited, bachelor degree-granting institutions which do not use the SAT I or ACT to make admissions decisions about substantial numbers of freshman applicants is posted on the web at http://www.fairtest.org/optinit.htm in both state-by-state and alphabetical order. Printed copies may be obtained by sending a stamped, self-addressed, business-size envelope to FairTest, 342 Broadway, Cambridge, MA 02139. For further information contact Bob Schaeffer (239) 395-6773 or bobschaeffer@earthlink.net.

 

Featured Website: Click here for information on how to prepare students for the reading portion of the Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test (FCAT).
 

The Special Ed Dilemma - Advocates say holding special ed kids to the same standards as everybody else is a step forward, but critics say it makes no sense. It produces dumbfounded stares and sighs of frustration. Yes, special education students now have to take regular tests. And the kicker? They are expected to do just as well as students without the same problems.

 

"Cram Schools" on the Rise - For children of Asian descent growing up in and around New York City, cram schools are a part of life. Starting in the third grade and continuing through high school, hundreds of students drag themselves to these private tutoring classes, long a tradition in the Far East, day after day, after school, on weekends and over the summer. Now, growing numbers of non-Asian parents are enrolling their children in the schools. [Source: PEN]

 

MD Some Parents of Special-ed Students Oppose Plan for Testing - If Maryland's special-education teens were required to pass last year's High School Assessment exams to graduate - which the state is considering requiring all students to do - 90 percent of them would not earn their diplomas.

  

MD Putting Students to a Big Test - New Prince George's County schools chief André J. Hornsby will require students in the eighth and ninth grades to take the PSAT, a national test designed for eleventh-graders preparing for the SAT college-entrance exam. [Source]

 

UT Education Reform - Shae Kunz cringes with guilt and frustration every time she thinks about her 11-year-old son's struggles with literacy and the misdiagnoses that left him drugged and reading below grade level while his peers passed him by.

 

FL Inquiry made into FCAT complaints - An arm of the U.S. Department of Education is investigating multiple complaints that the state's testing system discriminates against Florida's disabled students.

 

State Accountability for All Students (SAAS) Offers Preliminary Findings on State Policy and Student State Test Results - SAAS is a three year national research project designed to explore the connections between state policy/practice and the participation and performance of students with disabilities in the regular statewide assessment programs. SAAS is also examining the unintended consequences of including students with disabilities in high-stakes testing programs.
 

MI Ed Yes! Report Cards Still Planned for September - Problems with a contractor developing a new database for Michigan Educational Assessment Program test scores has delayed release of those scores, but the Department of Education is still aiming at having report cards under the new Education YES! accreditation system to schools by mid-September, officials said Tuesday.

 

FL Fear of failure leads to FCAT rebellion - Test's critics blame the system; Parents are picketing, students are walking out of class and civic leaders are conjuring a wide-ranging boycott -- all decrying a statewide test in a protest that some of its own leaders fear is grossly misunderstood.

 

MA Real MCAS rates cause for worry, not celebration - As graduation time approaches, news about MCAS testing seems reassuring. After four rounds of re-tests, the Department of Education says 91% of all seniors will receive a diploma. If only reality were so rosy. The problem is this:  MCAS pass rates fail to include students from the Class of 2003 who haven't survived to the twelfth grade. Reaching a "100% pass rate" is possible if we lose more students before graduation. 

 

Big market for tutoring - Popularity of learning centers climbs with test scores.

 

FL Governor softens stance on FCAT

 

CA LAUSD may put moratorium on exit exam

 

The International Family Institute assists families of children and adults with PDD/Autism, as well as, significant and multiple disabilities by offering comprehensive assessments that assists them in advocating for services and equipment to better meet individual needs. Additionally, the team of professionals will develop a family training plan in the areas of motor skills and mobility, communication, oral motor, assistive technologies for personal and environmental access, medical and wellness, and daily living skills development. Customized goals and family/individuals training plans are developed based on the specific needs of the entire family.

 

For special education students, the MCAS can be a nightmare - Every night, Jonathan Galina lies awake in bed with the same thought:  "I'm not going to school tomorrow. I quit."

 

CA Disabled students call test unfair: State high school exit exam forcing them out of classroom, some say.  After Justin Pierce, an 11th-grader with dyslexia, failed the math portion of California's new graduation exam for the second time, he left his family in Napa.

 

MEAP

MI More Money Isn't Equaling Better MEAP Scores - If a connection exists between Michigan Education Assessment Program (MEAP) scores and state increases in K-12 education, it cannot be made, yet.

 

MI Students With Cognitive Impairment Score Well on Alternate Assessments - A majority of Michigan students with cognitive impairment "Surpassed" or "Attained" set performance standards on the state's alternate assessment, known as MI-Access.

 

MI State to Pad MEAP Scores - Marks will be revised after 4th- and 7th-grade students did poorly on the tougher writing test.

 

MI Update on Use of MEAP for Current and Future High School Testing - With the publicity surrounding the adoption of the Michigan Merit Examination (MME) several weeks ago, questions have arisen as to the status of the current Michigan Educational Assessment Program (MEAP) High School Test (HST). There is some confusion about when the MME begins and what happens to the MEAP HST in the interim.

 

Resource Sharing: We've spotted a webpage (by Rich Gibson) with more MEAP information than we've ever found in one place! Looks like it has just about every article ever written about MEAP testing. Find it at: http://www.usa.pipeline.com/~rgibson/meap-articles.html.

 

MEAP Testing Accommodations (PDF): The Office of Educational Assessment and Accountability provides a list of standard and nonstandard MEAP testing accommodations for students with a disability or for students with limited English proficiency. In general, the support for a standard or nonstandard testing accommodation must be documented in the student's school records. For students with a disability, documentation usually consists of a Section 504 Plan or an Individualized Education Plan. This documentation must be specific for each test subject administered.

 

MEAP Resources from the Detroit News

MI Background on NCLB/MEAP and Michigan High School Report Cards - On Thursday, November 4, 2004, the Michigan Department of Education posted Education YES! High School Report Cards on www.michigan.gov/mde. This is the second time high schools have received the annual report cards. The Education YES! accreditation system is how the State of Michigan is meeting the federal requirements of No Child Left Behind (NCLB).

 

MI Michigan Launches New Grade Level Content Expectations (GLCE) - Michigan’s new nationally recognized GLCE provide schools, teachers, and parents with the detailed information they need to understand what students are expected to know and be able to do at the end of each grade. The new annual MEAP (Michigan Education Assessment Program) will be aligned to the GLCE. Download a copy of the new grade level content expectations and Michigan curriculum framework for English Language Arts (ELA) and Mathematics, as well as teacher professional development materials, a parent guide, a list of frequently asked questions, and other resources.

 

MI Spring High School MEAP Test Dates Set for Academic Year 2004-2005 - MEAP has identified the testing dates for this year that are consistent with the new state law and NCLB. Spring high school testing dates for the current academic year are broken into three cycles in order to give schools more flexibility for test administration.

 

MI High School MEAP Test Scored Improve Across-The-Board - State assessment scores for the Michigan high school Class of 2004 improved across-the-board. The numbers of 2004 graduates who met or exceeded state standards for the Michigan Educational Assessment Program (MEAP) high school test increased in all five testing areas: Reading, Mathematics, Science, Writing, and Social Studies.

 

MI MEAP Results Are Promising - Most high school students in Michigan know their reading, but they're shaky when it comes to writing and math. That's what scores from the Michigan Educational Assessment Program released Thursday indicate. Students were tested in reading, writing, math, science and social studies.

 

MI MEAP Scores Moving Up? - Recently released results show focus on reading is paying off. The recent release of MEAP scores should leave minority students, their parents and teachers, smiling. The gap between achievement levels of white and non-white children is shrinking statewide -- in some cases, dramatically.

 

MI Newsmaker Friday: Roeber Eyes Faster MEAP Scores - Ed Roeber is now through the first full testing cycle in his second stint as director of the Michigan Educational Assessment program, and his work so far has drawn commendation from some of the most strident opponents of the state's testing program. But if the stock market had not performed so poorly the last several years, he might have remained in his private sector post.
 

MI MEAP Scores Show Proficiency Gains - Elementary and middle school students improved proficiency in nearly all subjects tested by the Michigan Educational Assessment Program, according to reports from the Department of Education. The results Tuesday were hailed not only for the improvements in scores, but also for improvements in timing after lengthy delays in last year's test results.

 

MI MEAP vs. ACT: Myth vs. Fact - State testing should focus on what's best for students, teachers, and schools.

 

MI High Schoolers' Apathy Could Help Kill MEAP - When some students at Lake Shore High School in St. Clair Shores intentionally blew the MEAP test last week, they unwittingly helped fuel a debate about dumping the high school exam. Now, about seven seniors - who had already taken the test in 2003 - face a 3-hour detention and must write a statement on why the MEAP is important. Some still aren't convinced it is.

 

MI House Subcommittee To Recommend Replacing High School MEAP with ACT - The Michigan Educational Assessment Program test for high school pupils should be replaced with the ACT, the test taken by most college-bound students, a House subcommittee will recommend.

 

MI Michigan State Board of Education Pushes MEAP Participation - The Department of Education has taken steps to ensure the delays and lost answer sheets of last year's Michigan Educational Assessment Program tests do no recur, but the State Board of Education said Tuesday that schools now need to work on getting students to take the test.

 

MI Kuipers: Scrap MEAP In High Schools - The controversial MEAP exam may be headed for the scrap heap with the introduction of legislation next week to replace it with a new test.

 

MI MIRS 9-17-02 CEPI Releases New Data; Parents Corner added

 

MI Gongwer 9-5-02 New Elementary & Middle School MEAP Scores Out

 

MEAP, Assessment Accommodations for Students With Disabilities

 

MI-Access, Michigan's Alternate Assessment Program

 

MI High School MEAP Results Not Pretty - Maybe Michigan's public high schools would have preferred the Michigan Education Assessment Program (MEAP) test results for public high schools had stayed lost. The data that was released was not flattering.

 

MI Roeber to Head MEAP Effort - Edward Roeber has been named director of the Michigan Educational Assessment Program office in the Department of Education, State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Watkins said Thursday.

 

MI Schools in Focus: Meap Test Primer - It's considered one of the single biggest barometers of how schools and students across Michigan are performing: the MEAP test. But as parents across Michigan and Metro Detroit await individual student MEAP scores this month, many admit deciphering the MEAP acronym -- Michigan Educational Assessment Program -- is tough enough without trying to understand the scores.

 

MI Granholm Moves MEAP Back to Education - With the delays of the last Michigan Educational Assessment Program test scores release still fresh in the public's mind, Governor Jennifer Granholm did Monday as she had earlier promised and issued an executive order moving administration of the statewide test back to the Department of Education.

 

MI House OKs MEAP Bill Extending 2003 Deadline - A bill that would give students qualifying for the Merit Award until November 15, 2003 to apply for the scholarship passed the House on Wednesday.  SB 701, passed unanimously, would affect just this year, because of the delays schools and students have endured in getting the scores on the Michigan Educational Assessment Program tests. (10/03)

 

The State of Michigan's online listing of MEAP information can be found at: http://www.meritaward.state.mi.us/mma/meap.htm

 

Download "The Assist" (April 2003; pdf size=455kb) - click here.

If IEP Teams decide a student should participate in the MEAP, they must also decide if the student needs "standard" or "nonstandard" accommodations. When nonstandard accommodations are used, the student's score is NOT eligible for Merit Awards, and it will count as a "zero" or "not proficient" in Adequate Yearly Progress calculations under No Child Left Behind.  In this issue of The Assist, see the full listing of standard and nonstandard accommodations, see the IEP Team State Assessment Decision-Making Flow Chart and checklist which help teams determine the type of test a student will take, and learn how you can comment on the new Draft Guidelines for Determining Participation in State Assessment for Students with Disabilities.
 

MI Absences May Hurt MEAP Scores - Students get zero if they miss test, don't make it up.

 

Standardized Testing

AP Test May Change Teaching - The Advanced Placement test, close to surpassing the SAT as the most popular examination in the country, is undergoing an adjustment designed to change not only high school teaching but the way introductory college courses are taught throughout the country, College Board officials said Tuesday.

 

Exposing The Mystery of Standardized Test-Question Writers - For those stressing about upcoming MCAS tests, here's a tip from some inside sources: The first questions will be easy, and if an answer seems right, it probably is. That's because test makers aren't evil trolls plotting student failure, but normal people who know how students think.

 

For people who are concerned about standardized testing in general, not just as pertains to kids with IEPs, the FairTest website might be of interest: http://www.fairtest.org/.  If you go to that site and click on "assessment reform network" (ARN) you will link to a page that allows you to join a listserv devoted to many of the issues being raised in this thread.  However, I do want to warn folks that this group as a whole is not very interested in disability/special education issues -- the focus is on other diversity issues like race and social class, but also on the ways tests are being used and what they are doing to classroom practice.   You may have seen an ARN t-shirt here or there -- they're nice, if esoteric: black with a picture of a tomato plant and the words "High stakes are for tomatoes". (Thanks, Lynne!) 

 

Seeking Alternatives to Standardized Testing - Is there some other way to make low-income neighborhood schools better than through the annual standardized testing required by the new federal No Child Left Behind law? In 1974 Deborah Meier created the Central Park East School in the East Harlem neighborhood of New York City. That school showed, through its students' success in college and the workplace, that the children of day laborers, garment workers and welfare recipients could achieve academic success by being treated in public school as if they were graduate students. Instead of being given regular standardized multiple-choice tests, they were evaluated through reviews of their written work and interviews with experts in the subject matter they had studied.

 

Tools Help Individualized Educational Program (IEP) Teams Decide Which Assessments to Use for Students with Disabilities - The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) requires that all students with disabilities be assessed at the state level. In addition, the federal No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) calls for a single statewide accountability system that includes students with disabilities. If the state’s general assessment is not appropriate, even with assessment accommodations, the individualized educational program (IEP) team must determine how the student will be assessed. This FOCUS on Results document highlights new tools available from the Michigan Department of Education to help IEP teams choose which state assessment is most appropriate for a student with a disability.
 

Errors in Standardized Tests: A Systemic Problem (PDF) by Kathleen Rhoades & George Madaus, Lynch School of Education, Boston College, May 2003

 

 

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