With Cognitive Impairment Score Well on Alternate Assessments
Michigan Department of Education, June 9, 2005
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*A majority of
Michigan students with cognitive impairment "Surpassed" or
"Attained" set performance standards on the state's alternate
assessment, known as MI-Access.
Now in its fourth year of statewide administration, MI-Access is
one way that students with disabilities can participate in the
Michigan Educational Assessment System (MEAS). Others ways
include the Michigan Educational Assessment Program (MEAP) with
or without assessment accommodations and a locally administered
English language proficiency assessment for English Language
"In the State Board's efforts to ensure that the needs of all
students are met, this is a remarkable advancement," said State
Board of Education President Kathleen Straus. "These students,
their families, their teachers, and their schools now have a
more complete set of information with which to evaluate student
"By ensuring that all students have access to meaningful
assessment opportunities, we can move the state toward its
collective goal of preparing our children*all of them*to
function in our advanced, global economy and an increasingly
sophisticated society," Straus added.
Having standardized, statewide assessment data for all students
is valuable, according to Interim State Superintendent of Public
Instruction Dr. Jeremy Hughes.
"In the past, we have had considerable gaps in assessment
information because assessments like the MEAP aren't suitable
for all students with disabilities. While they are excellent
assessments, they don't give students with cognitive impairment
a chance to fully demonstrate what they know and are able to do.
With MI-Access, our performance data are now much more
Results from these assessments are used when calculating
district and state participation rates and Adequate Yearly
Progress (AYP) as required under the federal No Child Left
Behind (NCLB) Act.
MI-Access currently is comprised of three types of assessments:
(1) Participation, which is designed for students who have, or
function as if they have, severe cognitive impairment; (2)
Supported Independence, which is designed for students who have,
or function as if they have, moderate cognitive impairment; and
(3) Interim Phase 2 BRIGANCE, an off-the-shelf commercial
assessment customized for Michigan students who have, or
function as if they have, mild cognitive impairment.
Because of the student population involved, the MI-Access
Participation and Supported Independence assessments use an
on-demand, structured format. For example, instead of paper and
pencil tests, teachers observe students as they carry out a
standard set of activities during the course of a typical school
day. Then, teachers score them using a standardized scoring
Interim Phase 2 BRIGANCE, however, uses multiple choice and
extended response questions to ascertain what students with mild
cognitive impairment know and are able to do in the content
areas of English language arts and mathematics. The assessments
are administered in a way that reflects the instructional
strategies and/or accommodations used by the student during
In winter 2005, 19,043 students with disabilities in grades 4,
7, 8, and 11 participated in MI-Access. Of that number, 1,313
were assessed with MI-Access Participation; 2,704 were assessed
with Supported Independence; and 15,026 were assessed with
Interim Phase 2 BRIGANCE.
There are three levels of achievement, or performance
categories, students can reach: Surpassed, Attained, or Emerging
Toward the Performance Standard.
More than 19,000 students with disabilities will receive results
of their performance on MI-Access this week. This year, more
students Surpassed and Attained the Performance Standard on the
assessments than were Emerging Toward the Performance Standard.
For the Participation and Supported Independence assessments,
students do not receive one overall score, but instead receive
scores for each Performance Expectation (PE) on which they are
assessed. The PEs included in the assessment reflect what
students with disabilities in a certain grade should know and be
able to do.
Students assessed with Interim Phase 2 BRIGANCE receive one
overall score for English language arts and one overall score
On this year's BRIGANCE assessment, between 71 to 82 percent of
fourth-, seventh-, and eleventh-grade students Surpassed or
Attained the Performance Standards for English Language Arts. On
the mathematics assessment, between 48 to 62 percent of fourth-,
eighth-, and eleventh-grade students Surpassed or Attained the
"When coupled with data from the MEAP assessments, which showed
improvements in English Language Arts, we can clearly see that
students in Michigan are making progress," Hughes added.
"Because of MI-Access, we now know that to be true, not only of
students who take the MEAP assessments, but of all students,
including those whose instruction and curriculum is better
measured by an alternate assessment."
Statewide and district-level MI-Access results can be viewed at
the MI-Access Information Center
through the 2005 MI-Access Media Kit dropdown menu.
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