Standardized Testing And Students With Assistive Tech

In recent years there has been a boom of standardized testing within American schools. Students are being tested in reading, math, science, social studies for state and school district standards that are used to show compliance with No Child Left Behind, along with NCLB testing students are also being hit with graduation tests, testing to move forward in the school progression ( i.e. a student must pass this test before moving onto the next grade level).

With the increasing number of tests given to students where the results weigh heavily on the school, school districts, or individual students performance, where do students with disabilities fall into this mix? Where especially students with Assistive Technology or Augmentative Communication? Federal law requires states and school districts to include students with disabilities in large-scale assessments, and to report their scores publicly, in disaggregated form, as a way of determining how well schools are serving these students. This is a matter of system accountability. Federal law is silent, however, on whether states or schools districts should impose high-stakes consequences on individual students with disabilities who fail large-scale tests. In other words, while federal law mandates participation in large-scale tests and public reporting of disaggregated scores, it is for states to decide whether large-scale tests will result in individual high-stakes consequences and, if so, for which students (Heubert, 2002).

Accommodations are able to be granted to students with disabilities without losing the standardization of the test. An accommodation is considered, any change to the standard test format to assess an individual’s abilities, rather than his or her

disabilities. Although allowable accommodations vary, they general fall in one of four categories:

o Presentation (e.g., directions/questions read aloud, large print).

o Response (e.g., use of a scribe).

o Setting (small group or individual testing, study carrel).

o Timing/Scheduling (extended time, additional breaks; Wahburn-Moses, 2003)

IDEA requires that the IEP team documents any accommodations in the students Individualized Education Plan. As Washburn-Moses (2003) stated, “The IEP team

should focus on the student’s strengths, weaknesses, and individual learning characteristics, and refrain from basing their decision on the student’s disability

level or current placement. Team members should consider only those accommodations that the student uses during classroom instruction and testing, as opposed to introducing new accommodations specifically for use on the state test (Thurlow et al.). It is extremely

important to document on the IEP the team’s decision regarding accommodations, as well as the justification for that decision.”

Dunne (2002), stated in an Education World article, “In Wisconsin, students with disabilities are being allowed testing accommodations so that more can take the test. The accommodations include increased time to take a test, use of a scribe to write down answers, and use of a reader to read instructions and questions aloud. Those types of accommodations will allow about 85 percent of students with disabilities to participate in the Wisconsin State Assessment System, according to a study authored by Eva M. Kubinski at the University of Wisconsin-Madison Center for Education Research.

For those students unable to be tested, even with accommodations, the state developed an alternate performance indicator tied to the state’s standards for use by schools to assess the 2 percent of Wisconsin students with severe disabilities or limited English proficiency, Kubinski wrote in her paper.”

What does this mean for students with Assistive Technology or AAC? Based on the research found, having an Assistive Technology device would allow a IEP team to determine if accommodations on standardized tests were needed. Each student is as unique as their assistive technology device and therefore it can be said that each student is going to pose different circumstances when it comes to testing in the school setting. According to IDEA, as stated earlier, the IEP team must determine what accommodations must be made for the student to be successful on the test. These accommodations must be written in the students IEP.

Since the students using AT/AAC vary greatly and many have underlying issues as to why they have AAC devices, such as other confounding disabilities. It is important that the IEP determines whether the device the student uses for communication is going to be part of the accommodation for the Standardized test or if it is not needed. It will be important to determine that and then prepare the student that they will or will not be able to use the device during the test. This is especially important if the device can not be used during the test, since this is the students voice.

IEP teams must work to find the best accommodations for the student to be successful, there are various ways to do that, including the Dynamic Assessment of Testing

Accommodations (DATA), which helps teachers determine which students will

benefit from which accommodations.

Based on the information provided it can be concluded that each students case is going to be very different, but overall each student that qualifies for special education, including those who use assistive technology or augmentative communication devices can qualify for special accommodations of standardized testing which will allow those students to complete the tests with reasonable scores.

References

Dunne, D. (2000). Are high stakes tests punishing some students? Education Weekly 34(1) 32-35.

Heubert, J.P. (2002). Disability, race, and high-stakes testing of students. NCAC. 4(1) 38-45.

Sindelar, T., Hager, R., & Smith, D. (2003). High stakes testing standards for students with disabilities. Neighborhood Legal Services, Inc.

Washburn-Moses, L. (2003). What every special educator should know about high stakes testing. Teaching Exceptional Children 35(4) 12-15.

8 Confident-Boosting Tips To Prepare For The GED Test

Are you planning to take the GED test? If so, the first thing you would want to consider is to prepare yourself for it. You have various options for an effective GED test prep program. Attending adult classes is one of them. However, you might be uncomfortable studying with other students, or the night schedule might be impossible to fit in your routine. The best and primary choice that you basically want to keep to is to study on your own, in the comfort of your home.

Fret not. There is a solution to your dilemma. It’s perfectly understandable because research has shown that the most motivated students do self-study for their exams. Here are 8 tips to take into account for your personal GED test prep program.

  • Know your state’s requirements for taking the GED. Before you begin with your test prep, initially determine what your state’s requirements are for taking a GED credential. This is the first thing that you have to ascertain so that you don’t end up spending money for unnecessary test prep what-nots.
  • Choose an effective test prep study guide. Try searching in your local library or bookstore. You’ll find that there is a wide selection of review materials that teach different approaches to studying for the GED. Browse through materials that interest you, or flip through the first few pages and chapters. Pick a book that you feel you can respond better to. Then again, note that GED review books from these sources could be costly. In this case, you can purchase from a used book store or the Internet. Otherwise, you can utilize a reliable online GED test prep and study guide.
  • Participate in an online GED class. You can refer to a trusted and credible GED online class website to join a thriving community of test takers just like you. The best part of this is that it is for free. Joining an online class gives you the privacy to study at home and at your own pace. In the same way as studying on your own online, you’ll be taking the GED test in person, in a computer in an accredited testing center.
  • Create your own space or corner for studying. Your study corner should allow you the comfort and privacy of studying by yourself for as long as you want. No distractions from your spouse, siblings, friends, children or pets.
  • Be in the know about what you’ll encounter in the test. What topics are found in the GED test? You have to search for more information about it. This way, you can figure out what subjects you need to study about. In the same way, take GED practice tests so that you can decipher which subjects you are bad and good at. Respectively, you have to concentrate on boosting your knowledge on your weak points.
  • Note down your questions and take paper and online practice tests. What questions and facts do you keep missing? Write them down in your notebook. Take written and online practice tests so you can gauge where you are at in the moment. This method will enhance your confidence, too, because it will orient you to what goes on in the actual GED test. Thus, you can do away with the dreadful test anxiety.
  • When you feel that you are ready, register in your local testing center. Remember that there is no accredited website that offers the GED test. You have to take the computerized GED test personally in a certified testing center.
  • Relax and take your test. Don’t stress yourself when taking the GED exam. Relax and take it easy. It is essential to be dedicated and committed to your test prep so that you can be confident in taking your exam. Believe in yourself and that you can pass the GED test with flying colors.