Investigating the Feasibility and Comparability of Alternative Means for Assessing Students with Disabilities

Wednesday, June 22, 2011: 10:30 AM-11:30 AM
Florida Ballroom C (Peabody Orlando)
  • 2011 NCSA HumRRO Alternative Means ALL PPs.pdf (1.2 MB)
  • Content Strands:
    1. Equity and Access
    2. Assessment Purposes and Types
    Students with disabilities are currently exempt from California’s high school exit examination (CAHSEE) requirement, pending determination by the board of education that an “alternative means” to the exam is feasible. This session presents findings from California’s investigation of alternative means to the CAHSEE and invites discussion of equity and access to assessments for special education students via alternative means.

    This year’s National Conference on Student Assessment theme explores how assessments can be changed to better match the school learning experiences and environment, which themselves have by necessity been transformed to better prepare students for the 21st century challenge of transitioning to college and work. This session responds to that theme by illustrating how potential alternative means to a high stakes high school exit exam, the CAHSEE, might be designed and implemented to provide students with disabilities the opportunity to achieve a diploma.

    The session will include three presentations and a discussion of the general question, “For students with disabilities, who consistently perform below their peers on standardized tests such as the CAHSEE, what alternatives might there be to ensure students are being measured in a way that motivates and engages them, and enables them to show what they have learned and are able to do?”

    The presentations are as follows: (1) an overview by California Department of Education (CDE) staff on steps taken by CDE to address the educational policy issue regarding students with disabilities and the CAHSEE requirement, (2) a description of findings by American Institutes for Research (AIR) staff from their study of an individual assessment strategy used with a population of students with disabilities who had taken but not passed the CAHSEE, and (3) a description of findings by Human Resources Research Organization (HumRRO) staff from their analysis of the feasibility and comparability of the alternative means to the CAHSEE proposed by the state-appointed AB 2040 Panel.

    Diane Hernandez from CDE will deliver the first presentation, describing the formation of the AB 2040 Panel and its recommendations for alternative means. Fran Stancavage of AIR will then provide details about her study’s student sample, modified assessment methods, and student performance outcomes. Michele Hardoin and Wade Buckland, lead researchers of HumRRO’s study, will deliver the final presentation, highlighting the outcomes of their survey of California special education experts regarding the feasibility and comparability of the AB 2040 Panel’s recommendations.

    Following the presentations, moderator Lauress Wise of HumRRO (project manager of the independent evaluation of the CAHSEE since 2001 and current Co-Chair of the committee to revise the Standards for Educational and Psychological Testing), and discussants Martha Thurlow and Daniel Wiener will facilitate audience dialogue on the challenges and opportunities for developing and implementing alternative means for assessments in California and other states.

    Lead Presenter: