- Transitioning special populations
Since the passage of NCLB, few assessments have experienced more transition than Alternate Assessments based on Alternate Achievement Standards (AA-AAS). Among those transitions in many states has been the move to technology-dependent formats. Mississippi and Idaho have recently transitioned their AA-AAS systems from paper and pencil assessments to online portfolios, affecting not only the assessments for exceptional learners, but also providing bridges to instruction. This session will address the challenges and successes associated with these transitions. Their experiences find significant relevance in the transition of state assessments that can be applied to portfolio-type evidence and recorded performance tasks for all students.
In order to assess a student’s understanding of the breadth and depth of content standards on the AA-AAS, many states have resorted to complex portfolio or other evidence-based systems. Most of these systems are heavily dependent on a teacher’s ability to accurately follow a series of directions, collect the appropriate evidence, then assemble the evidence for submission to the state or a contractor for validation and/or scoring. This process takes a significant commitment on behalf of the state department of education as well as the teachers and the vendor. As with the introduction of any new program or administration format, there may be unexpected and unintended consequences. While the introduction of technology can reduce time and increase the accuracy of results through the mitigation of human error, it can also initially introduce new complexities and unexpected challenges for all levels of the administration process from students and teachers to the State and its contractors.
Mississippi and Idaho Department of Education staff will each provide a history of the evolution of the states’ alternate assessments, including rationale for their decisions to move to more technology-dependent formats. In addition to the changes in the assessment itself, this presentation will focus on how the benefits of the change in assessment delivery and reporting can assist with monitoring and, and also directly benefit student instruction and supports for teachers.
Representatives from the Mississippi and Idaho Departments of Education, Measured Progress, and Behavior Imaging Solutions will discuss all aspects of the transition process, including offering helpful suggestions to others that are embarking on similar transitions.