Lessons Learned in Federally Funded Projects that Can Improve the Instruction and Assessment of Low Performing Students with Disabilities

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A report detailing the work of researchers from projects funded by the U.S. Department of Education in 2006-2007 under three funding sources (General Supervision Enhancement Grants, Enhanced Assessment Grants, and Supplemental Funding) who were invited to compile their major findings and discuss the lessons they learned from their studies on alternate assessments based on modified achievement standards (AA-MAS). The intent of this publication is to carry these lessons forward to the creators of next generation assessments. The timing for this information is critical, as funding for AA-MAS research has ended, and administration of AA-MAS tests is expected to cease in many states when new assessments are ready in 2014-2015. Almost all students with disabilities who were eligible for an AA-MAS will then be participating in the new general assessments. It is imperative that the lessons learned from this group of projects about the students and the barriers they experience during assessment are well understood as these changes occur. Researchers report on 14 separate projects involving 26 states, and the report is organized into four main sections: The Students, Test Development, Technology-enhanced Assessment, and System Implications.

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