Reports

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Educational Outcomes

NCEO Policy Directions

Cover of Policy Directions 21A report series addressing national policy issues related to standards, assessments, and students with disabilities. Published by the Institute’s National Center on Educational Outcomes. • Cost: Free, available only on the Web

Policy Directions 21: Using Growth for Accountability: Considerations for Students with Disabilities
By M. Thurlow, S. Lazarus, R. Quenemoen, and R. Moen
The academic progress of students is an important indicator of educational success. For school accountability systems, using a growth model to report on a student’s academic growth can be viewed as an addition to or a replacement for a status model. Status models compare the performance of a cohort of students in a grade one year with the performance of another cohort of students in the same grade the preceding year. Growth models typically track the achievement of individual students from year to year. This Policy Directions issue provides considerations and recommendations on growth models for students with disabilities. (2010)

Policy Directions 20: Planning Alignment Studies For Alternate Assessments Based on Alternate Achievement Standards
By S. Wakeman, C. Flowers, and D. Browder
A report providing states with information on the components to consider with an external vendor when planning a study of the alignment of alternate assessment based on alternate achievement standards (AA-AAS) with grade-level content standards. It also addresses guidance for maximizing resources spent to determine alignment of the AA-AAS. (2007)

Policy Directions 19: Aligning Alternate Assessments to Grade Level Content Standards: Issues and Considerations for Alternates Based on Alternate Achievement Standards
By S. Wakeman, C. Flowers, and D. Browder
A report providing states with information on issues that complicate alignment of alternate assessments based on alternate achievement standards. It also provides information on existing alignment models that can be used for alignment studies. (2007)

Additional Issues of Policy Directions

Archived Issues of NCEO Policy Directions

These older issues of NCEO Policy Directions have been archived because some of the information they contain may be out of date. They may still be useful for some types of research, teaching, or information gathering.

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NCEO Special Reports

A collection of reports addressing educational policies, practices, and outcomes in relation to students with disabilities. Published by the Institute's National Center on Educational Outcomes (NCEO). • Cost: Free, available only on the Web

Cover of IVARED reportNew!
Assessment Principles and Guidelines for ELLs with Disabilities

Edited by M. L. Thurlow, K. K. Liu, J. M. Ward, and L. L. Christensen
A report detailing the work of an Institute project called Improving the Validity of Assessment Results for English Language Learners with Disabilities (IVARED) that has identified essential principles of inclusive and valid assessments for English language learners (ELLs) with disabilities. These principles were developed from a review process with nationally recognized experts in special education, English as a second language or bilingual education, assessment, and accountability. Additional input was obtained through discussion of the principles at national assessment and education conferences, as well as during meetings of the Council of Chief State School Officers State Collaborative on Assessments and Student Standards (SCASS) groups. This report presents five core principles of valid assessments for this population of students, along with a brief rationale and specific guidelines that reflect each principle. Published by the Institute’s National Center on Educational Outcomes. (2013)

 

Cover of Lessons Learned report

Lessons Learned in Federally Funded Projects that Can Improve the Instruction and Assessment of Low Performing Students with Disabilities
Edited by M. L. Thurlow, S. S. Lazarus, and S. Bechard
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. Published by the Institute’s National Center on Educational Outcomes, the Council of Chief State School Officers, and the National Association of State Directors of Special Education. (2013)

Forum on Evaluating Educator Effectiveness: Critical Considerations for Including Students with Disabilities
By S. Warren, M. Thurlow, S. Lazarus, L. Christensen, A. Chartrand, and R. Rieke
A report summarizing the discussion at the Forum on Evaluating Educator Effectiveness held in June 2012 in Minneapolis. Thirty-six individuals representing a dozen states, four testing companies, and six other organizations participated in the forum, which was a pre-session to the Council of Chief State School Officers National Conference on Student Assessment, and was a collaboration of the Assessing Special Education Students State Collaborative on Assessment and State Standards and the National Center on Educational Outcomes. Its purpose was to address the challenging issues that exist in including students with disabilities and their teachers in educator evaluation systems, and to provide state representatives and other interested parties with an opportunity to meet and share their perspectives on this topic, particularly in light of the changing nature of accountability systems across the United States. This report summarizes the introductory material provided to participants, and presents a summary of the discussions in three facilitated topic discussion sessions focusing on including assessment results of students with disabilities, using IEP goals or student learning objectives, and developing a balanced model for educator effectiveness evaluations. Published by the Institute’s National Center on Educational Outcomes, and the Council of Chief State School Officers, Assessing Special Education Students State Collaborative on Assessment and Student Standards. (2012)

 

Cover of Focused Approach Planning GuideThe Focused Approach Planning Guide: Tools to Improve Student Access
By K. S. Beloin and S. Berndt
A report describing an activity conducted by the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction to refine and pilot a set of planning tools that can be used to improve access of all students, including low-performing students with disabilities, to grade-level content. Wisconsin conducted this work as part of the Multi-state GSEG Consortium Toward a Defensible AA-MAS. The intent of this publication is to provide information about such tools so that other educators and planning teams can use them to develop plans that will lead to better access to academic content for all learners. (2012)

Meeting the Needs of Special Education Students: Recommendations for the Race-to-the-Top Consortia and States
By M. Thurlow, R. Quenemoen, and S. Lazarus
A paper identifying several actions for the Race to the Top assessment consortia to take to meet the needs of special education students. They are consistent with standards and principles for assessments, and reflect evolving research and development activities directed toward supporting better assessments for every student. The paper was authored by NCEO staff and produced in partnership with Arabella Advisors. (2011)

Developing and Improving Modified Achievement Level Descriptors: Rationale, Procedures, and Tools
A paper that provides a rationale, procedures, and tools to develop and continuously improve alternate assessments based on modified achievement standards (AA-MAS) achievement level descriptors (ALDs). As states make decisions on whether and how to develop an AA-MAS, they will also be developing a defense of the choices they make. This paper proposes a process to guide state work so that stakeholders and policymakers can articulate, from the very beginning, the educational rationale for their choices and the implications of this rationale for the specific design choices they make related to their ALDs. (2010)

Rethinking Assumptions about Alternate Assessment Based on Alternate Achievement Standards
A paper that seeks to facilitate the process of rethinking assumptions about alternate assessments based on alternate achievement standards (AA-AAS). It presents common misperceptions, followed by the assumptions underlying them and a research response to those assumptions. (2010)

The Characteristics of Low Performing Students on Large-Scale Assessments (NCEO Brief)
By S. Lazarus, Y.-C. Wu, J. Altman, and M. Thurlow
This brief reports the findings of a longitudinal analysis of three years of student-level demographic and performance data for four states: the 2004-05, 2005-06, and 2006-07 school years. Data sets were compiled for each state for students who were in grades 5 and 8 during the 2006-07 school year, and included student performance data on the regular Reading/English Language Arts (ELA) and Mathematics assessment. The goal of this analysis was to learn more about the characteristics of low performing students. (2010)

Improving Accommodations Outcomes: Monitoring Instructional and Assessment Accommodations for Students with Disabilities
By L. Christensen, M. Thurlow, and T. Wang
A document presenting a five-step process for schools, districts, and states to use in monitoring accommodations for instruction and assessment. It was designed to be a companion to the Council of Chief State School Officers’ Accommodations Manual: How to Select, Administer, and Evaluate Use of Accommodations for Instruction and Assessment of Students with Disabilities (2005), which applies to students with disabilities who participate in large-scale assessments and the instruction they receive. Each step provides monitoring questions to ask, current examples from states, samples of forms that might be used, a checklist for evaluating a state’s activities for each step, and space for action planning and questions. Appendices contain a glossary of terms related to monitoring and sample forms that can be adapted for use. (2009)

Thinking About the Students Who May Qualify to Participate in An Alternate Assessment Based on Modified Academic Achievement Standards (AA-MAS): A Tool for Study Groups
By S. Berndt and B. Ebben
A report describing an activity used by the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction to learn more about the characteristics of students who may qualify to participate in an alternate assessment based on modified academic achievement standards (AA-MAS). Wisconsin is a member of the Multi-State GSEG Consortium Toward a Defensible AA-MAS, a project of the Institute’s National Center on Educational Outcomes (NCEO) in collaboration with the Departments of Education in Alabama, Hawaii, South Dakota, Tennessee, and Wisconsin. (2008)

Trends in the Participation and Performance of Students with Disabilities
By J. Altman, M. Thurlow, and R. Quenemoen
A brief describing the results of an analysis of trends in the public reporting of state assessment results for students with disabilities. The analysis was conducted on a compilation of publicly reported assessment data gathered from state Web sites and personnel during the data collection for four previous analyses completed by the Institute’s National Center on Educational Outcomes (NCEO). These data were supplemented with data obtained from current state education Web sites. This trend analysis covered the years 2001-02 to 2004-05, and examined both participation and performance. The goal of the analysis was to determine: (1) Whether progress has been made by states in publicly reporting the participation and performance of students with disabilities on state assessments, and (2) the nature of trends in the four years of participation and performance data for students with disabilities. This Brief is based on the 2008 report, Technical Report 50: Trends in the Participation and Performance of Students with Disabilities, published by NCEO. (2008)

Learning Opportunities for Your Child Through Alternate Assessments: Alternate Assessments Based on Modified Academic Achievement Standards
By C. Cortiella
A guide produced by the National Center on Educational Outcomes (NCEO) to help parents of students with disabilities understand a new state alternate assessment allowable under No Child Left Behind. While few states are currently offering this assessment option, some will be developing it in the coming years. Parents will need to understand what it is and how to decide if it is the right option for their child. (2007)

NCLB and IDEA: What Parents of Students with Disabilities Need to Know and Do
By C. Cortiella
A guide informing parents of students with disabilities about the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) and the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). These are two of the nation’s most important federal laws relating to public education. While NCLB seeks to improve the education of all children – especially children from low-income families – IDEA focuses on the individual child and seeks to ensure specialized services for children with disabilities so they may benefit from education. Lately, these two laws have taken on new importance to parents of students with disabilities. NCLB provisions apply to all students, including those whose disabilities require special education. So parents need to understand the requirements of NCLB. IDEA, in its latest update by Congress, has been more closely aligned with NCLB, making it equally important that parents know how the two laws work together to improve academic achievement of students with disabilities. (2006)

NCLB e IDEA: Lo que los Padres de Estudiantes con Discapacidades Necesitan Saber y Hacer
Original text by C. Cortiella; translated by M. Gonzalez
A Spanish translation of NCEO’s Special Report from 2006, NCLB and IDEA: What Parents of Students with Disabilities Need to Know and Do (above). This tool assists parents of students with disabilities in their understanding of the main provisions of NCLB and IDEA, how these laws intersect, and what the implications are for students with disabilities. 

Hints and Tips for Addressing Accommodations Issues for Peer Review
By L. Christensen, K. Lail, and M. Thurlow
A report examining the key accommodations issues that have arisen for states in the recent federal standards and assessments peer review process. The report by the Institute’s National Center on Educational Outcomes (NCEO) was developed in collaboration with the Assessing Special Education Students (ASES) State Collaborative on Assessment and Student Standards (SCASS), and results from an analysis of peer review comments on accommodations. This publication highlights examples of assessment accommodations that were considered acceptable and unacceptable for peer review and includes NCEO recommendations for best practices with regard to assessment accommodations. (2007)

Additional Special Reports

Archived Issues of NCEO Special Reports

These older issues of NCEO Special Reports have been archived because some of the information they contain may be out of date. They may still be useful for some types of research, teaching, or information gathering.

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NCEO Annual Performance Reports

A series of reports summarizing assessment data from State Performance Plans. Published by the Institute's National Center on Educational Outcomes (NCEO). • Cost: Free, available only on the Web

New!
2010-2011 APR Snapshot #6: AA-AAS Participation and Performance
By M. Vang and M. Thurlow
A brief summarizing Alternate Assessment based on Alternate Achievement Standards (AA-AAS) data used for Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) accountability. Using federally submitted data from the 2010-2011 school year, the authors present information on the number of students participating in the AA-AAS and the performance of those students. (2013)

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2010-2011 APR Snapshot #5: Assessment Accommodations Use by Students Receiving Special Education Services
By M. Thurlow and M. Vang
A brief providing information on the number of students with disabilities using accommodations and the performance of students with disabilities on the general statewide assessment used for Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) accountability. Using federally submitted data from the 2010-2011 school year, the authors present information on accommodations for reading and mathematics statewide assessments administered to grade 8 students (and grade 4 to show a comparison to grade 8 data). (2013)

2010-2011 APR Snapshot #4: State Assessment Participation and Performance of Students Receiving Special Education Services
By M. Vang and M. Thurlow
A brief providing a snapshot of the participation and performance of students receiving special education services in statewide assessments used for Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) accountability. Using federally submitted data from the 2010-2011 school year, the brief presents information on participation and performance in reading and mathematics statewide assessments administered to grade 8 students. (2013)

2008-2009 APR Snapshot #3: AA-AAS Participation and Performance
By M. Thurlow, J. Altman, and M. Vang
A brief summarizing the Alternate Assessment based on Alternate Achievement Standards (AA-AAS) data used for Elementary and Secondary Education Act accountability. Each state has developed an AA-AAS to measure the academic achievement of students with significant cognitive disabilities. This brief uses federally-submitted data from the 2008-2009 school year to present information on the number of students participating in the AA-AAS and the performance of those students. (2012)

2008-2009 APR Snapshot #2: Assessment Accommodations Use by Special Education Students
By M. Vang, M. Thurlow, and J. Altman
A brief providing information on the number of special education students using accommodations and the performance of special education students on the general statewide assessment used for Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) accountability. Assessment accommodations are changes in testing materials or procedures that allow students to show their knowledge and skills rather than the effects of their disabilities. Using federally submitted data from the 2008-2009 school year, we present information on accommodations for reading and mathematics statewide assessments administered to grade 8 students (and grade 4 to show a comparison to grade 8 data). Figures displaying statewide accommodations data for other grades are provided in this report via links following Figures 1, 2, and 3. Data tables for all grade levels are available from NCEO at http://nceo.info/APRbriefs/data. (2012)

2008-2009 APR Snapshot #1: State Assessment Participation and Performance of Special Education Students
By J. Altman, M. Vang, and M. Thurlow
A brief providing a snapshot of the participation and performance of special education students in statewide assessments used for Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) accountability. Using federally submitted data from the 2008-2009 school year, NCEO researchers present information on participation and performance in reading and mathematics statewide assessments administered to grade 8 students. Figures displaying statewide assessment data for other grades are provided in this report following Figures 1, 2, 3, and 4. Data tables for all grade levels are available from NCEO at www.nceo.info/APRsnapshot/data. Data for the unique states is not shown in the figures of this report but is available at www.nceo.info/APRsnapshot/data. (2012)

Annual Performance Report: 2007-2008 State Assessment Data
By M. Thurlow, J. Altman, D. Cormier, and M. Vang
States and other educational entities receiving Part B funding under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) submitted their Annual Performance Reports and Section 618 Table 6 data together to the U.S. Secretary of Education on or before April 2009. This report summarizes the 2007-2008 state assessment information that was submitted by states in their Annual Performance Reports. It contains information on large-scale assessment participation and performance data for the 2007-2008 school year plus a look at recent trends. (2010)

Additional Performance Reports


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