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Educational Outcomes (cont.)

NCEO Synthesis Reports

Cover of Synthesis Report 89A series of reports examining assessment and accommodations policies and practices in relation to students with disabilities. Published by the Institute’s National Center on Educational Outcomes. • Cost: Free, available only on the Web

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Synthesis Report 89: States' Flexibility Plans for Phasing Out the Alternate Assessment Based on Modified Academic Achievement Standards (AA-MAS) by 2014-15

By S. S. Lazarus, M. L. Thurlow, and L. M. Edwards
A report compiling, analyzing, and summarizing states' plans for phasing out the alternate assessment based on modified achievement standards (AA-MAS) in their approved waiver applications. The U.S. Department of Education offered states the flexibility waiver from some of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) accountability requirements on condition that the states provide a plan to phase out the use of the AA-MAS for ESEA accountability by the 2014-15 school year. (2013)

Synthesis Report 88: Alternate Assessments Based on Alternate Achievement Standards (AA-AAS) Participation Policies
By D. Albus and M. Thurlow
A report focusing on participation policies for alternate assessments based on alternate achievement standards (AA-AAS). Since 1992, NCEO has analyzed participation and accommodation policies for students with disabilities on state administered assessments, and has developed reports on policies for regular assessments, AA-AAS, and alternate assessments based on modified achievement standards (AA-MAS). Publicly available participation guidelines were compiled and analyzed for 58 states and entities (Washington DC, Guam, etc.). In addition to providing a national picture of policies, it presents the results of the policy analysis by each of the four content assessment consortia that have been funded to develop new assessment systems: two that are developing regular assessment systems (Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers – PARCC, and Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium – SBAC), and two that are developing systems for alternate assessments based on alternate achievement standards (Dynamic Learning Maps – DLM, and National Center and State Collaborative – NCSC). (2012)

Synthesis Report 87: Learning Progressions in K-8 Classrooms: How Progress Maps Can Influence Classroom Practice and Perceptions and Help Teachers Make More Informed Instructional Decisions in Support of Struggling Learners
By K. K. Hess
A report describing perceptions and practices of Hawaii teachers using progress maps (learning progressions) to inform their understanding of how struggling learners progress during the school year in language arts or mathematics. Participants included (K-8) elementary and middle school teachers from six Hawaii public schools. Each teacher selected five students in his or her classroom to document progress and collect work samples from at least two quarters during the 2010-2011 school year; several of these students were ones who might have been eligible for and participated in an Alternate Assessment based on Modified Achievement Standards (AA-MAS) if Hawaii had developed one. Multiple data collection tools and processes were developed for use in this project and are described in the report. Findings from the year-long effort addressed (a) teachers’ reflections on practice (instruction, assessment, and instructional decisions), (b) teachers’ perceptions on learners and learning pathways, (c) facilitated collaboration sessions), and (d) unanticipated activities. This report addresses each of those, as well as the implications of the project for professional development support. (2012)

Synthesis Report 86: Educating Struggling Learners: Reflections on Lessons Learned about Curriculum, Instruction, and Assessment
By V. Kurizaki
A report presenting a first-person account of someone on the front lines of school reform, specifically focusing on inclusive assessment practices as they influence curriculum, instruction, and assessment at the local and state levels. The author, Valerie Kurizaki, works within the Hawai'i State Department of Education to ensure systemic standards implementation that supports all students, especially struggling learners. Her story suggests many themes that are similar to those in districts around the country where systematic reform has improved outcomes for all students, including students with disabilities. (2011)

Synthesis Report 85: Characteristics of States' Alternate Assessments Based on Modified Academic Achievement Standards in 2010-2011
By L. M. Price, J. R. Hodgson, S. S. Lazarus, and M. L. Thurlow
A report tracking test design changes between the alternate assessment based on modified academic achievement standards (AA-MAS) and regular assessment, whether states' AA-MAS were computer-based, whether states with computer-based tests (CBTs) included tutorial and practice test opportunities, and whether states' documents included considerations for English Language Learners (ELLs) with disabilities. Federal regulations introduced AA-MAS as another assessment option for students with disabilities in 2007. Eligible students may be from any disability category, and they must be considered unlikely to achieve grade-level proficiency within the time period covered by their Individualized Education Program (IEP) and have IEP goals based on grade-level content standards. NCEO has been tracking the characteristics of states' AA-MAS since 2007. According to the 2009 NCEO update on test characteristics, 13 states had developed what they considered to be an AA-MAS, and three states (Texas, Kansas, and Louisiana) had received federal approval. The further study reported in this publication found 17 states that by the 2010-11 academic school year had developed, or were developing, what they considered to be an AA-MAS, and one additional state (North Carolina) had received federal approval. (2011)

Synthesis Report 84: Professional Development to Improve Accommodations Decisions - A Review of the Literature
By J. R. Hodgson, S. S. Lazarus, and M. L. Thurlow
A report summarizing the research literature for both professional development on accommodations decision making, and traditional and high-quality online teacher professional development. NCEO conducted this literature review to prepare for the online training that the center is developing for Alabama's teacher professional development. (2011)

Synthesis Report 83: 2009 State Policies on Assessment Participation and Accommodations for Students with Disabilities
By L. L. Christensen, M. Braam, S. Scullin, and M. L. Thurlow
A report updating information on the state policies on assessment participation and accommodations that NCEO has been tracking and analyzing since 1992. NCEO last reported this information on these policies in 2008 (based on 2007 data). Policies from all 50 states and the District of Columbia are included in the report. In addition, current state accommodations policies were analyzed by grade and content area. (2011)

Synthesis Report 82: States' Participation Guidelines for Alternate Assessments Based on Modified Academic Achievement Standards (AA-MAS) in 2010
By S. S. Lazarus, J. R. Hodgson, L. M. Price, and M. L. Thurlow
A report updating the information that the National Center on Educational Outcomes has annually compiled, analyzed, and summarized since 2007 about states' participation guidelines for the Alternate Assessment based on Alternate Achievement Standards (AA-MAS). As of November 2010, 17 states – California, Connecticut, Georgia, Indiana, Kansas, Louisiana, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Texas, and Virginia – had publicly available participation guidelines for an assessment the state considered to be an AA-MAS. As of February 2011, four states – Kansas, Louisiana, North Carolina, and Texas – had successfully completed the U.S. Department of Education's peer review process that determines whether the assessment fulfills the necessary requirements for the state to receive federal funds. (2011)

Synthesis Report 81: Accommodations: Results of a Survey of Alabama Special Education Teachers
By J. R. Altman, D. C. Cormier, S. S. Lazarus, M. L. Thurlow, M. Holbrook, M. Byers, D. Chambers, M. Moore, and N. Pence
A report containing the findings from a survey of 2,336 special education teachers in the state of Alabama on making and implementing decisions about accommodations. A number of areas of strength were noted in the survey responses provided by this large sample of Alabama special education teachers. The special education teachers who responded to the survey demonstrated overall knowledge of accommodations use, despite the challenging items presented to them. Nevertheless, there is an evident need for professional development on making accommodations decisions and on implementing accommodations for instruction and assessment. (2010)

Synthesis Report 80: Characteristics of States’ Alternate Assessments Based on Modified Academic Achievement Standards in 2009-2010
By J. R. Hodgson, S. S., Lazarus, and M. L. Thurlow
A report tracking the characteristics of states’ alternate assessments based on alternate achievement standards (AA-MAS) that the National Center on Educational Outcomes has been following since 2007. The current report found 13 states that by the 2009-10 school year had developed, or were developing, what they considered to be an AA-MAS, and two additional states (Kansas and Louisiana) had received federal approval. This study also tracked whether states’ AA-MAS were computer-based and whether the states’ documents included considerations for English language learners (ELLs) with disabilities. Four of the thirteen states had a computer-based test. Documents from six states suggested that the needs of ELL students participating in the AA-MAS were considered. (2010)

Synthesis Report 79: Who Are the Students Who May Qualify for an Alternate Assessment Based on Modified Academic Achievement Standards (AA-MAS)? Focus Group Results
By S. Berndt, B. Ebben, E. Kubinski, G. Sim, K. Liu, S. Lazarus, M. Thurlow, and E. Christian
A report summarizing the results of educator focus groups conducted by one state in a consortium dedicated to studying alternate assessments based on modified achievement standards (AA-MAS) eligibility issues. In 2008 and 2009, the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction held three focus groups to accomplish three specific goals: (1) To help educators become familiar with federal regulatory language about students eligible for the AA-MAS; (2) to familiarize educators with issues that must be considered when determining which students might qualify for the AA-MAS; and (3) to help educators identify strategies for improving instruction and assessment practices for struggling learners. (2011)

Synthesis Report 78: Computer-based Testing: Practices and Considerations
By M. Thurlow, S. Lazarus, D. Albus, and J. Hodgson
A report exploring the context of computer-based testing (CBT), current state computer-based tests, and considerations for students with disabilities, in part as follow-up to a similar exploration that occurred in the early 2000s when just a few states were beginning to develop and implement CBT for their state assessments. CBT has emerged as one of the recent “innovative” approaches to assessments most pursued by states. CBT is lauded as the answer to having cheaper and speedier test delivery for state and district-wide assessments. It is also seen by some as an avenue toward greater accessibility for students with disabilities. Nine considerations for states and districts are presented. (2010)

Synthesis Report 77: Science Assessments for Students with Disabilities in School Year 2006-2007: What We Know about Participation, Performance, and Accommodations
By M. Thurlow, C. Rogers, and L. Christensen
A report documenting the inclusion of students with disabilities in state science assessments in 2006-2007, the period just before the required implementation of statewide science assessments. The success of all students, including students with disabilities, on statewide assessments in mathematics and reading/English language arts has been examined closely, partly due to the role of these content areas in school accountability for the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) known as “No Child Left Behind” (NCLB). States also were expected to establish science content standards by 2005-2006, and to develop assessments in science by 2007-2008. (2010)

Synthesis Report 76: Earning a High School Diploma through Alternative Routes
By M. Thurlow, M. Vang, and D. Cormier
A report based on a study examining the alternative routes to passing the high school exit exam that were available during the school year 2008-09 to students to earn a standard high school diploma. It examines alternative routes in the 26 states with active or soon-to-be active exit exams, and documents the alternative routes available for all students and those specifically for students with disabilities. Earning a standard diploma has increased in importance during the past several years. Not only is it a document that improves postschool outcomes, but it also has become a part of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) accountability system at the high school level—with the required graduation rate including only those students who have earned a regular/standard high school diploma or higher. Complicating matters in several states is the addition of an exit exam requirement to the traditional coursework requirements. The addition of a testing requirement to other requirements for earning a standard diploma is a challenge for students who do not perform well on assessments. Many, but not all, of these students have disabilities. (2010)

Synthesis Report 75: States’ Participation Guidelines for Alternate Assessments Based on Modified Academic Achievement Standards (AA-MAS) in 2009
By S. Lazarus, J. Hodgson, and M. Thurlow
A report updating information in previous National Center on Educational Outcomes (NCEO) reports that, since 2007, have annually compiled, analyzed, and summarized states’ participation guidelines for the Alternate Assessments based on Modified Achievement Standards (AA-MAS). As of October 2009, 14 states had publicly-available participation guidelines for an assessment they considered to be an AA-MAS. Results from this study suggest that states are continuing to develop or update their participation guidelines. (2010)

Synthesis Report 74: States’ Accommodations Policies for Alternate Assessments Based on Modified Academic Achievement Standards (AA-MAS) in 2008–2009
By S. Lazarus, D. Cormier, M. Crone, and M. Thurlow
A report presenting the results of an analysis of states’ accommodations policies for the Alternate Assessment based on Modified Achievement Standards (AA-MAS), and compares these policies with the states’ regular assessment accommodations policies. This is the first time that the Institute’s National Center on Educational Outcomes (NCEO) has published a report that is specifically focused on AA-MAS accommodations policies. (2010)

Synthesis Report 73: Common Misperceptions and Research-Based Recommendations for Alternate Assessment Based on Alternate Achievement Standards
By R. Quenemoen, J. Kearns, M. Quenemoen, C. Flowers, and H. Kleinert
A report exploring misperceptions about assessments and the students who are assessed using Alternate Assessments based on Alternate Achievement Standards (AA-AAS). The misperceptions have been encountered by the National Alternate Assessment Center (NAAC) and National Center on Educational Outcomes (NCEO) in their collaborative work with states and educators on the AA-AAS. AA-AAS are designed so that students with the most significant cognitive disabilities can be included in large-scale accountability testing, and promote their access to the same interesting and challenging curriculum as their peers. This report explores common misperceptions related to three major themes: (a) the characteristics of students who participate in AA-AAS; (b) the content that should be taught and assessed by teachers; and (c) issues regarding the purpose and the validity of AA-AAS outcomes. For each misperception, it proposes research-based recommendations to address them, and refers to the recent literature on assessment, curriculum, and instruction for students with the most significant disabilities to support its analysis and recommendations. (2010)

Synthesis Report 72: Characteristics of States’ Alternate Assessments Based on Modified Academic Achievement Standards in 2008
By D. Albus, S. Lazarus, M. Thurlow, and D. Cormier
A report describing an assessment option permitted by federal regulations that give states the flexibility to offer an alternate assessment based on modified academic achievement standards (AA-MAS). This assessment option is for a small group of students with disabilities who can make significant progress but may not reach grade-level proficiency within the time period covered by their Individualized Education Program. Students who participate in an AA-MAS must have access to grade-level content. States are not required to offer this option. This report compiles, analyzes, and summarizes states’ participation guidelines for the AA-MAS. (2009)

Synthesis Report 71: States’ Participation Guidelines for Alternate Assessments Based on Modified Academic Achievement Standards (AA-MAS) in 2008
By S. Lazarus, C. Rogers, D. Cormier, and M. Thurlow
A report describing an assessment option permitted by federal regulations that give states the flexibility to offer an alternate assessment based on modified academic achievement standards (AA-MAS). This assessment option is for a small group of students with disabilities who can make significant progress but may not reach grade-level proficiency within the time period covered by their Individualized Education Program. Students who participate in an AA-MAS must have access to grade-level content. States are not required to offer this option. This report compiles, analyzes, and summarizes states’ participation guidelines for the AA-MAS. (2008)

Synthesis Report 70: A Principled Approach to Accountability Assessments for Students with Disabilities
By M. Thurlow, R. Quenemoen, S. Lazarus, R. Moen, C. Johnstone, K. Liu, L. Christensen, D. Albus, and J. Altman
A 2008 report updating the National Center on Educational Outcomes’ (NCEO) report from 2001 that identified principles and characteristics underlying inclusive assessment and accountability systems. This report on a principled approach to accountability assessments for students with disabilities reflects what the center has learned during the past seven years. The principles provide a vision for an inclusive system of assessments used for system accountability. The report addresses state and district K-12 academic content assessments designed for system accountability and focuses on all students with disabilities, including targeted groups of students within this group (e.g., English Language Learners with disabilities). Multiple stakeholders share the common goal of improving educational outcomes for all students have reviewed and commented on the principles and characteristics presented here. (2008)

Synthesis Report 69: 2007 State Policies on Assessment Participation and Accommodations for Students with Disabilities
By L. Christensen, S. Lazarus, M. Crone, and M. Thurlow
A 2008 report updating the National Center on Educational Outcomes’ (NCEO) report from 2006 that tracked and analyzed state policies on assessment participation and accommodations since 1992. The purpose of the current analysis is to update information on these policies that was last reported by NCEO in 2006 (based on 2005 data). In this analysis, policies from all 50 states, plus 8 of the unique states, were reviewed. The current analysis of states’ 2007 participation and accommodation policies found that state policies on participation and accommodation continue to evolve, and that they have become more detailed and specific than in previous years. (2008)

Synthesis Report 68: A Brief History of Alternate Assessments Based on Alternate Achievement Standards
By R. Quenemoen
A 2008 report reviewing the previous 15 years of alternate assessment development, from the early 1990s through the mid-2000s, as reported by state directors of special education on the Institute’s National Center on Educational Outcomes (NCEO) state surveys, and augmented by other research and policy reports published by NCEO and related organizations during that timeframe. This is a resource for state and federal policymakers and staff, researchers, test companies, and the public and it helps explain the evolution of alternate assessment for students with significant cognitive disabilities. (2008)

Additonal Synthesis Reports

Archived Issues of NCEO Synthesis Reports

These older issues of NCEO Synthesis 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 Technical Reports

Cover of NCEO Technical Report 67A series of reports published by the Institute’s National Center on Educational Outcomes. • Cost: Free, available only on the Web

Technical Report 67: Using Cognitive Labs to Evaluate Student Experiences with the Read-Aloud Accommodation in Math
By S. S. Lazarus, M. L. Thurlow, R. Rieke, D. Halpin, and T. Dillon
A report describing a study of the read-aloud accommodation, which is frequently used on mathematics assessments. However, Individualized Education Program (IEP) teams often find it difficult to make appropriate decisions about this accommodation. NCEO and the South Dakota Department of Education examined how students performed on a math test with the read-aloud accommodation compared to how they performed without it. The study also explored students' perceptions of how the accommodation worked. Results from the study, found in this report, can help inform local and state level policies and procedures. (2012)

Technical Report 66: Test Administrators’ Perspectives on the Use of the Read Aloud Accommodation in Math on State Tests for Accountability
By J. R. Hodgson, S. S. Lazarus, L. M. Price, J. R. Altman, and M. L. Thurlow
A report describing a study conducted by NCEO, in collaboration with the South Dakota Department of Education, that used focus group methodology to look closer at what happens in the room on test day when the read-aloud accommodation is used on mathematics assessments. Focus groups were conducted with educators who had administered the read-aloud accommodation for the South Dakota state mathematics assessment. Focus group discussions revealed a variety of issues on the read-aloud accommodation. Results from this study may inform local and state level policies on read-aloud administration. (2012)

Technical Report 65: A Summary of the Research on the Effects of Test Accommodations: 2009-2010
By C. M. Rogers, E. M. Christian, and M. L. Thurlow
A report providing an update on the state of the research on testing accommodations as well as identifying promising future areas of research. Previous reports by NCEO have covered research published since 1999. The authors summarize the research to review current research trends and enhance understanding of the implications of accommodations use in the development of future policy directions, implementation of current and new accommodations, and valid and reliable interpretations when accommodations are used in testing situations. In 2009 and 2010, 48 published research studies on the topic of testing accommodations were found. The studies in 2009-2010 demonstrated several similarities when viewing them in comparison with previous research, especially in relation to the 2007-2008 studies examined in the previous accommodations research review. However, there were several differences, or shifts, as well. (2012)

Technical Report 64: Rules for Audio Representation of Science Items on a Statewide Assessment: Results of a Comparative Study
By C. Johnstone, C. Rogers, and Y.-C. Wu
A report describing a study that investigated an online auditory feature of an assessment designed to provide students who have challenges with print reading with content information. Large-scale educational assessment practice has moved consistently from a paper-and-pencil exercise to online assessments over the past decade. New formats for testing allow for new opportunities to provide students with disabilities access to items so that they may most validly demonstrate their knowledge. In an effort to evaluate the impact of how content is presented in auditory fashion, project personnel at NimbleTools® and the National Center on Educational Outcomes examined three approaches to "scripting" or creating audio representations of items. The results are presented in this report. (2012)

Technical Report 63: An Evaluation of the Extent to Which Teachers Used the “IEP Quality Tutorial-South Dakota” After Training
By S. S. Lazarus, M. L. Thurlow, J. R. Altman, and R. Rieke
A report discussing the use of the "IEP Quality Tutorial-South Dakota (IEPQ-SD)." During the 2010-2011 school year, the state of South Dakota piloted an online program called the "IEP Quality Tutorial-South Dakota (IEPQ-SD)." IEPQ-SD was designed to support the implementation of standards-based IEPs in schools throughout the state. Forty-nine educators in South Dakota participated in training on the IEPQ-SD tool, and they were then given access to the tool so that they could use it in their work with IEPs. This report presents the results of an evaluation of the extent to which teachers used IEPQ-SD after training, and their reactions to it. Interviews were conducted with five of the training participants approximately six months after the training session to learn about educator perceptions of the training, how their work with IEPs has been affected by the training, and how student experiences have been affected by the training. They were also asked what the educators liked about the training and what could be improved for future trainings, and if and how participants thought the IEPQ-SD tool should be rolled out to other educators in South Dakota. (2012)

Technical Report 62: Diploma Options, Graduation Requirements, and Exit Exams for Youth with Disabilities: 2011 National Study
By D. R. Johnson, M. L. Thurlow, and M. J. Schuelka
A report documenting results from the fifth in a series of similar studies on state graduation policies and diploma options conducted by the National Center on Educational Outcomes (NCEO). The present study was undertaken to update the status of graduation policies across the nation. It follows up on previous work, the last study having been conducted in 2006-2007. Three research questions served as the focus of this national study of high school graduation requirements and diploma options for students with and without disabilities: (1) What is the range and variation in state graduation requirements and diploma options across the United States for students with and without disabilities? (2) What are the intended and unintended consequences that result for students when they are required to pass exit exams to receive a high school diploma? And (3) What are the intended and unintended consequences of using single or multiple diploma options for students with disabilities? Results indicated some changes in graduation requirements and diploma options from the previous survey. Trends found include: (a) state and local graduation policies and assessment practices continue to be modified and revised on a regular basis, (b) graduation requirements are increasing in rigor across states, (c) states are continuing to experiment by making available a range of diploma options for students with and without disabilities, and (d) the participation of students with disabilities in high stakes exit exams is increasing and states are granting additional testing allowances and broader use of accommodations. (2012)

Technical Report 61: Tennessee Special Education Teacher Survey: Training, Large-scale Testing, and TCAP-MAAS Administration
By J. R. Altman, D. C. Cormier, S. S. Lazarus, and M. L. Thurlow
A report explaining how Tennessee developed an Alternate Assessment based on Modified Academic Achievement Standards called the Tennessee Comprehensive Assessment Program-Modified Academic Achievement Standards (TCAP-MAAS), that was first administered in 2010. This report from the National Center on Educational Outcomes (NCEO) presents the results of a survey of Tennessee special education teachers regarding this assessment option. The authors sought to learn more about the teachers' perceptions of student experiences and outcomes with the TCAP-MAAS. They asked questions about how the teachers received training about this assessment, sought to measure the extent to which information about the new TCAP-MAAS had reached teachers across the state, and asked about accommodations selection and implementation for instruction and assessment. One section of the survey contained a knowledge quiz that was designed to assess teachers' knowledge of the TCAP-MAAS. The perceptions of teachers whose students took the TCAP-MAAS can provide insights into what is working well and where there were challenges. (2012)

Technical Report 60: Characteristics of Low Performing Special Education and Non-Special Education Students on Large-Scale Assessments
By Y.-C. Wu, K. K. Liu, M. L. Thurlow, S. S. Lazarus, J. Altman, and E. Christian
A report investigating whether the characteristics of the lowest performing students in special education differ from the characteristics of the lowest performing students who are not in special education. The investigation in this report used data from low performing students in four states: Alabama, Hawaii, South Dakota, and Wisconsin. Achievement data were disaggregated by three demographic characteristics (gender, race/ethnicity, and income status) for students taking the reading or mathematics assessments in fifth or eighth grade. In addition, researchers tracked data for each student over three years to identify how students moved in and out of the low performing category (low performing was defined as the tenth percentile and below for this report) across time. (2012)

Technical Report 59: 2008-09 Publicly Reported Assessment Results for Students with Disabilities and ELLs with Disabilities
By M. L. Thurlow, C. Bremer, and D. Albus
A report analyzing the public reporting of assessment data for students with disabilities in K-12 schools in the United States; this is NCEO's 13th annual report on this subject. The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) required states to disaggregate performance data at the state and district level. Although reporting practices for regular assessments have changed little for 2008-09 compared to the previous years, this year did mark the first time all 50 states reported disaggregated data for at least some state assessments in ESEA accountability systems. Although there were increased mean gaps between students with disabilities and regular students on regular assessments across all grades and content areas, the mean performance for students in both populations showed improvement in all grades and content areas. However, compared to students with disabilities, regular students showed larger mean gains compared to last year. Public reporting on English language learners (ELLs) with disabilities is also examined in this report. (2011)

Technical Report 58: Participation and Performance Reporting for the Alternate Assessment Based on Modified Achievement Standards (AA-MAS)
By D. Albus, M. L. Thurlow, and S. S. Lazarus
A report examining publicly-reported participation and performance data for the alternate assessment based on modified achievement standards (AA-MAS). Analysis included all states publicly reporting AA-MAS data, regardless of whether they had received approval to use the results for Title I accountability calculations. Data were examined for school years 2006-07 through 2009-10. Because most states had not yet reported data for 2009-10, the authors focused most of the analyses on 2006-07 (six states with an AA-MAS), 2007-08 (eight states with an AA-MAS), and 2008-09 (eight states with an AA-MAS). (2011)

Technical Report 57: Public Reporting of 2007–2008 Assessment Information on Students with Disabilities: Progress on the Gap Front
By C. Bremer, D. Albus, and M. L. Thurlow
A report analyzing public reporting of disaggregated assessment data for elementary and secondary students with disabilities in the United States – the 12th annual report by NCEO to do so. Reporting disaggregated performance data at the state and district level to the public is required of states by the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA); the 2007-2008 school year marks the ninth annual reporting period since this requirement was established, and the sixth reporting period since the 2001 reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA). The public reporting of participation and performance for 2007-2008 assessments was fairly consistent with the reporting in 2006-2007. There continues to be a need for states to report clearly, to publicly report on accommodations use, and to strive to make the data that are reported accessible to those who seek them via public Web sites. (2011)

Technical Report 56: A Summary of the Research on the Effects of Test Accommodations: 2007-2008
By D. Cormier, J. Altman, V. Shyyan, and M. Thurlow
The use of accommodations for both instruction and assessment continues to be of great importance for students with disabilities. Numerous efforts are underway to ensure that students with disabilities participate meaningfully in more inclusive classrooms and large-scale assessments. Still, there is a need for greater understanding of the ways in which accommodations are selected and implemented during classroom instruction and assessments. The purpose of this report is to provide an update on the state of the research on testing accommodations, as well as to identify promising areas of research likely to contribute to understanding of current and emerging issues. (2010)

Technical Report 55: States Challenged to Meet Special Education Targets for Assessment Indicator
By J. Altman, C. Rogers, C. Bremer, M. Thurlow
All states are required by the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) to submit Annual Performance Reports (APRs) to the federal government. The purpose of this report is to reflect the progress made, according to state APRs submitted in 2008, toward meeting targets for components of APR Indicator 3 on assessments administered in school year 2006–2007. An additional purpose is to present an analysis of improvement activities used by states to facilitate progress in their assessment systems. (2010)

Technical Report 54: State Reports on the Participation and Performance of English Language Learners with Disabilities in 2006-2007
By D. Albus, M. Thurlow, and K. Liu
A report reviewing state reports on the participation and performance of English Language Learners (ELLs) with Disabilities in 2006-2007. Previous data reports suggested that ELLs with disabilities tend to have a lower percentage of students scoring proficient than their English proficient peers on regular assessments. But in 2006-2007, ELLs with disabilities out-performed the total number of students taking alternate assessments based on alternate achievement standards. This improvement surprised researchers, leading them to speculate on possible causes. However, not all states reported this data and, even among those that did, the number of students in these data is low, leading the researchers to urge caution in interpreting the practical significance of the differences in performance. On English language proficiency assessments, ELLs with disabilities usually scored lower than ELLs without disabilities on measures of reading, writing, listening, and speaking. (2009)

Technical Report 53: Achieving Transparency in the Public Reporting of 2006-2007 Assessment Results
By D. Albus, M. Thurlow, and C. Bremer
A report summarizing States' reports on the participation and performance of students with disabilities by (a) submitting annual performance reports (APRs) to the U.S. Department of Education, and (b) publicly reporting state assessment data via their Web sites and other communication avenues. Both APRs and public reports provide important information, although the two may be slightly different in how the data are presented. This report analyzes the public reporting of disaggregated data for students with disabilities. It is the eleventh such report by NCEO, and this analysis, for school year 2006-2007, also marks the fifth data cycle since the passage of the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) of 2001. (2009)

Technical Report 52: Good News and Bad News in Disaggregated Subgroup Reporting to the Public on 2005-2006 Assessment Results
By M. Thurlow, C. Bremer, and D. Albus
A report analyzing the public reporting of disaggregated data for students with disabilities by the National Center on Educational Outcomes (NCEO). This analysis, which is the 10th done by NCEO, is for school year 2005/2006 and it marks the fourth data cycle from the passage of the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) of 2001. On this tenth anniversary, NCEO presents both the good news and bad news for 2005/2006 reporting and summarizes other observed trends. (2008)

Technical Report 51: An Analysis of Accommodations Issues from the Standards and Assessments Peer Review
By M. Thurlow, L. Christensen, and K. Lail
A report commissioned by the Accommodations Monitoring Study Group of the Assessing Special Education Students State Collaborative on Assessment and Student Standards. It is the second in a three-part series providing information to states about the monitoring of accommodations to address the question of how states meet the NCLB requirement to routinely monitor the extent to which test accommodations are consistent with those provided during instruction, specifically for students with IEPs. This technical report provides a comprehensive analysis of the peer review guidance information and the methodology used in the research, as well as summarizing themes found across multiple peer reviews of state assessment systems. The first report in the series is Hints and Tips for Addressing Accommodations Issues for Peer Review. (2008) 

Technical Report 50: Trends in the Participation and Performance of Students with Disabilities
By M. Thurlow, R. Quenemoen, J. Altman, and M. Cuthbert
A report describing the first comprehensive analysis conducted by the National Center on Educational Outcomes (NCEO) of trends in the public reporting of state assessment results for students with disabilities. The study followed NCEO’s four analyses of public reporting since the federal No Child Left Behind Act of 2001. More states are reporting assessment data for students with disabilities disaggregated by grade level and content area. States have also improved their data collection systems that make this type of reporting possible but the number of states for which data were available across the four years was relatively small. Based on the states with data across years, average percentages of students with disabilities performing at the proficient or above level showed moderate increases across the four years for both reading and math in elementary and middle schools but not in high schools. Trend data also showed higher percentages of elementary school students demonstrating proficient or above performance in reading and math than their counterparts in middle and high school. Trends in the Participation and Performance of Students with Disabilities is a brief summary of this report. (2008)

Technical Report 49: Revisiting Graduation Requirements and Diploma Options for Youth with Disabilities: A National Study
By D. R. Johnson, M. Thurlow, and K. Stout
A document reporting on National Center on Educational Outcomes’ (NCEO) fourth study of state graduation requirements for students with disabilities. This national study was designed to describe current variations across states in high school exit exam practices and the use of alternative diploma/credentialing options. The study also examines the intended and unintended consequences for students when they are required to pass exit exams to receive a high school diploma, and the intended and unintended consequences of using single or multiple diploma options for students with disabilities. (2007)

Technical Report 48: Student Think-Aloud Reflections on Comprehensible and Readable Assessment Items: Perspectives on What Does and Does Not Make an Item Readable
By C. Johnstone, K. Liu, J. Altman, and M. Thurlow
A document reporting on research related to large-scale assessments for students with learning disabilities in reading. The researchers examined the role of “readable and comprehensible” test items that could make assessments more universally designed, using think-aloud methods to better understand how interventions to improve readability affect student performance. Reducing word counts in items and making important words bold did not seem to affect student achievement but vocabulary did. Students had difficulty with non-construct vocabulary in both the stem and answer choices of items as well as with words that have negative prefixes (e.g., dis). This suggests that readability correlates with vocabulary and that construct and non-construct vocabulary must be clearly defined in order to make tests more accessible. (2007)

Additional Technical Reports
The following earlier reports are also available:

Archived Issues of NCEO Technical Reports

These older issues of NCEO Technical 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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