Patterns of Statewide Test Participation for Students With Significant Cognitive Disabilities

Saven, Jessica L.; Anderson, Daniel; Nese, Joseph F. T.; Farley, Dan; Tindal, Gerald
February 2016
Journal of Special Education;Feb2016, Vol. 49 Issue 4, p209
Academic Journal
Students with significant cognitive disabilities are eligible to participate in two statewide testing options for accountability: alternate assessments or general assessments with appropriate accommodations. Participation guidelines are generally quite vague, leading to students “switching” test participation between years. In this study, we tracked test participation for two cohorts of students with a documented disability over 3 years. Results suggested approximately 25% of students who initially took the alternate assessment switched test type at least once, although patterns of switching were not consistent across disabilities. Students on the performance “bubble” were more likely to switch test participation. Test switching poses challenges for monitoring students’ academic growth within accountability frameworks.


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