January 30, 2002 1 min read

Deciphering Data

The National Association of Elementary School Principals has released a publication to help school leaders make sense of the wealth of testing data crossing their desks.

Copies are available for order for $19.95 for NAESP members and $24.95 for nonmembers, plus postage and handling, by calling (800) 386-2377.

Data-Based Decision-Making reviews the purposes of assessment and the ways of measuring student performance. Its primary focus is on how schools can create the conditions that encourage the effective use of the resulting data to improve classroom instruction.

For example, the publication describes how schools can use test results to determine whether students are meeting standards, how to make better use of technology, and how to communicate with the public about the purposes of testing. Guidelines for evaluating student work are also included.

The 92-page book also has a list of Web resources and best practices, recommended books and articles, and a glossary of assessment terms.

Accommodations Database

People can now go online to review research on the use of testing accommodations for students with disabilities.

The National Center for Educational Outcomes at the University of Minnesota, a federally financed research center, launched the online, searchable database to help users cull through empirical studies on the various special arrangements states most commonly permit.

Under federal law, students with disabilities must be included in state testing systems and be provided with accommodations—such as large-print editions of tests—that they may need to take part.

The database enables users to review research that addresses specific accommodations, groups of students, ages, or a combination of those and other factors.

Much of the information also is included in a report, “Empirical Support for Accommodations Most Often Allowed in State Policy,” which the center also produced. It, too, reviews the accommodations most often allowed by states, such as Braille editions and extra time.

The report is available on the center’s Web site at education.umn.e du/NCEO/OnlinePubs/Synthesis41.html, or for $10 by calling (612) 624- 8561.

Every three months, the center plans to update the database: CEO/AccomStudies.htm.

—Lynn Olson

A version of this article appeared in the January 30, 2002 edition of Education Week