Federal

NAEP Panels Propose More ELL, Spec. Ed. Inclusion

Guidelines would try to check disparities in participation rates.
By Sean Cavanagh — August 07, 2009 3 min read
  • Save to favorites
  • Print

Includes updates and/or revisions.

The board that sets policy for the exam known as “the nation’s report card” has begun consideration of proposals aimed at setting new, more uniform standards for testing English-language learners and students with disabilities on the widely scrutinized assessment.

A pair of draft proposals, unveiled here last week at a meeting of the National Assessment Governing Board, seek to encourage as many of those students as possible to take part in the National Assessment of Educational Progress.

The guidelines aim to curb the broad disparities among states in the rates of students who are excluded from the federally sponsored assessment or provided with special testing accommodations. To critics, those differences undermine NAEP’s role as a uniform—and prized—measuring stick of student achievement across states and cities.

Accommodations Change

Two task forces were created to study the problem and suggest solutions. The task force on students with disabilities recommended setting a “clear expectation” that at least 95 percent of such students drawn for the NAEP sample take the test, in contrast to much more varied and lower participation among jurisdictions now. Under the proposal, those participation rates would be publicly reported.

Another important change would specify that students with disabilities only be allowed to receive specific testing accommodations on the assessment that were permissible under the policies of the federal test. That would mark a break from current policy, in which students’ participation in NAEP is determined by a mix of state and local decisions, including those based on the specifications of students’ individualized education programs, or IEPs, and so-called Section 504 plans.

“The whole goal is inclusion, not exclusion,” Alexa E. Posny, the chairwoman of the task force on students with disabilities, told an ad hoc committee of the governing board on Aug. 6. “That’s a totally different focus than we’ve had in the past.”

Ms. Posny, the Kansas commissioner of education, has been nominated by President Barack Obama to lead the U.S. Department of Education’s office of special education and rehabilitative services. Ms. Posny’s work on the task force was conducted for the governing board and is not connected to her presumed duties at the Education Department, she said.

A separate task force on English-language learners also recommended more-consistent NAEP guidelines for those students. It proposed that all English-learners chosen for the representative testing sample and who have attended U.S. schools for at least one year take part in the exam.

Currently, the inclusion policy is “very subjective” and varies greatly from state to state, said Sharif Shakrani, the chairman of the task force and a professor of measurement and quantitative methods at Michigan State University in East Lansing.

“Uniformity is the most important thing,” Mr. Shakrani said. “Right now, we don’t have a good makeup of ELL students in some states.”

The proposals for English-language learners and students with disabilities are expected to be offered for public comment, and possibly public hearings, before being brought back to the governing board for revisions. The board sets policy for NAEP.

Technological Literacy

In addition to that discussion, the board was scheduled to receive a draft of the framework for the NAEP in technological literacy, which is set to be administered for the first time in 2012.

The framework, which guides the design of the assessment, defines technological literacy as the “general understanding of technology coupled with a capability to use, manage, and assess the technologies that are most relevant in one’s life, such as the information and communication technologies that are particularly salient in the world today.”

Related Tags:

Associate Editor Kathleen Kennedy Manzo contributed to this story.
A version of this article appeared in the August 12, 2009 edition of Education Week as NAEP Panels Propose More ELL, Spec. Ed. Inclusion

Events

This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
School & District Management Webinar
Leadership in Education: Building Collaborative Teams and Driving Innovation
Learn strategies to build strong teams, foster innovation, & drive student success.
Content provided by Follett Learning
School & District Management K-12 Essentials Forum Principals, Lead Stronger in the New School Year
Join this free virtual event for a deep dive on the skills and motivation you need to put your best foot forward in the new year.
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Privacy & Security Webinar
Navigating Modern Data Protection & Privacy in Education
Explore the modern landscape of data loss prevention in education and learn actionable strategies to protect sensitive data.
Content provided by  Symantec & Carahsoft

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

Federal In Wake of Trump Assassination Attempt, Biden Calls for Unity and Investigation Gets Underway
President Biden condemns violence, the FBI searches for a motive, and Trump heads to RNC.
3 min read
Republican presidential candidate former President Donald Trump is surrounded by U.S. Secret Service agents at a campaign rally, Saturday, July 13, 2024, in Butler, Pa.
Former President Donald Trump is surrounded by U.S. Secret Service agents after being struck by gunfire at a campaign rally, Saturday, July 13, 2024, in Butler, Pa. The day after the attempted assasination of the Republican nominee for president, Trump arrived in Milwaukee ahead of the start of the Republican National Convention and President Joe Biden gave a prime-time address, saying "politics must never be a literal battlefied. God forbid, a killing field."
Evan Vucci/AP
Federal Project 2025 and the GOP Platform: What Each Says About K-12 in a 2nd Trump Term
A side-by-side look at what the two policy documents say on key education topics.
1 min read
Republican presidential candidate former President Donald Trump speaks at a campaign rally at Trump National Doral Miami, Tuesday, July 9, 2024, in Doral, Fla.
Former President Donald Trump speaks at a campaign rally at Trump National Doral Miami, Tuesday, July 9, 2024, in Doral, Fla.
Rebecca Blackwell/AP
Federal What the 2024 GOP Platform Says About K-12 and What It Would Mean If Trump Wins
We break down what the GOP's 2024 policy platform says about education.
7 min read
Republican presidential candidate former President Donald Trump speaks at a campaign rally at Trump National Doral Miami, Tuesday, July 9, 2024, in Doral, Fla.
Former President Donald Trump speaks at a campaign rally at Trump National Doral Miami, Tuesday, July 9, 2024, in Doral, Fla.
Rebecca Blackwell/AP
Federal Q&A Ed Research Isn't Always Relevant. This Official Is Trying to Change That
Matthew Soldner, the acting director of the Institute of Education Sciences, calls for new approaches to keep up with classroom tools.
5 min read
USmap ai states 535889663 02
Laura Baker/Education Week with iStock/Getty