Assessment

Achievement Gaps on State Tests Remain Wide for Students with Disabilities

By Christina A. Samuels — June 01, 2015 2 min read
  • Save to favorites
  • Print

Students with disabilities continue to score much lower than their peers on state tests, even as graduation rates for students with disabilities inch upwards, according to a new report.

In 2012-13, students with disabilities scored from 32 to 41 percentage points lower than their peers on state tests, according to the “2012-13 Publicly Reported Assessment Results for Students with Disabilities and ELLs with Disabilities,” released in May. The gap was lowest in elementary math, and highest for middle school reading. The report is the 16th survey of states conducted by the National Center for Educational Outcomes at the University of Minnesota.

This chart shows that these gaps have barely budged from 2006-07 to 2012-13:

Readers have to be cautious in interpreting the results: NCEO does not have information from every state, and some states report scores differently from others.

Also, in reporting their gaps, some states compare students in special education to students who are not in special education, while other states compare the scores of students with disabilities to “all” students, which would include special education students along with their typically developing peers. Using the first method would result in a larger reported gap than the second method.

Finally, in 2012-13, the researchers had information for the “unique states,” unlike in prior years. Those states are American Samoa, Bureau of Indian Education, Commonwealth of Northern Mariana Islands, schools run by the U.S. Department of Defense, the District of Columbia, Federated States of Micronesia, Guam, Palau, Puerto Rico, Republic of the Marshall Islands, and U.S. Virgin Islands. Information for the unique states, and any effects that information had on achievement gaps, is shown in the chart parentheses.

Nevertheless, the overall gaps remain stubbornly large, and in some cases have actually gone up over the past six school years. These results also illustrate the challenge facing states as the U.S. Department of Education moves to a focus on “results-driven accountability.” States are being asked to tackle issues such as state test achievement gaps, as opposed to a primary focus on compliance with special education rules.


Related Stories:

for the latest news on special education policies, practices, and trends.

A version of this news article first appeared in the On Special Education blog.


Commenting has been disabled on edweek.org effective Sept. 8. Please visit our FAQ section for more details. To get in touch with us visit our contact page, follow us on social media, or submit a Letter to the Editor.


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
Teaching Webinar
What’s Next for Teaching and Learning? Key Trends for the New School Year
The past 18 months changed the face of education forever, leaving teachers, students, and families to adapt to unprecedented challenges in teaching and learning. As we enter the third school year affected by the pandemic—and
Content provided by Instructure
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
Curriculum Webinar
How Data and Digital Curriculum Can Drive Personalized Instruction
As we return from an abnormal year, it’s an educator’s top priority to make sure the lessons learned under adversity positively impact students during the new school year. Digital curriculum has emerged from the pandemic
Content provided by Kiddom
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
Equity & Diversity Webinar
Leadership for Racial Equity in Schools and Beyond
While the COVID-19 pandemic continues to reveal systemic racial disparities in educational opportunity, there are revelations to which we can and must respond. Through conscientious efforts, using an intentional focus on race, school leaders can
Content provided by Corwin

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

Assessment Spotlight Spotlight on Assessment in 2021
In this Spotlight, review newest assessment scores, see how districts will catch up with their supports for disabled students, plus more.
Assessment 'Nation's Report Card' Has a New Reading Framework, After a Drawn-Out Battle Over Equity
The new framework for the National Assessment of Educational Progress will guide development of the 2026 reading test.
10 min read
results 925693186 02
iStock/Getty
Assessment Opinion Q&A Collections: Assessment
Scores of educators share commentaries on the use of assessments in schools.
5 min read
Images shows colorful speech bubbles that say "Q," "&," and "A."
iStock/Getty
Assessment Standardized Tests Could Be in Jeopardy in Wake of Biden Decisions, Experts Say
Has the Biden administration shored up statewide tests this year only to risk undermining long-term public backing for them?
6 min read
Image of a test sheet.
sengchoy/iStock/Getty