Assessment

Exclusion-Rate Data for NAEP to Be More Accessible

By Kathleen Kennedy Manzo — August 10, 2007 3 min read
  • Save to favorites
  • Print

State data on students who are excluded from taking the National Assessment of Educational Progress, as well as those who are given special help or accommodations during the tests, will be featured more prominently in NAEP reports, starting this fall.

Officials are making those changes to ensure a better understanding of state differences, and the limitations of such comparisons, the governing board that sets policy for the federal testing program said this month. The board will also consider ways to standardize exclusion procedures nationwide, beginning with exams scheduled for 2009.

“It’s a national assessment, and it should be given as a national assessment,” said Andrew C. Porter, a board member and the dean of the graduate school of education at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia. “Now,” he said, “it’s a national assessment given by local rules.”

Revealing Information

Exclusion rates vary considerably among states. States generally don’t test students who would not be included in the states’ own assessments. That usually means children who are just beginning to learn English, or special education students whose individualized education programs, or IEPs, restrict or prohibit testing. Some states, for example, give certain students more time to take the tests, or read math and science questions to test-takers who need such help. (“States Vary on Students Excluded From NAEP Tests,” Nov. 2, 2005.)

At the National Assessment Governing Board’s regular meeting here Aug. 2-4, several of its 21 members expressed concern that information on exclusions and accommodations was not readily available.

In 2005, the state-by-state information on exclusions and accommodations was not presented in the printed reports on the assessment’s reading and mathematics exams. Instead, it was buried in the extensive NAEP database that is available on the Internet. That year, the exclusion rates ranged from just 2 percent in Alabama and Wyoming to a high of 14 percent in Louisiana.

In contrast, information from other reports has been easier to find. The trial test of NAEP given in urban districts that year included the data in the main report. It also alerted readers that the results for Houston and Austin, Texas, should be considered with caution, given the large proportion of students with special needs who were excluded from the test sample.

California officials have argued that their state’s historic poor showing on NAEP is partly the result of the state’s policy of including most children, regardless of language or academic difficulties, in the test sample. Texas, which has similarly high percentages of English- language learners, does not test as significant a proportion of those students.

Governing-board Chairman Darvin M. Winick, said such changes should be carefully considered since inevitable comparisons will be made between California and his home state of Texas.

The board agreed that the reports on the 2007 reading and math results, scheduled for release this fall, will include the information on exclusions and accommodations within the main printed version, with clear “cautionary language” about how variations in those numbers can affect state results and comparisons between states. Future test results may flag scores from states that have high exclusion rates or allow significant accommodations to test-takers.

Standardization Obstacles Ahead?

Some critics have charged that states that exclude large numbers of students from the test may be taking advantage of the loophole to improve their scores. But setting a uniform policy around exclusions and accommodations could be problematic.

Peggy Carr, the deputy commissioner of the National Center for Education Statistics, the arm of the U.S. Department of Education that administers NAEP and compiles the data, said that standardizing those practices could run up against state testing requirements and the legal rights of special education students. Before 2004, NAGB tried to impose new rules on schools to make exclusion rates more uniform, but participating schools generally followed students’ IEPs anyway, said Arnold Goldstein, a statistician with the center.

The NCES is conducting a statistical study to predict the exclusion rates among students with disabilities based on the severity of their impairments, the types of accommodations the students get when they take state tests, and historical data on state exclusion rates.

Related Tags:

A version of this article appeared in the August 15, 2007 edition of Education Week as Exclusion-Rate Data for NAEP to Be More Accessible

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
Student Well-Being Webinar
Attend to the Whole Child: Non-Academic Factors within MTSS
Learn strategies for proactively identifying and addressing non-academic barriers to student success within an MTSS framework.
Content provided by Renaissance
Classroom Technology K-12 Essentials Forum How to Teach Digital & Media Literacy in the Age of AI
Join this free event to dig into crucial questions about how to help students build a foundation of digital literacy.

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 Should Teachers Be Tough Graders? Here's What They Have to Say
Teachers on social media give their opinions on whether stricter grading helps their students learn more.
2 min read
Close cropped photo of a teacher's grade on an essay graded 'F' in red with the words "See Me"
iStock/Getty
Assessment The State of Teaching Where Teachers Say the Pressure to Change Grades Comes From
Teachers are more likely to be pressured by parents than school leaders.
4 min read
Conceptul image in blues of a teacher handing out graded papers.
Liz Yap/Education Week and E+
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
Assessment Sponsor
Testing Season: Who Are We Really Testing For? Transforming Assessments from Obstacles to Opportunities
As another testing season approaches, a familiar question weighs heavily on our minds: who are these tests serving?
Content provided by Achievement Network
Assessment What the Research Says AI and Other Tech Can Power Better Testing. Can Teachers Use the New Tools?
Assessment experts call for better educator supports for technology use.
3 min read
Illustration of papers and magnifying glass
iStock / Getty Images Plus