Under its recently approved No Child Left Behind waiver extension, New York will maintain the same testing regime it has in the past, dropping a proposal to assess some students with disabilities using tests that did not align with their grade level.
In February, the state sent the Department of Education a waiver renewal request that included plans for out-of-level testing. Under the proposal, students subject to the different testing standard would have to have “multiple valid measures reflecting formal assessment” that substantiates the need.
Students also could not be recommended for out-of-level testing if their testing problems were due to language differences, lack of appropriate instruction in reading and math, or excessive absences from school. Students could be assessed only two years below their instructional level, and determinations would have been made separately for math and English/language arts tests.
Those provisions were not in the approved extension, however. Education Department officials are on the record as taking a dim view of anything that appears to be holding students with disabilities to lower standards than their typically developing peers.
“Lowering standards for students with disabilities isn’t the way go,” Lindsay Jones, who directs policy and advocacy for the New-York based National Center for Learning Disabilities, told The Huffington Post. “Tinkering with assessments isn’t either. We need to get serious about providing accommodations and helping teachers have the tools they need to instruct.”
A version of this news article first appeared in the On Special Education blog.