October 2017

Welcome

Fall is here, and the new academic year is well underway. In this issue, we share several new reports available from NCEO. One is a report on a forum held prior to the National Conference on Students Assessment to discuss text readers and their availability to all students on many assessments. Another report now available on the NCEO website presents the results of the 2016 survey of states. It provides a snapshot of the status of states related to topics, including many that have emerged since ESSA was enacted. Another report is a brief on making decisions about exiting English learner (EL) services for ELs with disabilities. All of these are highlighted in this issue, with links to the reports. NCEO also announces a new center on inclusive policies and procedures in this issue. The TIES center is being established with several partners to create sustainable changes in schools and districts that will enable students with significant cognitive disabilities to fully engage in the same instructional and non-instructional activities as their general education peers while being instructed in a way that meets individual learning needs. Finally, in this issue we look forward to two future activities. At the end of October, NCEO will attend the annual conference of the National Association of State Directors of Special Education to lead two discussion sessions known as YOU PICKS on the 1% cap and the alternate diploma.  And, in November, NCEO will share information on using formative and interim assessments to improve student learning at the annual conference of the Teachers of Education Division of CEC. Look forward to lively discussions during these sessions!

– Martha Thurlow, NCEO Director

 

Forum Report on Text Readers for Everyone on All Tests

Text readers are now available in many states for all students. On June 27, 2017 NCEO, the Assessing Special Education Students (ASES) State Collaborative on Assessments and Student Standards (SCASS), and the English Learners (EL) SCASS held a joint forum on issues surrounding the use of text readers on tests. This a report on the discussions about availability of text readers for everyone on all tests, the differences in terminology for text readers, ways to develop common language around text readers, and challenges associated with text readers.

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NCEO 2016 State Survey Report

NCEO has published its 2016 state survey report, titled 2016 Survey of States: State Activities Amid Evolving Educational Policies. This report presents the results of the 15th survey of states by NCEO. The purpose of the report is to provide a snapshot of the new initiatives, trends, accomplishments, and emerging issues in states during a period of new education laws and initiatives.

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Brief on Making English Learner (EL) Exit Decisions for ELs with Disabilities

NCEO has published Meeting the Needs of ELs (English Learners) with Disabilities in Your State: Making EL Exit Decisions (NCEO Brief #13). This Brief summarizes key findings from a 2016 survey of Title III directors that asked about state policies and practices for exiting ELs with disabilities from EL services.

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New Center Established on Inclusive Practices and Policies

NCEO has been awarded a $10 million grant from the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Special Education Programs to establish a National Technical Assistance Center on Inclusive Practices and Policies. NCEO and its partners will establish the TIES Center (Increasing Time, Instructional Effectiveness, Engagement, and State Support for Inclusive Practices for Students with Significant Cognitive Disabilities).

The purpose of the TIES Center is to create sustainable changes in school and district educational systems so that students with significant cognitive disabilities can fully engage in the same instructional and non-instructional activities as their general education peers while being instructed in a way that meets individual learning needs.

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NCEO at NASDSE for YOU PICKS

NCEO staff members, Martha Thurlow and Sheryl Lazarus, will lead two YOU PICKS discussion sessions at the annual meeting of the National Association of State Directors of Special Education (NASDSE). YOU PICKS sessions are designed to be interactive sessions where states have the opportunity to reflect, share, question, and so forth.

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TED CEC Conference Session on Using Formative and Interim Assessments to Improve Student Learning

Please join NCEO’s Kathy Strunk for a session at the Teacher Education Division (TED), Council on Exceptional Children (CEC) Conference in Savannah, Georgia, titled Using Formative and Interim Assessments to Improve Student Learning. This session will be held on November 9 from 2:00 to 3:00 p.m.

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NCEO’s National Assessment Center is supported through a Cooperative Agreement (#H326G160001) with the Research to Practice Division, Office of Special Education Programs, U.S. Department of Education. The Center is affiliated with the Institute on Community Integration at the College of Education and Human Development, University of Minnesota. The contents of this report were developed under the Cooperative Agreement from the U.S. Department of Education, but do not necessarily represent the policy or opinions of the U.S. Department of Education or Office within it. Readers should not assume endorsement by the federal government.

Project Officer: David Egnor

 

June 2017

Welcome

Summer is on its way! NCEO has been busy this spring. In this issue, we share some of what has been going on, and some of what NCEO will be doing in the next month. NCEO was pleased to be able to hold a couple of webinar conferences recently. One focused on the 1% cap on participation in the alternate assessment. The other, held in collaboration with the National Technical Assistance Center on Transition (NTACT), focused on the state-defined alternate diploma. Both of these webinars are highlighted in this issue. Also highlighted is a new NCEO Data Analytics, an interactive report that provides multiple ways of examining participation and performance data for students with disabilities. Also highlighted is a resource now available – Formative Assessment for Students with Disabilities. Finally, in this issue we look forward to future activities. You will find an article on the forum that will precede the National Conference on Student Assessment (NCSA), titled Text Readers for Everyone on All Tests – Getting a Handle on What This Means. It includes information on how to register for this event. Also, we provide a summary of all the sessions in which NCEO is participating during NCSA.

– Martha Thurlow, NCEO Director

 

1% Cap: NCEO Brief and Webinar Available

NCEO presented a webinar on April 27, 2017 on Strategies for Meeting the 1% Cap on Participation in the State Alternate Assessment, covering what the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) says about the 1% cap on participation in the alternate assessment, the provisions in regulation for requesting a waiver from the 1% cap, and several strategies for meeting the 1% cap.

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Recent Webinar on Considerations for State-Defined Alternate Diplomas

NCEO and the National Technical Assistance Center on Transition (NTACT) hosted a webinar on state-defined alternate diplomas for students with the most significant cognitive disabilities.

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Customizable Online Report on Assessment Participation and Performance

NCEO published the fifth Data Analytics report, State Assessment Participation and Performance of Students with IEPs, 2013-2014. The online interactive data report highlights the Annual Performance Report (APR) data for 2013-14 state-level assessment participation and performance results for students with IEPs.

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Formative Assessment for Students with Disabilities

NCEO’s Sheryl Lazarus is the co-author of a resource, Formative Assessment for Students with Disabilities, that was recently published by the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO). This report provides practical suggestions and information about how formative assessment can be used with all students, including students with disabilities.

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NCSA Pre-Conference Session: Text Readers for Everyone on All Tests

Please join NCEO, the ASES SCASS, and the EL SCASS for a pre-session on June 27 at the National Conference on Student Assessment in Austin, Texas titled Text Readers for Everyone on All Tests – Getting a Handle on What This Means. This pre-session will bring together states, assessment vendors, and other educational stakeholders to address the need to develop clarity on the implementation of text readers.

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NCEO at the National Conference on Student Assessment

The 2017 National Conference on Student Assessment (NCSA) is the premiere forum for assessment practitioners to discuss what is happening in the real world of educational assessment—what is new, what is going on at the state and federal level, what works, and what does not. NCEO staff members will participate in several sessions.

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NCEO’s National Assessment Center is supported through a Cooperative Agreement (#H326G160001) with the Research to Practice Division, Office of Special Education Programs, U.S. Department of Education. The Center is affiliated with the Institute on Community Integration at the College of Education and Human Development, University of Minnesota. The contents of this report were developed under the Cooperative Agreement from the U.S. Department of Education, but do not necessarily represent the policy or opinions of the U.S. Department of Education or Office within it. Readers should not assume endorsement by the federal government.

Project Officer: David Egnor

February 2017

Welcome!

The year 2017 already has brought with it a lot of activity. In this issue, new NCEO activities and products are highlighted. NCEO is excited to be collaborating with the University of Texas in the new National Deaf Center on Postsecondary Outcomes (see New Deaf Center Grant). Other NCEO collaborations are reflected in its work with ACHIEVE on diplomas for students with disabilities, and in its work on the state defined alternate diploma with the National Technical Assistance Center on Transition (NTACT). A new report by NCEO provides baseline information on how states are addressing the exit of English learners (ELs) with disabilities from EL services (see How States Make Exit Decisions…). Finally, in this issue we provide some updates on NCEO’s DIAMOND project activities.

Martha Thurlow, NCEO Director

New Deaf Center Grant

NCEO is pleased to partner with the Meadows Center for Preventing Educational Risk (MCPER) to establish a national center on postsecondary outcomes for deaf individuals. A primary goal of the National Deaf Center on Postsecondary Outcomes is to increase the numbers of deaf individuals who are admitted to, without requiring remedial coursework, persist in, and complete postsecondary education or training.

read entire article here


NCEO Collaborates with ACHIEVE on Report on Diplomas for Students with Disabilities

To try to understand the diploma options available for students with disabilities, Achieve and NCEO partnered to analyze the diplomas available in each state for the graduating class of 2015. The report, Diplomas that Matter: Ensuring Equity of Opportunity for Students with Disabilities, also compares the course and assessment requirements for earning a regular diploma in each state for students with disabilities and their peers without disabilities.

read entire article here


State-Defined Alternate Diplomas for Students with Significant Cognitive Disabilities

NCEO and the National Technical Assistance Center on Transition (NTACT) recently jointly published a Brief, Considerations for Developing State-Defined Alternate Diplomas for Students with Significant Cognitive Disabilities. It describes the criteria that must be met for a State-defined alternate diploma to meet federal requirements for inclusion in the Title I Adjusted Cohort Graduation Rate (ACGR). It includes considerations for states contemplating the development of a State-defined alternate diploma, and recommends steps for those deciding to adopt a State-defined alternate diploma.

read entire article here


How States Make Exit Decisions for English Learners with Disabilities

NCEO recently published a new report, Providing English Development Services to English Learners with Disabilities: Approaches to Making Exit Decisions. It describes what we know about current populations of ELs with disabilities, including their numbers and disability characteristics. It then presents the results of a survey that asked states about their exit criteria. The purpose of this report is to provide a baseline report on factors that affected decisions to exit ELs with disabilities prior to the passage of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA).

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Update on NCEO’s DIAMOND Project Activities

In 2015, the National Center on Educational Outcomes and nine state partners (Minnesota, Alabama, Connecticut, Maryland, Michigan, Ohio, West Virginia, Wisconsin and the Virgin Islands) began a two-year Enhanced Assessment Grant project called “Data Informed Accessibility—Making Optimal Needs-Based Decisions (DIAMOND).” The DIAMOND project will improve the validity of state English language arts, mathematics, and English language proficiency (ELP) assessment results by developing decision-making guidelines for choosing accessibility features and accommodations for K-12 students. We present updates that include a new project website and presentations at upcoming conferences.

read entire article here


NCEO’s National Assessment Center is supported through a Cooperative Agreement (#H326G160001) with the Research to Practice Division, Office of Special Education Programs, U.S. Department of Education. The Center is affiliated with the Institute on Community Integration at the College of Education and Human Development, University of Minnesota. The contents of this report were developed under the Cooperative Agreement from the U.S. Department of Education, but do not necessarily represent the policy or opinions of the U.S. Department of Education or Office within it. Readers should not assume endorsement by the federal government.

Project Officer: David Egnor

 

October 2016

Welcome

Fall is definitely in the air, and school is well underway! This October issue of NCEO’s e-newsletter highlights the news of NCEO’s continued funding. It also summarizes several new reports. These include a report on the pre-session to the National Conference on Student Assessment, a forum on Common Language for States and Assessment Vendors. Consistent with the need for common language is the Accessibility Manual developed through the Council of Chief State School Officers. Information on the contents and tools in this new manual is provided here, along with links to the manual that is available to all states to adapt as desired. Another report highlighted here is the recent NCEO report that examines high school assessment accommodation policies of ACT, SAT, PARCC, and Smarter Balanced; this report raises issues of differences in policies and procedures that are likely to affect many students with disabilities. Finally, in this issue we highlight recent snapshot reports of assessment and accommodations data submitted by states’ special education divisions to the U.S. Department of Education. These snapshots highlight assessment participation, use of accommodations, and performance on assessments. Enjoy!

– Martha Thurlow, NCEO Director

 

NCEO Work to Continue and Expand!

swish-onlyNCEO has been awarded a five-year grant by the U.S. Department of Education, Office of Special Education Programs, to continue its work as a national technical assistance center. Starting October 1, 2016, NCEO’s knowledge development and technical assistance activities focus on increasing the participation and improving the results of students with disabilities on state and districtwide assessments.

read entire article here


Forum on Common Accessibility Language for States and Assessment Vendors

forum-2016-cover-for-web

With the paradigm shift away from providing only accommodations to instead providing three or more tiers of accessibility features that include a variety of accessibility supports and different ways of executing and labeling them, educators, parents, and students may be confused by the differences in terminology from one assessment to the next.

On June, 20, 2016, NCEO, the Assessing Special Education Students (ASES) State Collaborative on Assessments and Student Standards (SCASS), and the English Language Learners (ELL) SCASS held a joint forum on the need for common accessibility language across assessment platforms.

read entire article here


New CCSSO Accessibility Manual

ccssoaccessibilitymanual-cover-for-webAn accessibility manual was recently published by the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO). It establishes guidelines for states to use for the selection, administration, and evaluation of accessibility supports for instruction and assessment of all students, including students with disabilities, English learners (ELs), ELs with disabilities, and students without an identified disability or EL status.

read entire article here


The High School Accommodations Policies of ACT, SAT, PARCC, and Smarter Balanced

report-403-cover-for-webNCEO recently published a new report on high school accommodations policies, 2015-16 High School Assessment Accommodations Policies: An Analysis of ACT, SAT, PARCC and Smarter Balanced. Many students with disabilities and ELs use accommodations to access the ACT, SAT, PARCC, and Smarter Balanced assessments. This report analyzes differences in the accessibility framework, decision-making process, and terminology across the four assessments.

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Dig into the APR Data Using NCEO’s Data Snapshots

apr-brief-thumbnail-for-webStates annually report through an Annual Performance Report (APR) on their progress toward meeting the targets in their State Performance Plan (SPP). NCEO recently published several APR Snapshots that use 2013-14 APR data to look at how students with disabilities are included in assessments used for Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) accountability.

read entire article here


NCEO’s National Assessment Center is supported through a Cooperative Agreement (#H326G110002) with the Research to Practice Division, Office of Special Education Programs, U.S. Department of Education. The Center is affiliated with the Institute on Community Integration at the College of Education and Human Development, University of Minnesota. The contents of this report were developed under the Cooperative Agreement from the U.S. Department of Education, but do not necessarily represent the policy or opinions of the U.S. Department of Education or Office within it. Readers should not assume endorsement by the federal government.

Project Officer: David Egnor

June 2016

Welcome

Welcome to June 2016 e-newsletter. This issue is packed with events and activities in which NCEO is involved this spring. One big event was the launching of the NCEO Facebook page. Please visit and like us! Some new reports and tools are also highlighted in this issue, including a Lessons Learned document, an updated Principles for Inclusive Assessment report, and a new Data Analytics tool on the demographics of ELs and ELs with disabilities.  With June the month for the National Conference on Student Assessment (NCSA) in Philadelphia, we also highlight the pre-conference forum we are holding with the Assessing Special Education Students SCASS and the EL SCASS – Common Language for States and Assessment Vendors. It focuses on the need for developing a common language around accessibility and accommodations for all students. We hope that you will join us for this important discussion. Finally, we describe the NCSA sessions in which NCEO is involved.

 – Martha Thurlow, NCEO Director

 

NCEO Launches Facebook Page

Facebook-cover-smallNCEO recently launched its Facebook page. NCEO hopes that being on Facebook will Increase visibility of NCEO and its work, share with wider audiences its products, inform audiences on upcoming activities, and keep TA partners engaged with NCEO.

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Lessons Learned About Assessment from Inclusion of Students with Disabilities in College and Career Ready Assessments

LessonsLearnedAboutAssessment-coverRecent surveys of teachers found that students with disabilities like many of the features of the new college- and career-ready (CCR) assessments that were recently rolled out by states and consortia. Still, teachers identified assessment challenges that need to be addressed to improve student outcomes.

To address these challenges NCEO and the National Center on Systemic Improvement recently co-published a Brief on Lessons Learned About Assessment from Inclusion of Students with Disabilities in College and Career Ready Assessments.

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Principles of Inclusive Assessment

Report-400-cover-for-WebNCEO released an updated version of its Principles report, one that recognizes a dramatically changing assessment landscape. The report, titled Principles and Characteristics of Inclusive Assessment Systems in a Changing Landscape, is an update of the 2008 Principles. It reflects the broader perspective that acknowledges that the Principles apply to English learners (ELs) and ELs with disabilities, as well as to students with disabilities. The principles also apply to all types of assessments, not just those used for accountability purposes.

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New Data Analytics Interactive Tool on English Learners (EL) and ELs with Disabilities

DataAnalyticsCover4newNCEO just published a new Data Analytics, State and National Demographic Information for English Learners (ELs) and ELs with Disabilities, 2012-13. There is wide variation across states in the most common home languages, and the percentage of ELs and ELs with disabilities.

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NCSA Pre-Conference Session: Common Language for States and Assessment

Please join NCEO, the ASES SCASS, and the EL SCASS for a pre-session at the National Conference on Student Assessment titled “Common Language for States and Assessment .” This NCSA pre-session will bring together states, assessment vendors, and other educational stakeholders to address the need for developing a common language around accessibility and accommodations for all students.

read entire story here


NCEO at the National Conference on Student Assessment

2016-NCSA-BANNER-710-x-235-h-final(0)The 2016 National Conference on Student Assessment (NCSA) is the premiere forum for assessment practitioners to discuss what is happening in the real world of educational assessment—what is new, what is going on at the state and federal level, what works, and what does not. This year, the NCSA meeting will be held in Philadelphia, PA, on June 20-22, and NCEO staff members will participate in several sessions.

read entire story here


NCEO’s National Assessment Center is supported through a Cooperative Agreement (#H326G110002) with the Research to Practice Division, Office of Special Education Programs, U.S. Department of Education. The Center is affiliated with the Institute on Community Integration at the College of Education and Human Development, University of Minnesota. The contents of this report were developed under the Cooperative Agreement from the U.S. Department of Education, but do not necessarily represent the policy or opinions of the U.S. Department of Education or Office within it. Readers should not assume endorsement by the federal government.

Project Officer: David Egnor