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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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

 

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.

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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.

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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.

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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

February 2016

Welcome

The year 2016 arrived quickly, and a lot already is happening. In this issue new products and activities are highlighted. New products include a Brief developed in collaboration with the National Center for Systemic Improvement (see Lessons Learned…) and a White Paper developed in collaboration with the English Language Proficiency Assessment for the 21st  Century (ELPA21) consortium (see Alternate Assessment …). Two new Enhanced Assessment Grant (EAG) projects are summarized – DIAMOND and ALTELLA (check below for the meaning of those acronyms). Finally, this issue highlights some presentations and meetings at the upcoming conferences in April (CEC and AERA).

– Martha Thurlow, NCEO Director

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

LessonsLearnedAboutInstruction-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, but that there are challenges related to instructional issues that need to be addressed to improve student outcomes. To address this issue NCEO and the National Center on Systemic Improvement recently co-published a Brief on Lessons Learned About Instruction from Inclusion of Students with Disabilities in College and Career Ready Assessments.

Read entire story here


Data Informed Accessibility – Making Optimal Needs-based Decisions (DIAMOND)

DIAMOND-just-the-lettersThis year, NCEO is launching a new Enhanced Assessment Grant project titled “Data Informed Accessibility – Making Optimal Needs-based Decisions (DIAMOND).” The DIAMOND project is a collaboration between Minnesota, Alabama, Connecticut, Maryland, Michigan, Ohio, West Virginia, Wisconsin, Virgin Islands, and the National Center on Educational Outcomes.

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Alternate English Language Learning Assessment (ALTELLA)

ALTELLA-logoMost English learners with significant cognitive disabilities are not included in assessments of English language proficiency. As a result, there is little evidence of how these students are progressing toward English mastery to ensure their success in school and on the path to college, career, and community readiness.  One new project underway at NCEO, the Alternate English Language Learning Assessment (ALTELLA) Project, aims to change this.

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Alternate Assessment of English Language Proficiency (ELP) for Students with Significant Cognitive Disabilities

White-Paper-cover-for-WebNCEO developed a white paper to address approaches that states might take for an alternate assessment of English Language Proficiency (ELP) for students with significant cognitive disabilities. The development of this paper was accomplished through the work of NCEO staff with the English Language Proficiency Assessment for the 21st Century (ELPA21) consortium, which is developing an assessment of ELP.

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NCEO Presentations at Upcoming 2016 Conferences

CEC16_160x100-for-webIf you plan to attend this year’s Council for Exceptional Children (CEC) annual convention (April 13-16) held in St. Louis or the American Educational Research Association (AERA) annual meeting (April 8-12) held in Philadelphia, we invite you to attend conference sessions delivered by NCEO staff members.

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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