Department of Education wants changes in Assessing Students with Disabilities

The U.S. Department of Education has proposed regulations, published Friday, to transition away from the so-called “2 percent rule,” thus emphasizing the Department of EducationDepartment’s commitment to holding all students to high standards that better prepare them for college and career. Under the existing regulations, States have been allowed to develop alternate assessments aligned to modified academic achievement standards (AA-MAAS) for some students with disabilities and use the results of those assessments for accountability purposes under Title I of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act and the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act. In making accountability determinations, States currently may count as proficient scores for up to 2 percent of students in the grades assessed using the alternate assessments based on modified academic achievement standards.

Under the Department’s proposed regulation, students with disabilities who have been taking the AA-MAAS will transition to college and career ready standards and general assessments that are aligned to those standards and accessible to all students. Research has shown that struggling students with disabilities make academic progress when provided with appropriate supports and instruction. More accessible general assessments, in combination with such supports and instruction for students with disabilities, can promote high expectations for all students, including students with disabilities, by encouraging teaching and learning to the academic achievement standards measured by the general assessments.

“We have to expect the very best from our students and tell the truth about student performance, to prepare them for college and career,” said U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan. “That means no longer allowing the achievement of students with disabilities to be measured by these alternate assessments aligned to modified achievement standards. This prevents these students from reaching their full potential, and prevents our country from benefitting from that potential.”

Under the proposed regulations, a State already administering alternate assessments based on modified academic achievement standards could no longer administer such assessments after the 2013–14 school year.

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  • mommeme

    This would be great, IF, schools also provide KNOWLEDGeABLE spec ed staff who were not only proficient in different ways of teaching to various learning styles, but also were proficient in higher level courses. Right now they ASSUME kids with disabilities can only do the lower level courses (high school, especially)…so, no matter the kid’s potential, they usually don’t get “tracked” into advanced classes (which those teachers don’t want them in), instead they get bare minimum. I had to fight year after year to get my daughter in advanced classes, with supports (because spec ed didn’t even know algebra enough to help her). She is soon to graduate with a degree in Biology/Applied Physics. Statistically, kids with disabilities show the same bell curve as “regular” kids…but make up much, much less percent of any higher level classes, not to mention even less percent attend or graduate college..thus are confined to lower level jobs, if any job at all. What a waste.