Choices For Testing And Assessment

Testing is often harder for students with disabilities.

But there are ways they can qualify for different testing conditions, and in some cases different types of tests.

This includes regular tests in their courses, state performance assessments, and standardized tests like SATs.

Ways to adapt testing for students with disabilities:

Accommodations:

  • Students with IEPs or 504 Plans can get accommodations for taking any of these tests. This means they can change the conditions of the test to allow them to work through their particular challenge.

  • Examples are: more time to take the test, having the questions read aloud, or using adaptive technology. There are many other accommodations to consider.

  • You have to make sure they are written into your child's IEP.

Alternate Assessment Pathway: Also called LEAP Connect

If your child's disability affects their ability to pass the EOC (End of Course) tests and follow the standard requirements for the diploma, they can take this route. This is only for students on the Jumpstart pathway or for those who are not working toward a diploma.

  • This is generally for students who have pretty significant cognitive impairments.

  • Students will have different course requirements and take modified assessment tests.

  • Students can earn a diploma, but their transcript will reflect this alternate assessment status.

They could qualify for different ways of proving what they learned in certain courses:

This option is offered under a law called 833. It allows a student to use different methods of showing what they learned besides the regular EOC test. For example, instead of a written test, they may be able to prove they've learned the course content through an interview, oral presentation or a portfolio of their work.

If your school has not told you about these options, ask your IEP team!

 

Click on the boxes below to learn more.

Accommodations are any kind of change or help that your child will need in the classroom in order to learn and take tests.

They come in many shapes and sizes.

  • Students with IEPs or 504 Plans can get accommodations for the classroom and also for taking tests. (This includes class tests, school district assessments and standardized tests like the SAT or ACT.)

  • This means they can change the classroom environment or the conditions of the test to allow them to work through their particular challenge.

  • You have to make sure they are written into your child's IEP!

Here are some examples:

  • extra staff, like an aide or a reader

  • extra time to take tests or do homework

  • communication devices or other equipment to help with sensory or physical needs

Here's what you can do:

  • Talk to your child's IEP team and make sure that they have considered all accommodations that could help your child. Be sure that they are written into the IEP.

  • Make sure that your child is using all the accommodations that are written into their IEP. (Many times, the student and teacher just forget! It's worth asking your child often if they're using the ones they're supposed to have!)

  • Check for ones that you may not know are options. See a complete list of accommodations on pages 5-13 of the IEP Form. Click on the link at the bottom of the page to download it. (It will open in a new tab or appear in the lower corner of your screen.) Or click on the lower box for another list of options.

These are the ones listed on the College Board's website:

Presentation:

  • Large print (14 pt., 20 pt., other)

  • Reader (Note: Reader reads entire test)

  • Use of a highlighter

  • Sign/orally present instructions

  • Visual magnification (magnifier or magnifying machine)

  • Colored overlays

  • Braille

  • Braille graphs

  • Braille device for written responses

  • MP3 audio test format

  • Assistive technology–compatible test format

Responding:

  • Verbal; dictated to scribe

  • Tape recorder

  • Computer without spell-check/grammar/cut-and-paste features

  • Record answers in test booklet

  • Large-block answer sheet

  • Four-function calculator (use of basic four-function calculator on test sections that do not permit use of a calculator)

Timing/Scheduling:

  • Frequent breaks

  • Extended time

  • Multiple day (may or may not include extra time)

  • Specified time of day

Setting:

  • Small group setting

  • Private room

  • Alternative test site (with proctor present)

  • Preferential seating

Source: College Board

The Alternate Assessment or LEAP Connect Pathway is for students with more severe learning or intellectual disabilities and need their school work to be different from their non-disabled classmates.

(It used to be called LAA 1.)

If your child's  disability affects their ability to pass the EOC (End of Course) tests and follow the standard requirements for the diploma, they can take this route. This is only for students on the Jumpstart pathway or for those who are not working toward a diploma.

  • This is generally for students who have pretty significant cognitive impairments. Students have to qualify by failing a certain number of EOCs. Usually you would decide this in 10th grade.

  • Students will have different (simplified) course content and take modified assessment tests. The courses can be geared toward skills that they can use to meet their personal goals.

  • Students CAN earn a diploma, but their transcript will reflect this alternate assessment status. It will show a less rigorous course of study and they will not have a Grade Point Average (GPA).

  • This pathway would not lead to a traditional college, but may allow them to  go to one that has a Comprehensive Transition and Post-Secondary (CTP) Program.

If your child is on this pathway, or you think they should be, ask their IEP team to explain this option!

If your child is on this pathway and you think they could manage the regular pathway with the right support, talk to the team!

Act 833 is a law that allows a student to use different methods of showing what they learned besides the regular End of Course (EOC) test.

If your child qualifies:

  • They would not have to pass the EOC test. 

  • Instead, you and the IEP team could choose different kinds of assessments to prove they have learned the material and let them get credit for the class.

  • For example, instead of a written test, they could do an interview, oral presentation or a portfolio of their work.

To qualify, students must meet one of these criteria:

  1. Did not meet the required scores on state assessments in two out of three most recent years

  2. Did not get a score of Fair, Good, or Excellent on two tries of the same EOC test

Note: Students can qualify for this and start using it as early as 3rd or 4th grade!


Example: Meet Vivian!  

Vivian has autism and is entering the 9th grade.  She has trouble with timed written tests and has done poorly on her math and reading tests for the past 3 years. In the assessments for these classes, she did not get scores of basic or approaching basic.

This means that Vivian meets Act 833 eligibility. In other words, she and her IEP team can choose different assessment criteria for her classes in high school.

Her team decided on different ways she could prove her learning in 10th grade. For math, she can do a take-home test in her own time. In English, she will complete a portfolio with examples of writing and artwork that show her understanding of the subject matter.

Vivian is much less stressed and able to engage with her courses!

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