IDEA '97 Provisions on General Assessments in Final Regs.
The statutory provisions on general State and district-wide assessments from the IDEA Amendments of 1997 have been
incorporated, essentially verbatim, into the final Part B regulations. These provisions require that the State must have on
file with the Secretary information to demonstrate that --
1. Children with disabilities are included in general State and district-wide assessment programs, with appropriate accommodations and modifications in administration, if necessary; and
2. As appropriate, the State or LEA
A. develops guidelines for the participation of children with disabilities in alternate assessments for those children who cannot
participate in State and district-wide assessment programs;
B. develops alternate assessments; and
C. beginning not later than July 1, 2000, conducts the alternate assessments. (See §300.138.)
Reports Relating to Assessments.
The Act and regulations further provide that the SEA must make available to the public, and report to the public "with the same
frequency and in the same detail as it reports on the assessment of nondisabled children..."
1. On the number of children with disabilities participating in both regular and alternate assessments; and
2. On the performance results of these children
A. on regular assessments (not later than July 1, 1998), and
B. on alternate assessments (not later than July 1, 2000) -- if doing so would be statistically sound and not violate the confidentiality of individual children. (See §300.139.)
Providing Aggregated and Disaggregated Data.
The regulations make it clear that the reports must include:
1. aggregated data that include the performance of children with disabilities with all other children, and
2. disaggregated data on the performance of children with disabilities (which must be disaggregated for assessments
conducted after July 1, 1998...) (See §300.139(c) and (d).)
Ensuring appropriate accommodations.
IDEA '97 makes it clear that students with disabilities must be included in State and district-wide assessment programs, with appropriate accommodations and modifications, where necessary. Thus, States and LEAs must ensure that for children who need accommodations and modifications in order to participate in a given assessment, those accommodations and modifications are provided. Examples of possible accommodations in test presentation, response mode, and setting, include -- oral administration, large print, Braille version, individual and separate room accommodations, extended time, and multiple test sessions. The individualized determinations of whether a child will participate in a particular assessment, and what accommodations, if any, are appropriate should be addressed through the IEP process in §300.347(a)(5).
Only Minimum Regulations Included on Assessment Programs.
Flexibility is allowed for States and LEAs to appropriately include children with disabilities in State and district-wide assessment programs, and only minimum regulations have been included regarding how public agencies provide for the participation of these children. The Department is working with State and local school personnel, parents, experts in the field of assessment, and others interested in the area of assessment to identify best practice that could serve as the basis for a technical assistance document.
Importance of Research and Technical Assistance.
Effective implementation of the new statutory provisions on general State and district-wide assessments is less an issue of regulations, and more a matter of program administration that is linked to the research and technical assistance efforts that the Department has invested in thorough the IDEA discretionary authorities. States and LEAs that need assistance in implementing this provision are encouraged to contact the National Center for Educational Outcomes (NCEO) [Dr. Jim Ysseldyke], University of Minnesota, 350 Elliott Hall, Minneapolis, Minnesota 55455 (Telephone: 612-626-1530), or their regional resource centers.
August 11, 2002