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This paper discusses students with disabilities who do not fit into large-scale traditional assessment systems, seeks to clarify what is meant by gray areas of assessment, delineates the primary issues that surround and contribute to gray areas, and provides suggestions for developing fully inclusive systems. It provides brief case studies of the assessment practices in two states, thereby highlighting the reality of gray areas as states implement their assessment systems. After a review of the national reform context, a model with five interrelated questions is presented that provides a basis for defining and addressing gray area concerns: (1) what is driving large-scale assessment programs and how does it affect gray area concerns; (2) how does a state or district approach to content and performance standards affect gray area concerns; (3) how do test accommodations and modification policies affect gray area concerns; (4) how do assessment formats affect gray area concerns; and (5) how does the nature of the high- and low-stakes accountability system affect gray area concerns. (Contains 11 references.) (Author/CR)

Descriptors: Accountability, Case Studies, Disabilities, Educational Assessment, Educational Testing, Elementary Secondary Education, Evaluation Methods, State Programs, Student Evaluation, Student Participation, Testing, Testing Problems

National Center on Educational Outcomes, University of Minnesota, 350 Elliott Hall, 75 East River Road, Minneapolis, MN 55455, Tel: 612- 624-8561; Fax: 612-624-0879; Web site: ($10).

Autor: Almond, Patricia; Quenemoen, Rachel; Olsen, Kenneth; Thurlow, Martha


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