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The Road to Meeting NCLB Accommodations Requirements for Students with Disabilities. National Center on Educational Outcomes Presented to the ASES SCASS February 6, 2007. Information from the peer review comments to highlight the major accommodations-related issues that need to be addressed

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The Road to Meeting NCLB Accommodations Requirements for Students with Disabilities

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The Road to Meeting NCLB Accommodations Requirements for Students with Disabilities

National Center on Educational Outcomes

Presented to the ASES SCASS

February 6, 2007

Information from the peer review comments to highlight the major accommodations-related issues that need to be addressed

NCEO was asked to provide states with guidance regarding preparing for upcoming peer reviews

Review peer review sections on accommodations

Review and summarize for acceptable/insufficient examples

Organize by themes

Develop a brochure/pamphlet that includes examples and contact information

Purpose of the study


Examined peer review comments

Compiled the comments on just the sections related to accommodations, and

Ended up with three large documents (Section 4.3 = 120 pages; 4.6 = 63 pages; 6.2 = 143 pages)

Summarized and analyzed for themes

Noticed some information gaps



  • We met with the standards and assessment team.

  • Verified themes; cut Section 6.2

  • We brought back copies of what States submitted for review for the sections on accommodations, for the first 10 approved states, plus other states that had exemplary or insufficient evidence.


Finalizing examples for each theme

Finishing the draft guidance brochure







North Carolina




West Virginia

1st 10 States Approved

Our analysis is based on the peer reviewers’ comments and review documents from the first 10 states approved

We did not start from the evidence provided by states; we looked at evidence from only the first 10 states, and selected other states that were directly mentioned as exemplary or insufficient by the peer reviewers


The peer review process did not use a rubric, but states and peers had the Standards and Assessment Peer Review Guidance

Accommodations was just one small piece of the many things reviewers needed to consider

Crosswalk effect in terms of the corresponding critical elements and acceptable/insufficient evidence (see Section 4.3 and 4.6)


Not always easy to pull examples from documents

Some exemplars may have not been cited as such by the peers

Sometimes states were commended but not for exemplary evidence

Peer review comments sometimes indicated they saw much potential in a statement


Selection of Accommodations

Consistency of accommodations with instruction

Monitoring accommodations availability and use

Accommodations provide meaningful scores

Accommodations allow for valid inferences about students’ knowledge and skills

Overview of Themes


What the Guidance says about exemplary evidence

Exemplary Evidence

What the Guidance says about insufficient evidence

Insufficient Evidence

Recommendations for the theme

Format of Themes

 Selection of accommodations refers to the decision-making process used to determine which students should receive accommodations on statewide assessments and what accommodations are appropriate for each student.

Theme 1: Selection of Accommodations

Exemplary Evidence

1. Delaware’s flowchart

2. Maryland’s selection of accommodations

Theme 1: Selection of Accommodations

Insufficient evidence

no distinction made among accommodations for students with IEPs, accommodations for students with 504 plans, or accommodations for students who are English language learners

CCSSO's (2005) Accommodations Manual was adopted as part of the state’s accommodations selection guidelines but not adapted to fit the state’s unique conditions

a variety of accommodations are provided, but justification for accommodations is missing

Theme 1: Selection of Accommodations

Produce a set of guidelines for accommodations that reflects a variety of options, with clear indications of when their use results in valid scores.

Differentiate accommodations for different groups of students (e.g., students with disabilities, English language learners).

Ensure that information provided to districts and others (e.g., parents, students) reflects the state’s accommodation policies, not some non-state-specific document produced by a collaborative of states or technical assistance center.

Provide tools for decision makers if possible (e.g., decision-making trees, sets of questions to ask, fact sheets) based on state accommodation policies.

Selection of Accommodations Recommendations

Consistency of assessment accommodations with instructional approaches refers to the link between accommodations used during instruction and those used during assessment.

Theme 2: Consistency of Accommodations with Instruction

Exemplary Evidence:

Alaska: “Because of the close link between assessment and instruction, the IEP or 504 plan must describe how accommodations for assessment are included in the student’s classroom instruction and assessment” (p. 13).


Theme 2: Consistency of Accommodations with Instruction

Insufficient Evidence:

Providing a list of accommodations, but linkage of testing accommodations to use during instruction was not clear

No clear requirement that accommodations used during testing must have been used in instruction

No clear monitoring of the selection and use of accommodations to establish that accommodations used during testing are the same as those used for instruction

Theme 2: Consistency of Accommodations with Instruction

Ensure that the linkage is clearly stated – in a way that expounds what is appropriate and what is not appropriate, given the state’s assessment.

Provide decision makers with tools to help them see the distinctions and linkages between instructional accommodations and assessment accommodations.

For more information on developing assessment accommodations aligned with accommodations used during instruction, refer to CCSSO's Accommodations Manual: How to Select, Administer, and Evaluation the Use of Accommodations for Instruction and Assessment of Students with Disabilities.

Consistency of Accommodations with Instruction: Recommendations

Monitoring refers to tracking the use of accommodations and checking for the consistency with which they are available and used by students during instruction and during assessment.

Theme 3: Monitoring Accommodations Availability and Use

Exemplary Evidence:

West Virginia:

Documents submitted in Round 2 include

2005-2006 West Virginia Guidelines for Participation in State Assessments

West Virginia Continuous Improvement and Focused Monitoring Process.


Theme 3: Monitoring Accommodations Availability and Use

Florida’s monitoring includes:

monitoring visits that include IEP reviews and interviews of teachers and administrators.

districts must provide assurance that students with disabilities are given appropriate accommodations.

at the time of testing, the state records information about accommodations.

the state reviews and reports information about accommodations use on the FCAT for reading and math on an annual basis.

targeted monitoring of schools and school districts is conducted. This includes reviewing records of individual students with disabilities for verification that the student received appropriate accommodations.

Theme 3: Monitoring Accommodations Availability and Use

Insufficient Evidence:

no evidence on monitoring

IEP team can order accommodations, but the form is a suggestion, not returned to the state

Insufficient monitoring plans, or inappropriately targeted monitoring plans

Theme 3: Monitoring Accommodations Availability and Use

Recommendations made by peer reviewers

Surveys or observations regarding accommodations assignment (e.g. samples of IEPs compared to accommodations, larger than that proposed) followed by random audits/monitoring,

Studies comparing external judgments of proficiency (e.g. teacher ratings on standards, overall grades) with test results with and without accommodations, if possible,

Application of existing research to selection of accommodations,

Studies of the effects of invalidating modifications, particularly for the [high school proficiency exam], and

Formal reviews of literature, collection of expert judgment, and empirical evidence regarding what accommodations produce more valid scores for which students

Monitoring Accommodations Availability and Use

Ensure that your state has a valid method for gathering data on which students are to receive specific accommodations in assessment, and a form to document what they receive on test day.

Document how your state analyzes its accommodations data, including timelines of analysis.

Identify a specific monitoring procedure that identifies issues in the selection of accommodations for individual students or the provision of accommodations for instruction or assessment.

Include information on any consequences that result from any irregularities in the administration of assessment accommodations.

Consider conducting studies that examine the link between IEP-determined instructional accommodations, IEP-determined assessment accommodations, and which accommodations are actually used in each location.

Additional Monitoring Recommendations

When used, accommodations must provide meaningful scores, ones that mean the same as scores produced by students who did not use accommodations.

Theme 4: Accommodations Provide Meaningful Scores

Exemplary Evidence:

In Maryland, accommodations that invalidate the score are clearly prohibited.

Theme 4: Accommodations Provide Meaningful Scores

Insufficient Evidence:

Not providing evidence for all assessments

Not reporting results by accommodation

Theme 4: Accommodations Provide Meaningful Scores

Provide a logical and rational argument that demonstrates why tests administered with specific accommodations that may be considered controversial do indeed produce scores that are comparable to nonaccommodated tests, given the standards being assessed.

Identify studies that have been conducted that demonstrate the comparability of scores obtained with the accommodated and nonaccommodated assessments.

Provide results by accommodations and modifications, to clearly distinguish those that are comparable and those that are noncomparable to results from students who received no accommodations.

Accommodations Provide Meaningful Scores: Recommendations

When used, assessment accommodations should enable the user of test results to have an accurate measure of what the student knows and is able to do. With appropriate accommodations educators can make valid inferences about students’ knowledge and skills.

Theme 5: Accommodations Allow for Valid Inferences about Students’ Knowledge and Skills

Exemplary Evidence:

Delaware dissaggregates accommodations usage, as reported in the Accountability Technical Manual

In addition, the accommodation guidelines provide which accommodations can be aggregated into the accountability system.

Theme 5: Accommodations Allow for Valid Inferences about Students’ Knowledge and Skills

Insufficient Evidence

Reliance on the belief that if accommodations are those typically provided, they allow for valid inferences

Lack of evidence that scores from accommodated administrations are valid representations relative to standards

Theme 5: Accommodations Allow for Valid Inferences about Students’ Knowledge and Skills

Conduct studies in your states on the use of accommodations by specific groups of students (e.g., category of disability, ethnic groups, etc.)

Interview students about accommodations (access to, understanding of purpose, reactions of peers, etc.) – variable that will help you understand the validity of scores that result from their use during instruction and assessment

Interview teachers to better understand the logistical constraints that impede the provision of accommodations, which in turn might reduce the validity of assessment results

Interview decision making teams to identify factors that produce a tendency to select almost every accommodation possible, thereby resulting in over-accommodation; produce a form to aid decision making to avoid overaccommodation

Accommodations Allow for Valid Inferences about Students’ Knowledge and Skills: Recommendations

Themes are interconnected

Cross-walk between the themes and the guidance document

Additional recommendations that are broader/narrower than the themes

Narrow: Suggestions for states using ACT/SAT

Broad: Recommendations for clear organization of materials

Final Thoughts

Still working to pull examples to deepen themes 4 and 5

Verification with the ED Standards and Assessments Review Team

Development of the brochure

What’s Left to Do

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