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The Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act (IDEA 04) emphasizes raised expectations for all students with disabilities through the provision of challenging academic standards, and the use of alternate assessments aligned to academic content standards at grade-level. No Child Left Behind (NCLB) also requires the implementation of alternate assessments for students with significant disabilities that are aligned to grade-level content.
Louisiana students with significant disabilities who meet the LEAP Alternate Assessment, Level 1 (LAA1) Participation Criteria are eligible to participate in LAA1. LAA1 is a performance-based assessment aligned to the Louisiana Extended Standards. Information on the LAA1 Participate Criteria, Extended Standards, and other related resources (e.g., Parent Guide, Test Adminstration Manual) can be found at http://www.louisianabelieves.com/assessment/alternate-assessments
National Center and State Collaborative
The Louisiana Department of Education is currently working with a U.S. Department of Education funded project to examine issues related to alternate assessment in alignment with the Common Core State Standards. For further information about this project, visit the National Center and State Collaborative website at http://www.ncscpartners.org/
The Louisiana Department of Education provides guidance to local school districts on issues related to K-3 literacy assessments for students who:
1) have a significant cognitive disability (i.e., students who either currently participate in LEAP Alternate Assessment, Level 1, or will likely qualify for this assessment program at some point in the future),
2) are Blind/Visually Impaired, or
3) are Deaf/Hard of Hearing.
Click here to access this K-3 guidance on the Louisiana Department of Education's website. The Sample Assessment Tools chart provides a description of alternate literacy assessment tools which can be used if DIBELS does not provide a viable means of assessing a student with a significant disability. Also included in the chart are links to the assessment tools.
This chart, Sample Assessment Tools, compiled by Dr. Caroline Musselwhite, contains information regarding a variety of assessment tools that can be used to assess the literacy/reading progress of a student with a significant disability. One or more of these tools can be used in addition to assessment tools used by districts. These tools do not take the place of other assessments required by districts such as the DIBELS (Dynamic Indicators of Basic Early Literacy Skills).
One assessment tool described in the above referenced chart is The BRIDGE (Pierce, Summer, O’DeKirk, in progress). An example is provided here (BRIDGE photograph samples) of images of a Louisiana student engaged in various literacy activities outlined in the assessment tool.
The Louisiana Department of Education recommends that a Literacy Folder be initiated for all students with significant disabilities (click on Literacy Folder Overview for a complete description). The Literacy Folder is an individual student folder that will follow the student across grades and will provide a clear picture of growth in literacy learning and communication skills. The intent is to help teachers, therapists, and others quickly access previous assessment information, sample portfolio pieces, and materials, strategies, and programs that have been implemented.
The Literacy Folder is essential to provide a seamless transition in student literacy accomplishments and needs across grade levels. For students with significant disabilities, assessment can be arduous and time-consuming. It is crucial to retain assessment data, including informal assessment to chart progress, but also to avoid wasting valuable time. Portfolio pieces across time will help educators plot change across a longer time span than a single school year. Current teachers will be able to find information such as materials and programs that were successfully used with each student, and special interests that support literacy efforts.
The Literacy Experiences Summary and Communication Profile are charts which can be incorporated in the use of the Literacy Folder. The intent is to provide a ‘snapshot’ of the student’s literacy experiences through the school year, as well as the student’s needs/status related to both expressive and receptive communication issues.
Click here for images from one Louisiana district where Literacy Folders are being used to track students' access and outcomes related to literacy.
The Literacy Rubric reprinted here with permission from the author, Kathy Staugler, can be used to conduct an informal literacy assessment of a student with a significant disability. The rubric addresses the five components of reading instruction across three levels of literacy engagement: Early Emerging Literacy, Transitional Emerging Literacy, and Early Conventional.
The 1-Minute Context Checklist is designed to support teachers of students with significant disabilities in saving student writing samples that permit comparison across time. Click here for a PowerPoint file containing photographs of a student's writing which was tracked using the 1-Minute Context Checklist.
Developmental spelling is important because it gives us a "window" into children's understanding of how to use print to form words, and how those understandings grow across time. Across time, individuals go through predictable "phases" of developmental spelling. The Monster Test of developmental spelling can identify the current phase of spelling, and show progress across time and across interventions.
The two documents provided here include an overview of the Monster Test of developmental spelling, which was designed by Rick Generty and colleagues in 1985, along with ideas for adapting the test for use with students who need accommodations.
Monster Test Introduction: Assessing Developmental Spelling
Monster Test: Administration
The webinar Developmental Spelling: Linking Assessment and Intervention (delivered by Dr. Caroline Musselwhite, June 2012) provides a overview of how to use this assessment tool.
This Instructional Materials Library at this site provides samples of tools that may be used to assess what a student knows and is able to do relative to instruction on select Grade-Level Expectations and Extended Standards. The sample tools may be accessed by clicking here.
The Product Options on the Access Guide website are posted with permission from Dr. Bertie Kingore. These product options, when aligned appropriately with learning objectives, can serve as valuable assessment tools. Product options provide a way to engage students appropriately in learning experiences. The materials on the Access Guide site are posted in the following categories: