Assessment Changing Student and Vice Versa: Lessons from K-12 Testing of Students with Disabilities

      Big Issues in Testing Conference: Improving Admissions and Learning in Higher Education
      University of Nebraska - Lincoln
      March 28-29, 2013

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Assessment Changing Students and Vice Versa: Lessons from K-12 Testing of Students with Disabilities (43 min.) LEARNING OBJECTIVES: 1. Describe the new demands that were placed on assessment systems as a result of greater accessibility accommodations and new types of assessments. 2. Identify implications for higher education based on lessons learned from K-12 testing. ABSTRACT: This is an introductory-level presentation. Mandated inclusion of students with disabilities in large-scale K-12 testing systems brought many changes. Students previously excluded were assessed and instruction changed. New demands were placed on assessment systems, resulting in greater accessibility, accommodations, and new types of assessments. Increased pressure is also placed on higher education to provide these accommodations. Lessons learned from the K-12 testing of students with disabilities and their implications for higher education will be highlighted. BIOGRAPHY: Martha Thurlow is Director of the National Center on Educational Outcomes and Senior Research Associate in the University of Minnesota’s Institute on Community Integration. Her research and technical assistance activities address the implications of contemporary U.S. policy and practice for students with disabilities, including national and statewide assessment policies and practices, standards-setting efforts, and graduation requirements. With a career that has spanned more than 35 years, Dr. Thurlow spent many of those years focused on students with disabilities, targeting both the assessment and instructional issues for these students in her research. Dr. Thurlow has given particular emphasis to obtaining valid, reliable, and comparable measures of the knowledge and skills of students with disabilities while at the same time ensuring that the assessments are truly measuring their knowledge and skills rather than their disabilities. Studies have covered a range of topics, including participation decision making, accommodations, universal design, accessible reading assessments, computer-based testing, graduation exams, and alternate assessments. Dr. Thurlow has published extensively on these topics. w.