Assessment in Special Education

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Research Paper: Assessment in Special Education

Sometimes the general education program alone is not able to meet the needs of a child with disabilities, and he/she may be able to receive special education services. The evaluation process can be a very difficult task when trying to identify if the child qualifies for special education, schools often have a pre-referral intervention process. The most prominent approached used today is the “response-to-Intervention” or RTI. Special Education teachers face many challenges when trying to meet the needs of special needs students in their classrooms. Methods of evaluation are a big concern and challenge for educators of special needs students today. In addition, meeting everyone’s needs is a difficult task to accomplish because of students’ diverse abilities in the classroom. This research paper will explore the different methods of assessment in special education programs and the best practices to help this children achieve their potential in an appropriate setting.

Testing and assessment is an ongoing process with children in special education programs. Some of these assessments include, developmental assessments, screening tests, individual intelligence tests, individual academic achievement tests, adaptive behavior scales, behavior rating scales, curriculum-based assessments, end-of-grade, end-of-course, and alternate assessments. Comprehensive assessment of individual students requires the use of multiple data sources. These sources may also include standardized tests, informal measures, observations, student self-reports, parent reports, and progress monitoring data from response-to-intervention (RTI) approaches (NJCLD, 2005). The main purpose of a comprehensive assessment in the special education field is to accurately identify the strengths and needs of the students to help them be successful during their school years and there after.

Legislation has played a big role in the shift towards functional assessment. The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act is also known as the Education for All Handicapped Children Act has played a big role in this matter. The IDEA legislation “needed to assure that students with disabilities receive free appropriate public education (FAPE) and the related services and support the need to achieve” (Jeffords 1). IDEA was created to make sure that disabled children are receiving fair and equal education and support. This act has several parts to it which include providing grants, funds early intervention services, and supports research and professional development programs. The No Child Left Behind Act: Impact on the Assessment of Special Education Student. After the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) moved into our schools there is a great deal of controversy that questions whether the act implemented by President George W. Bush is helping or hurting an already suffering school system. There are many dimensions of the NCLB act that have been questioned over the past decade; the fair assessment of students with disabilities is one of them. As the National Center for Fair & Open Testing (NCFOT) reported, the public relations aspect of this act is strong. Prior to the Individuals with Disability Education Act of 1997 (IDEA) students in special education were exempt from participating in the statewide testing. However, the IDEA advocated that all students including those with special learning difficulties should be able to participate in testing. (Cahalan, 2003). Legislative Overview of Laws Protecting Special Education Students On January 8, 2002, President George W. Bush signed the NCLB act. In this act the federal government was for the first time in the history of the Department of Education putting an act into effect that would penalize schools that failed to meet adequate yearly progress (AYP). The AYP is a measuring system in which the federal government will look at the progress of the...
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