The impact of implementing the statewide alternate assessment portfolio on student access to the general curriculum
With the passage of No Child Left Behind Act and accountability provisions for all students, it is important that teachers and educational leaders are able to implement assessments appropriately, including alternate assessments for students with significant disabilities. Through secondary survey analysis and case studies of three middle school students who participated in the Washington portfolio assessment, this inquiry investigated the process of and possible effects of implementing the alternate assessment on teachers' actions in providing access to the academic curriculum for students with significant disabilities in Washington State. The results from this research suggest findings in six areas: teachers with more portfolio experience appear to more fully integrate portfolio elements into classroom routines; regardless of experience with portfolio assessment, teachers may not understand how to provide instruction in academic content for students with significant disabilities; teachers' views of the connections between portfolio evidence and the teaching and learning going on in the classroom may influence whether the teacher will make any changes in providing greater access to the general curriculum; student achievement toward meeting state standards in academic content may depend on having viable communication systems and effective data collection methods of student learning; teacher use of alternate assessment and WAAS performance data may determine, in part, the level of instructional and programmatic changes focused on increasing student academic learning; and fulfilling reform expectations is dependent, in part, on school district commitment to implementing alternate assessment as part of an overall program design for students with significant disabilities.In addition, the study findings suggest areas for further research and potential actions for state and school district leadership in order to support the appropriate implementation and use of alternate assessment in Washington in the following aspects: exploring full inclusion in state assessments; using the implementation of alternate assessments as a way to raise teacher expectations and promoting greater access to the general curriculum for students with significant disabilities; aligning curriculum, instruction, and alternate assessment to academic content; and taking steps to ensure appropriate communication, understanding and use of assessment results.
- Education - Seattle