Feds to States: No More Alternative Tests for Most Students With Disabilities

Arne-Duncan-HartfordU.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan established a new rule under the Elementary and Secondary Education Act that bars states from offering alternative standards and tests for almost all students with disabilities.

This rule change will go into effect on September 21st. You can read the rule here. Ā The summary is below:

The Secretary amends the regulations governing title I, Part A of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965, as amended (ESEA) (the ā€œTitle I regulationsā€), to no longer authorize a State to define modified academic achievement standards and develop alternate assessments based on those modified academic achievement standards for eligible students with disabilities. In order to make conforming changes to ensure coordinated administration of programs under title I of the ESEA and the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), the Secretary is also amending the regulations for Part B of the IDEA. Note: Nothing in these regulations changes the ability of States to develop and administer alternate assessments based on alternateĀ academic achievement standards for students with the most significant cognitive disabilities or alternate assessments based on grade-level academic achievement standards for other eligible students with disabilities in accordance with the ESEA and the IDEA, or changes the authority of IEP teams to select among these alternate assessments for eligible students.

The Federal Register website further explains the rule:

In addition, nearly all States have developed new college- and career-ready standards and new assessments aligned with those standards. These new assessments have been designed to facilitate the valid, reliable, and fair assessment of most students, including students with disabilities who previously took an alternate assessment based on modified academic achievement standards. For these reasons, we believe that the removal of the authority for States to define modified academic achievement standards and to administer assessments based on those standards is necessary to ensure that students with disabilities are held to the same high standards as their nondisabled peers, and that they benefit from high expectations, access to the general education curriculum based on a Stateā€™s academic content standards, and instruction that will prepare them for success in college and careers.

So Common Core-aligned assessments such as Smarter Balanced and PARCC will be foisted on most students with disabilities moving forward.

8 thoughts on “Feds to States: No More Alternative Tests for Most Students With Disabilities

  1. Just when I thought Arne Duncan couldn’t turn my stomach any more than he already has, this happens. Next will he be expecting kids in wheelchairs to run the 50 yard dash!

  2. And just exactly what is going to be accomplished by forcing a student with developmental delays to take the same test as their typical peers? This has very serious problem and the outcome for these individuals will be nothing short of devastating. What is his underlying motivation for doing this?

  3. This is already how it has been in New Mexico pretty much since the beginning of the testing. If sped teachers there weren’t worried about their jobs (licensures are linked to nondisclosure agreements, including a statement that they cannot “disparage or reduce the value of the testing”) – you’d hear an earful. As it is, with that gag order – the silence speaks volumes.

  4. Disgusting, Mr. Duncan! You should not have that much power. And you are causing special needs kids and their families great turmoil!!

  5. This guy is a piece of work….he knows nothing about his job the only thing he knows is dollar signs…. His answers to Senator Dr. Bill Cassidy about what we are doing for our dyslexic kids when asked in April just shows how clueless he is….

  6. I hope his kids have to suffer the injustices that he is subjecting students with disabilities with. What is it with politicians who aim at the weakest of the population. The Chicago public schools has decided to cut costs by starting with the special needs child. We are such a bully nation.

  7. This explains so much. I am a dyslexia tutor and several of my students informed me this week that they will not longer get any extra help during their school day. One student told me that all his special teachers were let go at the end of the last school year. When talking with the parents, these teachers are not being replaced and every child is now expected to do the same work as the regular students.
    This nation is going to hell in a handbasket.

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