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Education and Alternate Assessment for Students with Significant Cognitive Disabilities: Implications for Educators

Author(s): Mary C. Zatta | Diana C. Pullin

Journal: Education Policy Analysis Archives
ISSN 1068-2341

Volume: 12;
Start page: 16;
Date: 2004;
Original page

Keywords: State and federal mandates for education reform call for increased accountability and the inclusion of students with disabilities in all accountability efforts. In the rush to implement high-stakes education reforms | particularly those involving tests or assessments | the particular needs of students with severe cognitive disabilities are only now being addressed by policymakers and educators. For students with significant cognitive disabilities | implementation of alternate approaches to education accountability is increasing. At the same time | the challenges associated with successfully implementing alternate assessment programs are becoming more obvious. This paper describes some of the ways in which alternate assessment as part of standards-based education reform may impact students with significant cognitive disabilities. It provides an overview of state efforts to implement alternate assessments for students with significant cognitive disabilities | followed by an example of how one state has begun to implement alternate assessment through the Massachusetts Alternate Assessment (MCAS-Alt/ Massachusetts Comprehensive Assessment System Alternate). It reviews issues educators in all states will face in the participation of students with significant disabilities in alternate assessment programs | the content and form of alternate assessments | the validity and reliability of the assessments | and the role of teachers in the implementation of alternate assessment programs.
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