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Testing Deaf Students in an Age of Accountability

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The committee is composed of teachers and individuals with extensive knowledge and experience in these areas. The committee also reviews items for accommodations needed for blind and visually impaired students as well as deaf students. In cases when an item cannot be modified or is not appropriate for a blind student, it will be removed from the Braille version of the test, and the scoring will be adjusted.

After items are written and before the submission of the test items to the test publishing company for inclusion in a field test, they are submitted for review to the Bias Review Committee. Any item that is judged to contain bias is returned to the Delaware Department of Education content specialist with a description of the bias identified. The item may be revised to eliminate the bias and then be resubmitted to the Bias Review Committee for another review before field testing occurs with Delaware students.

The opportunity for bias review is not always an option with standardized formative assessments such as the Measures of Academic Progress assessment by Northwest Evaluation Association that is used at the local level. There are not high-stakes consequences attached to these local assessments in terms of mandatory summer school and diploma requirements; however, the fact that items with bias are present on the formative assessment prevents students from showing what they know and could present an opportunity to discuss strategies for addressing the item and moving forward with the remainder of the test.

TEST ADMINISTRATION AND GUIDELINES FOR INCLUSION OF STUDENTS WITH DISABILITIES

Students with disabilities may be administered the test under various conditions in Delaware as outlined in guidelines published by the Delaware Department of Education. The following descriptions are excerpted directly from the 20052006 DSTP Guidelines for Inclusion of Students with Disabilities and Students with Limited English Proficiency (Delaware Department of Education, 2005):

Testing Condition 1: Students may be tested under regular conditions. Note that students may elect to test under regular conditions even if accommodations are being used in the classroom.
Testing Condition 2: Students may test with accommodations that do not change the construct being assessed. Such accommodations do not interfere with the comparability of student scores to the scores of students testing under standard conditions. The scores for students testing with these accommodations are aggregable (will be included) in the calculations of the results presented in the State Summary. Students will receive an individual score report.
Testing Condition 3: Students may test with accommodations that change the construct being assessed (for example, reading aloud the reading passages in the reading comprehension test accommodation 46). Such accommodations interfere with the comparability of student scores to the scores of students testing under standard conditions (i.e., testing conditions 1 and 2).The scores for students testing with these accommodations are non-aggregable and will not be included (not aggregated) in the calculations of the results presented in the State Summary Report; however, students will receive an individual score report.
Testing Condition 4: Students with disabilities may participate in the Delaware Alternate Portfolio Assessment (DAPA) if they meet the criteria. The scores for students testing with this assessment are aggregable (will be included) in the calculations of the DAPA results presented in the State Summary. Students will receive an individual score report.
Testing Condition 5: The grade 4, 6, 8, or 11 SD/LEP student may be exempted from the science and social studies tests if he or she meets the criteria. Students who are both SD and LEP (SD/LEP) in grades 210 may receive special flexibility for the DSTP reading and writing tests using the criteria.
Testing Condition 6: SD/LEP students who meet the criteria outlined on page 24 may take an alternate assessment for LEP students (if available) in place of the DSTP reading and writing.

At the Delaware School for the Deaf, students primarily fall under testing conditions 1 through 4 with a very small percentage in the category described in testing condition 1. Approximately 10% of students participated in the alternate portfolio assessment (DAPA) in 20052006, which is described in testing condition 4.


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