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Age of Accountability
From the Journal of Deaf Studies and Deaf Education
As public policy places an increasing emphasis on the efficiency and effectiveness of education, the mandate for accountability through high-stakes testing has evolved into a focal point of the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB). State and school administrators serving deaf and hard of hearing students have responded to the challenge with a variety of approaches and resolutions. Johnson and Mitchell assembled a group of contributing authors with expertise related to the issues and challenges of high-stakes testing and accountability. Each of the contributors follows the trail of mandates, regulations, and state-by-state practices highlighting assessment practices reinforced by the need to consider the unique qualities and characteristics embedded in the education of students with hearing loss.
Johnson and Mitchell subdivided the 14 chapters into 2 topical sections. Part One builds the foundation for understanding the issues related to testing deaf and hard of hearing students including a historical perspective, current academic achievement data, instructional organization, accommodations, and alternative assessment practices. Raimondo provides a clear and concise description of NCLB and the apprehension that is embedded in the policies and procedures applied to programs serving deaf and hard of hearing students. Several chapters refer to the historical use of the Stanford Achievement Test as a forerunner to national standardized testing as well as a national database for the field, something that is currently lacking in the state-by-state standards and current high-stakes testing process.
Part Two consists of case studies from seven states across the United States. Each of the case studies summarizes the pros and cons of high-stakes testing including an extended discussion of criteria for high school graduation, awarding of diplomas, and the life-long impact on students. Policies and procedures used for testing are defined within each of the case studies with guidelines and examples of accommodations and adaptations such as scripting, extended time, and the use of interpreters or mediated displays. The case studies exemplify the concern illustrated in Part One for the absence of evidence regarding the use of accommodations and adaptations as equalizing factors in testing protocols. A secondary area of concern noted within the case studies was the lack of sustainability of accommodations given the increasing time requirements, cost of professional services, and the cost to studentsí and teachersí instructional time. Of particular interest are the guidelines provided in the appendices that are used to determine appropriate accommodations, alternative testing options, and procedures to identify annual yearly progress. Michael Jones adds the dimension of accountability to the testing process by defining his role as an advocate in the education of the legislators and administrators for fair and functional assessments.
This book will be of special interest to administrators, evaluation specialists, and test developers as well as professionals in the field of deaf education. The breadth of information provides a well-documented need for a sustained and in-depth commitment to improving the process of assessment, accountability, accommodation, and alternative ways to identify the academic achievements of deaf and hard of hearing students.
Robert C. Johnson is former Research Editor at the Gallaudet Research Institute, Washington, DC.
Ross E. Mitchell is Assistant Professor in the School of Education at University of Redlands, Redlands, CA.
ISBN 978-1-56368-392-3, 1-56368-392-X, 7 x 10 casebound, 248 pages, tables, figures, references, index
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