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Students with Disabilities (SWD)
NCLB Reauthorization

To better inform the national debate on No Child Left Behind (NCLB) reauthorization, ECS collected and synthesized recommendations by national organizations to improve the federal law.

ECS' database is organized around 16 issue areas that captured most recommendations. Some organizations did not offer recommendations for all issues, at least according to our analysis. And several recommendations appear more than once since they applied to multiple issue areas.

The summary and full text of all organizations' original recommendations for Students with Disabilities (SWD) are listed in this report. Please see the main page for additional reports and sources for the database.

Highlights
(See Abbreviation Key at end of table)

Organizations that addressed this issue: 13 of 15
AASA; AFT; BCSA; Comm. NCLB; CCSSO; ECS; NAESP; NASBE; NASSP; NCSL; NEA; NGA; and NSBA

Organizations that did not address this issue2 of 15
Ed Trust and FEA

Comments
Nearly every organization recommended changes to NCLB for students with disabilities, and several common themes emerged. Organizations proposed expanded use of and improved alternative assessments, extended time for students to be included in the special education AYP subgroup, more tailored achievement goals, and greater use of students' Individual Education Plans (IEPs) to determine testing requirements


Visit ECS' Database on NCLB Reauthorization main page for more information, explanations and access to organizations' original reports. Please note that ECS plans to expand the database as more information becomes available.

Database Last Updated: July 2007

This database was created and compiled by Mary Fulton, ECS policy analyst.
For questions and comments: 303.299.3679 or mfulton@ecs.org

NCLB Reauthorization : American Association of School Administrators (AASA)
Capacity Building, Innovation and Research & Development (CIRD)
Students with Disabilities (SWD)
SWD 1 - Summary of Recommendation Create valid state tests for students with disabilities that are consistent with IEP benchmarks for meeting state standards.
SWD 1 - Full Recommendation Improve state accountability systems to more accurately evaluate the performance of schools and school districts by establishing statistically valid statewide tests, and local option assessments if used, for all special education students in schools using ESEA funds that are consistent with the annual achievement benchmarks in the students Individual Education Plan (IEP) toward mastery of state content and performance standards.
SWD 2 - Summary of Recommendation Identify struggling schools on continuum of success, target assistance to highest need students and tailor accountability systems to needs of students with disabilities and ELL students.
SWD 2 - Full Recommendation Improve state accountability systems by making them: (a) more accurate in identifying schools on a continuum of success in raising achievement of Title I students and targeting assistance to schools most in need and (b)fairer to special education and English language learner (ELL) students by tailoring the accountability requirements and assessments to their individual needs.
Parent and Community Involvement (CPI)

NCLB Reauthorization : American Federation of Teachers (AFT)
Capacity Building, Innovation and Research & Development (CIRD)
Students with Disabilities (SWD)
SWD 1 - Summary of Recommendation Allow IEP teams to determine students with disabilities' participation in state assessments.
SWD 1 - Full Recommendation

Allow Individual Education Plan (IEP) teams to determine how students with disabilities participate in state academic assessments.

Parent and Community Involvement (CPI)

NCLB Reauthorization : Business Coalition for Student Achievement (BCSA)
Capacity Building, Innovation and Research & Development (CIRD)
Students with Disabilities (SWD)
SWD 1 - Summary of Recommendation Fund better assessments for students with disabilities and ELL students.
SWD 1 - Full Recommendation Fund development of better assessments for students with disabilities and English language learner (ELL) students.
Parent and Community Involvement (CPI)

NCLB Reauthorization : Commission on No Child Left Behind (Comm. NCLB)
Capacity Building, Innovation and Research & Development (CIRD)
Students with Disabilities (SWD)
SWD 1 - Summary of Recommendation Maintain Education Department’s 1% policy on alternative standards and assessments for students with severe cognitive disabilities and reduce cap to 1% of students assessed against modified standards.
SWD 1 - Full Recommendation Improve the rules for including students with disabilities in AYP calculations. Specifically, we recommend maintaining the U.S. Department of Education’s 1% policy (allowing children with severe cognitive disabilities to be assessed against alternate achievement standards using alternate assessments) and amending the proposed 2% policy (allowing students with disabilities to be assessed against “modified achievement standards”) by reducing the cap to 1%.
SWD 2 - Summary of Recommendation Strengthen procedures for determining which students with disabilities should use alternative assessments and standards or be assessed against modified standards.
SWD 2 - Full Recommendation Ensure that decisions are made properly and children with disabilities are assessed in the most appropriate manner by strengthening the procedures for determining which children are included in the above categories and improving the tools and training available for Individualized Education Program (IEP) teams to make those decisions.
SWD 3 - Summary of Recommendation Target federal funds to alternate assessments for students with disabilities and ELL students.
SWD 3 - Full Recommendation Target federal funds for creating and implementing alternate assessments for students with disabilities and English language learner (ELL) students.
SWD 4 - Summary of Recommendation Ensure migrant students with disabilities receive evaluations and services under IDEA.
SWD 4 - Full Recommendation Ensure migrant students with disabilities receive the evaluations and services to which they are entitled under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act.
Parent and Community Involvement (CPI)

NCLB Reauthorization : Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO)
Capacity Building, Innovation and Research & Development (CIRD)
Students with Disabilities (SWD)
SWD 1 - Summary of Recommendation Include students with disabilities in state assessment and accountability systems based on ambitious but educationally sound goals and measures.
SWD 1 - Full Recommendation Encourage inclusion of students with disabilities in state assessment and accountability systems in a manner that is most meaningful for the full range of students with disabilities, based on ambitious but educationally sound performance goals and measures.
SWD 2 - Summary of Recommendation Permit alternate assessments measured against alternate/modified standards based on individualized growth expectations for students with disabilities.
SWD 2 - Full Recommendation Permit use of alternate assessments measured against alternate/modified achievement standards based on individualized growth expectations across grade levels as needed for some students with disabilities.
SWD 3 - Summary of Recommendation Continue to count students with disabilities' performance in that AYP subgroup for appropriate period once they transfer out.
SWD 3 - Full Recommendation Count the performance of students with disabilities who recently transitioned out of that subgroup in subgroup accountability determinations for an appropriate period.
Parent and Community Involvement (CPI)

NCLB Reauthorization : Education Commission of the States (ECS)
Capacity Building, Innovation and Research & Development (CIRD)
Students with Disabilities (SWD)
SWD 1 - Summary of Recommendation Reconcile differences between NCLB and IDEA.
SWD 1 - Full Recommendation Reconcile differences between NCLB and the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA).
SWD 2 - Summary of Recommendation Accommodate for different achievement rates and levels of some students with disabilities.
SWD 2 - Full Recommendation Revise NCLB guidelines to recognize that students with disabilities may achieve at different rates and levels.
Parent and Community Involvement (CPI)

NCLB Reauthorization : Education Trust (Ed Trust)
Capacity Building, Innovation and Research & Development (CIRD)
Students with Disabilities (SWD)
SWD 1 - Summary of Recommendation No recommendations identified for this issue.
Parent and Community Involvement (CPI)

NCLB Reauthorization : Forum on Educational Accountability (FEA)
Capacity Building, Innovation and Research & Development (CIRD)
Students with Disabilities (SWD)
SWD 1 - Summary of Recommendation No recommendations identified for this issue.
Parent and Community Involvement (CPI)

NCLB Reauthorization : National Association of Elementary School Principals (NAESP)
Capacity Building, Innovation and Research & Development (CIRD)
Students with Disabilities (SWD)
SWD 1 - Summary of Recommendation Include students with disabilities' IEP achievement goals in student/school success determinations for AYP.
SWD 1 - Full Recommendation Include progress toward the achievement of goals specified in students with disabilities' Individual Education Plans (IEP) among the factors used to determine student and school success.
SWD 2 - Summary of Recommendation Use growth models to assess student with disabilities' achievement.
SWD 2 - Full Recommendation Base the assessment of the achievement of students with disabilities on a growth model that measures their progress from year to year.
SWD 3 - Summary of Recommendation Assess students with disabilities at level they are taught even if differs from grade level.
SWD 3 - Full Recommendation Assess students with disabilities at the level at which they are taught, and this level may differ from a student’s chronological grade level.
Parent and Community Involvement (CPI)

NCLB Reauthorization : National Association of State Boards of Education (NASBE)
Capacity Building, Innovation and Research & Development (CIRD)
Students with Disabilities (SWD)
SWD 1 - Summary of Recommendation Allow states to count students with disabilities in AYP who successfully complete their IEPs.
SWD 1 - Full Recommendation Allow states to count students with a disability who successfully complete their Individual Education Plan (IEP)  --but do not earn a diploma based on state academic standards -- in AYP calculations.
Parent and Community Involvement (CPI)

NCLB Reauthorization : National Association of Secondary School Principals (NASSP)
Capacity Building, Innovation and Research & Development (CIRD)
Students with Disabilities (SWD)
SWD 1 - Summary of Recommendation Accept state high school "exit" documents for students with disabilities until they are 21 years old.
SWD 1 - Full Recommendation

Extend age to 21 years for special-needs students who complete high school with a state-approved exit document to be counted as graduates as defined by the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA).

  • IDEA allows students with disabilities to be educated by and graduate from public high schools until age 21, inclusive; therefore, NCLB should adopt statutes already written into existing federal law.
SWD 2 - Summary of Recommendation Expand alternative assessments for students with disabilities that are counted for AYP.
SWD 2 - Full Recommendation

Expand the number of alternative assessments that are counted toward making AYP to accommodate schools that have high populations of students with cognitive disabilities and more accurately reflect the true school population of students with cognitive disabilities. 

  • Expanding the percentage of students who may count toward the number of alternative assessments helps to accommodate schools and districts that have high populations of students with cognitive disabilities and more accurately reflect the true population of students with cognitive disabilities.
Parent and Community Involvement (CPI)

NCLB Reauthorization : National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL)
Capacity Building, Innovation and Research & Development (CIRD)
Students with Disabilities (SWD)
SWD 1 - Summary of Recommendation Recognize IDEA takes precedence over NCLB for students with disabilities. Allow states to use IEPs to determine curriculum, standards and assessments for students with disabilities.
SWD 1 - Full Recommendation Recognize the Individual with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) as the prevailing federal law regarding students with disabilities. It should take precedence over NCLB. States should be allowed to use Individual Education Plans (IEPs) to determine an appropriate curriculum, standards and assessment system for students with disabilities.
SWD 2 - Summary of Recommendation Allow states to determine percentage of students with disabilities for whom out-of-level standards and tests should be used, based on IEPs.
SWD 2 - Full Recommendation Allow states to determine the percentage of the special education population that would be best educated according to out-of-level standards and tested accordingly, based on Individual Education Plans (IEPs). Districts should be able to petition the state if they need to exceed the exemption level. Regardless of where this exemption level is set and in recognition that the special education population is not uniformly dispersed across states and school districts, these decisions should be made at the discretion of states.
SWD 3 - Summary of Recommendation Allow states to set separate starting points and AYP projection paths for students with disabilities.
SWD 3 - Full Recommendation Allow states to set separate starting points and AYP projection paths for students with disabilities. This will acknowledge that “gap” kids do not meet the definition of students with severe disabilities, nor are they appropriate candidates for regular assessments and standards.
SWD 4 - Summary of Recommendation Publicize states' option of setting different “n” sizes for student subgroups for AYP and reporting purposes.
SWD 4 - Full Recommendation Ensure Education Department publicizes to states the option of setting a different “n” size—the minimum number of students needed to establish a subgroup in a school for reporting purposes. Some state plans have acknowledged the difficulty disabled students will have in meeting AYP and have increased their “n” size so fewer schools are required to meet the AYP proficiency standards for this subgroup. This will reduce the number of schools that miss AYP due solely to this subgroup.
Parent and Community Involvement (CPI)

NCLB Reauthorization : National Education Association (NEA)
Capacity Building, Innovation and Research & Development (CIRD)
Students with Disabilities (SWD)
SWD 1 - Summary of Recommendation Ensure assessments are appropriate, valid and reliable for all groups of students, including students with disabilities and ELL students.
SWD 1 - Full Recommendation Ensure assessment systems are appropriate, valid and reliable for all groups of students, including students with disabilities and English language learner (ELL) students, and provide for common-sense flexibility for assessing these student subgroups.
SWD 2 - Summary of Recommendation Provide funding for appropriate assessments for students with disabilities and ELL students.
SWD 2 - Full Recommendation Provide adequate funding to develop and improve appropriate assessments for students with disabilities and English language learner (ELL) students.
Parent and Community Involvement (CPI)

NCLB Reauthorization : National Governors Association (NGA)
Capacity Building, Innovation and Research & Development (CIRD)
Students with Disabilities (SWD)
SWD 1 - Summary of Recommendation Refine AYP to reflect the academic progress of students with disabilities.
SWD 1 - Full Recommendation Refine AYP to reflect the academic progress of students with disabilities.

Governors believe that flexibility on alternate and modified assessments for students with disabilities should be addressed in the law. Additionally, Congress should continue to work with governors to ensure accountability for the education of students with disabilities while also providing flexibility for and recognition of schools and states making progress.
Parent and Community Involvement (CPI)

NCLB Reauthorization : National School Boards Association (NSBA)
Capacity Building, Innovation and Research & Development (CIRD)
Students with Disabilities (SWD)
SWD 1 - Summary of Recommendation Offer alternative assessments, based on IEP, to students with disabilities for AYP purposes.
SWD 1 - Full Recommendation Offer students with disabilities an alternate assessment for the purpose of determining AYP, provided that any such assessment is reflected by the student’s Individual Education Plan and is based on the IEP team’s evaluation and the services to be provided for that student – and meets parent consent requirements for IEP’s.
SWD 2 - Summary of Recommendation Limit percentage of students with disabilities whose alternative assessment score counted as meeting AYP to 3% of total students assessed.
SWD 2 - Full Recommendation Limit the percentage of students statewide who may have their score counted under alternative assessments as meeting AYP to 3% of the total number of students assessed.
SWD 3 - Summary of Recommendation Allow students with disabilities' alternate assessments to include out of grade-level tests and base AYP on gain/growth or adjusted scores.
SWD 3 - Full Recommendation Allow alternate assessments for students with disabilities to include out of level assessments consistent with Individual Education Plans (IEP). Likewise, a student’s test results for the purpose of determining AYP may be based on gain scores toward meeting the state standard for proficient or on an adjusted “cut ” score for determining proficient.
Parent and Community Involvement (CPI)


Abbreviation Key for Organizations
AASA = American Association of School Administrators
AFT = American Federation of Teachers
BCSA = Business Coalition for Student Achievement
Comm. NCLB = Commission on No Child Left Behind
CCSSO = Council of Chief State School Officers
ECS = Education Commission of the States
Ed Trust = Education Trust
FEA = Forum on Educational Accountability
NAESP = National Association of Elementary School Principals
NASBE = National Association of State Boards of Education
NASSP = National Association of Secondary School Principals
NCSL = National Conference of State Legislatures
NEA = National Education Association
NGA = National Governors Association
NSBA = National School Boards Association


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