Alternate Assessment Term Paper

Pages: 4 (1232 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: ≈ 3  ·  File: .docx  ·  Level: College Senior  ·  Topic: Teaching

Alternate forms of assessment have taken on new importance since the "No Child Left Behind" (NCLB) has required that schools demonstrate that students are learning. While the standard assessment for most schools is some form of group achievement test, some students do not perform well on such tests, making them a poor way to evaluate their progress. Other students have special needs and their progress has to be looked at differently than children with no impediments to learning.

Delzell et. al. (2003) looked at alternate forms for assessment and evaluation, noting that In the past, children with learning difficulties were simply excluded from testing, but current special education law requires that their learning be evaluated in some form. They looked at requirements to tie these assessments to state standards

One of the most widely discussed methods for alternative assessments is called the "portfolio." A portfolio is simply a collection of information that demonstrates as completely as possible how the student is performing as a learner. It could include any goals from an IEP as well as how the student has performed while working toward those goals, anecdotal notes, work samples, and even video tape of the student while at work on school work (Delzell et. al., 2003). The authors looked at when a portfolio might be used, as well as methods for quantifying the evaluation, such as using a rubric.

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The authors noted a variety of difficulties when using portfolios, including the possibility that the contents would be too vague to demonstrate whether the student was actually progressing or not. They also note that there is no evidence that the use of portfolios for evaluation has raised expectations for the students involved.

This article gave a thorough overview of the issues involved but did not point to concrete solutions to the problems raised when using portfolio assessment or other alternate forms of evaluation.

Term Paper on Alternate Assessment Assignment

Courtade-Little (2005) also notes the increased importance that student evaluation has taken on since the passage of NCLB. In her work she found that anecdotal artifacts were used most often as part of a larger evaluation process, typically a portfolio. She specifically researched the effect teacher training on instructional strategies might have on the child's scores when using alternate assessment. The reader noted that this research has significant surface validity; alternate teaching strategies might be better evaluated by alternate assessments. In her research she noted that a number of variables could affect the results of alternate assessment including the technical characteristics of the evaluation method, educational resources available, characteristics of the student, access to curriculum, methods of data colleciton, and effectiveness of instruction (Courtade-Little, 2005).

The research posed a number of interesting questions. For instance, just because a teacher learned alternative ways to instruct did not mean the teachers would use those approaches. While the author's approach was to use a portfolio, she noted that anecdotal information could be an important part of that data. However, the information gathered and how it was organized demonstrates the difficulty of using any alternative method for measuring student progress. They classified student results into four domains: community, communication, career/vocational, and personal/home management. This approach might raise some questions, such as, where is the evaluation of academic progress in those four domains? Can schools adequately measure a student's ability to live at home? While home management has long-term implications for students with significant disabilities, how well can a school evaluate those skills (assuming a non-residential educational setting)? The research notes that emphasis has moved from life skills to academic mastery in the last two years, but the basis for Courtade-Little's research demonstrates the widely-ranging approaches to alternative assessments. Nowhere in this study, or in the other two… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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