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Title:The impact of alternate assessment on teaching and learning for students with significant cognitive disabilities
Author(s):Roden, Melinda R.
Director of Research:DeStefano, Lizanne
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):Shriner, James G.
Doctoral Committee Member(s):DeStefano, Lizanne; Trach, John S.; Kearns, Jacqueline
Department / Program:Special Education
Discipline:Special Education
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Subject(s):alternate assessment
special education
intellectual disability
student with significant cognitive disability
Abstract:Federal legislation mandates all students, including those with significant cognitive disabilities, participate in standards based education and in state assessments linked to those standards. To address this issue, this study used a multiple case study design in order to determine the impact alternate assessments based on alternate achievement standards have on teaching and learning for students with significant cognitive disabilities who participate in these assessments. Specifically, this study examined: (a) the link between the IEP and the state standards, (b) teacher and parent perceptions of standards based instruction and alternate assessment, and (c) how teachers deliver academic content to students who participate in alternate assessment. Data were collected using observations, in-depth interviews, surveys, and a document review. Exemplar cases were selected from schools representing urban, suburban and rural school districts in Georgia. Five middle school special education teachers and five parents of middle school students with moderate and significant levels of intellectual disabilities were participants - creating a teacher/parent/student triad. Each case was involved in standards-based instruction for students with significant cognitive disabilities who participated in the Georgia Alternate Assessment (GAA) during the 2008-09 school-year. Results from this study indicate that parents and teachers have favorable views of academic instruction for students with moderate intellectual disabilities, but some were less sure of the benefit for students with the most significant disabilities. Additionally, parents know little about the alternate assessment itself. Teachers were providing academic instruction that was linked to the state grade level standards and to the GAA, yet many of the teachers continued to maintain separate academic or GAA time and IEP goal/objective time. The document review revealed that little to no linkage was demonstrated between the IEP and the state standards, with most of IEPs containing more functional than academic goals and objectives. The findings of this study have several implications for policy, research and practice, including (a) the need for on-going professional development to assist teachers in developing the necessary skills to adapt grade level standards for inclusion into the IEP and (b) professional development that helps teachers integrate academic activities with IEP activities into more lessons.
Issue Date:2011-05-25
Rights Information:Copyright 2011 Melinda Roden
Date Available in IDEALS:2011-05-25
Date Deposited:2011-05

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