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Testing Deaf Students in an Age of Accountability

Robert C. Johnson and Ross E. Mitchell, Editors

Publication Year: 2008

Despite the idealism represented by the No Child Left Behind law’s mandate for accountability in education, deaf students historically and on average have performed far below grade level on standardized tests. To resolve this contradiction in deaf education, this collection presents a spectrum of perspectives from a diverse corps of education experts to suggest a constructive synthesis of worthy ideals, hard realities, and pragmatic solutions. Contributors to this study include volume editors Robert C. Johnson and Ross E. Mitchell, Ed Bosso, Michael Bello, Betsy J. Case, Patrick Costello, Stephanie W. Cawthon, Joseph E. Fischgrund, Courtney Foster, Christopher Johnstone, Michael Jones, Jana Lollis, Pat Moore, Barbara Raimondo, Suzanne Recane, Richard C. Steffan, Jr., Sandra J. Thompson, Martha L. Thurlow, and Elizabeth Towles-Reeves. These noted educators and researchers employ experiences from Massachusetts, Delaware, Maryland, North Carolina, Illinois and California to support their findings about the dilemma facing deaf students and their teachers. They assess the intent and flexibility of federal law; achievement data regarding deaf students; potential accommodations and universal design to make tests more accessible; possible alternatives for deaf students not ready for conventional assessments; accounts of varying degrees of cooperation and conflict between schools and state education departments; and the day-to-day efforts of teachers and school administrators to help deaf students measure up to the new standards. By presenting these wide-ranging insights together, Testing Deaf Students in an Age of Accountability provides a unique opportunity to create genuine means to educate deaf students for the only test that matters, that of life.

Published by: Gallaudet University Press

title page

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pp. vii-viii

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pp. ix-x

The chapters in this book address one of the education profession’s most complicated issues—how to conduct fair and equitable assessments of deaf students, particularly during the era of increased accountability mandated by the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB). While the focus of the book is the assessment of deaf students, ...

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pp. xi-xiii

We wish first to acknowledge the labor of Gallaudet Research Institute (GRI) personnel who, over a 40-year period, have analyzed achievement patterns of the deaf student population on various editions of the Stanford Achievement Test. Investigators in this work have included Peter Ries, Raymond Trybus, ...

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pp. 1-14

In the years since passage of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act in 1965 and the Education for All Handicapped Children Act in 1975, U.S. federal law has increasingly promoted the view that all children, including those in poverty, from minority populations, or with disabilities, have an inherent right ...

Part One: Testing and Accountability Issues

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1. Accountability in the Education of Deaf Students Under the Individuals With Disabilities Education Act and No Child Left Behind

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pp. 17-37

It is a Wednesday afternoon in spring, and the Individualized Education Program (IEP) meeting for Jerome Kelly has begun. Jerome is age 8 years, deaf, and in second grade. Seated around the table of an elementary school classroom are Jerome’s classroom teacher, his itinerant teacher of the deaf, the school principal, ...

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2. Academic Achievement of Deaf Students

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pp. 38-50

The National Research Council (2001) identifies the practice of educational assessment as that which “seeks to determine how well students are learning and is an integral part of the quest for improved education. It provides feedback to students, educators, parents, policymakers, and the public about the effectiveness ...

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3. Accommodations to Improve Instruction and Assessment of Deaf Students

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pp. 51-62

Raising academic standards for all students and measuring student achievement to hold schools accountable for educational progress are central strategies for promoting educational excellence and equity in American schools. The No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) of 2001 was designed to support state efforts to establish ...

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4. Using Universal Design Research and Perspectives to Increase the Validity of Scores on Large-Scale Assessments

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pp. 63-75

Contemporary American educational culture is dominated by accountability requirements for all students, including students who are deaf. The No Child Left Behind (NCLB) Act of 2001 requires states to ensure that all students meet certain expected levels of academic proficiency and that all schools meet goals for ...

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5. Alternate Assessments: Leaving No Child Behind Amid Standards-Based Reform

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pp. 76-91

Imagine that you begin your day with an 8:00 a.m. Individualized Education Program (IEP) team meeting. You may be a school administrator, school psychologist, general education teacher, special education teacher, or speech/language therapist who, on a daily basis, works with deaf or hard of hearing students. ...

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6. No Child Left Behind and Schools for the Deaf: Integration Into the Accountability Framework

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pp. 92-112

The philosophy behind the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) of 2001 is that education will be improved if there are (a) clear expectations of educational goals, (b) measurement of student progress, and (c) consequences for schools and districts that do not meet educational goals. Forte-Fast and Hebbler (2004) refer to ...

Part Two: Case Studies from Selected States

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7. One State’s Perspective on the Appropriate Inclusion of Deaf Students in Large-Scale Assessments

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pp. 115-135

The State Assessment Office in South Carolina’s Department of Education provides opportunities for continuous, expert feedback and decision making in matters related to content areas on tests and to the testing needs of special student populations. The Students With Disabilities Unit is therefore routinely asked ...

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8. High-Stakes Testing of Deaf Students in North Carolina

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pp. 136-148

Increasingly, states are requiring that deaf students pass high-stakes tests to receive a high school diploma. Moreover, the design and production of these tests are unlikely to include careful consideration of the unique assessment needs of deaf students. This failure to attend to assessment concerns for special ...

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9. Implications and Complications of Including Deaf Students in Statewide Assessments in Illinois

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pp. 149-166

The Illinois School for the Deaf (ISD) began its involvement in statewide assessment issues in 1992 when the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) created a task force of 30 stakeholders to determine how all students in special education and bilingual programs could participate in the newly created Illinois Goal ...

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10. Testing, Accountability, and Equity for Deaf Students in Delaware

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pp. 167-180

It is 6:30 a.m. on the first day of the Delaware Student Testing Program (DSTP) at the Delaware School for the Deaf (DSD), and the atmosphere is already tense. Will enough staff members be present to administer the test with appropriate accommodations? If one key staff member assigned to administer the test is absent, ...

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11. Participating in the Massachusetts Comprehensive Assessment System

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pp. 181-193

The national lexicon of education has changed in recent years. Assessment-driven instruction, on-demand testing, accountability, high-stakes testing, testing accommodations, alternate testing, authentic assessment tools, and competency determination are now terms that dominate our school discussions. ...

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12. Marlon’s Charge: A Journey Into the World of Assessment

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pp. 194-203

Thirteen-year-old Marlon stared at the fifth grade test booklet on his desk, then looked quizzically at the test proctor sitting before him. The proctor, sensing Marlon was unsure of himself, tried to remain neutral. “Ready?” the proctor signed, his eyebrows raised, indicating a question. Marlon’s return look signaled uneasiness. ...

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13. The Effect of No Child Left Behind at the Maryland School for the Deaf and Nationwide

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pp. 204-216

For many years, schools for the deaf used the Stanford Achievement Test—a norm-referenced test with out-of-grade-level options—to assess the academic strengths and weaknesses of their deaf students. The schools used individual student scores and technical manuals with norms for deaf students as sources ...

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14. The Potential Harm to Deaf Students of High Stakes Testing in California

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pp. 217-238

The California School for the Deaf (CSD) has served students with distinction since 1860.* The school’s faculty is supportive of and dedicated to the mission of raising standards and expectations for all CSD students, who are deaf, bilingual learners. Increasing academic, career, and technical education expectations ...

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pp. 239-244

It is our sincere hope that this volume will serve to inform and enlighten readers about the many challenges that must be overcome to make a system of test-based accountability workable and beneficial for deaf students and their schools. We appreciate the fact that the No Child Left Behind Act is especially concerned ...


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pp. 245-248


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pp. 249-251

E-ISBN-13: 9781563684289
E-ISBN-10: 1563684284
Print-ISBN-13: 9781563683923
Print-ISBN-10: 156368392X

Page Count: 248
Illustrations: 22 tables, 10 figures
Publication Year: 2008

Research Areas


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Subject Headings

  • Deaf students -- United States.
  • Educational tests and measurements -- United States.
  • Deaf children -- United States -- Education.
  • Educational equalization -- United States.
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