Accommodating disabilities in classrooms
The passage of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), as amended in 1997, led states and districts to identify increasing numbers of students as requiring accommodations in assessments in order to fairly and accurately show their abilities.
It was important for NAEP to be as consistent as possible with testing practices in most states and districts while maintaining the ability to compare more recent NAEP results to those from 1990, 1992, and 1994.
For example, if the point estimate of a state’s overall inclusion rate was 93 percent and had a margin of error of plus or minus 3 percentage points, the state was considered to have met the 95 percent inclusion goal because the 95 percent goal falls within the margin of error, which ranges from 90 percent to 96 percent.
Refer to the Technical Notes for more details about how the margin of error was used in these calculations, and read more about inclusion in the most recent study, Measuring Status and Change in NAEP Inclusion Rates of Students with Disabilities.
Although NAEP has always endeavored to assess as high a proportion of sampled students as is possible, prior to 1996 NAEP did not allow accommodations for SD or ELL students.
This resulted in exclusion of some students who could not meaningfully participate in the assessment without accommodations.
Despite the increasing identification of SD and ELL students in some states, in particular of ELL students at grade 4, NAEP inclusion rates have generally remained steady or increased since 2003.
Only a small number of states included a smaller percentage of students in the 2011 NAEP mathematics assessments than in 2009.
States and jurisdictions vary in their proportions of special-needs students and in their policies on inclusion and the use of accommodations.Students are selected to participate in NAEP based on a sampling procedure designed to yield a sample of students that is representative of students in all schools nationwide and in public schools within each state.First, schools are selected, and then students are sampled from within those schools without regard to disability or English language proficiency.The new NAEP inclusion policy is an effort to ensure that this trend continues.Determining whether each jurisdiction has met the NAEP inclusion goals involves looking at three different inclusion rates—an overall inclusion rate, an inclusion rate for SD students, and an inclusion rate for ELL students.