ELFN 6763 Philosophies of Education
Alternative Portfolio Assessments for Students with Disabilities
The No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 calls for states to use standardized end-of- year tests to determine whether students, and thus the schools which they attend, have made adequate progress. Students with disabilities, including those with severe disabilities, have not been ignored in this process. Most students with moderate and severe disabilities are assessed through alternative portfolios. The alternate portfolio showcases student work where educators can assess learning across life domain activities in a comprehensive way. It represents performance-based evaluation, using a multidisciplinary approach, and use of holistic scoring.
Educational practices for a student with a disability are driven by the content of his or her IEP, taking into consideration cognitive and behavioral strengths and challenges of the student. Requiring a student to attain a prescribed score on a generic assessment measure can be viewed as being in direct contrast to the intent of the IEP process to develop and implement an individual educational program (Albrecht & Joles, 2003).
Two critical issues regarding alternate assessment are what should be tested and how should it be tested. The question of the assessment being appropriate for students with disabilities is also raised. Teachers feel that this time-consuming process tends to take away from other students who aren’t completing a portfolio that school year. Other complaints by teachers include the subjective nature of the scoring, the validity of the portfolio for assessing the effectiveness of a program, and the lack of support and assistance that they receive from administrators and teachers in general education in completing the portfolio assessments.
Review of Related Literature
Accountability for All Students
Teachers appear to find it challenging to create access to the general curriculum and assess students on...