Evaluating the achievement of elementary students in general and special education classrooms: An alternative assessment

Linda Ann Bovino, Fordham University


With the recent surge of accountability reform measures and the need to monitor student progress there are increasingly fewer options for students with and without special needs to accurately demonstrate their academic ability. This research investigated the NJASK and an alternative computerized assessment, Measures of Academic Progress as options for students with (LD) and without learning disabilities (non-LD). The investigation used both qualitative and quantitative methods. Surveys and interviews were used to obtain the perspectives of three stakeholders: 30 parents, 6 teachers, and 72 students in the 3rd, 4th, and 5th grades. All student participants did not qualify for state alternative assessments (APA) based on the provided state guidelines for testing exemption and were mandated to take the statewide standardized assessment. Findings suggest a relationship between students' scores on the NJASK and MAP in reading and the language arts. Students' MAP scores had no predictive value for their scores on the NJASK or state test scores. Four major themes were identified through the qualitative analysis: (a) overall state testing is a concern due to heightened anxiety levels; (b) the level of the state test was seen as inaccessible for students who are not reading on grade level; (c) although the format of the state test was preferable, computer testing methods were also liked; and (d) the lack of writing on the computerized testing method was identified as an area of weakness in comparison to the state standardized test. The tests usage and scoring were also topics of concern. The state test results were seen as too general and unusable for planning and instruction, while the MAP assessment and reports were identified as skill focused, prescriptive, and with strong progress monitoring abilities. Overall, the MAP assessment was identified as a better assessment for students with and without disabilities when compared to the state standardized assessment currently in place within New Jersey.

Subject Area

Educational tests & measurements|Elementary education|Special education

Recommended Citation

Bovino, Linda Ann, "Evaluating the achievement of elementary students in general and special education classrooms: An alternative assessment" (2011). ETD Collection for Fordham University. AAI3482736.