Alternative Testing Method For Students With Disabilities Falls Out Of Favor
Lawmakers in Virginia are calling for a relatively new testing method often used with special education students to be phased out amid concerns that it’s overused and produces inaccurate results.
The so-called portfolio method is designed to replace traditional standardized testing with a more accurate assessment of achievement for students with disabilities. The alternative method is supposed to be used with students who are learning grade level material but have difficulty demonstrating their knowledge in an annual test.
Rather than sit down with a Scantron once a year, students using this new method collect a portfolio of work throughout the academic year, which is then evaluated.
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Proponents of the portfolios say they better represent a student’s knowledge than a one-day test, especially for students with disabilities.
But in Virginia, where data indicates the method is used with one in five special education students in grades three through eight, some elected officials are saying it’s time to find a new approach. They insist portfolios are overused and may be over-inflating student progress since the method generally produces higher scores than traditional tests. Further, with many minority students participating in special education, some wonder if the tests are being used to help close a racial achievement gap.
A bill passed unanimously in the Virginia House and Senate earlier this month beefs up standards for the use of portfolios and calls for the approach to be phased out as soon as an alternative testing method can be established. The legislation is currently being considered by the state’s governor, reports The Washington Post. To read more click here.