Norm-referenced Assessments

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Norm-referenced assessments are checks that are meant to compare a person's score/performance for a particular take a look at against other individuals who sat for the identical test. The grading is done in a way that students with the best overall performance on a particular test is ranked the highest. In this assessment, there is no standard cost against which students are sorted. When the performance of the examinees is represented on a graph, the layout takes the shape of a bell. The implication of this is that most students perform averagely, a small proportion performs poorly, and a small proportion performs well in the test. The test is to students at various levels like at local, classroom or on the national basis.

It is important to note that a norm-referenced test gives basic facts on the relative ability of the students. Once the test is standardized, it is given to different norm group having the same characteristics as the first norm group. From there, the scores of the two norm groups with similar features are compared. Also, test developers should be careful when evaluating students with disabilities before making any interpretation from the already established norms.

Differences between Norm-referenced, Criterion-referenced And Ipsative Assessment

In a norm-referenced assessment, a comparison between a test taker and his/her peers is made therefore an evaluation is made on either the student performed better or worse than other students who did the same assessment. In the criterion-referenced assessment, the score is based on whether the test taker did well or poorly in a particular task not comparing his or her performance with other students (Hamilton, Peter and Talcott Parsons 122). On the other hand, the students' performance is compared to their performance that they have before.

Accommodations for Students with Disabilities on High Stakes Testing

The term accommodation refers to the changes on how tasks are given to students with learning disabilities ensuring that they finish the assignments as other students doing the same test. The purpose of the test or requirements of the assessment does not change therefore the accommodations do not give an added advantage to the students with learning disabilities over other students. The aim of accommodations thus is to enable students with learning disabilities to feel that they know without being pulled back by their disabilities. For example, a student can be allowed to mark answers on the same booklet for multiple choice questions rather than having a separate answer booklet. As said earlier, this does not change the requirement of the test nor does it make the test easy but the goal is to give all the students equal access to the assessment. It is a concern such that these accommodations are captured in the policies of the country so that during general tests for the entire country, students with disabilities are not disadvantaged in any way.

Accommodations, therefore, include changes on how the assessments are set, variations on the response by the students and the format in which the answers are presented without the accurate measure of the taker's skills. In this regard, testing accommodations are mainly placed into four broad categories which include; testing, response, and presentation and timing accommodations. Each of these group of testing accommodations is discussed below with examples in each case.

Response Testing Accommodation

In response accommodations, the students are given alternative options on how they respond to the given tests like multiple tests or essays. In this case, they are allowed to record responses on computers or scribes. In the guidelines of a state/country on accommodations, verbal responses such as dictating, and the use of voice recognition software must be captured. (Hamilton, Peter and Talcott Parsons 119). For instance, the test taker may be required to write a particular essay, but because he/she has a learning disability regarding writing, the examinee will speak what he wanted to write, and the words are recorded in the process.

Presentation Accommodation

The format on how a writing test results may be altered, consequently, the results on a given task vary widely concerning presentation, but the goal of the trial is retained. Therefore, presentation accommodations offer an alternative to testing materials to the examinees. Such materials include the use of Braille, audio cassettes, and large prints. For example, presentation using audio may involve the use of screen readers, reading aloud the test and allowing the test material to be provided by an audio cassette.

Setting Accommodation

This type of accommodation make changes to the test taker's surrounding to make the environment more suitable for them. This include changes in the examinees' room like provision of private room and changes to the surrounding to block out distractions e.g. provision of screens. Other typical examples of setting accommodation include; provision of special furniture, assigning tests individually or in small groups, allowing the student to sit in a position that he prefers e.g. the test taker seating while facing the examiner and allowing for preferred test site like taking a test while at home or the hospital.

Timing Accommodation

Time accommodation involves changes about the time allocated for a particular test by the administrator to test takers with the learning disability. For instance, their time is extended for them to complete the given task.

Time extension is found to be the most requested timing accommodation. Other examples include allowing for repeated breaks during an assessment and assigning the tests at different times.

Issues and Concerns of the Statewide Assessment of Disabled Students

The policies concerning students with disabilities cover necessary setting accommodations with the implication that they can not only participate in local assessments but also fully and fairly participate in statewide tests. It is advantageous to participate in statewide assessments because it is a point for them to put more efforts and makes the school accountable for poor performance from the students. Also, the lacking educational facilities are provided for in the process.

However, some states exclude some students with disabilities from participating in statewide assessments (O'Rourke et al...17). They do this basing on the category of disability e.g. the reading level of the student. It is important that they all participate in a statewide test as a mechanism of testing the benefits of education to them.

Also, if particular groups of disabled students are exempted from the statewide test, it 's hard to assess the performance of the entire school. This way, teachers' efforts will not be motivated because they are not ranked. It is also a concern to the parents concerning evaluating their children's performance; they can only do this at a district level.

Availability of accommodations is another concern. In some states, the accommodations available are limited that they restrict the students from participating in statewide tests. In this case, the unlisted accommodations should be provided such that equal opportunity is guaranteed for participation in the assessment. This way, the accommodations that are likely to limit participation in the assessment are made available.

Works Cited

O'Rourke, Norm, Larry Hatcher, and Edward J. Stepanski. A Step-by-Step Approach to Using Sas for Univariate & Multivariate Statistics. New York: Wiley-Interscience, 2005. Internet resource.

Hamilton, Peter. Talcott Parsons: Critical Assessments. London: Routledge, 1992. Print.

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