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Understanding Assessment in the Special Education Process

Understanding Assessment in the Special Education Process
A Step-by-Step Guide for Educators

Edited by:

January 2008 | 136 pages | Corwin
Assessment in the Special Education Process provides educators with methods for collecting information to help determine if a child is eligible for special education and related services. The authors identify the primary skill areas that special educators can evaluate to make informed decisions about a child's educational placement and instruction.

While parents, teachers, and specialists can provide valuable information about a student's skills and needs, this indispensable text also offers school leaders a variety of assessment approaches, including observations, interviews, and testing. Readers will also find tools such as dynamic assessments and ecological assessments that can yield comprehensive data to guide eligibility decisions and educational programming.

About the Authors
Step I. Understanding Assessment and Special Education Assessment
Importance of Assessment

Purpose of Assessment

The Difference Between Testing and Assessment

Role of the Education Professional in the Special Education Process

Assessment and Federal Law

Step II. Understanding and Identifying Students Who Might Exhibit a Disability
Understand the Meaning of a "High Risk" Student

High Risk Students: Determine the Severity of the Problem

Understand How Tension Affects High Risk Students

Become Familiar With Common Avoidance Behavior Patterns Exhibited By High Risk Students


Step III. Understanding and Making a Referral to the Child Study Team
Understand Your Role in the Referral Process

Learn About the Membership of the CST

Understand What Takes Place at the CST Meeting

Learn About the Various Sources of Information Available on Your Student

Understand the Options of the CST


Step IV. Understanding and Obtaining Parental Informed Consent for Assessment
Step V. Understanding the Requirements of an Evaluation for a Suspected Disability
Step VI. Understanding the MDT and the Comprehensive Assessment
Understand the Responsibilities of the Team Assigned to Do the Comprehensive Assessment: The Multidisciplinary Team

Understand the Membership of the MDT

Step VII. Understanding the Various Methods of Assessment Options Available to the MDT
What Is a Comprehensive Assessment?

What Is Norm-Referenced Testing?

Primary Areas of Assessment


Step VIII. Understanding Basic Statistics and Scoring Terminology Used in Assessment
Age Equivalent

Alternate Forms Reliability

Concurrent Validity

Construct Validity

Content Validity


Criterion-Related Validity

Grade Equivalent

Interrater Reliability





Percentile Rank

Predictive Validity

Raw Scores


Reliability Coefficients

Scaled Scores

Split-Half Reliability or Internal Consistency

Standard Deviation

Standard Error of Measurement

Standard Scores


Test-Retest Reliability

T Scores


z Scores


Step IX. Understanding Students' Behavior During the Assessment Process
Understand the Possible Effects of Examiner Variables

Understand How to Observe Overt Signs of Tension

Understand Behaviors That Are Observed . . .

Understand Behaviors That Provide Insight Into the Student's Organizational Abilities During the Assessment Process


Step X. Understanding the Components of a Professional Evaluation Report
Practical Guidelines for Writing a Professional Evaluation Report

Understand the Components of the Report

Step XI. Understanding What Is Required for a Presentation to the IEP Committee
Concluding Thoughts

References and Suggested Readings

"Short and to the point—a huge advantage! Easy to read and to understand. A must-have for every school building in every district."

Rachel Aherns, Collaborative Resource Teacher
Summit Middle School, Johnston, IA

"This book clearly does just what it promises, providing a step-by-step guide about the special education assessment process."

Renee J. Ponce-Nealon, Third-Grade Teacher
Tolenas Elementary School, Petaluma, CA

"From understanding basic statistics to understanding the foundations of the MDT, this is a powerful tool that educators need."

California Bookwatch, January 2008
Midwest Book Review

Book was too short and was not as detailed as other textbooks like McLoughlin & Lewis textbook

Dr Joseph Boyle
Graduate School Of Education, Rutgers The State University of New Jersey
October 28, 2011

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